"SMX East was a great training conference and has solidified a lot of the techniques that we currently use and has shown us some great new ones. The biggest takeaway for me was that local search is growing rapidly and becoming one of the most important tools for a business’s online presence. There are a lot of different factors that need to be considered to have a great local presence strategy. For starters, businesses need to make sure that they claim and verify all of their business listings. This means you have to get on Google + Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Merchant Circle and all of the other main local sites. However, just because a business was claimed and verified doesn’t mean the local strategy stops there.

One factor that has become increasingly important is having your business citation be exactly the same everywhere. One great method that can help out with this is utilizing “Local Feeder Directories” that send feeds to many local sites such as Google +, Yelp and so on. These sites do have costs associated with them, but they are a great way to make sure your local presence is optimized. So remember, local search is here to stay and you need to make sure you ask yourself 'What is my local presence strategy for my business?'"

By Henry Sery, Senior Online Marketing Consultant

 "The Search Marketing Expo (SMX) in New York City was a great learning experience. It was fun to be around hundreds of others who share our passion for online marketing and to learn about their respective industries. I attended sessions concerning SEO and important metrics, mobile strategies, social media tactics, local search, paid search, and the future of the industry. 

What I took away from the conference is that SEO is not going away anytime soon, and if you aren’t implementing SEO in your marketing strategy, start now! The search engines are changing on a daily basis, and it’s important to keep up. One topic that was stressed many times over is that SEO is not about rankings. It’s about personalization and catering to the searcher’s needs. Choose keywords wisely, and analyze them to find out how you can provide the best search result for what is being searched. Keep up with fresh content, and if you’re not actively involved in social media, you’re missing out. There is so much more to share, as this is an ever-evolving industry. I encourage you to check us out on Facebook and Twitter. We will continue to share great information as another group of VDS employees are heading to Las Vegas for Pubcon to expand our SEO knowledge!"

By Chelsea Frye, Online Marketing Consultant