During the past two weeks, I've given you a couple of reasons why you should go to either Search Engine Strategies Berlin or SES Chicago 2009. For those who want to sing along, they were "two early birds," and "a ranking in the top three."
There are other compelling reasons to attend one of these upcoming Search Engine Strategies conferences -- and it isn't to get "three French hens." That might have been persuasive back in the Middle Ages, but it hardly seems relevant or important these days.
The first key trend is change. Nothing in search marketing is as certain as change. And it appears that the pace of change is accelerating.
Back in 2005, I wrote, "I know that half of what I learned at last year's show is obsolete, and I had to go to this year's show to find out which half." As I continued to track Search Engine Strategies into 2006, this trend continued, unabated. And this was reflected in the conference agenda, where about 50% of the sessions changed from year to year to keep up with the latest search industry trends.
But I've just spent some time comparing the titles and descriptions of sessions for SES Chicago 2009 with the ones for Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008. And only 12 of the 65 sessions at this year's conference are repeats from last year -- and one of these is the Site Clinic, which may have the same title and description, but features entirely new content.
This means that more than 83% of the content of this year's conference is brand new.
Mention this to the folks in finance if they ask, "Didn't you go to this event last year?" Do you think they could afford to skip a financial conference if 83% of the generally accepted accounting principles had changed since last year?
And if the bean counters need an example, mention that Bing didn't exist a year ago -- and now it is grabbing market share, according to the latest comScore qSearch analysis of the U.S. search marketplace.
So, what should be on your search radar for 2010 and beyond? As I said last week, the search engine marketing industry changes so rapidly, that you need to attend SES Berlin or Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2009 to stay up-to-date on the latest market trends.
The second key trend is training.
Last year at SES Hamburg, there were two days of conference sessions. This year at Search Engine Strategies Berlin, there is a day of Workshopsprogramm as well as two days of conference sessions.
At SES Chicago 2008, there was only one day of training workshops. At Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2009, there are two days of training workshops -- one offering a selection of half-day workshops and the second featuring a full day of training by Bruce Clay. In addition, SES has partnered with Market Motive to offer online certification courses.
Now, if type "SEO training" into Google Insights for Search, you'll see that web search interest has grown steadily since 2004 -- and is forecast to continue growing in 2010. So, it's not surprising that more time is being added to the schedules of search engine conferences for training workshops.
But I often wonder if "training" is the right term for the frequent updates that are needed in the rapidly changing search industry. I've heard the term, "lifelong learning," but I've never heard the term, "lifelong training."
But consider this: If you took an SEO training course before May 16, 2007, it wouldn't have covered universal search. Since then, Google has incorporated information from a variety of previously separate sources - including videos, news, images, maps, and websites - into a single set of results.
So, optimizing your website for the era of 10 blue links is like drinking milk two years after the expiration date.
Fortunately, the instructors of the SES training workshops are experts. And their small class settings ensure that you will learn the latest strategy and tactics for today's fast changing search world.
The third key trend is Mike Grehan.
In August, Incisive Media announced the appointment of Grehan as VP and Global Content Director for Search Engine Watch, ClickZ, and Search Engine Strategies. He is one of the big names in our space and has a global reputation.
Grehan wrote one of the first books on search and worked in a senior management capacity on the agency side of the business for a very long time. He has been associated with Search Engine Strategies as a speaker for many years and he's hosted SES London for the past two years.
SES Chicago 2009 will be the first conference to reflect his thought leadership. You can get a preview of his big ideas in the video interview below, which was conducted at SES San Jose 2008.
Next week, we'll look at more reasons to go to either Search Engine Strategies Berlin or SES Chicago 2009. In the meantime, keep singing "three key trends, two early birds, and a ranking in the top three."