View Full Version : SEW Live in Atlanta "a-la-rustybrick"

Chris Boggs
06-29-2005, 01:52 PM
Sign-in table: familiar smiling faces of the "Jupiter crew," including the seemingly always working Karen. Very smooth process with everything ready to go.

Breakfast: Good coffee, juices and croissants.

Room: Large ballroom with ample space for tables and previously mentioned breakfast table. SEMPO booth on one side and the standard Jupiter Media collection of banners that we know and love behind the stage.

Panel Discussion

SEW's Editor, Elisabeth Osmeloski welcomed everyone to the inaugural SEW Live Atlanta. The room was fairly full, with some attendees arriving slightly late. Elisabeth apologized about the absence of Sebastian, who has unfortunately gone home sick the night before. However two excellent speakers were still on the panel: David Williams, the Chief Strategist and Co-Founder of 360i.com (and also a SEMPO Board Member) and Stacy Williams of Prominentplacement.com, also an SES "regular" presenter. (Yes they are married, but not to each-other :p )

The point of this panel was to keep everything on a more "macro" level, and that was accomplished.

David introduced himself and his topic: "The Top Ten leading Search Trends."
He subtitled it along the lines of "What do SEM's need to do to stay in the 'lead pack."

Number 1 leading trend (I do not believe these were in any particular order):
The "Search Arms Race." Currently the big two are obviously Google and Yahoo, but "don't count MSN out." He mentioned that MSN was currently introducing a paid product in France and Singapore.
-Search now represent 40% of online advertising, versus other methods such as display ads and sponsorships.

2. Rapid growth in Vertical search. Mentioned the increasing prevalence and relevance of listings found at Orbitz and other travel search portals. Also spoke about the increased competition in shopping search engines such as shopping.com, Froogle, Shopzilla, and others.

3. Increased PPC competitiveness. More people are finding that the ROI delivered by PPC campaigns cannot be ignored. Becoming more important to professionally manage these campaigns in order to get more bang from your buck (paraphrased).

4. Increased volume of keyword searches and Size of keyword PPC Campaigns. Mentioned that more people are actually typing in URL's into search boxes to find out more about companies. Also discussed that many PPC campaigns are increasing in size, with some clients using as many as 250,000 words in a campaign (my opinion: yech!). Discusses that with the press surrounding the IPO and the "buzz" about Google, it has now become the "portal to the web" for many Internet surfers. It has helped to make users search on a more frequent basis.

5. Emerging Ad Models (and PPC Strategies)
-AOL's Click-to-call
-Pay-to-call (David mentions that these work well in a mobile environment)
-Local (cannot be ignored...local search is here to stay and becoming more effective way to target specific audiences)
-"Day Parting" (Timing PPC bids during particular high-conversion times of day. Also possibly to coincide with other Media placements such as TV ads.)
-Mobile technology
-Demographic Search (need for more research sophistication-see 6 and 10)
-RSS (will RSS eventually allow for more ad placement?)

6. Increased sophistication of Data Analytics and Bid Optimization systems
More use of:
-A/B testing
-Campaign "sweet spots" analysis
-Multi-variable Optimization (adding Branding to the value versus just revenue targeting)
-TURNING DATA INTO ACTIONS (Marketing 101 here IMO-we all tend to forget that research is only the key to effective marketing if it is actually acted upon)

7. Search Integration vs Search Silos (I got a little side tracked here on my notes but that was the gist of the Title I believe)
-Comprehensive approach versus search expertise "silos."
--Some companies used to rely only on SEO or Paid Search, but larger and faster-growing ones are doing both and more.
-SEM firms that practice "search integration" are more likely to succeed on their own and for their clients. (Agreed whole-heartedly)

8. Budgets for branding through search
-More companies will be able to perceive the branding value of search and therefore dedicate other parts of the budget towards this effort.

9. Search Outside of Search Engines

10. Sophisticated Search Marketing to create "Search Dominance."
-"Sophisticated SEM's" that are aware of all these trends and practice many of these techniques can be called practitioners of a "search domination strategy."
-Helps to establish leadership position within a niche
-Literally moves client competitors down in rankings
-Has a multiplier effect on campaign performance (for example Kellogg’s multiple brands on the shelf)
-Effectively minimizes consumer choice
-Diversifies SEM risk (by splitting budgets between SEO and PPC, other)
-Is a proven strategy for well known brands.

(Stacy to follow)

Chris Boggs
06-29-2005, 03:07 PM
Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement was up next, and she very aptly accomplished her assignment of talking about an overview of the current SEO world.

“SEO is getting harder and taking longer”
-With the increase in competitiveness for top keyword searches and with so many better sites on the internet, it is important to remember the basics of SEO will be what get your long-term high rankings: Content, linking, and “No tricks.”

-Content is still king. More content will make more sites want to link to you, as well as increasing rankings. Addition of fresh content on a regular basis is important as well
-Must be on regular site (maybe Stacywms can clarify this one…I think I was off in space or something for this comment, but I would guess that she meant that you should keep your content somewhere on your URL instead of counting on lots of linked-to content)
-Blogs are becoming a very important way to present fresh and updated content on a website.
-Press releases. An optimized press release can work wonders for traffic as well as help in the rankings. Some statistics offered by Stacy regarding optimized PR’s include and average of 100,000 reads within 2 weeks. Also, five times as many people are likely to read an optimized press release. The average cost per read was less than one cent. There were an astounding average 500 feed pickups within 2 weeks of the releases.

-Links cannot be ignored. Without links you will probably not rank too well.
-Links should be gathered in a “natural” manner. Too many too fast will probably not help and may possibly hurt. Linking is by definition an ongoing process.
-Links should be from relevant sites only, and link farms should be avoided (note that we will discuss this again briefly in “No tricks” below).

“No tricks:”
-Using optimization “tricks” will only work in the short term. (CB ads: an example would be getting many inbound links from all kinds of sites in a short amount of time- this may work for a while, but probably not for the long term)
-Use accepted forms of SEO and you will get and maintain higher rankings.

Next, Stacy spoke about a few other interesting topics.

Search Engine Reputation Management:
-Stacy described the need for all companies with websites to keep an eye out in the search engine rankings for “bad things.”
-The first example she gave was of a site called homedepotsucks.com appearing on the first page of Google results (around #7) for the term “Home Depot.” The site was talking about the use of “old growth forest” wood by Home Depot-a practice it discontinued years ago. The site is now gone, but obviously created a Public Relations situation for HD. Stacy suggested that the best way to overcome a situation like this was to try to create more content in order to move the offensive listing down in the rankings, hopefully to at least the second page. Legal actions could possibly have been taken.
-The second example was about Choicepoint searches prompting PPC ads from law firms seeking class action participants. The answer in this situation would be do draft a “cease and desist” type letter and hope they stopped bidding on the term. (A search today at Google for “choicepoint” revealed no such listings. I believe that Google has enabled companies to complain about such listings, and I know that you cannot use a trademarked term within a Title or Description. I think that it is still possible to at least temporarily bid on trademarked terms, though)

“Future of Search:”
-(I was happy that I had already thought of some of these topics for my roundtable topic of the same name)
-Local search will continue to grow in popularity and importance. According to Stacy, 25% of all searches performed are local-type searches. People are not only seeking local products, but also services such as “haircuts” and “restaurants.”
-Context will become as important as using keyword phrase within site conent. For example, pages using “sofa beds” will be treated like pages using “pull out couches.”
-Search is ubiquitous (being everywhere at the same time). Data proliferation in products such as iPods or Tivo will necessitate search to help manage them.
-Pay-per-Instant Message: coming soon to a search product near you.
-Personalization of search will become more important to target with SEO. Gave the example of Yahoo! Mindset currently in BETA.

Chris Boggs
06-29-2005, 03:26 PM
After Stacy spoke, Elisabeth took the mic again and laid down some hard core "Durty South" rap. Well actually she didn't but that may have been appropriate?

Elisabeth asked a few questions of the panelists and I am afraid I didn't take too many notes as I was more interested in the responses.

She did mention the increasing prevalence of pay-per-call, which is estimated to be a $40 Million industry within four years, according to I believe Stacy.

She also questioned the apparent ineffectiveness of many local searches currently, citing the lack of many restaurants in searches for "<city name> restaurant." (In my opinion the reason for this is two-fold: first because not many restaurants have been targeted by SEO firms in the past -- those that have done SEO could get rankings-see "The French Gourmet" in a search at Google for "San Diego catering" as an example. Notice they have done well for “catering,” but if you go to the “restaurant” page, you will find an ineffective title omitting “San Diego.” The second reason IMO is that so many restaurants are happy to simply be listed in the directories that dominate such searches as “<city> restaurant")

Lastly, a few questions from the floor were fielded. One gentleman described the importance of blogging in the future, another asked about something I can’t remember (help anyone?) and I asked about whether Pay-per-call and pay-per-click can co-exist on the same page. Stacy thought so, saying however that pay-per-calls bids can be very high since the chances of conversion are higher (a thread about this (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=6608)). I also asked about the opinion of increased fraud in contextual advertising from scraper sites and other sites that seem to manipulate clicks as described in this thread (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=6473).

Break time! Everyone that I talked-to on break seemed to have enjoyed the excellent panel.

06-29-2005, 03:34 PM

06-29-2005, 04:30 PM
How was the attendance?

Chris Boggs
06-29-2005, 04:34 PM
attendance was over 100, not sure exact number. Maybe Elisabeth can clairfy that topic/question?

06-29-2005, 06:17 PM
I've asked Karen for the final total (after on-site registration) so I'll post it as soon as I know.

Terrific coverage, Chris. I'm definitely interested to see posting about the roundtable discussions as well.

Feedback was really positive overall - we did get some good tips on how to adjust the format, some people of course didn't think 15 mins give or take was long enough per topic.

But I'm really stoked that the event appeared to suceed in what it was intended for - networking & meeting others in the SEM biz locally.

Again, we missed having Sebastian's presentation, but perhaps he will get to give it at a local AiMA or other SEM event in atlanta in the future.

06-29-2005, 06:25 PM
Sounds like a great event, guys. I look forward to seeing all of you in Dallas soon ;)

06-29-2005, 08:43 PM
After Stacy spoke, Elisabeth took the mic again and laid down some hard core "Durty South" rap.

Actually, I've got more of a crunk sound:)

Look for it in San Jose during Pimp my Site (http://www.jupiterevents.com/sew/summer05/agenda3.html) !!

06-30-2005, 12:07 AM
Way to go Stacy!!!! :D

06-30-2005, 04:34 AM
Nice work Chris! :)

06-30-2005, 07:23 PM
Crunk is the "durty south" sound.


talkin to a baller right here, G...

betta' ask somebody.

06-30-2005, 08:27 PM
Crunk is the "durty south" sound.


talkin to a baller right here, G...

betta' ask somebody.

ahh... true, but by definition of the Urban dictionary:

Crunk (or krunk) is a specific type of hip hop music, based out of the southern United States, particularly Atlanta, Georgia. While most crunk-style music could be called "Dirty South" or southern rap, the reverse is not necessarily true. Eightball & MJG for example have a more "Southern funk" sound.

but you're the local expert, so I defer to you:)
and of course, I live in ootah, not exactly the most crunk-tified state;) :D

but I love durty south/crunk all the same.

07-01-2005, 06:14 AM
Thanks for the nice writeup, Chris! And thanks, Elisabeth and Karen, for putting the event together. To clarify Chris' point about my presentation...I was given 5-10 minutes to cover SEO, so you can imagine my dilemma. Besides future trends, I focused quickly on getting back to basics, and how building quality content and quality links is more important than ever. What I meant by "content on the site" was that, in addition to building unique, valuable content on your site, there are some off-site places you can put content that'll help drive traffic and build links to your site: blogs and optimized press releases. They can rank high in their own right.

I'd have to say there was a definite lack of crunk at the Ritz Carlton -- but y'all have an open invitation to come back and stay longer, and we'll show you "the ATL" right!

07-01-2005, 12:38 PM
Excellent coverage Chris! Thanks so much!

Chris Boggs
07-01-2005, 04:15 PM
thanks everyone for the kudos. I has fun writing it. Here's a thread (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=6610) about the roundtable I chaired.

07-03-2005, 02:01 AM
Coverage a-la-Chris has been really great!

It's amazing to me how so much information and so many great, pertinent topics were covered in such a short period of time, but even just reading the agenda and the coverage given have really served to put the thinking cap on and motivate toward starting to venture into some territory that's been unexplored so far.

Thanks for the fine coverage - much appreciated!

07-07-2005, 01:37 PM
Excellent coverage Chris! Thanks for the info.