Underreported Stories from Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008

All week long, I’ve been reporting on the top 10 stories from each day of Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2008. Generally, they were generated by news coverage of the three keynotes and two Orion Panels, or interviews with speakers at the 63 conference sessions. Hey, that’s just fishing where the fish are.

But there were a couple of other places where I found underreported stories from SES Chicago 2008: SES Magazine, the Expo Hall, the free mini clinics, and the search training workshops.

If you didn’t attend Search Engine Strategies Chicago this year, find someone who did. And “borrow” his or her copy of SES Magazine. There is a lot of content in there – beyond the conference information.

For example, there’s an article by Kate Kaye, senior editor of ClickZ News, entitled “Politics 2.0: Political Change Comes to Search, Too.” It looks at the search marketing tactics that Chicago’s own Barack Obama and his rivals used during the 2008 presidential electiion. My favorite underreported story is how the campaigns employed search to take advantage of hot topics right away.

If you can’t find someone with a copy of SES Magazine, then check out the interview below with Kate, which appeared back in June.

Obama Ads Online: Search Advertising Analysis by Kate Kaye

Meanwhile, over at booth #315 in the Expo Hall, ideaLaunch was giving demos of WordVision, its new SEO software tool that uses a complex algorithm to recommend hot keywords to SEO writers. Yes, that got my attention. And once this content is uploaded to a website, it tracks the contents’ impact on search engine listings so that SEO managers can understand the overall ROI of content assets. Yes, that got my attention, too.

But wait! There’s More!

Over at booth #204, there were a series of free mini clinics. Tim Ash, the President of SiteTuners, ran one called, “Your Baby Is Ugly – Landing Page Mini-Critiques.” David Szetela, the CEO of Clix Marketing, ran another called, “Power PPC Advertising Clinic.” Jonathan Mendez, Founder and CEO of RAMP Digital, ran a third called, “ CPA Optimization Station.” And Brad Geddes, Founder of bgTheory.com, ran a fourth called, “Ad Copy to Landing Page Review.”

In fact, check out what Kurt Scholle, Head Coach of WebAsylum.com, wrote about them at Website-ROI-Guy:
I Met a Rockstar at Search Engine Strategies/Chicago
Your Baby Is Ugly – Landing Page Mini-Critiques (SES Chicago)

Okay, so maybe the mini clinics weren’t as underreported as SES Magazine and the Expo Hall stories. But it doesn’t hurt to overreport them, does it?

Finally, there are the six search training workshops, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 12 at the Chicago Hilton. These include:

Search & Analytics Workshop: Using Analytics to Increase Search Effectiveness — Analytics are a gold mine of information, just waiting to be uncovered. The results of campaigns, effectiveness of the website, and the efficiency of your rankings can all be measured with a good analytics program. Unfortunately, many site managers do not make changes to the website without prior measurement, nor do they measure after the changes. As a result, there are many changes to sites that are not based on facts, merely assumptions. Similarly, if changes are not analyzed, then there can be no clear understanding of whether or not improvements made a difference on the site or to the bottom line.

Viral Marketing & Link Baiting — Attendees will gain a better understanding of the concepts, ideas and implementations that are required to launch a viral marketing or link baiting campaign. They will learn why the Internet has created a unique environment that allows for rapid, inexpensive word of mouth marketing and how they can harness that environment to promote their own products and services. The workshop will give real life examples of both good and bad viral marketing campaigns and will share insight on how your business can capitalize on your competitor’s viral disasters. This workshop will also focus on how you can make use of consumer generated media environments like social media outlets, blog marketing, discussion forums and more to both monitor and expand your company’s online persona. Consumer generated media (the very core of viral marketing) is the fastest growing form of media online today. It’s only a matter of time until someone online talks about your business. This course will not only help prepare you in the ways to respond to the conversation, it will help you learn how to shape that conversation to your advantage.

Link Building Tactics, Tools & Techniques — Need links? In order to rank well and successfully promote your online business, you need an effective link building program as part of your overall SEO strategy. This link building workshop will help you to better understand and manage your link building campaigns by providing you with the knowledge to create proven, practical and creative link marketing campaigns. You’ll walk away understanding why you need certain links, how to find them, and how to effectively use links to promote your brand and your search engines rankings.

Advanced AdWords — This session is broken down into two sections. The first section examines how to effectively use keywords, ad copy, landing pages, and the search and content networks to effectively reach your target audience based upon where consumers are in the buying cycle. The second section will examine different bidding strategies you can employ to maximize your campaign’s goals.

Search Engine Optimization Workshop — A search-engine friendly Web site is a user-friendly, search-friendly, and persuasive site that converts visitors into buyers. In order for a site to be search-engine friendly, it must meet the terms and conditions set forth by the search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, Ask, etc). Additionally, the site must satisfy the needs of site visitors. Ultimately, the site must be profitable for the Web site owner. Can a single site satisfy all of these groups? This workshop will demonstrate that these skills are essential for building a user-friendly, search-friendly, and persuasive site that converts visitors into buyers.

Optimizing for Universal Search — Universal search changes everything! The advent of Google’s Universal Search has been called “the most radical change to its search results ever.” So, how do you take advantage of Google’s new approach that blends listings from news, maps, video, and image search among those it gathers from web search? This training session will help you get found in all the right places.

The full-day training session is $1,345 and half-day is $745. Register for SES SEM Training at http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/chicago/training.html.

Now, I realize that the search training workshops haven’t even been held yet. So, it may be premature to call them underreported. But trust me on this. Most of the journalists and bloggers who covered SES Chicago 2008 this week have already headed home. So, I’m pretty confident predicting that this, too, will be one of the underreported stories from the conference and expo.

Hey, I could be wrong. As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

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