Searching Beyond the Paid

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Search Marketing Goodness at SES Chicago

Search Engine Strategies Chicago just ended, and it was a great 3 days of search marketing knowledge sharing and networking. I thought today was the best day of the conference, with a lot of great takeaways and learnings.

This year's conference featured a number of sessions on social media. I especially enjoyed the Serengeti session on Social Media Strategy and ROI Measurement. At Fluency Media, we've spent a lot of time talking about the best way to measure social media metrics. The Serengeti session provided a checklist of places to monitor your brand in social media, including blogs, Twitter, brand searches, referrals from social media sites, etc. Social media is still new to many marketers, and it was helpful to get suggestions on measuring success.

My favorite session of the whole conference was today's keynote by Dan Siroker, a former Googler who served as the Director of New Media for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign. His inspiring presentation talked about how the Obama campaign turned social media visitors into evangelists by defining success metrics and taking advantage of circumstances as they were happening. I took 3 pages of notes during his session!

The most fun session was the last one of the day, Black Hat, White Hat, Does It Really Matter Any More? SEM luminaries Frank Watson, Rand Fishkin, Todd Friesen, Dave Naylor, Matt Bailey, and Bruce Clay took the stage to talk about black hat SEO, and whether it matters in this day and age. I'm not sure they came to a conclusion, but the session produced the best Twitter sound bites of the entire conference! You can check the Twitter hashtag #seschi for a sampling.

I had the honor of speaking on two panels this year. It was my first time speaking, and I had a blast. There are pictures of the sessions, if you're interested. I'm grateful to the SES staff for allowing me this opportunity.

Finally, the networking at SES was fantastic, as usual. I can't even begin to name all the great SEMs I chatted with at lunch, dinner, cocktail hour, between sessions, etc. This industry is full of super-smart people who are happy to share their ideas and knowledge. I saw many old friends, and made a lot of new ones as well. Special shout-outs go to my friends David Szetela, who is the original PPC Rockstar; and to Marty Weintraub, who is not only a Facebook Rockstar, but a "real" rockstar as well! I had a blast with the two of you!

As I pack my belongings for an early train back to Michigan tomorrow, I'm thankful for a great job in an even greater industry. My SEM friends are the best



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