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Thursday, June 19, 2008

11 SES Toronto Highlights: A Personal Take

My first SES has come and gone. Left behind is a plethora of good memories and lessons learned. Among the highlights of the event:

  • Fredrick Marckini’s heartwarming dedication to his mother during the opening keynote address. Hey, don’t laugh..I thought it was great.
  • Fredrick’s shameless plug of Andrew Goodman’s upcoming book. I saw quite a few books and resources mentioned in sessions – showcasing the depth of expertise that the SES speakers bring to the table. The conversation goes on after the show is over, of course.
  • Uniting Page Zero colleagues normally thousands of miles apart. I finally put faces to several voices I knew only from conference calls and e-mails, and everyone lived up to – or exceeded – his or her sterling reputation in person.
  • Kevin Ryan and Greg Jarboe asking the Intro to Search Engine Marketing session audience if they knew what pay-per-click was. Every hand in the room shot up, even though this was the “intro” track. The rooks did their homework before they arrived.
  • A delicious dessert at lunchtime. Brownies are one of my true vices.
  • A handy breakdown of multivariate testing and managing ad campaigns by Mona Elesseily, Jeff Lancaster and Bill Tighe. I learned that my gut was right on some of my own tricks – I’m a fan of making ad groups for misspelled words – and that I have a long way to go in other areas. Time to really put my ad testing skills, well, to the test.
  • Bryan Eisenberg’s frank, vibrant keynote address Wednesday morning. He makes important points but does so in terms everyone can understand. Who wouldn’t get hooked on all those snappy diagrams showing search users’ eye movements? Cool stuff.
  • This exchange during the uber-technical Web 2.0. and Search Engines session Wednesday afternoon:
    • KEVIN RYAN: OK, raise your hand if that wasn’t way over your head. (Most of the attendees raise their hands – I wasn’t one of them)
    • KEVIN RYAN: OK, raise your hand if you just lied.
  • Amanda Watlington sending shudders down my spine during her macabre session on SEO scams. The worst are the firms that refuse to show how they do what they do – “magic sauce,” as she put it. Reminds me of ordering a sandwich at Quiznos. How can we trust them when their sneeze guard is opaque? I never know what they’re mixing up back there.
  • Matt Van Wagner ending the scams session and, essentially, SES, with the claim that Al Gore did in fact invent the Internet. I ended the day laughing. What else could I want?
  • All in all, a great first SES experience, one in which I was made to feel as welcome as the big-name speakers were.

Posted by Matt Larkin




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