Jun 9, 2008
SMX Advanced generated a lot of controversy and conversation.
Did the conference go to the “Dark Side” with Black Hat SEO?
Should there have been more advanced topics?
Was there enough White Hat SEO discussed?
The 2008 Advanced Search Marketing Expo also delivered a fast-paced, action-packed venue of topics and opportunities for networking with top-notch performers who specialize in organic Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search and Web Development.
Who won the “SMX Advanced Awards” depends on your preferred type of Search Marketing entertainment. After all, those who wear a Black, White or Gray SEO Hat are all part of the the WWW media production. If we’re not the lead role at a Search Marketing Agency, we are In-House SEOs acting as supporting actors and actresses, Copywriters developing keyword-rich scripts, or Link Baiting Publicists.
All “blockbusters” generate conversation. SMX Advanced generated a lot of talk…and talking, we have been. You can view a snapshot of Twitter conversations about SMX+Advanced on Summize (shown right).
Post SMX Advanced, critics reviewed the Seattle ’08 production. The reviews may have generated more controversy than the conference. A lively discussion about The Dark Side was held on Bruce Clay’s blog, lead by Lisa Barone (an eloquent writer and critic). Danny Sullivan, the Producer and Director of SMX Advanced did a great job responding to the SEO controversy and demonstrated good Online Reputation Management skills.
SEO Hat Color Selections
SEO performers, Search Engine Optimizers, often refer to their trade of building organic traffic as White Hat, Gray Hat or Black Hat. Each Search Engine Marketer needs to determine what color hat they are going to wear to each WWW production. They may choose to wear different colored hats for different types of shows they attend.
“A white hat is the hero or good guy, especially in computing slang, where it refers to an ethical hacker that focuses on securing and protecting IT systems.”
- SEO defined by Wikipedia:
- “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results for targeted keywords.”
- Accepted White Hat practices: Google Webmaster Central Guidelines lays out SEO guidelines accepted by the search engines.
- White Hat vs. Black Hat: Wikipedia explains the chasm between accepted and unaccepted SEO strategies.
- Gray Hat: Couldn’t find a good definition, to paraphrase: Slightly sneaking SEO that doesn’t break the Black Hat laws.
Choose White Hat SEO
SEO Hat colors come in White, Black or Gray. Most shows require white!
Most Search Marketers only have white hats in their SEO wardrobe. However, gray and black are the color of choice by a few who work in highly-competitive circumstances or with a company not worried about loosing its reputation.
Who Won at the SMX Advanced Awards?
The Search Marketing industry as a whole won! It was the best conference I’ve attended in years. The majority of the sessions I attended discussed White Hat SEO techniques and strategies. Discussion of Black Hat SEO actually proved entertaining and informative. These scenes in the SMX Advanced movie will be edited out, however.
You can read for yourself. The following sites provide PlayBill or ClifNotes versions of each session:
- SearchEngineLand: SMX Advanced ’08: Day 1 Recap
- SearchEngineLand: SMX Advanced ’08: Day 2 Recap
- Graywolf’s Blog: SMX Advanced 08 Recap
I started going to “industry” events in 1998 to Flash Forward conferences in New York & San Francisco. SMX Advanced of Seattle 08 outshined any of these glitzy and glamorous conferences by delivering solid content, a good story line, and a captivating “Give it Up!” finale.
The winner is…
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz for his White Hat SEO techniques and his yellow shoes!
Rand was an outstanding moderator and delivered some valuable take-aways, tips and tools for organic Search Engine Optimization.
Gotta love those yellow shoes!
Rand’s company, SEOmoz offers “PROfessional” content for members. Aside from conferences, it’s the best value for your money! Learn about their SEO tools, guides, custom Q & A, and marketplace for Search Marketing professionals.