Search Engine Strategies (SES) December conference is hosted by Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineWatch.com. I have more accurate numbers as to the turn out from Jupitermedia (not sure if I should disclose my contact or not) – there were actually ~900 attendees for the conference sessions and an additional ~300 exhibitor only on hand. That is an awesome turn out for a conference of this nature being held in Chicago in mid-December. I will be providing my view of the speakers and courses I attend and report them at the end of the day. Day two really got me thinking about the future of search and where we will be in a year or so from now. I had to break in into two parts because the blog limited me to how much I can post.
For day two part two please read on...Session 4: To keep things short, take a look at the conference agenda for day two for speakers and what it covered. I opted not to go with the “Dynamic Web Sites” track since I really know this stuff and I also opted out of the “Alternative PPC Search Engines” track and went to the “Getting Local” track. I selected Getting Local because this is the future of search engine marketing. The speakers for this track included Dick Larkin from TransWestern Publishing, Cheryle Pingel from Range Online Media, Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement, Richard Holden from Google and John Ellis from Overture. They did not go in order so try to follow along.
Cheryle Pingel from Range Online Media was excited to go and she was really funny from start to end. Cheryle is an excellent speaker, excellent use of graphics in slides and good with the audience. First thing to note is, 30% of searches have a regional component to them – good way to kick things off, so now I know it is important to Get Local. She gave excellent examples of how current search engines have poor results for local specific keywords. She has had some major success with her clients and is extremely excited about increased budgets for the local search area of SEM. Going to move on to the next speaker, if you have questions – please add a comment.
Richard Holden, Product Marketing Manager from Google was next. Didn’t get too much from him in terms of organic hints. AdWords added a regional targeting layer to the program to help maximize the advertisers time and budgets. They do a lot of experiments at labs.google.com. I was itching to ask about Geo-filtering in organic results without putting in local specific keywords but I did not get the opportunity to ask, nor do I think he would of told me.
Next was Overture (John Ellis), same as Google – they are just competing with each other but same basic programs for PPC.
Then came Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement who discussed how to get the right keywords in your pages and on your PPC list to attract the local market. She explained “Geographic Descriptors” as cities, neighborhoods, counties, state, region in combination with Keyword or Keyword phrases will provide an excellent combination to locally target your audience. She also had great success with this and went on to give examples of sites and a case study with real numbers.
Finally was funny man Dick Larkin from TransWestern Publishing and Yellow Pages (YP) Industry. I liked the jokes; he made fun of the difference between Print yellow pages and Online yellow pages. He explained why print YP cannot sell online YP, most reasons are obvious so I won’t go on about this. It was a good speech, gave me some additional perspective that was good for my own character.
Session 5 (last real session): To keep things short, take a look at the conference agenda for day two for speakers and what it covered. I opted not to go with the “Click & Convert” and the “Shopping Search & Merchant Sites” tracks and went to the “Successful Site Architecture” track because an SEO Chat member recommended Barbara Coll. The speakers for this track included Barbara Coll from WebMama, Derrick Wheller from Marketleap, Marissa Mayer from Google, and Jon Click from Yahoo!. Very interesting session – always is when Google and Yahoo are there plus the speakers were all excellent, highly recommended. I forgot the order it went in so bare with me.
Lets start with Barbara Coll, CEO of WebMama and President of SEMPO. Good speaker, very relaxed, good slides, well organized, etc. She explained SEO concepts very well for a beginner SEO to understand (which can be hard to do) much like Shari Thurow. Points to note about here speech that are beyond the basics are: She recommends using keyword phrases in the directory and file names and separate those URLs with hyphens and not underscores. Don’t go overboard with the length of the URL; try to keep it short enough to not wrap. This URL stuff is greatly argued about by all SEOs, so it was interesting for her to take such a strong stand on this where as her colleague Shari Thurow feels URLs have zero affect (but hey, can it hurt? Maybe). The second most well ranked page for her is the site map page. Take a look at why, http://www.homegain.com/local_real_estate/sitemap.html - no further information needed after seeing that. Well done WebMama! Often overlooked, build a custom and well written 404 page. She went over more basic stuff like session ids, redirects, splash pages and more of the typical no-nos for search engines. She added that QuickBooks (Intuit is a client of hers) added session ids to their site and lost all their listings in a matter of days. I asked her about the noscript or noframe tag but she said to make an HTML page, I wanted to know more about the effectiveness of the noscript tag – I know HTML rocks but how bad compared to HTML is the tag, percentage-wise? Maybe it wasn’t a fair question. Barbara, if you read this – maybe you want to add a comment, or maybe you don’t.
Derrick Wheeler from Marketleap was next. I liked what he did off the bat; he said he would be exaggerating the whole time to make a point. I guess you can’t lose when you say that. IRTA (Index, Rank, Traffic, Action) a nice acronym that might take on if used enough – hint. He stressed not to be aggressive in your optimization techniques; he said it would hurt you in the long run (hinting at Florida Update). Have one Web site and not multiple ones, he was talking from his heart – you can just tell it. Derrick said he does not like hyphens in URLs, Barbara said she does, but he doesn’t like it from a stylistic and aggressive view. Be careful with buying used domain names, you never know what type of baggage came with the domain name unless you research it. Also he uses his title tag text in his Meta keywords field, something I will have done ASAP (I was lazy with my meta keywords to be honest).
Now for Jon Glick from Yahoo! (Inktomi, AV, etc.). 6.0 billion pages crawled and of that 3.2 billion are indexed. Always link back to your homepage so spiders can explore the remainder of your site and so users and reorient themselves. If using a custom (soft) 404 page, make sure to say somewhere that it is a 404 page and make the page generic so the search engine knows that the page no longer exists. Yahoo will give the credit (PR) of multiple domain names to the more prominent domain name (many people have multiple domain names redirect to one single site). Make sure your Meta tags are page specific and not site generic.
That covers most of my experience for day two. I will be posting a special section on SEMPO, since I am an early member and I attended the cocktail and members’ only session after the regular conference sessions ended. I will try to post this information tomorrow morning. As you can tell, the beginning of this entry was written was better then at the end (even this sentence is buggy me). Don’t worry, I will gather all this information and make a single and well-written article that covers this all. So please excuse any grammatical or just short sentences that should be bullets. I am on page 7 in word with times font size 12. Much longer then I expected.
Good night all.