Search Engine Marketing Conferences

Mark discusses the reasons why you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to attend a search engine marketing conference.

I am flattered to have people ask me to speak at conferences. This week (as I write this, it’s “this week”), I will be speaking at Pubcon in Las Vegas. At the same time, Search Engine Strategies will be taking place in Chicago. You might ask “is there really that much information out there for this Industry”? I am saying, emphatically, “yes”.

Attending one of these conferences will leave you with a wealth of knowledge. Regular attendance keeps you up-to-speed on all of the many changes that happen, each year, in our incredibly dynamic Industry.

Some people have asked me “which conference should I attend”? That’s a loaded question. If I could have found a way to be at both Search Engine Strategies and Pubcon, I would have done it in a heartbeat. They are both fantastic conferences, full of terrific speakers and they offer a wealth of great networking opportunities.

Due to the fact that my Search Engine Watch column is devoted to organic search engine optimization, I will try to point each of you to some sessions that you may want to consider at each conference.

Search Engine Strategies – Chicago

Day 1 — Universal, Blended and Vertical Search – If you have never seen Mike Grehan speak, this is a can’t miss event. Mike is not only very knowledgeable, he is very, very entertaining. By the time this presentation takes place (245pm), you may want to attend a session that will provide you a lot of great information AND make you laugh.

Day 2 — Usability and SEO. Two Wins for the Price of One — I recently had the pleasure of speaking on a session with Matt Bailey. He is an excellent speaker and, like Mike, very entertaining in getting across some great, actionable information. You will learn a lot about “common sense” usability issues, I have no doubt, and how these relate to search engine optimization.

Day 3 — Personalization, User Data and Search — If I had to choose one session that I could “beam myself over to” from Las Vegas, this would be it. I would love to hear what Google has to say about Personalization. As many of you are aware, your Google results will vary quite a bit, depending on whether or not you are logged into your Google account (assuming you have one). Mike Grehan actually found a very interesting little nugget related to this.

Day 4 — Fun with Dynamic Websites — If you own, operate, manage or are responsible for search engine optimization for a dynamic website, I am sure that this session will give you your money’s worth, for the entire conference. If you can digest all of the information that I am sure will be a part of this, and put it into action, I am confident that you will have made a big difference in your revenues for the upcoming year.

Pubcon — Las Vegas

Day 1 — Duplicate Content Issues Duplicate Content Issues (Yes. That’s the name of the session. Did I mention that Pubcon is a little more irreverent than Search Engine Strategies?). This session has a line up that includes all of the major search engines. I will be attending, as it will be interesting to hear from the search engines how they perceive/handle duplicate content issues that may be a product of having built your Web site in the wrong content management system, or having their content published on various scrapper Web sites without having any knowledge that this is occurring.

Day 2 — SEO Design and Organic Site Structure – You didn’t expect me NOT to plug my own session, did you? All the folks speaking here have coordinated efforts to cover “everything” that you can imagine in how to build a search engine friendly Web site. I will be covering the initial phase of the process, including keyword research, creation of a search engine friendly Information Architecture, competitive analysis and content creation.
Day 2, Part 2 — SEO and Big Search – At 1:30pm, I will be making my way to this session. I can’t remember ever attending a session in which the search engines themselves talk about how THEY optimize THEIR OWN Web sites. Speakers include folks from AOL, Yahoo and Google.

Day 3 — Keynote Coffee Chat with Matt Cutts – For those of you that don’t know, Matt Cutts is a Software Engineer with Google. He’s the Quality Assurance guy. This is a Q&A session, which I’m sure will be full of great information. However, you must understand that it is not Matt Cutts job to make sure that all of you SEOs out there know how to “game” Google. Matt’s responsibility is in maintaining the integrity and quality of Google’s search results. However, I’m sure that you will find that Matt will tell you what you should be doing, within the guidelines that Google has set forth for Webmasters.

Day 4 — Drinking. Pubcon is famous for wrapping up the conference with a day designated for socializing with others in attendance. This year, I will have the opportunity to hang around a little while to see what this is all about (for the first time). I’m pretty sure that the only beverage that I will be consuming will be diet coke or coffee, as there will have been many other opportunities to engage in adult beverages throughout the course of the week.

Suffice is to say, this is going to be a great week for the search engine marketing Industry. Whether you are attending Search Engine Strategies or Pubcon, you can’t miss. If you have missed both of these conferences, I suggest that you schedule time in your calendar for next year’s events, or try and attend other Search Engine Strategies conferences in other areas of the World.