Search Engine Strategies San Francisco – Recommended Sessions and Vendors

Search Engine Strategies is coming to San Francisco on August 11th! SES is one of the major conferences on search engine optimization, and is well worth a trip to San Francisco. Even more if you already live in the Bay Area or California. Unfortunately, however, many of the paid sessions aren’t that intriguing – but I do recommend some of the free sessions, as well as popping by the vendor booths to check in on the chaotic yet growing search engine optimization industry.

By Jason McDonald
Senior SEO Instructor – JM Internet Group
Posted: July 26, 2010

Contents:

Search Engine Strategies Conference, San Francisco, – What is It?
Recommended Free Sessions at the SES Conference San Francisco
Interesting Vendors at SES San Francisco

Search Engine Strategies Conference, San Francisco, – What is It?

Here is the formal description straight off the Search Engine Strategies San Francisco website –

Now in its 12th year, SES is organized by its Advisory Board and the leading online marketing publications ClickZ and Search Engine Watch. The conference will draw thousands of marketers and agency professionals who will attend sessions and labs focused first and foremost on education (no sales pitches!) covering Search Marketing (including SEO, PPC management & Social Media), keyword research, local advertising, mobile engagement, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, online video, site optimization and usability, in addition to high-level strategy, keynotes, an expo floor with 100+ companies, networking events, parties and more.

So that’s what it is. I’d agree with everything in their marketing blurb except the no sales pitches idea. There are a lot of sales pitches at the conference, including in the paid sessions. It’s pretty pricey and that’s why I don’t recommend paying for the full conference unless you have a really robust SEO budget. That said, I do recommend going, and there are quite a few free presentations that can be well worth it!

Recommended Free Sessions at the SES Conference San Francisco

Quite a few of the sessions are free at the conference. Simply go to the conference agenda and look for the little [i]. Hover your mouse over it – if it says ‘Sponsored Session,’ then it’s free. Most of the best free sessions occur on Wednesday, August 18th:

  • 1 p.m. / Google: It’s All About the User: Search Insights for Your Site – Join Google Senior Product Manager Nitin Mangtani and Google Enterprise customers to learn how best practices in information technology can translate into big conversion rate gains, revenue increases, and user satisfaction wins for your online business.
  • 2:30 p.m. / Jim Boykin: Link Building in August of 2010 with Jim Boykin – This isn’t your grandma’s link building session. Jim has been an industry leader in the area of link building for over 10 years as the founder and CEO of We Build Pages
  • 3:45 p.m. / Google: Ad Innovations @ SES SF – Hear about Google’s latest innovations in ad formats, tools and reports, then learn how advertisers are using them to improve their results.
  • 5:00 p.m. / Bing: Bing: What’s Happening? – Details are not yet available on this one, but expect Bing to try to impress us all on how No. 2 can become a more serious challenger to No. 1, Google. Go Bing!

In addition, I recommend walking the show floor, which is open from 10:00 am to 3 pm. on Wednesday. Besides the booths, there are often impromptu sessions right on the show floor, such as site-by-site comparisons in terms of SEO and PPC. I have found these very good in past years!

Interesting Vendors at SES San Francisco

I’m not a huge fan of the SEO vendor community. Almost without exception they are trying to sell you on software or services that charge you a lot of money and end up adding little value to your SEO efforts. I strongly believe that your best bet is educating yourself; by being educationally empowered on SEO, you can do as much or quite a bit more than you can do with paid tools or services. This is all the more true if you compare that to a situation in which an uneducated marketing manager tries to use the paid services.

That said, here are some of the interesting vendors to stop by and check out –

  • American Express Open (Booth 313) – American Express OPEN is dedicated to helping our customers find ways to do more business. That’s why we’ve introducing SearchManager, the new online solution that simplifies search marketing, an increasingly important way to find customers and drive sales.
  • Brafton (booth 709) – Brafton CustomNews is the news agency specializing in providing tailored news feeds for websites. Newsroom journalists write news feed articles to an editorial brief and keyword strategy that is controlled by you. All articles are unique, search-engine friendly, and archived on your website.
  • Business.com (booth 707) – Business.com is the leading online resource for business purchasing decisions featuring a business directory of 65,000+ business categories and over 35,000 business how-to guides.
  • Covario (booth not available) – Covario, Inc. is the leader in Interactive Marketing Analytics (IMA) software. The Covario portfolio provides global organizations with robust interactive and search marketing analytics solutions for paid search advertising, organic search engine optimization and display advertising across the enterprise and throughout the channel.
  • Linkworth (booth 420) – LinkWorth is an online advertising portal providing a unique monetization venue for publishers and innovative marketing products for advertisers.
  • Pixelsilk (booth 215) – Pixelsilk is the first 100% SEO friendly web-based content management system (CMS) designed with SEO best practices at its core. Preferred and endorsed by some of the best in the SEO industry, Pixelsilk is changing the web CMS paradigm.

Professional SEO Company in San Francisco Bay Area Revamps Website

Fremont, CA – July 19, 2010 – Jason McDonald, a leading SEO Company in the San Francisco Bay Area, is proud to announce a major revamp to his website, Jasonmcdonald.org. Dr. McDonald is the SEO Director of the JM Internet Group, and has recently expanded his SEO consulting work for clients located not only in the San Francisco Bay Area but also elsewhere in the USA and Canada. The revised website has a blog focusing on free SEO tools and SEO issues (such as a recent post on how best to choose an SEO Company), links to his two popular SEO books (the SEO Workbook and the newly published SEO Toolbook, which identifies over 100 top free SEO Tools), plus information on social media and pay-per-click advertising. You can find plenty of guides on SEO techniques like Tier 2 Link Building online.

“My philosophy of SEO is to enable my clients to succeed” explained Dr. McDonald. “Many SEO companies in the Bay Area and elsewhere (not just in San Francisco), seem to prefer to keep their clients in the dark. Indeed, many charge monthly fees for top Google rankings. Most companies will just buy Curated Links from Rhino Rank and add a 200% margin onto it. My philosophy as an SEO company or consultant is different: I seek to work with my clients rather than for them. This team approach results in better SEO and a more empowered client at the end of the process. If my clients learn to at least manage their SEO themselves, I have done my job”

The revised San Francisco Bay Area SEO Company website can be found at: https://www.jasonmcdonald.org/seo/

SEO COMPANY, COMPANIES OR CONSULANT – SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA AND BEYOND

Businesses and marketers looking for help with their SEO encounter a number of options. First, they can do it themselves. For this option, we recommend taking the SEO Training and Classes offered by the JM Internet Group at jm-seo.org. Secondly, they can hire an SEO consultant or company. Whether it’s a one man shop or a multiperson enterprise, the key question is really whether this SEO company will work with the client or seek to do everything for the client. A with philosophy empowers the client whereas a for philosophy seeks to create long term dependence and is usually doomed to be suboptimal, since an SEO company can’t really understand the client business, customers, and needs in the same way as the company itself. Finally, the question arises of whether the SEO company and the client need to be physically located in the same metropolitan area. Jason McDonald and the JM Internet Group are, of course, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. But both work with companies across the USA and Canada.

Email, the telephone, and web presentation software such as that from Gotowebinar make a long distance relationship nearly as fruitful as a face-to-face relationship in the San Francisco Bay Area. But for larger clients, travel to client sites and indeed in-depth training on site can be provided.

ABOUT JASON MCDONALD

Dr. Jason McDonald is a recognized SEO consultant in search engine optimization, Internet marketing, and search marketing based in the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley. Dr. McDonald received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1992, and has worked at many hi-tech start up’s in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Dr. McDonald is Senior Editor at eg3.com, a web portal and email service covering hi-tech embedded systems on the Internet, founded in 1994. Recently, Dr. McDonald has begun teaching marketing, market research and Internet marketing at Bay Area institutions such as AcademyX and DeVry University.

Dr. McDonald can be found on the Internet at https://www.jasonmcdonald.org, a website focused on search engine marketing, SEO, and other Internet marketing issues with in-depth free information on SEO, Page Tags, Google Analytics, Metrics, Link building, Free SEO Tools and more. He can also be contacted by telephone at +1-702-879-4771 or email, jasonmcdonald.blog@gmail.com.

How Best To Choose a San Francisco Bay Area Professional SEO Company

Choosing a professional SEO Company in the San Francisco Bay Area can seem daunting. One of the big dilemmas is how to test the SEO company without making a big commitment. I think of search engine optimization through the prism of physical fitness, and myself as a coach for students in my real-world classes in San Francisco or my online classes with the JM Internet Group. So my vision of working with a client as an SEO Company or SEO Consultant is as a personal trainer, helping the target company learn how to really do SEO itself. In contrast, many SEO companies, both in the San Francisco Bay Area, and elsewhere think of SEO as doing it for the client, rather than doing it with the client. So in choosing the best professional SEO Company in the San Francisco Bay Area, here are my thoughts for identifying a company that will work with you rather than attempting to do it for you. For example, if you’re going to be running your own hotel or taking over an old one, you will want a company that can explicitly offer you hotel SEO based services to get your hotel ranking at the top of Google.

By Jason McDonald
Senior SEO Instructor – JM Internet Group
Posted: July 19, 2010

Contents:

For vs. With: Professional SEO Companies and their Philosophies
Discovering Your SEO Objectives, and Implementing Them via SEO
San Francisco Bay Area – Does Geography Matter for Choosing an SEO Company?

For vs. With: Professional SEO Companies and their Philosophies

The first big philosophical issue in choosing an SEO company is what I call the for vs. with dilemma. Many SEO companies eagerly seek to do the entire SEO process for the client. Now for in and of itself isn’t a bad thing – the reason that you are selecting an SEO company is because ultimately you do not want to do the work yourself. You really do want someone to do it for you. That said, however, this isn’t entirely possible.

Most SEO companies – whether in the San Francisco Bay Area or elsewhere – will not know your business in any serious detail. Like myself, they will work with many, many different companies with different products and services that they seek to SEO-optimize and thereby climb to the top of Google’s free listings. So your first objective on the for vs. with dilemma, is to determine how good your potential SEO company is at figuring out your business and your needs.

In abstract terms –

  • Do they ask a lot of questions about your business?
  • Do they ask a lot of questions about your marketing goals, and ultimately about the objectives of your website. Is it to get a registration? Initiate a purchase? What are your customers like, and what are they seeking on Google?
  • What is your sales and marketing process? Your SEO and your website are two critical, early, aspects of your marketing process. Your SEO company should thus be interviewing you about this process, and ensuring that your website fits well into the big picture.

I think of myself as a personal coach or trainer as an SEO company, and I spend a lot of time in this early phase. I ask a lot of questions, map out how the website fits into the business / marketing strategy, and ultimately end up with a detailed keyword worksheet that I share with my clients. I want my clients fully informed of their SEO objectives, so as to not waste time SEO-optimizing on something that doesn’t matter. A good keyword worksheet is the ultimately manifestation of an SEO strategy that seeks to work with the client and not just for you.

Discovering Your SEO Objectives, and Implementing Them via SEO

After we have worked together to discover your SEO objectives, and reflect these in a detailed keyword worksheet, we are ready to move to the implementation phase of SEO. Here, again, the strategy of working with the client is a big difference as a professional SEO company vs. other SEO Companies whether in the SF Bay Area or elsewhere.

Building on the keyword worksheet, we will discuss how to implement proper SEO-friendly content, tag structure, and website structure. The keywords / key phrases of your SEO are our foundation, but we must implement the on page SEO as a team. I usually work hand-in-hand with the webmaster or content specialist at the company to help build out SEO-friendly content. These are the phases –

  • Identify target content; whether this is revising existing content or brainstorming new content that will build upon your SEO keywords.
  • Manipulate tag structure. Taking the SEO-friendly content and weaving it strategically into key SEO tags such as the TITLE, META DESCRIPTION, H1/H2 tags and others.
  • Organize website structure. Making sure that the website naming conventions, depth, and hierarchies reflect the SEO priorities, especially for the home page.

The tragedy for many SEO companies is that they want to preserve their employment by keeping their clients in a state of dependency. Some even charge monthly fees, and do not work hand-in-hand with their clients to build out SEO-friendly client. The problem is that you cannot succeed at SEO without effective on-page tactics; and to do effective on-page tactics, you must 1) know the client keywords, and 2) implement effective SEO-friendly strategies via tags and structure.

The bottom line here is to ask your potential SEO companies how they envision working together with you not just to brainstorm your target keywords, but to implement these keywords on your website. The answer should be concrete and not mysterious. They really can’t do it for you, but they can do it with you, which is my preferred method of operation!

San Francisco Bay Area – Does Geography Matter for Choosing an SEO Company?

At this point, let’s leave the physical fitness analogy behind because of one big difference between going to the gym and doing SEO: location. While I am physically located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and can certainly act as a local SEO company, most of my clients are actually not physically located in the Bay Area.

With the Internet, telephone, and especially the Gotowebinar software for online meetings that share computer screens, there isn’t really any reason why I can’t work as an SEO company for a client not just in the San Francisco Bay Area but practically anywhere in the world. What I do do is extensively interview potential clients, and make sure that I understand their SEO objectives and keywords – this is done via email, telephone, and one-on-one web conferencing.

My background has historically been in technology (not a surprise since the South Bay Area / San Jose / Silicon valley is heavy into tech), but I have worked with companies as diverse as genealogy, golfing, hospital outsourcing, book publishing and more. Physical location matters much less than the approach – and my approach is to work with clients as a team, rather than for clients as a mysterious SEO wizard.

It isn’t wizardry – with hard work, good communication, and clear goals, we can work together to make your SEO project a success!

New Free SEO Tools Book Announced – Top Search Optimization Tools for Google

Fremont, CA – July 13, 2010 – Jason McDonald, a leading educator and trainer in Internet marketing, is proud to announce his latest SEO workbook: SEO / Google – Search Engine Optimization Tools Workbook – Best Free SEO Tools by Topic. Published by CreateSpace, the book is available on Amazon.com. It identifies the best free SEO Tools by topic – keyword tools, page tags, link building, news, rank, structure, and metrics. In addition, the workbook identifies and explains Google’s own resources, from Webmaster tools to Google Analytics to Google’s blogs and Youtube channels.

“Marketers today need to get to the top of Google,” explained Dr. McDonald. SEO specialists like tyler b horvath would also agree with this too. “Budgets are tight, and there is nothing better than getting to the top of Google’s free listings. Even better is using free SEO tools. The problem: identifying the free tools. They are all over the Internet, and even Google’s own free tools are not well promoted. So for both my San Francisco SEO classes and my online classes, I felt the need to publish an extensive workbook identifying the best free SEO tools available.” If, however, you aren’t comfortable in attempting your own SEO or simply don’t have the time to do so there are some very reasonably priced SEO packages available at the moment, have a look at some of ClickSlices packages, you may find that one of these packages is more suitable for you in the long run rather than doing your own SEO.

The book is available from Amazon.com. For more information: https://www.jasonmcdonald.org/seo/

FREE SEO TOOLS WORKBOOK: DETAILED CONTENTS

SEO / Google – Search Engine Optimization Tools Workbook is organized with a very brief introduction to each topic, and then a list of the best free SEO tools by topic:

  • Keywords – tools for identifying keywords, focused on your customers; tools for measuring keyword volume and value.
  • Page Tags – tools that analyze your website, critiquing the keyword / page tag structure.
  • Links – measuring and reverse engineering your competitor’s links.
  • News – free news release distribution websites.
  • Rank – tools to automatically measure your rank on Google.
  • Structure – helpful ways to reach out to Google with XML sitemaps and other SEO-friendly techniques.
  • Metrics – measurement and web traffic analysis tools
  • Google – guide to Google’s own free tools and SEO resources, wherever they may be.

ABOUT JASON MCDONALD

Dr. Jason McDonald is a recognized SEO consultant in search engine optimization, Internet marketing, and search marketing based in the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley. Dr. McDonald received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1992, and has worked at many hi-tech start up’s in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Dr. McDonald is Senior Editor at eg3.com, a web portal and email service covering hi-tech embedded systems on the Internet, founded in 1994. Recently, Dr. McDonald has begun teaching marketing, market research and Internet marketing at Bay Area institutions such as AcademyX and DeVry University.

Dr. McDonald can be found on the Internet at https://www.jasonmcdonald.org, a website focused on search engine marketing, SEO, and other Internet marketing issues with in-depth free information on SEO, Page Tags, Google Analytics, Metrics, Link building, Free SEO Tools and more. He can also be contacted by telephone at +1-702-879-4771 or email, jasonmcdonald.blog@gmail.com.

New Social Media Training Class in San Francisco Announced

Fremont, CA – July 12, 2010 – Jason McDonald, a leading educator and trainer in Internet marketing, is proud to announce he is teaching a new training class in San Francisco: ‘Social Media Marketing.’ The new class offered in August and September, 2010, focuses on social media marketing taught in a practical fashion. Businesspeople and marketers can learn how to integrate Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and other social media into their Internet marketing strategy. In addition, the class has a heavy focus on Google Places and Yelp for local search marketing.

"I have taught several social media classes," explained Dr. McDonald. "I love teaching online as well as at AcademyX in San Francisco, and was very excited when approached to teach this class. The facility is wonderful, and it is a great hands-on opportunity for people in the San Francisco Bay Area to learn social media marketing. My philosophy is practical: not social media for social media’s sake, but rather social media marketing as a marketing and sales tool."

Find out more at https://www.jasonmcdonald.org/training/san-francisco-social-media/

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING FOR BUSINESSES

Social media, unfortunately, often becomes an end in itself. This class, in contrast, will emphasize social media as a practical marketing strategy. What are the goals of the business? Who are the target customers? How can social media be used to a) attract new customers, b) build relationships with first-time customers, and c) extend existing relationships? Beyond that, a major question of social media marketing is which social media is the best fit for any given business. Some businesses should focus on blogs; others on Twitter; still others on Facebook or Youtube. A big part of the class lies in understanding how to identify a target social media that is truly appropriate for your business.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: CLASS CONTENT

Topics covered include –

  • Social Media Marketing Strategy – fitting Social Media into your larger marketing strategy.
  • Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn – the Big Three Social Media Sites, and how to use them for social media marketing.
  • Twitter – should you Tweet? How does Twitter fit into your Social Media strategy?
  • Local Search – Google Local / Google Places and how local search intertwines with Social Media.
  • Youtube – Youtube’s special relationship with Google, and how Youtube is a true Social Media marketing tool.
  • Blogging – how to leverage blogs plus build your own ‘Google-friendly’ Blog.
  • Beyond Social Media – miscellaneous but meritorious lesser social media sites and how they can turbo-charge your marketing, including advertising on social media sites.

ABOUT JASON MCDONALD

Dr. Jason McDonald is a recognized SEO consultant in search engine optimization, Internet marketing, and search marketing based in the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley. Dr. McDonald received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1992, and has worked at many hi-tech start up’s in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Dr. McDonald is Senior Editor at eg3.com, a web portal and email service covering hi-tech embedded systems on the Internet, founded in 1994. Recently, Dr. McDonald has begun teaching marketing, market research and Internet marketing at Bay Area institutions such as AcademyX and DeVry University.

Dr. McDonald can be found on the Internet at https://www.jasonmcdonald.org, a website focused on search engine marketing, SEO, and other Internet marketing issues with in-depth free information on SEO, Page Tags, Google Analytics, Metrics, Link building, Free SEO Tools and more. He can also be contacted by telephone at +1-702-879-4771 or email, jasonmcdonald.blog@gmail.com.