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February 15, 2007

Search Engine Strategies London, Day 1

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Guest entry from Marie Howell, Bruce Clay Europe.

Marie was kind enough to act as Bruce Clay’s roving reporter during SES London. We will be posting her daily recaps throughout the day.

Day 1 of SES London kicked off with a number of exciting sessions on search marketing, covering everything from keyword selection to click fraud and auditing. With high industry experts such as Greg Boser (Webguerrilla), Shuman Ghosemajumder (Google), Elizabeth Osmeloski (Search Engine Watch), Jeff Rohrs (of Sausage manifesto fame) and others.

The Organic track was the highlight of Day 1. Chris Sherman acted as the moderator and introduced industry luminaries such as Greg Boser, Mikkel deMib Svendson, Dave Naylor, Barry Lloyd (former owner of makemetop), and Rand Fishkin. (Sorry, you don’t get to catch up him with this time, Lisa!).

With panellists of such a high calibre, the audience certainly wasn’t disappointed and listened to the experts discussing various optimisation and site issues. From the angelic position of the gorgeous Rand, who championed white hat throughout, to a discussion of the ‘dark arts’ by some of the others, it was a fascinating and informative session. SEO Rockstar Greg shared stories of how white hat, organic search engine optimisation, and cleaning up sites (and then ensuring they remain clean) had benefited his corporate clients and helped them to drive vast amounts of traffic and revenue. Mikkel supported this assertion by recommending a similar approach in response to one of the audience’s questions about a particular client Web site.

Mikkel’s passion for search engine optimisation was evident through his eloquent monologue about SEO being a science. He stressed to the audience how search engine optimisation is difficult. It is a science which, unlike nuclear physics or rocket science, does not have manuals or books and so groundbreaking solutions evolve every day. Search engine optimisation is hard work. It requires expertise, constant training, growth, research, development, continual testing and sound methodologies. In another discussion, Mikkel equated search engine optimisation with public relations, saying it is an essential part of any marketing strategy and can result in great ROI.

An example of which was recounted by Rand when he told a captivated audience that he knew of one company who had invested approximately £1000 for a couple of hours of Mikkel’s SEO expertise, which resulted in the company’s revenue increasing by 30,000 Euros the following day. Investment in search engine optimisation is key to developing any Web site and the ROI can be incredible.

Dave Naylor made reference to Jason Calacanis’ Chicago keynote statement and subsequent "SEO is ‘rubbish’" linkbait comments (author discretion used!) He then reinforced this by expressing a personal opinion (!) before articulating very clearly and concisely to the attendees why that assertion is completely inaccurate. Using powerful arguments, persuasive language, and drawing on his extensive experience within the industry, Dave demonstrated the benefits of organic search engine optimisation using concrete examples and quality information.

Attendees were left enthralled during the question and answer period as the diverse panellists offered up their expert advice to an audience salivating over the pearls of white hat wisdom. Fun, lively and interactive: a truly excellent Organic SEO session and an incredible first day.

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