SMX Advanced: Over Already?

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It’s been exactly 3 hours since SMX Advanced wrapped up its inaugural conference. What a fantastic 2 days of SEM sessions, networking, and overall fun. This was a relatively small (in comparison to SES) group of advanced search engine marketers, all gathered to learn insider tips and tricks for organic and paid search.

I can’t begin to summarize everything I’ve learned over the past 2 days – I’ll need a couple more days to digest everything. Probably my favorite session of all was “Paid Search: The Giant Focus Group.” All 4 major engines were represented on the panel (Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask), and they basically took feedback from the audience the entire time. We got to get a lot of things off our chests, and the engine reps got to hear, from the horses’ mouths, what we need as PPC marketers. It was a great give and take, and I’m hoping to see some good things come out of it over the next weeks and months.

There were so many good things about the conference, but a few stood above the rest:
* The smaller group, and the fact that everyone is advanced, meant there were some really meaty sessions.
* Networking opportunities, as expected, were excellent. I met with my MSN rep for an hour, and met Carolyn and Jeanie from the adCenter 411 team. I had a good conversation with Yahoo as well. I met tons of great people in the sessions and at lunch. There were evening events as well, and even though I didn’t stay long (darn jet lag!), I did get to meet some of the key players in the SEM space.
* The food. Oh my. I was expecting the typical SES chunk of bagel as breakfast and box sandwich (or lame pretzel) for lunch. This was more like a cruise. Breakfast was a real breakfast – cereal, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, pastries, bagels, juices, coffee…. Lunch was a gourmet feast. They had prime rib, carved turkey breast, pastas, salads, fancy desserts… And there were snacks at every break, too. Cookies, fruit, snack bars…. Honestly, you could have made do on the free food at the conference and nothing else. I did enjoy a nice dinner tonight, but that was just because I wanted to try a bit of Seattle.

My only real complaint is that it was over too soon. It just flew by. I could have easily spent another day “speaking search” with everyone here.

There were photographers galore at the show, and the usual live bloggers: Barry Schwartz and Tamar from SE Roundtable, all the SEOMoz crew, Lisa Barone from Bruce Clay, and lots more. I’ll add links to conference coverage as I come across it (I’m a little behind on my news feeds at the moment!).

Danny and the Search Engine Land crew, thanks for a great experience. I look forward to next year’s SMX Advanced.

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