SMX West was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. In large part, that was due to all the great people I got to meet. It was quite literally networking on steroids. If you want to learn more about SEO or chat with some bright people in the field, have a look at these people and the sites they back.
And if you want to have any success at all, be it in SEO or otherwise, invest in your network. Why was Guy Kawasaki able to launch a successful site and get 200K pageviews in 24 hours? Because he spent, in his own words, “24 years of schmoozing and paying it forward.” In English: He made friends. Lots of em. Genuine friends. A pretty good reason to go to SMX Social Media, in my humble opinion.
Rand Fishkin, Sarah Bird, Rebecca Kelley, Jane Copland, Scott Willoughby, Jeff Pollard, Gillian Fishkin, Evan Fishkin – SEOmoz (Evan, let me know when you put your own site up) – Finally! I think that meeting you guys and hanging out with you was probably one of the biggest highlights of the whole trip for me. And if that weren’t enough, the awesome business/community you guys run allowed me to have/meet a whole bunch of other friends at SMX! I learned a lot, had a blast, and of course, I can’t thank you guys enough for your help getting my lost laptop back! Friends in need, are friends indeed …
Will Critchlow, Duncan Morris – Distilled – Guys, it was very nice of you to say hi and have drinks with me at the “Expo Hall Networking Reception,” and chat it up at Gillian’s table. Next conference we need to spend more time hanging out though! Distilled are doing big things in the UK, so if you’re in that part of the world, give ‘em a ring!
Tamar Weinberg – Techipedia / Mashable – Tamar has got to be one of the biggest social media power users you’ve ever seen. She’s on SU, Sphinn, Flickr and does awesome stuff at all of those places! And so I was totally surprised and flattered when this superstar walked over and said hello at the reception. Fun hanging out with ya Tamar!
Chris Winfield – 10e20 – Chris, thanks for sharing some tips and concrete pointers with me at SMX and for twittering my post on being an independent webmaster – that brought it to most votes in upcoming at Sphinn literally overnight! You’d think that Chris would be a pretentious guy (not to mention his frequent mentions and citations in the mass media and stature as a social media powerhouse) but he was very down to earth. Great to meet you, Chris!
Sean Maguire – 360 Sell – Great of you to say hi, Sean, and nice to meet the man behind the Moz comments! I appreciated the offer of a ride to the airport as well!
Hamlet Batista – Ranksense SEO Software – Hamlet, your software demo was really impressive and I’m looking forward to testing it out in-depth once my exams are done! Also, a funny story about the t-shirts.
John Carcutt – Applied SEO – I read Stuntdubl’s tips on attending a conference, and brought a notepad with me to my chat with him and Mike Gray and Rae Hoffman. I only wish I’d done the same when chatting with you, John, because you kept making me say “wow, that’s a great idea” and sharing these sweet tactics that have unfortunately vanished from memory. Sigh… Great idea with putting your social media profiles on the back of your card though!
Jordan Kasteler, Stephen K Hansen and Brian Utley – Utah Web Services (& SEO) – Jordan, thanks so much for saying hi. It was really nice to meet you, Steve and your other teammate (who didn’t have any cards, hence the blank), and I had fun chatting with you dudes :).
Jon Kelly, Scott Schedek; President, BizDev Manager – Sure Hits Insurance and Loans – Nice to meet a fellow Mozzer, Jon!
Ralph and Jason Thompson – Ad Customers (PPC) – Ralph’s a former lawyer and real estate agent (very cool, imho) and got online back in the 90s, sensing the next wave. Pleasure chatting with you two and whenever you have a question on local, let me know!
Ken Jurina, Damian Finlay; President and Consultant – Epiar Industrial Strength Keyword Research – Ken, it was cool to finally meet you and I hope the stuff with MatchCraft works out. Damian, thanks for teaching me a bundle, and I also hope those references pan out :).
A Renee Henry and Janet Prado – Matchcraft SEM – A pleasure singing along with you guys during Karaoke, guys, and chatting afterward (even if we were all a bit tired/hoarse).
Miguel Salcido, Stephen Peron, and Mike Cheslar – eVisibility – Awesome chatting with you folks and smooth moves on the rel=nofollow shirts! Also, thanks for being a sport on the paid drinks stuff Miguel.
Tyler Shears, Online Marketing Manager – Databanq Media – Tyler, thanks for coming up after the panel and introducing yourself dude! Honestly, it was awesome to see someone else my age there, not to mention how well you’re obviously doing! Keep it up :).
Fionn Downhill, President & CEO – Elixir Systems – Talk about being an Influential! Fionn, you taught me (and everyone at that growing your firm panel/lunch) a whole lot, not to mention changed my perception of SEMPO! Thanks a lot, and here’s to some more chats in the future!
Amy Konefal, Sandra Niehaus, Lance Loveday – Closed Loop Marketing – Amy, that was an eye-opener PPC presentation and Sandra those were great practical details you shared on MV testing. And Web Design 4 ROI is awesome :D!
Loren Baker, Eric Lander – Advance Rankings – At first I didn’t even realize Loren was the Loren Baker from SEJ, but obviously that changed when I saw his card! Eric was my co-panelist on the local SEO panel and brought a fresh perspective to the table given his industrial-strength work doing hundreds and thousands of local listings (whereas most local clients are small and have a single location).
Eric Wu, Fernanda Dorsey; Salpi Bilanjian; Sr. Product Manager of Search Audience Product & Services, Product Manager Search & Commerce, Sr. Product Manager & Account Manager – Earthlink – Glad you liked the paid drinks bit, bud, and I look forward to seeing what you’re doing with G Custom search. You guys win the award for the team with the shortest names and longest job titles! Or perhaps you’re all working for two people’s worth and need a raise? My $0.02…
Li Evans, Editor and Director of Internet Marketing – Search Marketing Gurus and Key Relevance – Just like Tamar, Li paid me the huge compliment of coming over to say hi! To this little pisher! Awesome meeting Li, and thanks for making me feel welcome at the conference :).
At this point, it’s getting a little tedious writing this out for everyone I met, so I hope you guys’ll understand if I just link and mention your names.
Lisa A Williams Media Forte Marketing
Daniel Riveong e-storm
Chris Silver Smith (awesome doing the panel with you and chatting afterward!) and Stephen Spencer – Net Concepts
David Mihm – David Mihm web design (yet another SEOmoz friend I get to meet!)
Carlos del Rio (you naughty spammer ) – 100 Dollar SEO – Yeah, you all wish you could hire Carlos for $100! (Hey, I kinda wish too, cuz I’d outsource everything to him!)
Andrew Shotland – Sphinn buddy and Local SEO Guide
Ryan Miller, President – Etna Interactive Cosmetic Surgery Marketing – Ryan, I appreciate the tip on improving the follow-up direct mail to clients! To everyone else reading this, Ryan came forward after my local panel and suggested to me that if I wanted to make better use of direct mail to get reviews from past clients, that the cards send visitors to a redirect on your client’s site, instead of sending them to the Yelp/IYP or other review sites. The point being that if Yelp etc. change their URL conventions and your review page changes location, the cards will still be valid (because you just need to change where your redirect points to).
Lindsey Walsh – Search Engine PPC – B2B PPC Management
Michael Dorausch (Sphinn nick: planetc1) – Los Angeles Chiropractic
Jason “Just Fred” Englert – SEOmoz nick Just Fred – Just Fred Works (yay, another SEOmoz buddy I meet )
Ian Lurie – Portent Interactive – Great sense of humor :).
Xavier Dao – Avery (Office Products) Dennison – Nice to meet you, Xavier; let’s chat a little longer next time! (Ok, that was my fault, but still!)
Jonah Stein – Newly Indie SEO Consultant Who Understands ROI (a man after my own business plan!) – That reference from Aaron Wall is just about the best expression of how valuable your network can be when something big changes and you need to start from scratch!
Omer Shoval – Net Working SEM Expert
Mike McDonald, Tiffany Doughty – Web Pro News
Brian LaFrance – BootsnAll
Greg and Barbara Boser – 3 Dog Media (SEO, SMM, WP, Reputation Mgm’t)
Andy Shaw – Lincoln Property Company
Tony Adam – Tony Adam SEO and Social Media
Keri Morgret – Morgret Designs, Search and Analytics
Andy Beal – Marketing Pilgrim
The following three chaps were fun talking to in terms of growing an SEO business :).
Kathi Buettner – Resort Quest Hawaii
Gary Senser – Net Advantage
Kathy Barlow – Travel Insurance
David Holmes – Digital Hospitality
Brad Rowe – Buy & Sell Colorado (You can buy and sell states now? When did that market open up??! )
Emily Spence – Enquisite Search Analytics