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March 6, 2008

SEO True or False

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Speakers Get Paid To Attend SEO Conferences

True.

Really? Were people unaware of this before? Why all the uproar now? I’m not sure but the conversation that took place in my Twitter feed and on Sphinn kept me quite amused yesterday. I know for a fact that Bruce does not get paid for all the crazy traveling that he does in order to participate in the various SEO education opportunities he dedicates his time to, but I’ve also known for a fairly long time that others do. Also, I don’t really care.

If a conference wants to pay certain speakers for their time or comp their lodging/airfare costs, so be it. Is it fair the other speakers who aren’t paid for their time? Maybe not. But life’s not fair and this is a business. Deal with it. Or maybe you should go make yourself so indispensible that the conference speakers are bowing down to throw money at you.

Barry mentioned over at Search Engine Roundtable that sometimes speakers are paid when it’s not likely that they’ll get much client work from their experience or if it’s a smaller shop. This makes so much sense it hurts. If the only way a small-time business owner with vast search engine optimization knowledge can attend a conference is if the organizers agree to fly them out, then of course they’re going to fly that person out. It’s the networking and knowledge transfer that really makes a conference, and knowledgeable speakers are a big part of that.

Google Will Own 90 Percent of the Market Next Year

I say true.

Jason Calacanis says that by this time next year Google will own 90 percent of the search market in the United States. You know, as much as I wish that wasn’t true and that for the love of God we’d actually get some competition in here to make things interesting, I have to agree with him. With Ask dead (don’t listen to SEW today. Ask is gone) and Microsoft and Yahoo headed to court and into the boardroom for the next 2 years, Google is left to silently ride through and pick up more people to hop on their bandwagon.

Even if Yahoo and Microsoft don’t end up joining forces, I still don’t have any trust in what they’re bringing to the table. The industry needs competition to thrive and right now, and as Michael Gray points out, we don’t have any. Everyone is too busy playing catch up to attempt something new. Search is in danger of getting seriously boring in the very near future. Any suggestions on fixing that or any new engines I should be watching? Let me know.

Analytics Isn’t Important

Don’t be dumb. Totally false.

Web analytics is everywhere lately. To not pay attention to it is setting your business up to fail, especially with some of the cool stuff now being offered by Omniture and Google Analytics.

I’ve been especially impressed with the stuff Omniture has been doing lately*. TechCrunch was among the first to report that Omniture had launched some revamped versions of SiteCatalyst and SearchCenter tools to help search marketers track their campaigns. The coolest new feature comes in SiteCatalyst’s ability to track video and Flash (you need to add a 2 byte SWF file first) usage on the Web. As marketers started to get their sites ready for blended search, this data is going to become increasingly important. I know Google is doing some stuff with video analytics as well, but I really like what Omniture is offering up here.

[*Full disclosure: We're an authorized Omniture sales and support agency. However, I think you know that if I thought Omniture sucked, I'd have no problem telling you that. ;)]

Speaking of Google Analytics, yesterday Marketing Pilgrim revealed that Google will be adding industry benchmarking as a new beta feature inside its Web analytics tool. This will allow marketers to compare their aggregated data to their competitors to see where they fare. If you’re interested, you have to tell Google by opting in. If you don’t opt-in or take no action, Google won’t use your data. Sounds fair.

Andy also reported that Google will soon begin offering tracking for Google Audio ads, allowing advertisers to track impressions, spots, etc. Good to know.

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10 responses to “SEO True or False”

  1. Dan Graham writes:

    I think there is a big difference between paying a speaker to come speak and being paid by a speaker to let them speak. My understanding was that the sponsored talks were the latter and that people were essentially buying their way into the conference. Maybe I got that wrong?

  2. Neerav writes:

    I also find it surprising that people are upset about speakers being paid to attend SEO conferences
    It’s normal practice in most conferences I’ve attended for them to pay big shots in their industry to do keynote speeches and chip in for an airfare + accommodation
    Otherwise the only speakers you’d get would be locals and those independently wealthy enough to finance their own travel and expenses

  3. SEO Pune writes:

    Google Analytics , is an SEO favorite and I believe it provides the right information ,and is very compatible.

  4. TriExpert writes:

    Lisa, who knows how close to launch these may be, but Blekko and Cuill are on the horizon; and Hakia ain’t entirely awful.

  5. g1smd writes:

    *** Maybe I got that wrong? ***

    No you didn’t get it wrong, but there have been at least two parallel conversations going on for at least the last week or so.

    One was that some people thought that some of the sponsored sessions at SES and/or SMX sucked, and were too pitchy for their liking. Some people didn’t like the idea of businesses paying to present presentations to people that had had to pay to hear them. Another sub-topic was that at one point in the day, *all* of the parallel sessions at one conference were to be ‘sponsored’, and several people commented that would be the time they browsed the exhibition hall and/or retired to their hotel room for a short nap.

    The other was the ‘revelation’ that some speakers have a large portion of their travel and accomodation paid for in order to get them to the conference to speak, whilst others attended at sometimes considerable personal cost.

    These conversations are scattered over a number of popular blogs, forums, and social sites, so you can be forgiven for not joining (or finding!) all of the dots…

  6. Rae writes:

    >>>If a conference wants to pay certain speakers for their time or comp their lodging/airfare costs, so be it
    Lisa, in all fairness, that is an easy comment to make for someone whose boss pays for every single trip they take and especially if that boss is one of the people having subsidies thrown at him to being down that cost. It is also an easy comment to make for an SEO firm who lives off business drummed up at those conferences so they need to attend them.
    Danny even said that some people get airfare/hotel comped when it is the difference between them speaking or not. I’m sure this is going to get me some backlash, but, if you can’t afford to make the trip, are you really a person to be lecturing on how to be successful in SEO?

  7. Nick Wilsdon writes:

    Hi Lisa,

    You’ve linked to the Sphinn story about SES holding some sponsored sessions. That story wasn’t the one that started the controversy regarding some speakers being given airfare and hotel. That was a different issue completely and unrelated to MG article.

    I don’t really want to link to the article that started all that off on Twitter (the anonymous gossip blog), but not sure that other Sphinn story should be linked in this context?

  8. Lisa writes:

    @Rae: [I know I'm a little late on this but I was out sick yesterday. Deal with it.]
    So your argument is what? That people shouldn’t be comp’d because if they’re worth their salt they should be able to afford their own ticket?
    Yeah, I think that’s a bit harsh. I think there are plenty of great search marketers/usability folk who simply can’t pack up and leave the office for three days, whether for professional or personal reasons. If Danny comping their travel expenses helps them get there, then I have no problem with that. Perhaps the free room and board means they can afford to hire a nanny for the week.
    And I’m not sure how my situation at BC plays into all this. Wouldn’t a spoiled brat like myself who gets all their shows covered be against speakers getting comp’d? :)
    @Nick If you can find the link for me, I’ll update it. I seem to be inept at tracking things down on Sphinn. I, of course, blame the error on Sphinn. :)

  9. SEO and SEM Consultants writes:

    Why would people be so upset over being paid and doing it for the benefit of others. if people want to get paid to speak let them. It is their choice to do so. Anf for those who wish not to be paid, more power to them, as long as they have other ways to supplement their income.

  10. Kirill writes:

    I think it’s fine that speakers are paid to come to conferences as long as they add value and substance to their session. Yeah, not sure why so many people are of the opinion that analytics are whack. Possbily the worst line of thinking to take..



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