It’s Search Engine Strategies San Jose next week. For Chris Sherman and I, it’s our swan song. This is the last SES event that either of us will program, with our search marketing conference efforts going forward focused on our own Search Marketing Expo (SMX) events. But we’ve put our all into making the last SES event great, and I wanted to share some of the many things we’ve organized, plus how to meet up with Chris and I for the show. We’ve got a Sphinn lunch set, as well as laptop stickers for readers.
Some quick facts. The very first SES event (and the first search marketing conference, to my knowledge) happened back in San Francisco in November 1999. Chris Elwell of Jupitermedia (now president of Search Engine Land’s parent company, Third Door Media) had asked me if I thought an event about search would work. Absolutely! I was thrilled. Until that time, search had been relegated as a panel that might happen within other events. It deserved greater attention.
We had a great turnout, with over 300 people there. It was an amazing experience, because it was the first time many search marketers had met each other in person. Until then, they’d only known each other online mainly through newsletter discussion groups. Forums had yet to fully blossom. It was also the first time they’d connected with many of the search engines directly.
My favorite story from that time was how much I worried that the search marketers might attack the search engines, since things were considered far more antagonistic between the "sides" than today (also remember that paid search wasn’t an option with any of the major search engines at the time, putting even more pressure on the organic listings).
We had our first all-search engine panel, took the first question, and I wondered if this was where the attacks would begin. Instead, the person started out by thanking the search engines for coming out, taking part in a conversation with the marketers, and the room erupted in applause.
So much time has past. Since then, over the past eight years, I organized the content for 24 of the SES events within the US. I also ran a number of the London shows, which Chris Sherman later took over, along with other country-specific events he oversaw.
So what’s up with our last SES event? Here are a few highlights from the 70 session show we’ve put together:
- Keynotes: Both Ask’s Jim Lanzone and Google’s Marissa Mayer
kindly agreed to my invitation for "keynote conversations" at the show.
Chris Sherman will be talking to Jim on Tuesday, and I’ll be talking with
Marissa on Wednesday.
- Searcher Track: On day one, Chris and I have added all new
sessions looking at personalized search and universal/blended search, huge
shifts that search marketers need to understand.
- Advertising Track: On day one, "Post-Search" will look at the
growth and coming expected expansion of ads targeted to searchers as they
surf the web, based on their searching behavior.
- Issues Tracks: On day two, topics will range from two sessions on
click fraud to a panel on copyright and trademark issues to an
end-of-the-day look at whether paid links are "evil."
- Industry Track: On day three, topics cover Search APIs, how to get started if you want to be a search marketer, pricing models for SEM and how the industry may approach the "SEO reputation problem."
These are just a few of the highlights — there are a lot of sessions. Long time attendee, as well as speaker, Greg Jarboe has put together his suggestions on session to attend today.
My own advice is to review the at-a-glance guide. If you’re new to search marketing, you want to sit in the Fundamentals track all day on day one and most of day two. Really, stay there, learn the basics. Experienced? Pick and choose based on what interests you. Each session is flagged to tell you if it skews more toward the paid or organic side of search marketing, if that makes a difference for you. Those especially for advanced people are also noted. Been to SES before? Then look for sessions marked new.
Looking to meet up with me? These are the sessions I’ll be moderating in chronological order:
- Intro To SEM
- Ads In A Quality Score World
- Earning Money From Contextual Ads
- Advanced Paid Search Techniques
- Meet The Search Ad Networks
- SEO Q&A On Links
- Search Engine Q&A On Links
- Organic Listings Forum
- Meet The Crawlers
I’m also doing a formal presentation for that first panel. The Intro session is sort of my hallmark presentation for the show, where I go through all the basics of search marketing. My last one, at least at SES.
As for Chris Sherman, you’ll find him at these sessions:
- Universal & Blended Search
- Personalization, User Data & Search
- Local Search Marketing Tactics
- Link Baiting & Viral Search Success
- Buzz Monitoring
We’re looking forward to meeting many of our Search Engine Land readers out at the event. We’ve got plenty of Search Engine Land laptop stickers, so if you want one, just catch us and ask.
On Tuesday in the main lunch hall, I’ll also be hosting a "birds-of-a-feather" lunch for any readers who want to meet up along with those who are participating in our new Sphinn social networking site. I introduced the birds-of-a-feather seating idea to SES several years ago to allow those from particular interest groups or from various forum communities to easily connect. You put a sign on your table, and those interested in your topic or area all come by. So, we’ll be the Sphinn table. And yep — I’ll have Sphinn stickers as well.
Want to see who is coming? Want to add your name? Check out the thread at Sphinn: Sphinn Meetup @ SES San Jose 2007.
Want to kick back at one of the conference parties, such as the Google Dance? Barry Schwartz has a round-up here, and his Search Engine Roundtable team will be live blogging sessions as listed here. Doing your own coverage? Kevin Newcomb over at the Search Engine Watch Blog provides the official conference tag of "sessanjose2007" here. Our own coverage will go up on Search Engine Land, of course.
As I started out, SES San Jose is the swan song for Chris and I. After this, it’s entirely other people who will program that event. Kevin Ryan was put in charge back in June, and a band of 15 advisors has just been named to assist him in figuring out how to do the events going forward. SES Chicago in December will be the first major SES event where the new team has to strut its stuff. FYI, I’ll be at SES Chicago, but solely as a speaker.
Speaking of SES Chicago, that other long-standing search conference – Pubcon — runs directly against in December. Organizer Brett Tabke has just posted a giant list of wonderful speaking tips for those getting ready for that.
Finally, while its our SES swan song, our SMX series is growing strong. Both our SMX Local & Mobile and SMX Social Media events are approaching fast; we’ve got some new events we’re about to announce, and they type of work we’ve done to make SES a success as a general gathering place for the industry is flowing into the planning for our own SMX West event next February in Santa Clara/Silicon Valley. Thousands have liked what we’ve done over the years with conferences, and we’re still providing all that quality content plus providing a great conference experience, as part of SMX. Check out the SMX site for the full line-up of shows this year.
Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at one of our shows, the right folks will be out at SES San Jose in the Third Door Media suite. Contact Sean Moriarty here or call him on 203 536-4004 to set up a time to talk.