Toronto Mike

Notes From SES Toronto 2008: Day One


I mentioned I'm attending the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo Toronto 2008 today and tomorrow, and that's where I've been all day.  I'm throwing down a quick entry with some thoughts about search engine marketing and e-marketing in general, and then we in Raging Storm have a double header to play.

They call this expo Search Engine Strategies, but it may as well be Google Strategies.  Even though a primary sponsor is Yahoo! Canada and their logo appears on the main banner, it's all about The Google.  Almost 70% of all North American searches now happen in Google.  Overseas, that figure rises dramatically.  Google's slice of the search pie is only increasing as more and more of us pad their coffers with AdWord accounts and try to get a little back with AdSense.  Yahoo! and MSN are becoming less and less significant in the search marketing game.

Today I attended four sessions.  Here are some quick thoughts on each one.

Opening Keynote: Fredrick Marckini - Fredrick's a great speaker who mixes in just the right amount of humour.  He emphasized the ubiquitous nature of search - it's everywhere. We're searching YouTube, blogs,,, Flickr, our PVRs, MySpace, Facebook, and a bunch of different search engines.  It's all about the search, and if you're not in the first three pages of results, you're invisible.  It's truly akin to putting up a billboard behind a very large and dense bush.  It's there, but nobody will see it.  SEO must be administered to everything you place online.

Universal and Blended Search with Mike Grehan, Mitch Joel, Dustin Rideout and Andy Renieris - I'm old enough to remember a time when SEO was all about text.  HTML text that was indexed, and if you put the right keywords in the right place and carried some weight with the Google bots, you ranked highly for those targeted keywords.  This session suggested that SEO was being replaced by DAO: Digital Asset Optimization.

The consensus was that, as Google integrates it's image search results, it's YouTube video results, it's maps and it's news results into the main search results feed, it's becoming just as important to target these Google databases as well as the universal search.  I've long believed in leaning on the power of YouTube and Flickr for emarketing purposes, but I haven't drank the Kool-Aid yet that suggests on-site textual optimization no longer matters.  Google SES Toronto and see what I mean.

Orion Panel: Measuring Success in a 2.0 World with Kevin Ryan, Andrew Goodman, Heather Dougherty, Bret Grinslade, Adam S. Goldberg and Mike Grehan - Our 2.0 World seems to be all about social media sites and blogs, and it's what we don't know that's most alarming.  Kevin Ryan did a great job as moderator pressing the panel to specifically site a Web 2.0 marketing campaign that worked and explain why it worked.  This is all so new, it seems few marketers are really sure why Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube matter.  There was an entire session today devoted to Twitter and whether it's a great marketing tool or a gigantic waste of time.  If I took anything away from this session it's validation that everything that can be measured should be measured and numbers don't mean shit if you can't apply what you know to your marketing strategy.

Paid Search: Advanced Issues in PPC with Kevin Ryan, Mona Elesseily, Jeff Lancaster, Bill Tighe and Adam Muscott - Bill Tighe was the Google guy, so we peppered him with Adwords questions.  I won't tell you exactly what I spend on Adwords each day (not for this site, I assure you), but it's a lot.  Test your ad copy, ensure you're bidding on the right keywords and optimize your landing page.  Those three tips are free, but the next one will cost ya.

I'm looking forward to day two.  The search marketing world changes at a rapid pace and one company is controlling our universe.  Thankfully, that company isn't Microsoft, but it's still scary to think one significant change to the Google algorithm could change everything.

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