Friday, March 07, 2008

SMX Retrospective

Don’t know what it is about Friday afternoons that starts me reflecting on things but here I am again writing another blog. Today’s thoughts harken back to last week’s SMX West conference in Santa Clara…

The concept (or conceit) of conferences like this and SES is to run concurrent sessions to provide attendees options based on areas of discipline (SEO, SEA, Social Media, etc.) and levels of expertise (from novice to veteran). This obviously creates more opportunities for attendees but it never fails that at least two of the sessions I am most interested in attending are scheduled at the same time. Some of the highlights from the sessions I could attend that are still top of mind:

  • Year over year growth of Internet advertising (which includes search) is projected to be +22%
  • Representatives from all 3 major search engines concur that they are all trying to improve relevancy and user experience for both SEO and SEA
  • Marketers are starting to see the big opportunity for search is targeting the lifestage/lifestyle searches that lie beyond the “occasion-based” queries

Of course, I also attended Niki’s session on Proactive Search Engine Reputation Management that is recapped nicely in this coverage at Search Engine Roundtable’s site. I know I’m biased, but her presentation was excellent. If you’d like to see for yourself, please log on to Facebook to view a video clip from Niki’s presentation.

I spent time working at the SEMPO booth and enjoyed the exchanges with fellow members and non-members alike. Many of these people were also in attendance at perhaps the most intriguing session of the conference – “Is It Time For Search Marketing Standards?” While most people say yes in theory, the session revealed the many obstacles that need to be overcome to achieve this – not the least of which is agreeing on the basic definitions of search services. I really believe this topic is critical to improving our industry’s marketing credibility and look forward to working with my SEMPO colleagues to make this happen.

Finally, I have to admit to the culture and temperature shock of returning from a week in the somewhat sedate, sunny, and warm environs of California to the cold, brisk hustle and bustle of the East Coast. But I love it here and would never consider living anywhere else…

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