Best of SMX Toronto 2010

Great conference. Here’s the best of the best:

SMX TorontoBest Lines:

  • Avinash Kaushik: I know my books were successful because the top search results for the book’s topics are the pirated versions of the book.
    Avinash Kaushik: The important question is the Why. The internet is full of weird people and they’re all on your Website, simply trying to screw with you.
  • Bryan Segal: (asking for a show of hands on different questions) BTW, this isn’t how we get our data at comScore.
  • Shari Thurow: The 5-second usability test. Let people look at your site for 5 seconds, then ask them what the site is about. If they can’t tell you, you’re site isn’t focused enough.
  • Shari Thurow: You have to pass the “What kind of X are you?” Test. What kind of law firm are you? “State of the Art?” “World class?” No. You’re a corporate law firm, that’s what you have to say most clearly. [I love that marketing hype is now one of the worst ways to market. People aren’t searching for superlatives or marketing hype, they’re looking for concrete information].
  • Dawn Wentzell: “Worst of” lists rank better than “Best of” lists.
  • Shalom Issenberg: Since we had to stop buying links, link-building got really expensive.
  • Larry Bailin: People don’t search for the solution, they search for the problem.
  • Sionne Roberts: We’re going to be discussing a tsunami of information. That’s from the session description. I don’t know what it is, but it sounds like a good thing.
  • Warren Raisch: There’s a lot of confusion in the market. Which is good for us, because we’re consultants.
  • Warren Raisch: If you could have a car or a cellphone? 80% of kids said phone. The digital need to be connected is more important than physical mobility to kids today.
  • Sionne Roberts: So far we’ve had 2 answers to every question:
    1. It depends
    2. Focus on outcomes, begin with the end in mind
  • Larry Bailin: Successful internet marketing is more about sales and marketing strategies than technical skills & faulty tactics. This will never change.
  • Larry Bailin: Article in Feb 2010 Entrepreneur says “The SEO business is 80% spam” That number is probably a little low.
  • Larry Bailin: A few years ago I was here and we all said the future was Second Life. 3 months later is was dead. We don’t know the future.
  • Guillaume Bouchard: There’s a lot less content internationally. Think if you were doing SEO in US a few years ago, but with today’s algos.

Best Takeaways:

  • Avinash Kaushik: Paid searchers are often only converting days later. Optimize for those later conversions.
  • Bryan Segal: Organic search has become a richer experience. Paid search will catch up, and will then be used more for branding, not just direct response. (Backs up Avinash’s key takeaway)
  • Dawn Wentzell: Content that gets linked to naturally:
    • Original research, with good visuals
    • The Definitive Guide to your industry
    • Industry coverage, including live blogging conferences. Lisa Barone’s PubCon coverage got 293 links [but that’s an outlier].

Best Examples / Case Studies:

  • Avinash Kaushik: When they saw conversion on a Travel site was only coming days later, even with paid click, they made 3 changes:
    • Changed from immediate sales pushes (“Buy Now”) to softer (“Learn More”)
    • Added “Save My Itinerary” feature
    • Added checkbox to “Notify me if prices go up or down more than 10%” with box for e-mail address.
  • Shari Thurow: Design for your users, not for yourself or your spouse. A site about cement was in purple and teal, because those were the designer’s favorite colors.

Best Warming up the crowd:

  • Manny Rivas did a good job waking us up before a Friday afternoon session.

Best Speakers:

Best of Tim Ash:

I didn’t include anything from the eMetrics conference, which was co-located, but apparently Tim Ash rocked (and Manny Rivas captured it, thanx Manny!).

The 7 Deadly Landing Page Sins …

  1. Unclear Call to Action.
  2. Too many choices.
  3. Asking for too much, too soon – “Would you like me to hold your credit card while you shop?” [Heh]
  4. Too much text – unclutter content by striking out adjectives.
  5. Not keeping your promise – if you set the bar high, you damn well better stand up to it.
  6. Visual distractions – Don’t kid yourself, boring works. Make sure your prioritize goals.
  7. Lack of trust – don’t undermine your potential to gain your customers trust.

Tim’s best lines:

  • You decipher images 4-500X quicker than reading words
  • The purpose of the homepage is to get people off the homepage. (hat tip to Manny Rivas)
  • If the desired action isn’t obvious you’re losing money!

Best Live Blogging:

Did I miss anything? Any corrections? Let me know!

More SMX Toronto coverage:

Also in this series: