Search Engine Strategies NYC – what I’ll be looking at next week

Turns out I will be attending Search Engine Strategies NYC as Press next week and here’s the sessions that I’m interested in covering.  I’ve highlighted text in blue for emphasis and discussion, btw.

Note: Many of speakers links didn’t work so I updated the post to correct that problem and republished.

One way I have maintained contact with the SEO/SEM community (my work is more focused on Social Media and Web Analytics than Search, is by attending Search Engine Strategies conferences).  The worlds  of Search and the world of Social Media has converged – yet the communities within those worlds  have differences.

For example – I have found  people who gravitate to Analytics tend to be seekers of truth – more interested in value than money – Analytics people tend to be a little idealistic about it.   People who gravitate to online search tend to have an orientation of making stuff happen – conversions, money, etc- tend to be very grounded – very practical.   People who gravitate to Social Media  like to communicate – to share and evangelize.  All of these communities connect – and in a way, I see myself moving back and forth between them – attending a Search Conference like SES is a way to bridge those differences and use their strengths to augment each other.

Also, attending Search Engine Strategies is a way to interact with the speakers and brands who attend.   The information is usually posted online as soon as it happens – people take notes – and usually some new product announcements are made – that stuff is routine and attendance is not that helpful if that’s all your looking for – because you can get that information online.   What you can’t get it – are the relationships you build when you meet these people, pitch them on your ideas, have lunch with them, speak with them in real time – that you need to attend conferences to do (though Social Media can augment it – though it can not yet entirely replace it – nor should it).

Of course, you can also find out new product offerings by exhibitors – and i do look at the floor every time I go – but for me, that’s not the reason I come to Search Engine Strategies.

I probably can’t cover everything I’m interested in, but will try to, time permitting.  My point of view, having attended every SES NY since 2003, this will make the 7th or 8th time – is to look for what is practical to use – what knowledge my readers could use.  I generally don’t take detailed notes any longer (there are enough other people to do that, and do it better than I do) – I go for the main points and some interesting implications of the material I hear- look for gems hidden in the information - what you can do with it that information now and in the future – how you can apply the insights – it’s more  “visionary” thinking – not so much note-taking.

Tuesday – March 23rd, 2010

8:00-9:00am Morning Coffee
9:00-10:15am Conference Welcome & Opening Keynote
The New Rules of Marketing and PR
For decades, marketers have relied on buying expensive advertising and begging the media and analysts for coverage. We interrupted “prospects” with our egotistical “messages,” in the hopes of generating interest from buyers (who usually ignored us anyway).

The web has profoundly changed the rules. Smart marketers now communicate with buyers through content rich Web sites, blogs, YouTube videos, ebooks, and other online media that buyers actually want to consume.

Learn how to leverage the potential that Web-based communication offers. A step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the new rules of marketing and PR will be provided, showing how to identify audiences, create compelling stories and ideas, get those stories and ideas to the most consumers possible, and lead those consumers directly into the buying process. Told with many case studies and real-world examples, this a practical discussion about the new reality of PR and marketing.

Learn from David how to generate global buzz.
Register for his free upcoming webcast

Philip Sheldrake has spoken a lot about David Meerman Scott – but I’ve never met David (though I will be in London the week after next for Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp).
A few sessions in the afternoon stand out as different and worth following:

Beyond the Crawlers 2:00-3:00pm
Post Mortem: Banned Site Forensics
It’s pretty hard to get ‘accidentally’ banned by Google these days. Either someone reports your site for a borderline technique or you are knowingly pushing the boundaries and trigger a flag with the engines. In both cases, there is intent.

In this presentation, the speakers will share the most “mortal” sins, and those that generally fall in the “forgivable” category. They will share what tools to use to assess your situation and provide useful analysis scripts. The session will end with a sample of an effective re-inclusion letter and best practices for getting re-included in the index

While there’s probably not that much I haven’t heard before in this session - it’s one thing to hear about it and another to actually have to deal with it - when something goes wrong and Google knocks out your site from the index … that can be a royal bummer!  I think this session is about how to deal with it – it might not be the most interesting session – but it might end up being one of the most useful ones.

Beyond the Crawlers 3:30-4:30pm
Pushing Content via XML, RSS & Site Maps
Not yet running a blog? Not syndicating your content through web feeds? Then you’re missing out on an important area that can help your overall SEO efforts. Learn more about the unique advantages blogs and feeds offer to search engine optimization.

There again, I’m doing some work with retail establishments – restaurants for example – can publish their dishes by RSS feeds – sound mundane – but actually it’s an important thing that’s very needed.

In fact, I’ll make a point right now – that Search has now become so fundamental a part of business that understanding something like RSS feeds to Google Product Search – is now part of many marketing type jobs – that making your site easy to crawl – content that’s easy to serve up to Search Engines – is vital – it’s not optional anymore – it’s what you do if you want people to show up to your business online – and hopefully, engage with you.
The last session on Tuesday is interesting both for what it is and why it’s being associated with Search Engines.   I have attended a few Augmented Reality meetups in NYC, including one hosted by John Havens at Porter Novelli - but while Augmented Reality has been interesting as a more intense way of experiencing content –  not too many people are talking about it as a driver of search traffic yet – though the hope is there that it will be sometime soon – in this session you’ll find out if and when that hope of search traffic will take place.

Augmented Reality: It’s a Brave New World
User migration to a mobile environment is driven not only by information and communications requirements, but also a host of applications that are useful, quirky, or just plain fun. App developers and experts explain how these apps hook users, demonstrate their rapid growth trajectory, and explore what might be in store for the future.

Of course, what would SES be without the networking – there’s usually much more than what’s listed – often requiring an invite. Often it’s who you know – just as in the rest of life.

5:45-6:45pm Networking Cocktail Reception in the Expo Hall

On Wednesday, March 24th

I honestly don’t know if I can attend Avinash Kaushik’s keynote address – it’s probably going to be memorable  – Avinash is the Gary Vee of Analytics – he makes you feel good and says stuff you need to hear.

Morning Keynote
Be Awesome: Ideas for Approaching Search Analytics Differently
Click through rates, page rank, conversions, page views are all sweet. Yet they rarely scratch the surface of the true opportunity of search and subsequently quantifying the true impact of this massively data driven ecosystem. In his keynote Avinash will share specific ideas you can execute to find the audiences you crave online and use data to ensure that you are getting highest possible ROI. Keyword trees, yes. Attribution analysis, sure. Monetizing the long tail, got that. Micro conversions, yep. Bring an open mind.

  • Keynote Speaker:
    Avinash Kaushik, Author, Blogger, Analytics Evangelist, Google

When I was working at I tried, unsuccessfully, to bring Covario (formally SEM Director)  in to do a Paid/Organic Search balancing scorecard – if I have the time I would attend Covario’s session.

Search Powered Marketing: Harnessing the Voice of the Consumer
Search and social media are changing the way brands interact with their consumers, and will be even more influential throughout 2010 and beyond. Consumers find and engage with brands in social media, print, radio, tv, and outdoor ads, which in turn influences what they search for. How should advertisers use integrated search and social media strategies to influence search terms and results, improve overall SEO and drive increases in return on ad spend?

This panel of experts will share what tools, tactics and techniques they have used to power advertising performance using search and social media insights, and what works and what doesn’t. Attendees will learn how to harness the voice of the customer to best leverage search and social media to create finely-tuned marketing programs that drive results. Panelists will share short-term onsite and external tactics, and give long term strategies for success.

  • Speaker:
    Craig Macdonald, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Covario
  • Panelists:
    Maura Ginty, Senior Manager, Global Web Content, Autodesk
    Cheryl Max, Director, Corporate Functional Capabilities, IBM

The next session I’d cover is this one about Search and Storytelling.

Storyteller Marketing: The Art of Storytelling Matches Up With the Business of Marketing
One communication method that beats all others when it comes to delivering a memorable, motivating, and meaningful message: telling a story. This session will show you how the framework of storytelling can be used to deliver real advertising results by generating content that communicates. You’ll learn the five basic story types, how to analyze the stories around your brand, and how to create a solid strategy for generating, changing, or renewing great brand stories. Great search strategies are built around great content; this session will give you the economic and social tools you need to create that framework.

Besides knowing Dana Todd (and having interviewed her back in 2006) I’ve seen her at several Search related events over the years and she’s one of the best speakers at SES – she’s also extremely practical and hands on in her advice and insights – always worth hearing what she has to say.

Later on Wednesday evening – I will definitely want to attend this – and you should too – if your in NYC – it’s at 7PM in the Hilton Bar.

White Hat Black Hat: Unconferenced
Location: Bridges Bar, Hilton New York
Search engines provide guidelines to protect their algorithms and the integrity of their results. But these are not laws – they are what they are – guidelines. Do we really have to stick to them? What if we find a loophole or two and we can get better results if we go under the wire? Of course, that would mean only some of us were playing by the perceived rules. And the likelihood is that the white hat practitioners may find a black hat standing on their head and pushing them down the charts. And with search and social being strongly tied together there are so many more creative ways to circumnavigate the guidelines. Should anyone care anymore whether it’s black hat or white hat to get results?

Join us for a first time and unique session to SES New York – Black Hat/White Hat Unconferenced. The session takes place in the Bridges Bar of the Hilton New York. The soapbox will be available for a few select speakers including industry leaders David NaylorBruce Clay and Dave Snyder to make their cases on either side and then the audience takes over. All with a glass of your favorite beverage in your hand, of course!

  • Moderators:
    Mike Grehan, Global VP Content, SES/Search Engine Watch/ClickZ
    Matt McGowan, Publisher and Head of U.S., Incisive Media

Probably the best parties will also be on Wednesday night – and they will be exclusive (meaning most people won’t know about them unless they are invited personally). Again, it often comes down to who you know and how valuable the community that sponsors these events believes you to be – I have had mixed luck being invited – but have attended a few exclusive events connected with SES , from time to time – I’m not one of the “inner circle” so I usually don’t get invited to the best exclusive events.  Who knows, maybe this time it will be different.

On Thursday, March 25th, I’d probably opt to attend the session with Bill Hunt – I am curious if anything changed much since I worked with him at IBM – in terms of Big Site SEO.

Enterprise Level SEO
The enterprise level SEO session is designed to meet the specific challenges of large enterprise organizations. Topics for discussion will include SEO tactics specific to large sites (sites with thousands, if not millions of pages), the challenges of educating key stakeholders in the organization including budgeting issues, and implementation hurdles common to large organizations including CMS issues and IT team challenges. This session will also include a proven model of organization for your enterprise level SEO campaign as well as a summary of key metrics that you should be measuring to drive ongoing SEO strategy. If you are the SEO point person for an enterprise level organization with a lot of moving parts, this session is for just of you!

I would also attend this session – more for my blog.

Spotlight on Fashion: Blogging for Style
Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry and Gotham city is a magnet to some of the world’s biggest designers, haute couture houses and showrooms. Home to the largest Garment District in the country and host to the two best design colleges in the nation, New York City also provides the backdrop to fashion inspired TV shows and movies like “Project Runway”, “Ugly Betty”, and “The Devil Wears Prada”. As one journalist observed recently, to have one finger on the fashion pulse, you need to have the other one on your computer mouse, reading (or writing) the latest blogs. The industry that prides itself on staying one step ahead is literally struggling to keep up with the profusion of bloggers and social media enthusiasts who are unveiling trends before they’re set. Join us as we move beyond the catwalk to explore the business models behind some of New York’s most fashion-forward blogs along with the dwindling influence of former glossy printed fashion bibles like Vogue and Elle. Search, social and affiliate marketing monetization tactics that the fashion blogs employ are all part of the discussion.

That’s about it for me – since I’m consulting full time I can’t go everything – and figured I don’t need to – I’d rather focus on quality over quantity – as most of the information is going to be online within a few hours of each session – but the insights that come from it – that takes analysis and looking for hidden patterns, which is what I do – and talking to people – which is the most important thing one can do at conferences.

Talk to people.

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