Search Marketing Summit Sydney 2016 Live Blog

The Search Marketing Summit (SMS) is currently being held in Sydney, Australia from 1st June – 2nd June 2016. Advanced Workshops were also held on 30th May, 31st May 2016 and the 3rd June 2016.

Aleyda Solís presenting at the Search Marketing Summit
Aleyda Solís presenting at the Search Marketing Summit


Search Marketing Summit is run by Barry Smyth who has been the person behind the Australian SMX events for a decade. This leading Australian conference brings together online marketing professionals from all around Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific to keep up to date with the latest news and best practices in the search engine marketing industry.

Thanks to Barry and the crew at No Drama Media for organising such a great event with a fantastic line up of expert speakers from both around the world and locally.

This year I’ll be doing a live blog of the event, so please bear with me as I’ll be updating this post as I go. I can only attend one track, but I’ll try my best to cover both of them. If you have any changes, please ping me on @chrisburgess. A huge thanks to Nishanth Stephen and Jennifer Slegg for their super useful tweets 🙂

You can also follow the official updates:

There are a few hashtags being used if you’d like to follow along:

Search Marketing Summit (#SMS2106) Live Blog – Day 1


Opening Keynote: That’s Irrational! Why Convincing To The Logical Brain Won’t Get Results

Tim Ash, President & CEO, SiteTuners

Having followed Tim and SiteTuners online, and also having read his book on Landing Page Optimization, it was a pleasure to meet and attend his workshop this week (which will be the topic of another post!).

Tim kicked off the SMS conference with his opening keynote which focussed on neuromarketing and how to market to the primitive brain.

He encourages us to think about consumers having 3 brains: Reason, Feel and React.

Tim moved on to talk about how the primitive brain really only cares about the four F’s: Fight, Flight, Feeding and Fornication.

Keeping it simple is a mantra that I try to remind myself on constantly, and it was great that Tim emphasised this by discussing how choice kills and that you need to reduce complexity by providing a series of simple selections.

Tim also urged the audience to make use of visuals to help with improving your call to actions.

What You Need To Know About Enterprise Link Building

Patrick Kajirian, SEO Manager,

Patrick from Disney Interactive, managing ESPN launched the SEO track talking about enterprise link building, and explaining what makes enterprise sites different. There’s usually a lot more to work with – which brings opportunities for SEO, as well as a unique set of the challenges.

Searching For Shoppers: How To Succeed With Feed-Based Product Campaigns

Frederick Vallaeys, CEO, Optmyzr


Link Building, Penguin, Digital Assets, Author’s, Tools, and More

Sha Menz, Lead Software Architect,

Sha is very active in the search space and she always does fantastic presentations which have some great actionable insights.

In this session, she focussed on Google Penguin Updates, Manual Penalties, tips on Disavow and ways to optimise your digital assets.

Taking Retargeting To The Next Level

Dennis Yu, CTO, Blitz Metrics


Content, Keyword Research & The Art Of Audience Engagement

Motoko Hunt, Japanese Search Expert, AJPR

In this session, Motoko discussed how to perform effective keyword research, thinking about the users journey and their needs to get better engagement and boost search results.

How Dynamic Ads Can Supercharge Your SEM Campaigns

Rachel Malone-Olson, Social Account Manager, aimClear®


How to Achieve Mind-Blowing Content Marketing ROI

Jeremy Cabral, Head of Publishing & Editorial,

Getting Mobile Friendly To Survive The Next Mobilegeddon

Gary Illyes, Trends Analyst, Google


Writing the “Right” Content: Highly Searchable, Keyword-Driven and Relevant Content

Aleyda Solis, International SEO Consultant, ORAINTI

Google Now, Microsoft Cortana & The Predictive Search World

Cindy Krum, CEO and Founder, MobileMoxie


Building Links With Content Syndication

Greg Boser, President, Foundation Digital

Greg started off by stating a fact that should hit home to anyone that works on content and digital production: “The web is littered with great content that nobody has ever linked to or seen”. He used a few examples in the Australian real estate space on how you can use your favourite tools to gain valuable intelligence on what type of content really works.

How Apple’s Changing Up Search: From Siri To Safari To Spotlight

Emily Grossman, Mobile Marketing Specialist, MobileMoxie


Keeping Things Lean and Mean: Crawl Optimisation

Jason Mun, Co-Founder and Search Director, Bespoke

I’ve seen Jason present several times at various industry events, his topic of crawl optimisation is critical – especially for larger, enterprise and ecommerce sites.

Using APIs To Automate Marketing Tasks

Rob Kerry, Chief Strategy Officer, Ayima

The Internet is People! Optimising for User Experience

Woj Kwasi, Head Honcho, Kwasi Studios

The Advanced PPC Search and Social Mashup: Expertly Curate Owned Audience Cookie Pools

Rachel Malone-Olson, Social Account Manager, aimClear

Closing Keynote: Hacking RankBrain: The 4 Robot-Destroying Weapons You’ll Need To Survive SEO Judgment Day

Larry Kim, CTO, MobileMonkey

Larry started off by saying that the content of his talk was very much talking about experimental areas (not from any Google press releases etc.) – with a Terminator theme.

He explained the difference between heuristic hand-coded algorithms and a machine learning algorithm.

Google has numerous APIs and platforms that use machine learning – includingAdWords – has been a machine learning system for 15 years. Facebook EdgeRank switched over to machine learning, Twitter uses it for their ads.

In summary, machine learning is everywhere.

RankBrain is only used on long tail queries, not on head terms. Larry discussed how *he* would build RankBrain if he was doing it and then did some digging into results where RankBrain was at play and those that weren’t.

Search Marketing Summit (#SMS2016) Live Blog – Day 2

Voice & Local Search, how the two intertwine…

Michael Motherwell, Co-Founder, Wave Interactive

Michael has been presenting at search events for years and I always look forward to hearing him speak. He covered the relationship between local search, how local search in constantly changing, and stressed the importance of getting your local SEO right.

He also dug into some of the unique differences in local, using the Moz Local Search Ranking Factor report as a reference.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Gary Illyes, Trends Analyst, Google

I’ve seen Gary present a few times, and being very much into mobile optimisation, I was looking forward to some of the latest info on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

AMP is made up of the following components:

  • JavaScript (AMP JS)
  • CSS3
  • Global Proxy Cache (AMP Cache)

Gary then explained a little more on the components and libraries, talking about widgets and embeds. The AMP Project is open source and hosted on GitHub if you want an even deeper dive.

Quality not Quantity: How to approach digital marketing when not all of your leads are equal

David Lawrence, CEO & Co-Founder, The Web Showroom


Facebook Growth Hacking

Dennis Yu, CTO, Blitz Metrics

What Advanced SEOs Should Know From The Google Raters Guidelines

Jennifer Slegg, Founder & Editor, The SEM Post

Jennifer went through the core concepts of the Google Quality Raters Guidelines. She has covered this topic in depth at The SEM Post, if you have checked it out, I’d recommend doing do. The latest 2016 updates and highlights can be found here.

Jennifer ended her presentation to summarise with the following:

  • Give users high quality, high E-A-T content
  • Be aware of signs of low quality, including ads
  • Get mobile friendly
  • Be aware of YMYL

SEO Diagnostics for the Skilled Search Mechanic

Patrick Kajirian, SEO Manager,


Q&A with Google’s Gary Illyes

Gary Illyes, Trends Analyst, Google

More coming soon! Stay tuned 🙂