Search marketing conferences this year have been great! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed TRAFFIC Las Vegas, SMX West Santa Clara, SMX Advanced Seattle, and now SES (Search Engine Strategies) San Francisco. Today, I’d like to recap my experience at SES San Francisco this week and some of my exciting takeaways. SES was absolutely packed and it was a tremendous conference!
SEM Automation Is Hot
If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of pay per click automation. I even wrote a FREE 12 page SEM Automation Buyer’s Guide. SEM automation is constantly on my mind, it’s the only way to gain the leverage to succeed when you’re managing multi-million dollar PPC campaigns.
Excitingly, SEM automation was everywhere I turned in the expo hall! It was truly remarkable. SEM automation is hot! It was really great to see both old and new friends in the automation game. I got the opportunity to sync up with the Marin Software team. I met the amazing ClickEquations team for the first time in person. I even had the opportunity to learn about American Express getting in the game with their new OPEN SEM platform. I was totally floored when I learned about that!
Being a Celebrity Executive Is Cool
The keynote yesterday by Jeffrey Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, was awesome! There were several takeaways around people management, especially motivation and turning organizations around. However, that’s not what impressed me the most.
What really impressed me was Jeffrey’s delivery. This guy is truly talented. He’s basically an expert presenter and actor. As my personal career progresses, I’m setting my sights high. I’d love to become a celebrity executive one day and pick up some acting skills myself. It’s really captivating stuff! It’s also a completely different skill than my Stanford Computer Science roots. I’m definitely a leader and expert people manager. I’d also call myself a stellar presenter (just check out my Stanford Graduate School of Business speech all about online Marketing). However, Jeffrey takes it to a whole other level!
I Picked Up A Few PPC, SEO, and Blogging Tips
To close out, I’d like to highlight some of my lower level notes. I was writing very quickly yesterday and jotted down some awesome stuff, a lot of it very actionable.
Perhaps most excitingly, I learned about the concept of citations in Google’s new organic caffeine algorithm (launched in June). Apparently, Google is now looking quite a bit at social networking sites and how many times your website or blog has been cited (mentioned or linked to). This is really great to learn from an SEO standpoint. It’s not all about links anymore, you also need to focus on citations! As a side note, I’m a big fan of blog commenting. While most comments have a nofollow tag on the link (unless you get on the top commentators), I’ve long been a believer that Google gives these nofollow comments some kind of weight. Now, I’m seriously thinking these comments could be counted as citations!
I was also really excited to learn about Google’s definition of a blog: Any website with a feed. When I typically think of a blog, I think about your typical WordPress blog like this one! It really opens doors when you start thinking about a blog as any site with a feed. Basically, you now have the option to add a feed (or feeds) to your "static" website and turn it into a blog. The speakers were making the point that this could have an SEO benefit because Google’s new caffeine algorithm is giving weight to blogs because they offer up to date information (caffeine is all about the real time). At the same time, I think this only makes sense if you update your site (and feeds) regularly. Otherwise, Google will now view your "blog" as one that doesn’t get updated frequently (which is worse than a static website that doesn’t get updated, in my opinion).
Yahoo is doing some seriously great stuff. Shashi Seth dazzled the audience with his discussion of Yahoo’s focus on the front end of search. The last 12 years, in his opinion, have been all about the back end of search. Now, Yahoo is partnering with Microsoft so Microsoft can take over the back end of things. This will allow Yahoo to focus on what they do the best: Optimizing their front end user experience. Shashi pointed out that there’s far more to the search results page than the actual results themselves. Yahoo will still be really focused on search, more from a front end perspective in terms of adding valuable experiences to search that aren’t there right now. Something else that blew me away: The "trending" topics on Yahoo’s homepage now account for 5 percent of searches on Yahoo.
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