Collect SEO data directly with Google Sheets?       Explore all sheets →

SMX 2019 Recap.. Top 3 sessions!

Last Thursday I returned from Munich after visiting SMX. And to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect, but the 5 hours of travelling where definitely worth it! Met some great people and visited some outrages SEO sessions. Since I’m not really a writer this is my top 3 selection (obviously there was much more good stuff going on ;-)  

The Four Horsemen of the Web Marketing Apocalypse

Rand Fishkin, Founder, SparkToro

Rand Fishkin

Rand opened SMX Munich with a quite alarming message:

  • Social media platforms massively cut back on the visibility of external content and this automatically means a missive referral traffic decline from social media.
  • Google is sending less traffic to external websites across the web. Google still remains the biggest source of referral traffic, but this could be a very alarming trend.
  • Influencers are maybe not that influential as you might have thought…
  • Web advertising ROI is trending to 0 for most competitive fields.

So here you have your four horseman…  It looks like most big platforms are tweaking their algorithms to keep visitors active on the platform itself. What Google is doing right now on mobile, is already a pretty disturbing and personally. I think this is just the beginning of Google using our content and data without sharing.


Rand Fishkin: SMX Presentations

Hacking Google: Improving your SEO by Thinking Like a Hacker

Tom Anthony, Head of R&D, Distilled

Tom Anthony

Ok, this was a really interesting session… I do a little bit of scraping and maybe I sometimes automatically tap into external resources, but what Tom started talking about during his session is a completely different ballgame. After just a view examples he got me on the edge of seat. Exciting stuff about Hacking Google Search Console. Taking control over external websites, abusing XSS vulnerabilities and misleading Google Bot with the Hreflang tag.

Just asked Tom, but unfortunately there is no presentation available yet (there is now) and I forgot to take a photo because I was to busy listening and being blown away by his stories ;-)

Tom Anthony: SMX Presentations

Driving Inbound Links in the Age of Content

Barry Adams, SEO Consultant, Polemic Digital
Ross Tavendale, Managing Director, Type A Media

For many link building is actually the most challenging part of SEO. If you have a technical background you should have no problem with optimizing a website for speed or implement structured data. If you’re a good writer, learning to optimize content for search engines and performing some basic keyword research is also not that difficult. But then there’s link building, quite a different animal. To be successful at building backlinks you need to be original, have a scalable strategy and good people skills. Just pushing a quality piece of content online and waiting for the backlinks to come rolling in, will be a pretty disappointing exercise.  

Barry Adams

Ross Tavendale and Barry Adams showed some great angles to use for a scalable link building campaign. Barry Adams gave some nice examples backed up with actual data on how to use Controversy to Build Links. Some of the basic principles behind this idea:

  • Attack an idea and not a person.
  • Play fair.
  • Base your story on evidence not just an opinion.
  • Be brave and take a stand.

Have a look at the full presentation Barry Adams to find real word examples and to familiarize yourself with his controversy concept.

Presentation (Barry Adams): SMX Presentations

Ross Tavendale

Ross presented a different approach, targeting high authority news publishers. The complexity of his approach was quite mind blowing. But it has a big advantage compared to most other link building strategies…  it’s scalable!

Trying to reproduce what Ross demonstrated during has talk is quite daunting, but I’ll give it my best shot.  His strategy built around:

  • Data, coming from any possible source (scraping, surveys, public and private data).
  • Utilizing Google NLP (natural language processing) to identify and analysing Entities.
  • Combining datasets to find interesting correlations.

Based on a successful outcome of the previous steps you’ll be able to provide journalists with an interesting angle for an article and the data including to prove the correlation. Please check the full presentation for all the details.

Presentation (Ross Tavendale): SMX Presentations

Yes I was there!!

Rand Fishkin and Jasja ter Horst

And who is this guy on the right? Think I’ve seen him before ;-))

They also had some other big fish in Germany..


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Seen on …

Numbers and stats


Registered Members

9.3 / 10

Avg. tool rating


Monthly visitors


Returning visitors

SEO Chrome ExtensionGet the new Chrome Extension!

SEO REVIEW TOOLS = built with in the Netherlands {Grunn'}!

SEO Chrome Extension Chrome extension

SEO Review Tools for Chrome is a Free extension which allows you to quickly check the URL you're visiting, with one of our 61 SEO tools.

Google Search preview tool Download now