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Event Recap: SEMpdx Hot Seat

So, in our recent deluge of new clients and trying to keep up with our increased workload – I neglected to announce to our dear readers that I’d be a panelist at last night’s SEMpdx Hot Seat event.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Hot Seat series – the concept is simple. We line up 5 search experts on a panel, we put a Web site on display, then the panel tells the site owner what they could be doing better from a search marketing standpoint. Inevitably, some advice about improving conversions & usability gets doled out as well.

The event was a great success if I do say so myself (I planned it after all). And judging from the feedback in the surveys, the attendees seem to agree with me. About 50 people attended, and we reviewed a widely diverse set of 6 sites:

One of the things that always strikes me as surprising when you talk to site owners is that many of them don’t know the keywords they should be targeting, yet they don’t understand why they don’t have better search engine placement & traffic. How are you going to optimize a site for search engines if you don’t have a keyword strategy? From the response of the crowd – I gather that keyword research is still a bit of a mystery. You can find links to a few keyword research resources on our site.
Word to the wise – doing a good job at keyword research and deciding on which keywords to target isn’t easy, and it can be tedious and it SHOULD be time consuming. Shameless plug – if you need help, Amplify Interactive would be happy to put together a comprehensive keyword research project for a nominal fee.

The next thing that surprises me is that even the basic SEO-101 stuff gets neglected. Things like placing keywords in title tags, writing META descriptions, putting a statement on the home page about who you are, what you do and what I will find on your site, using keywords in body copy, etc. As search marketers – we tend to think that this stuff is common knowledge that everybody knows. Could it be that we’re the only people who think this is the most important stuff in the world? I’m shocked… :)

So I’m glad that these events are popular enough that 50 people walked away last night KNOWING that they had to know their keywords and use them in their title tags. If we accomplished that then SEMpdx is definitely accomplishing their mission.

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency’s Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 – when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn’t looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine – in that order, etc. Mostly – he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn