I just got back from the SES Chicago 2011 conference. If you haven’t heard about SES, it is an international conference in which the masterminds of SEO come together to teach classes, have open table discussions, and go over the things that are trending in the industry. Now that it has been a day or two since I have returned from this conference, I wanted to share with you a few things that stuck out to me, and that I took away from the conference in order to help you with your SEO efforts.
First, the conference really made it clear to me that SEO is something that is a part of every major industry. There were some big players that attended the conference such as Fortune 500, and Fortune 10 companies that are looking for a way to get that competitive edge in the SEO and SEM markets. From the few classes that we attended, it was clear that being able to accurately monitor the conversion rates, as well as what people are doing on your site is of upmost importance. In fact, most of the sponsors that visited the trade show were selling software of different kinds to make the tracking and reporting of data simple and easy. I was expecting to see a lot of SEO companies offering their services, but instead saw that tools were the main focus of what sponsers were selling. It is important to note that most of the sponsors were selling tools that worked on a large corporate model, but for the smaller internet marketers like myself, it was still interesting to see some of the tools that have been created.
Second, the conference was mostly made up of people that are actually working in the industry that gave the presentations in the meetings and sessions. This was refreshing to see the success that people are having by following their own strategies and what they believe to work.
Third, it was extremely apparent that most people don’t know how in the world Google really works. I found it very interesting during the round table discussion to move from table to table only to hear completely different strategies and techniques. Since Google keeps their search engine data proprietary, its all we can do to guess and test to find things that we believe works. This means that SEO is much like the King James Bible. Many people interpret it differently and not everyone is on the same page. Google is brilliant for creating something that is so powerful, yet so un-understandable all at the same time.
As much as every touted social networking strategies, it was very apparent that content is still the king. The content that you have on your pages, as well as the content that you are using for backlinks, must be 100% unique and original in order to make a difference. The entire time at the conference I heard stories of how websites tanked traffic wise when the Google “Panda” update hit. As we all know, this update was geared towards killing sites that used horrible and copied content. Having original and unique content is extremely important. If you can’t write, don’t get discouraged as you can run over to our content writing site and order content in bulk.
Optimizing your page with headers, such as h1 and h2, is extremely important as Google places a large emphasis on indexing these. The best thing to do is to simply think to yourself, “How do I make it as easy as possible for a reader to find the information they are looking for?” The answer is by putting keywords, or the main topic in headers to help people easily find out your information as you scroll down the page.
Having a marketing strategy is key. If you are just rolling with the motions, but don’t have a solid plan in place, it will be hard to see success. What I mean by this is where do you want your site to go? How do you want it to grow? What demographic do you want to capture? Having all of this laid out from the beginning is the best way to get the best results as you work hard day in and day out.
The last thing that I got out of the conference is how things are constantly changing for the better. There are websites, social media outlets, and more which make it easier than ever to get results. One site I heard a lot about at the conference was something called slideshare.net. From what I was told, you can upload a power point presentation, but Google can actually index the verbiage on these presentations through the site. This site can be a great resource for links, content indexing, and more. PDF indexing is also something that is gaining traction.
While there will always be new things, it is important to do the best job that you can by staying up with all of the new things going on so that you can take advantage of them. Content is still the king, its just the way that we can present it is what will change. If you have ever wondered if the SEO market is something that is dying off, this conference made it clearer than ever that this industry is thriving and growing extremely quickly. Now is the right time to get into internet marketing as everyone is logging on before they do anything these days.
As you can see, I had a great time at the conference. Your success in SEO is determined by your work ethic and how much actual work you put into it. If you work hard, great things will eventually happen, so keep up the good work and hopefully this small editorial peice will keep you motivated.