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Are SEO Conferences Worthwhile If You're Already #1?

January 16, 2008

Dear Jill,


I really would like to go to a SEO conference someday, but which? I'm not an SEO novice and PPC is not my strategy. Plus being #1 what could anybody teach me, anyway? Now, I know that is a very stupid and dangerous statement. ;-) Future trends or expert hints very specific to my site are what I think I need. What do you think?


Hilsen fra



++Jill's Response++


Hello again Henrik,


I've found that even if you are very accomplished at SEO, the conferences can be extremely beneficial. Nobody can know *everything* there is to know (not even me!), and when you hear how others work, it can often be inspiring and provide you with additional ideas.


Since you're located in Europe [I know this from previous emails with Henrik!], you may want to think about attending one of the European Search Marketing Expo (SMX) conferences, or one of the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conferences that will be out there in 2008.


SMX will be in Munich in April. You can see their schedule here. SES will be in London in February and in Hamburg in April. You can see their schedule here.


I've spoken at some of the international conferences in the past, and I really like them as they tend to be somewhat smaller than the US shows, which suits me just fine!


Of course, if you'd like to take a trip to the US (and meet me) I'll be speaking at SMX West in February. More details on that via my affiliate link here.)



Post Comment

 SEOnymous said:
I attended an SES conference this year. Here's just one of my experiences:

1) I go to a session entitled AJAX and Web 2.0 (or something).
2) Listen to 4 panelists explain the acronym for AJAX for 30 minutes.
3) Q&A starts and the first question is "My website isn't showing up on Google. How do I get my website to show up for Google? Is it my title tag?"

No matter what session you attend, the Q&A inevitably breaks down into figuring out why one person's website isn't ranking on Google. I had to track down the panelists between the sessions just to talk to them about what the previous session's actual topic.

Until they set up some kind of 8-hour session each day for people who just want to ask a panel the basic questions over-and-over, I'm afraid that's all these thing might be good for.

This doesn't even take into account that the majority of the event is geared toward SEM and not SEO.

This is just one person's experience at one event. Your experience may differ completely.
Good luck!
 Jill said:
Weird, that's not my experience at all at any of the sessions I've attended.

 SEOnymous said:
Like I said, it's just one person's experience. Maybe it was an "off" conference. Maybe it was just a "greener" group of people. Could have been a lot of things.

There actually were one or two sessions where I was glad I attended. Many of the panelists were extremely knowledgeable and approachable ... when you could talk to them between the sessions.

I'm not saying I'm some kind of SEO guru by any stretch of the imagination, so I certainly don't want to come off sounding... I don't know... bratty or something... I just think that SOME people may want to consider spending $20.00 on an SEO book before spending $700, or whatever it costs, to attend a conference.

The guy who was running the show, the main emcee, was VERY entertaining, tho. ^_^
 Jill said:
Well, it's true that you'll get different things out of different conferences, and also out of different sessions, in general. Certainly, some speakers are better than others.

I'm actually a bigger fan of smaller, more personalized learning atmospheres than big conferences with tons of people on the panels. I think people can often get a lot more out of a session with one person presenting for an hour than 6 people doing 10 mins. each. But it does depend on the topic and whether or not the speakers have coordinated their efforts beforehand.
 SEOnymous said:
Well said! I couldn't agree more with your last comment!

One or two people presenting for an hour would have made for a vastly superior experience... instead of trying to cram 4 or 5 redundant PowerPoint presentations into the time allotted.

And, I hate to say it, the most knowledgeable people on a topic don't always make the best speakers. Often times, valueable information gets lost in translation from a nervous or under-prepared speaker. (i hate public speaking and i stink at it so I'm not judging. kudos to anyone who has the guts to do it).

If you can recommend any of those smaller, more personalized conferences... I'm all ears.
Thanks again!
 Jill - SEO Training Classes said:
Well, our High Rankings Seminars were more of what I was talking about. We're not doing those at the moment, but are instead focusing on our even smaller, in-person, customized, seo training classes.

Click the link by my name for more info on those.
 OlderWiser999 said:
If you know nothing, then one or two of these conferences will prove to be useful. If you've never been to one, you may get something out of attending. But once you've been to one or two, you've been to them all. Unless you are a professional SEO/SEM conference speaker, and you are employed full time, you won't have the time to attend every conference out there. There are too many, they've become regionalized and no one but the speakers can benefit from serial attendance. In addition, beware any conference where Google is hovering to find out the latest techniques so that it can then thwart those same techniques.
 Jill said:
OlderWiser999...sure if the "latest techniques" you refer to means the latest way to spam Google, then yes, you'd want to avoid conferences where they're at.

But why waste your time chasing the latest spam techniques when making a great site for the long term works so well?