It's that time of year again. The search engine industry has its own version of March Madness, squeezing multiple events into the same month.
If I were to create brackets, then Search Engine Strategies New York would rank as my #1 favorite. (Hey, I've been attending this conference and expo since 2002, when it was still held in Boston. And I'm speaking at three sessions at SES New York 2009 and moderating a fourth. So, I voted with my feet a long time ago, although I should disclose that SES is now a client.) But there are other conferences and forums that are also vying for your attention.
You can't attend them all, so choices need to be made. So, without further ado, here are the four top seeds in this year's March Madness -- the Final Four, if you will, in the 2009 search engine marketing conference tournament:
#1 Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York, March 23-27, 2009.
I think this is a must-attend event. And approximately 5,000 marketers, corporate decision makers, web developers and search engine marketing (SEM) specialists and rookies, including pay-per-click (PPC) advertisers and search engine optimization (SEO) consultants, attend SES New York each year to network and learn the tips, tactics and strategies that aren't covered online.
If you're still on the fence about attending, today is the day to get off the fence. If you register by March 6 (that's today), then you can save up to $200. And if you want a sneak preview of the opening keynote, listen to Guy Kawasaki speak during his Free Webcast at 10 a.m. (PST), 1 p.m. (EST), 6 p.m. (GMT).
Or, check out the video below, which provides an overview of Search Engine Strategies.
#2 SES Amsterdam Forum, 16-17 maart, 2009
Okay, so you need to read Dutch to find out more details about this event. But, if you can read Dutch, then this Forum is targeted at you.
For those of you who want a hint in English about this event, SES Amsterdam will feature a number of workshops designed to educate the beginning SEO/SEM in addition to advanced maximizer sessions for those with years of experience. Topics such as Web 2.0 trends, social media and blogging will also be covered.
The Chair of SES Amsterdam is Henk van Es and the Programming Director for it is Joost de Valk. And this event is actively supported by Taskforce Search the Dutch branch of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
#3. PubCon South, March 11-13, 2009
WebmasterWorld's PubCon will hold its first-ever Texas event celebrating all things search related under the sunny skies of the state's capital Austin. The leading search and Internet marketing gurus will gather for three exciting days of cutting-edge multi-track sessions at Austin's Norris Executive Conference Center.
I interviewed Brett Tabke, the founder of WebmasterWorld, at Search Engine Strategies London last month. Brett talked about his participation on the "SEO: Where to Next?" panel and also gave a quick preview of PubCon South.
#4 Search 2009, 13 mars 2009
Okay, so you need to read French to find out more details about this event. But, if you can read French, then this conference is targeted at you.
I interviewed Marianne Dabbadie, the CEO of Evalir last month at SES London. Marianne discussed her favorite panels and also mentioned Evalir's partnership with Veille Magazine and Abondance in organizing Search 2009, which is dedicated to vertical and enterprise search and is opening its doors to search marketing and optimizing.
There are other events, including ad:tech Syndey, March 10 - 11, 2009, the International Search Summit in Oslo, March 13, 2009, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, March 29-April 1, 2009, and SMX Sydney, April 2-3.
These are the Elite Eight in my March Madness metaphor. So, check out their agendas and see what they offer. No one can attend them all -- unless, of course, they own a private jet.
Starting next week, I plan to focus on SES New York 2009. Since this event features two keynotes, an Orion Panel, 65 conference sessions, six SEM training workshops, SEO training, and web analytics training, I'm planning to drill down into the choices facing attendees. You can't attend everything -- unless, of course, you bring a team of five of more people to the conference and expo.
(That's what my firm is planning to do. But that's another story for another day.)