As I alluded to last week with my post “SEMpdx SearchFest 09 Rawked!“, I asked the team to give me their impressions from SearchFest 09. The SEMpdx board put together a similar post on the SEMpdx blog and you can read all of our SearchFest 2009 Reflections impressions over there. We’re biased though because we’re too close to SearchFest, so I wanted to see how the team felt about their experience and what they learned. Here’s what they had to say:
In my opinion SearchFest â€™09 knocked it out of the park! It was great to see such a high caliber of speakers and can very well be the point where we look back and say this was the event that put Portland on the Search Marketing map. Seeing Danny Sullivan (the Godfather of search) kick-off the festivities at a SEMpdx event was a big indicator that SEMpdx has arrived as an organization.
But it wasnâ€™t just the speakers that made the event it was also the topics that were discussed. The level of diversity for the different sessions was impressive providing value for everyone, from the novice to expert. I especially enjoyed the analytical session where Eric Peterson, Ian Lurie and Bob Garcia discussed the future of online measurement and services that are readily available today that can make a big difference when it comes to increasing the bottom line.
Searchfest 2009 was my first Searchfest, and I can honestly say is, “nerds, nerds as far as the eye can see, and even some lady nerds.” But in all seriousness it was great. The information served up was almost overwhelming in its quality and quantity. It had everything for everyone no matter the experience level. The speakers not only had a lot of brand cache (see: Yahoo, Microsoft, SEOmoz, Search Engine Land, etc), but they were entertaining and personable.
My highlights from the event:
Best speaker: Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Land) â€“ Almost most entertaining, but got edged out. Loved his dismissal of white hat vs. black hat debate. Basically, do not be a scumbag, not cheating and down with the spammers. Being fairly green in the industry, I enjoyed his “historical perspectives” on search.
Most Entertaining Speaker: Marty Weintraub (aimClear) â€“ He could have filled the whole hour, and no one would have noticed.
Best Session: SEO Beyond Theory: SEO Tips From the Trenches â€“ Marshall, Laura, Jeff and Derrick presented great tips for SEO noobs and vets, and featured my favorite stats.
Favorite Session: Online Reputation Management â€“ Really good tips about how to set up your own monitoring program with feeds, and how to participate with your consumers online effectively. Plus, swearing, slandering and social media always make for a good time.
Best/Favorite Stat (tie): Derrick Wheeler (Microsoft) â€“ Microsoft.com has over 2 billion+ unique URL. Marshall Simmonds (NYT, About.com) – The New York Times had 591 duplicate versions of a news story. They both better get paid well.
Person Who Learned the Most: Me (Amplify-Interactive)â€¦long way to go before I can present.
Best Room Monitor: Me (Amplify-Interactive) All I can say is I rocked.
1) Favorite presenters / presentations: I really enjoyed the social media session with Dawn Foster, Neil Patel and Matt Inman. Sure, Neil’s presentation might have been more gray area than it should have been… but out of any of the sessions I attended, this one got me thinking the most. Also – Matt’s presentation got me thinking about potential linkbait ideas for my clients; his examples showed that, really, you can create engaging linkbait for any client.
2) Best new tip or trick I learned: there were a couple of key takeaways for me. I gained a great deal of knowledge during the Local SEM session about what’s important when optimizing a local business. There were some ideas presented that got me thinking about optimizing a local website in ways I never even thought about previously. I also learned a couple of tips from the Technical SEO session, namely which pages you should block with your robots.txt file that I didn’t even think about.
3) Best stat: in the PR session – 2/3rds of the “internet population” visit social media sites. That’s a whole lot of Facebook / Myspace / LinkedIn / Twitter people. Todd also mentioned that 91% of people use Google’s standard search to find articles or research something in the middle of a sales cycle.
4) Most interesting industry person I met: Todd Freisen of PositionTech. Funny presentation and he was sitting at my table for awhile and we talked a bit. Funny and nice guy.
5) Etc.: I really enjoyed the sessions I attended. The local session, technical SEO and social media sessions were definitely my favorite.
So – did you go to SearchFest 09? What did you think?