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
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!
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!
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.