SES San Francisco has a new track. It's a track hosted by SearchEngineWatch and it's called the SEW labs.
If you have been to a Search Engine Strategies Conference before, then you are probably well-versed in what happens in a 'site clinic'. Basically, attendees to the site clinic turn up and thrust their businesses cards into the moderators hand, for review by our expert panelists. The panel then performs an open case study, 'live', offering off-the-cuff recommendations and suggestions for how to improve your website based on the 10 minutes or so they have to look at it.
It's a great session, particularly candid, so site owners need to bring a strong stomach, but the pain is worth it for the gains. For example, at the SES Toronto site clinic, a company of young entrepreneurs put their website, which sold Halloween Costumes, up for review. These guys had a great website, and had pushed the boat out in terms of the SEO campaign, but another three sets of eyes spotted a couple of areas of work. This was what they had to say about tough love:
"Our company had the opportunity to have our site reviewed by a panel at SES Toronto this year and the information we gained through that experience was invaluable. The panel gave us great insight into ways to improve our site in ways we had never thought of before. As a company who has an exclusively in-house SEO team, the outside perspective provided us with assurances on the things we were doing right, and brought to light issues we were too close to the project to see. It was interesting to see that just little changes to title tags and the position of the 'Add to Cart' button could make a big difference to our site's overall effectiveness. The panel's no-nonsense approach to critiquing our site helped drive home the areas that were in need of improvement and what really needed to be done in order to fix those areas."
Ashley Flitter, CTO, HalloweenCostumes.com
Propelled by great feedback from all our site clinics, we decided to launch a 'super' version of the format to honor the super-conference that is Connected Marketing Week. This time we thought we'd spice things up a little and provide even more long-term value and focus to our attendees. So we've split the track into a series of 'Primers' and 'Labs' covering the biggest topics in search right now: PPC, SEO, Local & Video.
To get involved, get yourself or send your team down to the primer session you want to focus on. Here, with our experts, we'll lay the groundwork for what we think are the most robust online marketing strategies out there. We'll go through best practices, but we've got 2 hours, so expect detail and lots of tactics.
However, the magic doesn't really happen until you put your site up for review. To do so, you'll need to find one of the four 'Eggheads', who you'll be sure to recognize as they will be milling around the conference in lab coats, with, um, unusually large brows. Grab them and pitch your site to them and the problems that you're having, to get your online marketing campaign put into the live autopsy.
Then join us in the Lab session, following the primer, to take notes of the live autopsy. Remember it's no pain, no gain. If you are still wondering if it's worth it, Ashley's team at HalloweenCostumes.com emailed us to ask if there was anything they can do to say thanks for the tough love.
Three days later, the Incisive Media postroom called. "Mr Allen? We have a strange package for you."
If you need an outside perspective on your website and online marketing campaigns, be sure to grab me or one of the other Eggheads to discuss your campaign and get you set up for the public autopsy, Dr Gunther von Hagens style.
Check out details of the sessions below: