I was at SMX Advanced in Seattle basically to see some friends, and to discuss with a few trusted folks about my upcoming year. I didn’t really attend sessions, and as someone who didn’t attend sessions I discovered something. There were alot of people who didn’t attend sessions, but were there just to interact with others.
I love the SEO industry, even though I am almost entirely out of it now with my gadget/widget strategy stuff. Almost every successful widget spread I have seen has been very Google guideline friendly (white hat) and is orientated around the user, or based on actual interaction that helps or entertains users.
I liked the discussion because (as always) Dally Sullivan is open to discussing critiques, which I admire, and I liked the discussion because it really highlighted some of the basic reasons why I got into gadgets in the first place.
A couple years ago, I would answer the questions of new webmasters alot. They always were, basically, “How do we get on top of Google results?”.
They were never, “How do I do more business on the internet?” or “How do I make more money on the internet?”.
It was considered a given that search engines were the best way to do this, so the questions were always orientated around “being on top of the search engines”.
I started to ask myself “What if there were no search engines?” and “How do I create an online presence that does not depend on Google or search rankings?
If you have read my article “The Hitchhikers Guide to Linkless SEO” you know what direction of thought I ended up going in.
I realized that you do not need search engines at all to create major brands and millions of users.
Think about this. You use Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon right?
You didn’t find those in a search engine, you use them because of interaction. You read about them or were invited by someone or they were suggested to you.
No search engine needed.
Twitter, StumbleUpon, and other social media is not dependant on search engines. They would be the same success they are even if Google didn’t exist.
This isn’t sinking into the search community very quickly, but you really don’t need search engines for everything.
This needs to sink in, particulairly for advertisers. How you advertise is changing and how you bring people into contact or awareness of your brand is changing.
It is really simple, and it is called “Word of Mouth”.
Social media is, in it’s essense, “word of mouth”. Understanding that is key for internet marketers.
Back to SMX Advanced. Danny Sullivan knows his shit well. I would challenge him to offer sessions that offer real ways for businesses and advertisers to actually interact with social media instead of teaching people how to “use” social media for links or other SEO goals.
The goal isn’t links in social media. It is interaction. It is word of mouth.
If the only thing you use social media for is link creation, then you are missing the point.
“If you make a profile on several social media websites, you will get several links which may help your ranking.”
Is the same thing as…
“How to get reciprical links, or Wikipedia links, etc., etc.”
The most advanced and forward looking marketing looks at social media not as an opportunity for links, but as an opportunity for interaction and brand awareness. I would love to see Danny, Brett, and other conference organizers embrace this idea more and see it reflected in their sessions.
I like that Danny has the SMX – Social series and I would recommend them as the most effective sessions you will likely find on leveraging social media.
But at the same time, those sessions are also of the same flavor that gave Lisa pause about SMX Advanced. How to “trick” or “linkbait”, I hope to be proved wrong on that, but we will see.