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High Rankings Advisor: Impressions of SES NYC - Issue No. 134

March 16, 2005


*Guest Article:
---->   New Attendee's Impressions of SES NYC '05
---->   Jill's Comments and Seattle Seminar Info

*This Week's Sponsors:
---->   High Rankings Seminar CD - Half Price
---->   SEO Copywriting Combo

*Stuff You Might Like:
---->   Deceptive Advertising Laws & Other Laws
    (as they relate to search marketing)
---->   More Pics from SES NYC

*High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week:
---->   Image Alt Attributes 101

*This Week's Sound Advice:
---->   What Is Search Engine Spam?

*Advisor Wrap-up:
---->   Corie's Mystery Trip

~~~Introductory Comments~~~

Hey all!

Our Seattle seminar is only a few weeks away.  Don't put off your
registration any longer!  See my comments after today's guest article
for more info on the seminar.

Let's get straight to the good stuff! - Jill

~~~Guest Article~~~

++New Attendee's Impressions of SES NYC '05++

Melanie Topel, an SEO specialist at my Search Creative marketing firm,
wrote today's guest article, which provides her impressions of the SES
conference we recently attended in New York City.  Melanie's been
soaking up as much SEO/SEM knowledge as she can since starting with
us, and the conference was a great opportunity for her to really get
the "big picture." Prior to her entry in the SEO industry, Melanie
worked in broadcast journalism for a top-50 news market television
station.  I'm sure you'll be seeing other articles here from Melanie
in the upcoming months.

So without further ado, take it away Melanie! - Jill

++New Attendee's Impressions of SES NYC '05++

By Melanie Topel

I attended two days of the 2005 New York Search Engine Strategies
conference and came out with more information than I ever expected
could be packed into such a short amount of time. Four seminar
sessions a day covering a range of topics that relate to every angle
of search marketing left me in a contradictory state of exhaustion and
exhilaration. At the end of my time at the conference I wanted to take
a nap and then wake up to attack my SEO projects with my newfound
understanding of tactics, theory, and approach.

I arrived in New York with a solid understanding of the basics of
search engine optimization, but little understanding of what to expect
from the conference. What I found was a hotel bustling with people
wearing lanyards with plastic badges hanging from them discussing
various aspects of the search marketing industry. I could overhear
representatives from large corporations trying to perform impromptu
interviews with SEM firms who were trying to sell the company on
whatever quality made them the "best" firm at the conference. I heard
people from less "kosher" sides of the industry trying to convince
others that spamming isn't really bad -- it's "strategic" -- or that
link farms will help add weight to your rankings. I saw multiple cards
being exchanged, and heard the word "algorithm" more times than I did
in all my years of advanced math classes combined. And this was all
before I could even get my luggage to my room!

I learned very quickly that one has to plan well in order to make the
most of the conference. There are four time slots for sessions each
day -- two in the morning, two in the afternoon -- and four sessions
from which to choose in each time slot, so decisions must be made.
Included in the materials I received in the handy tote bag given to me
at registration was a massive conference handbook. This handbook is
more like a two-hand book as it's so heavy, but it really does include
everything you need to make the most of the conference. There is an
itinerary for beginners, for the advanced, for those interested
primarily in organic SEO, etc. I opted for a more "a la carte"
approach to the sessions.

I tried to sample a bit from each category of session: fundamentals,
advertising, organic, and vertical. I attended some beginner sessions
for certain topics of interest, even though I already knew most of
what they were discussing, just to get a sense of how my SEO
philosophy compares to that of others in the industry. I also made it
a point to attend some of the more advanced topics to give me a sense
of what I still had to learn.  To my surprise, I found (and not to
sound immodest) that I knew a good deal more about SEO than many of
the people I interacted with in the sessions. I often found myself
answering the questions I overheard them whispering to each other. I
consider this a testament to my training with Jill and the High
Rankings / Search Creative crew, as I have been a part of the industry
for only a short time.

My opinion of the sessions themselves was mixed. They all had
something to offer, but some left me with more questions than answers.
The presentations were usually quite good, but really it was the
question-and-answer sessions following most presentations that led to
some frustration.  Now, the planners of the conference have no control
over what questions are asked, so my slight frustration is no
reflection on them. In fact, I feel that JupiterMedia did a
particularly good job trying to offer several different approaches to
any particular subject. With regard to the question-and-answer
periods, however, I felt that they detracted from my experience.

People asked such specific questions that there was little I could
apply to my own knowledge. Nearly every question I heard started with,
"My web site is having this [insert minute detail] problem..." Nothing
was general enough that it could apply to anyone's web site. I would
suggest that the question-and-answer sessions be limited to general
questions of theory or something more applicable to a general
audience -- or eliminated completely. Well, maybe not eliminated, but
perhaps a specific session for Q&A.

But this is a very small gripe in the grand scheme of the conference.
Overall, I found the majority of the sessions to be extremely helpful
in improving my understanding of the specifics of SEO techniques as
well as giving me a better understanding of the direction of the
industry as a whole. I particularly liked the access the conference
gave me to representatives of the search engines themselves. Nothing
is more useful than getting an answer straight from the source. Beyond
the actual information that is exchanged, the conference offers an
opportunity to shmooze with others in the industry. It's a fantastic
opportunity for business development.

Since returning from the conference I have noticed an increase in my
productivity, and my ability to explain issues to clients has improved
immensely due to the information I gained. The exhaustion I felt at
the end of the conference was easily remedied by a good night's sleep
and the invigoration about my work has been lasting. As a newcomer to
the SES conferences, it was an excellent experience that left me
hungry for attending another, as I became aware of how much more I
could take away from the conference.

Melanie Topel
Search Creative, LLC
[Website Coming Soon!]

(If you'd like to republish the above article, please email me your
request and where it will reside, and we'll provide you with the
appropriate bio and links.)

++Jill's Comments++

Thanks for that great accounting of the conference, Melanie!

What Melanie didn't tell you was that she was forced to share a hotel
room with my Search Creative partner, Lorraine, and me, and being low
man on the totem pole, she had to sleep on a rollaway cot.  She was a
trooper throughout, however.  There was also that trip to Mars we took
(where we are pretty sure Melanie married a Martian Emperor), and the
long, cold, wet wait for the David Letterman show during a blizzard.
(You can see some conference photos here:

All in all, however, it was a great conference and a great trip.  It's
been amazing to see how far Melanie has come with her SEO knowledge in
such a short period of time.  It's like I always say, though, this
stuff is absolutely not rocket science.  It's very much common sense,
and if you have a good amount of intelligence, and a willingness to
learn, it's pretty darn easy.

Speaking of conferences and learning SEO, I'd like to take this
opportunity for a little shameless self-promotion and to explain a bit
about the differences between other conferences and workshops and our
own High Rankings Seminar (which is quickly approaching on March 31st
and April 1st in Seattle).

I've been speaking at the SES conferences for many years now, and I'm
always amazed at the high quality of speakers and sheer volume of
information that is provided there.  It's truly an awesome experience
that anyone in the biz should definitely have.

Our small SEO seminars (limited to 40 participants), are a completely
different animal.  We don't try to cover every aspect of search
marketing, nor do we try to cover the different angles and methods one
might choose.  We teach only tried and true stuff that works for our
own sites and those of our clients.  We have just a handful of
speakers, all of whom are High Rankings Forum moderators whom I've
handpicked because they use the same basic SEO techniques that I've
been using and writing about for 10 years.

What you get at our seminar is a variety of small classes and
workshops that build upon each other to give you a complete picture of
how to create a successful website that is the best it can be for your
users as well as the search engines.  You won't hear any conflicting
advice, so you won't leave with the slightest bit of confusion.  You
won't learn any dirty tricks, and you won't hear the latest algorithm
theory of the day.  You won't be shuttled around in a limo, nor will
you hear from any special guest affiliate marketers via Web cam.
(Both of which I heard some other SEM seminars do!)

You will, however, learn SEO and SEM in easy-to-understand language
from the best and brightest in the search marketing industry.  You
will also leave the seminar with a complete SEO process that has been
proven to work time and time again, which you can go back to your
office and start implementing right away.

If this sounds like what you need to take your website or business to
the next level, there's still time to register for our Seattle
seminar.  Learn more about the costs, see the agenda, and register
here: </seminar134.  As I mentioned, seats
are very limited, so please don't miss out.  Oh yeah, and you can also
get a discount if you're a High Rankings Forum member (which is free).
Learn how to claim your forum discount here:


___________Can't Travel to Seattle this Spring?____________

Buy Now! High Rankings Seminar CD - Half Price While Supplies Last!

Listen to the MP3 audio files of our Tampa full-day search engine
marketing seminar from November '03 -- was $279, now $139.50!

What is covered:
SEO Basics, PPC, Copywriting, Measuring Traffic, and Conversions.

Also includes complete PDF presentations from the speakers.

~~~Stuff You Might Like~~~

++Deceptive Advertising Laws & Other Laws++

Alan Perkins, my good friend and colleague (and a heck of an expert
programmer) has written another installment of his series on search
engine deception.  This one is quite different from anything you've
previously read on the subject.  When you read it, please do so with
an open mind, because Alan's ideas are definitely unique.  Whether you
agree with Alan or not, his articles always provoke some interesting
discussions in the search marketing world.

You'll find the article at Alan's site here:

++More Pics from SES NYC++

In addition to the High Rankings SES NYC photos that I linked to
above, Stephen Turcotte has a whole bunch of SES photos in his blog
h-engine.html>.  (If that URL breaks, you may have to copy and paste
both lines into your browser.)  Stephen was kind enough to buy me a
drink at the bar in NY, so he's on my "A" list! ;-)

~~~High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week~~~

++Image Alt Attributes 101++

High Rankings forum member Corey Creed needed some basic education on
alt attributes (aka alt tags).  From the looks of this long thread, he
came to the right place.

If you've been wondering about the best way to use the image alt
attribute, you'll definitely want to check it out here:

Feel free to leave your own comments, as well!

~~~Sound Advice~~~

++What is Search Engine Spam?++

(This audio recording changes each week.)

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At the same time, keeping your keywords featured prominently is
a bit of a juggling act.

Save $10 on the most powerful copywriting combo available today!

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~~~Advisor Wrap-up~~~

That's it for today!  I'm not even going to say where my daughter
Corie is this week, because I know my mom (who reads only this part of
the newsletter) will be jealous. [Waiting patiently for mom's IM to
pop up later tonight to ask where.]  It seems that daughter of mine is
traveling more than I do, these days!

Catch you next time! - Jill
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