I've just returned from Search Engine Strategies London and it's already time to get ready for SES New York 2009. Fortunately, most of the content for the two keynotes, Orion Panel, 65 conference sessions, and nine training workshops will be brand new and even the format for the show is significantly different, so it won't feel like I've "been there, done that, got the t-shirt."
You can see the changes in the industry reflected in the two keynote speakers.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2009, Guy Kawasaki, Author of "Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition" and Founding Partner of Garage Technology Ventures, will be giving the opening keynote, which is entitled: "Twitter as a Tool for Social Media."
Now, Twitter was barely mentioned last year at Search Engine Strategies New York 2008. (The honor of being ahead of the curve goes to Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder of Future Now, who discussed Twitter during his session on "Redefining the Customer.")
And last summer, there was a debate at SES Toronto 2008 about whether Twitter was the ultimate time waster, or a Great tool? I interviewed Dave Snyder, Co-Founder Search & Social , and Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, about Twitter back then.
And now at Search Engine Strategies New York 2009, the social networking and micro-blogging service is the topic of a keynote speech.
The rapid elevation of Twitter's importance is also reflected in recent articles.
On Jan. 26, 2009, Erik Qualman wrote an article for Search Engine Watch entitled, "10 Ways Twitter Can Make Money." Eric asks, "How can Twitter make money? That's the billion-dollar question. This question is important for Twitter, as well as its users and global advertisers."
On Feb. 6, 2009, Anna Maria Virzi wrote an article for ClickZ entitled, "Twitter's Glory Days." She wrote, "As Facebook evolves as a place for friends and family to connect, Twitter continues to penetrate the mainstream as a grassroots consumer-complaint bureau and a virtual business network. Giving the microblogging platform even more oomph is its search tool, which can give a quick snapshot of a developing event and instantaneously connect Twitter users."
On Feb. 13, 2009, Frank Watson wrote an article for Search Engine Watch entitled, "Should Google Buy Twitter?" According to Frank, "Left to its own devices, Twitter could create a large chink in Google's armor. It generates traffic and is far more accurate on building TrustRank."
Twitter's emergence as a major topic is just one example of who even veterans of the Search Engine Strategies conference and expo series come back year after year to this must-attend event to get updates on the major topics.
Another major topic that will put "butts in seats" is the morning keynote on Thursday, March 26, which will be given by John Gerzema, Chief Insights Officer of Young & Rubicam Group and the best-selling author of "The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How To Avoid It."
Now, "brand" was the subject of two conference sessions at SES New York 2008. The first was "Big Brand Search Strategies: Build Connections and Fuel Online Promotions, which featured Carol Kruse, Vice President of Global Interactive Marketing for The Coca Cola Company. The second was "Oldtimers: The Impact of Search on Brand Health Metrics."
And "brand" is also the topic of two conference sessions at Search Engine Strategies New York 2009: "Thinking Outside of Your Website: Branding without Borders" and "Brand & Reputation Management."
But bringing in Gerzema, who has designed brand strategies for clients for almost 25 years, to give a keynote address underscores the value of brands -- especially in a recession.
Last summer, I interviewed Gord Hotchkiss, President and CEO of Enquiro Search Solutions, about Enquiro's online branding and search industry research. Hotchkiss told me about his recent work on the relationship between brand lift and SEO search rankings, essentially contending that high web search rankings are a necessary but not sufficient component of strengthening a brand online. Although established brands do receive lift from winning on relevant web searches, it has yet to be established that unknown brands receive any lift for their high rankings.
At SES New York 2009, Gerzma, a pioneer of account planning in American advertising agencies, will take the topic of brand value to the next level. This is just another reason why this an event you can't afford to miss.
And if you register for Search Engine Strategies New York by March 6, 2009, you can save up to $200.