SMX East Boot Camp Observations

As a recent grad (Hail to Pitt!), any first job can be quite intimidating, overwhelming, and nerve-wracking. My first job is all this and more, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. My first step in conquering the SEO world was quite basic – learn fundamental concepts and see how they’re applied. Much to my surprise, the fundamentals are not so basic; learning the building blocks of SEO goes way beyond reading a book with the goal being to memorize as many definitions and procedures as possible. One of the reasons that I was attracted to SEO was the ever-changing landscape, but I did not realize how quickly these changes actually occur and I am glad to say that I am not disappointed by the fast pace (Google literally made changes to Analytics while I was in the middle of writing up reports).  My bosses decided that one way for me to grasp the concepts was to attend the SMX East Boot Camp and boy did it definitely help! It really gave me a firm understanding about essentially what SEO is and how it is done (in addition to causing my pen collection to greatly expand =D )

Out of the 4 sessions I attended, my favorite was Keyword Research & SEO Copywriting. One aspect of SEO that definitely intrigues me is figuring out what people search for and the rankings process – this could very well be based on the fact that I am a wacky searcher (looking at my Google history will sometimes provide me with a good laugh), and that I enjoy analyzing the thought process I go through to decide which result to click on. I know some people that would find this work quite boring and monotonous, but to me it really is interesting and exciting! One of the major topics that was discussed in the lecture revolved around the dreaded “Not Provided” issue. As a newcomer to the field I did not realize what a problem this really is, so it was very interesting hearing about how big of a problem it really is (I did get an indication that “Not Provided” is a problem from my bosses, but the conference really reinforced the magnitude of the problem). Learning about the other, relatively unexplored, options was very fascinating! As somebody who has been doing SEO for less than 1 month I think it will be very cool to learn about these new techniques at the same time my bosses do. I am also interested in seeing which techniques will become used more and more and see if SEO companies will start doing away with Google.

Another aspect of this session that I found fascinating was the part about content optimization. I have absolutely no background in website development or anything, so building a website is beyond foreign to me. The topics discussed were a nice mix between technical aspects (such as title tags, alt text, meta tags, and meta descriptions) and how to put the best possible content on a web page. I really enjoyed how the information was presented, because it brought in technical jargon without becoming too complicated or farfetched. Furthermore, this section explored topics that I thought were just common sense and really explained why they should be done and how they should be done; for instance, I thought it was obvious that pictures should be used on pages to make them easier to read and more attractive, but I didn’t realize that pictures help add to the optimization of the page and play a much bigger role than just making the page look pretty.

All in all, the  SMX East Boot Camp Conference really helped me to understand what SEO is and how to do it (given the fact that I attended the conference only after working in SEO for 7 days, it’s safe to say that I came in with a narrow idea of what SEO is and how to do it). I was really afraid and worried that the conference would be way too complex and boring, but I am very glad that it was anything but! Look out SEO world, I’m coming full steam ahead!

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