Posts Tagged conference

Searchlove San Diego 2017 Highlights

search marketing conference

We found our favourite conference. SearchLove San Diego was on point with speakers, tips and actionable tactics for technical search marketers. Also, and I cannot say this loud enough….it’s at a beach resort in San Diego in February!

Here’s a few of our favourite presenters and takeaways.


Larry Kim

This was one of my favourite talks of the conference. Larry took a look at quality in content marketing and how click rates influence organic position, decrease paid costs, and give you something to use for years. The payoffs of high-engagement content are huge.

One of his big points was about how one piece of content can sometimes do more than all of your other pieces combined. In the slide below, you can see how one of Inc’s pieces of content flourished while all of its others were left floundering. We’ve seen this a lot with heavy content sites and draws the conclusion that the ideal strategy should be to find the few winners, rather than think all of your content pieces will be winners.


Wil Reynolds

Wil is well known in the SEO world for being complete fire and he didn’t disappoint.

He focused on how digital marketers consistently throw users into buckets rather than treating them like humans. Ranking for keywords doesn’t matter much if you can’t match the user’s intent with what you have. Match psychology and decision making. SEOs should be marketing using emotions, not just click rates.

He put emphasis on visiting where your clients or customers are. Talk to them, understand them, and see what their real life pain points are. Then you’ll be able to understand how to fix them by giving them what they need online. Relying on search volume won’t solve human problems.

Further to the point of intent – if Google puts an image in the results that should be a trigger that people don’t understand the product or service. His example of how people looking for “cloud computing” are bidding extremely high on the search term, but the fact that Google is putting images in the results means that people are looking for definitions, not to buy something.


Rob Bucci

Rob’s the best. He runs the keyword ranking software STAT in Vancouver. His talk surrounded the research he did on consumer intent and where Google will place you based on that intent. Whether it’s informational, commercial or transactional. The results were fantastic and one of his slides summed it up nicely:

“Intent beats identity. Immediacy beats loyalty. “

There’s waaaay too much to mention here so I recommend requesting and going through the slides here if you’re a search marketer: Using Search Intent to Connect with Consumers.


Rand Fishkin

Rand’s been a long time supporter of 10x content. The idea is, in essence to stop churning out cheap and fast blog content and focus your attention on building stronger pieces that will get attention and last. It’s an ROI-positive method that I’ve been supporting for years.

His presentation focused on great examples of 10x content, along with some that have completely missed out because they ignored SEO. A little keyword research goes a long way.


Annie Cushing

She is famous for having extremely actionable talks around analytics. If she talks at a conference you’re attending, you get your money’s worth.

Here’s a few of the big takeaways:

  1. Always use “site down” notifiers such as
  2. Configure a few Analytics custom alerts in case of traffic drops or your site isn’t working
  3. Configure more of those custom Analytics dashboards that make sense for your business
  4. There’s low cost dashboards that take in several external data such as


Greg Gifford

Greg spends his days pushing local rankings for car dealers in the US. His presentation was around genuinely strong tips for local SEO. It was refreshing to hear tactics around hyper local targeting. Many of his tips debunked what industry experts recommend. For example, he suggests local links with low authority might actually be better than high authority links with no specific location attached.

Greg also dropped some Facebook ad tips like throwing a bit of budget at ads with tight a tight geo radius. That way you can advertise at an NFL game for $100.


Ross Simmonds

Ross’ talk was great because it centred around real examples of big success. His Instagram account currently sits at 114k followers. It’s nice to see someone talk about action and then show exactly how well it did. The takeaway from this was to market your content like a scientist: experiment, experiment, experiment.


Tom Capper

This may have been the most important talk of the entire conference. Tom had a really strong argument of how influential inbound links are, which several presenters debated. A lot of campaigns are driven only to acquire links, and Tom’s research found that they’re important, possibly important, or not at all. Crucial information for those of us SEOs that are digging for links day in, day out.


Online Revealed 2014

We attended the Online Revealed online tourism marketing conference this year in Toronto, and it was great to spend a few days focusing solely on Tourism & Hospitality Marketing. The power and authority of some of the presenters made it a memorable trip, with some standout moments.

Keynote: Jon Montgomery

Olympic gold medalist and Keynote Speaker, Jon Montgomery, was incredible to listen to. He told the story of his journey, from a kid who had no idea what he wanted to do, to competing in the Olympics and representing his country for being among the very best at what he did.      

Reputation Management

It was great to hear from Andrew Weins of TripAdvisor on just how they came to be as popular as they are, and the principles of leveraging their platform. Their success relies on the participation of travellers worldwide, and it’s a perfect case to make for the importance of reputation management.

The key message: get involved. If you’re a destination or a hotel or a restaurant, staying quiet has an incredible number of disadvantages. Reviews are common in every industry for any product or service these days. It’s an everyday part of being a consumer in today’s marketplace, but in the travel sector those who are successful take them seriously.


Online Advertising

The other major takeaway from this conference was a sizeable shift in online advertising focus. It’s not just data analysts or SEM experts who are paying attention to attribution models. Attribution report modelling has made it’s way into mainstream digital marketing culture. Deepraj Sen from Google Adwords presented on the subject, and it was fascinating to see his methods.

It hit home that people are now using attribution report modelling regularly, and is something that affects the bottom line for every online advertiser. Here’s an article from Google on attribution, which states marketers should be taking a deeper look at conversions.

Overall, Online Revealed 2014 was a great experience on how we can leverage SEO techniques within the Destination Marketing world.

See you again next year.

Thoughts on The Art of Marketing

A week later, we’re still amazed and inspired by the conference. There were many high value takeaways, but Seth Godin, Brian Wong and Keith Farrazzi were our personal highlights.  Through encouragement for authenticity and originality, lessons in personal humility and perseverance to cultivating profitable relationships, The Art of Marketing Vancouver was a definite hit.


Seth Godin.

Without a doubt, our favorite speaker at the event was the legendary Seth Godin. He inspired us to stand out, and railed against going with the crowd, lest we fit in, and become easy to ignore.

With powerful statements and an unflinching stage presence, Godin powered through his hour-long presentation in what felt like no time, with the audience hungry for more.  Being empowered by a leader who believes in working differently is an inspiration within the marketing world, where many still believe that to be average is to reach the largest audience.

“If I was going to a #StarWars convention, I wouldn’t dress up as one of the anonymous guys” -Seth Godin

Godin’s presentation was about distinction.  When you distinguish yourself from the rest by not competing in the typical upstream swim, but find another river of your own to cultivate, and people will notice.

Mass marketing isn’t efficient anymore. There are more weird people than there are normal.” -Seth Godin

Godin reminded us that tastemakers are no longer what most companies would call “normal”; the diatribes from earlier in the century that made every person want to be like the other no longer exist.  Classical normalcy has been replaced by specialized tribes of people, creating a balance of trends like never before.

Other favourite Seth-isms regarding risk taking:

 “The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck”

 “You’ve been trained to hold back”

 “You don’t need to create a subculture, you just need to show up and lead them”


Brian Wong.

Our other highlight from the day was Brian Wong, of Kiip.  Brian was inspiring, with his infectious love for what he does and clear passion for his product, and the brands he has aligned himself with.

Between Brian regaling us with the story of his first job, first layoff and eventual success at Kiip, he was a highly refreshing, engaging and very funny speaker to take in.  Brian’s talent for business was matched by his humility in front of his audience, which ensured every member of the audience was in tune with his message.


Keith Ferrazzi.

A surprise was the human emotion that Ferrazzi was able to pull out of us. He managed to build a story around his personal life to inspire others in the workplace. His lessons went beyond how to connect with people at work, but how to be a better person in general, is something we need from time to time.

Keith had a lot to share surrounding the value of relationships and marketing.  With a fired up passion, Keith communicated the importance of tending relationships with people we know, those we could know better and those people we’ve been avoiding (we all have them).

The highlight of his speech was when Keith took us through a memory of his childhood, when his poverty stricken father went to a wealthy homeowner, to ask permission to take the child’s bike they had sitting with their weekly trash.  Keith mentioned that he had been embarrassed, but his father had lived by the adage “you never know, until you ask”.  After requesting to take the bike, the woman who answered the door provided him with a motorized go-kart, a significant upgrade to the original toy.

That story had us entranced, and with that, Keith closed with his People Plan – a document of goals of who you will be improving relationships on a timeline.  We felt so inspired, we hit the streets of downtown Vancouver in a near daze.


Art of Marketing Conference in Vancouver

The Art of Marketing 2014 conference is taking place next week, at The Centre in Vancouver For Performing Arts. We are incredibly excited to see the year’s big draw, Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow, Linchpin, The Icarus Deception, and more.  We’ve flown through all of his books, podcast episodes and blog posts, and we can’t wait to hear his latest groundbreaking lecture in person.

Here’s Seth discussing how we should reconsider the term “artist”:

Godin’s first publication was the landmark marketing text Purple Cow, where many quickly realized his keen insights into marketing and entrepreneurship. Godin’s brilliance mimics that of a great observational comic, namely his ability to look at everyday things and convert them into topics and angles that haven’t been considered.

Godin is also highly enthusiastic about what he does, which makes him all the more persuasive.

Let’s connect! If you’re there and want to chat about Seth Godin, hit me up on at

Mozcon 2013

roger the moz robot

The Moz mascot was luckily set to “HUGS.”

We’ve had a week to digest the information from Mozcon in Seattle. It’s an SEO Inbound Marketing conference that brings the industry’s best together for 3 days. There were some fantastic speakers, but the most discussed had to be Avinash Kaushik. We’re regulars of his analytics blog, but have never got the chance to see him speak and did not predict that level of energy. Or swearing. We’re not sure anyone did. Regardless, he had great ideas on how to present more useful information through analytics.

We also really enjoyed:

• Phil Nottingham’s talk on video SEO

• Wil Reynolds about being inspired to be better marketers

Ross Hudgens and his old school SEO tactics

Matthew Peters and the new trends in ranking factors

Matthew Brown on entities


Overall, it was pretty fantastic. Big fans. See you there next year.