Sad but not unexpected news in the industry today as the granddaddy of major search marketing conferences, Search Engine Strategies died quietly with no public announcement. Founded in 1999, SES brought search engines and webmasters or site-owners together. For many older members of the SEO community, myself included, SES was the space where they caught their first breaks. The conference built itself into a major three ring circus touring the globe to crowded conference centers and vibrant tradeshow floors. When the roadshow rolled into NYC, four floors of conference center floorspace was needed to hold the hundreds of vendors and booths.
The conference was started by Danny Sullivan who was also founding editor of Search Engine Watch. Sullivan left SEW and SES in a contract dispute after the online magazine and conference series was sold to Incisive Media by MecklerMedia for 43million in 2005. Danny left to form ThirdDoor Media, Search Engine Land (and ancillary publications), and the extraordinary Search Marketing Expo series. For seven years, there was a healthy rivalry between the two operations with Incisive Media and ThirdDoor complimenting each other and providing two competing platforms in the online magazine and digital conference business.
The day I knew it was over was the day Mike Grehan resigned on the spot at the start of the New York show in 2014, about ten minutes before his opening speech. SES announced their pay-to-play strategy at that show aimed at enticing brands to take the stage without pesky practitioners speaking beside them. This was done in order to increase the perceived value of the conference series in advance of a sale to French conglomerate Blenheim Chalcot.
Things sort of went to hell from that point on. Search Engine Watch has been rudderless and the ClickZ shows reduced to fulfilling contractual obligations. The granddaddy of search conferences is dead and its media publication is likely not far behind.
Air Date: August 11, 2016
Dave Davies and I discuss our own SEO work habits following an article in Search Engine Land by John E. Lincoln titled The 4 daily habits of the most successful SEOs. Here are John’s four essential habits, with some of our ideas added on.
We also talked over a whollop of Google stuff but lead the second segment with the news that AOL and Arianna are parting ways:
Air date: August 4, 2016
It was a busy week in search, at least as related to Google. We had, in no particular order:
In other news, Instagram introduced a new killer feature that copies Snapchat and might be extremely detrimental to Snapchat’s health.
Air date: July 21, 2016
Jim Hedger and Dave Davies speak with JR Oakes, Director of Strategy for Consultwebs, an agency that specializes in online marketing for law firms throughout the United States and internationally. JR wrote a piece in Search Engine Land on machine learning, “An experiment in trying to predict Google Rankings“.
David Ogletree, founder of Web Marketing Experts Training
David Ogletree is a Google and Bing-certified Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising analyst, consultant, and trainer. With over 13 years of experience in the search engine marketing (SEM) industry, Dave brings an extensive knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), PPC, and computer training to his unique online course offerings. In addition to teaching and developing course work and other programs, Dave continues to work as a high-level consultant for various businesses and organizations, small to large, throughout the United States and beyond. You can find out more about Dave’s consulting work and the various projects he takes on by going to our consulting page. (bio from WMEtraining.com)
Dave Davies and I spoke with David Ogletree about WME Training, the state of AdWords and PPC marketing, and his opinions on SEO in 2016. David has a long and respected history in the search marketing industry. His insights on paid search marketing are invaluable to PPC practitioners and advertisers.
As a technical practice and marketing channel, Search Engine Optimization has built credibility over the years but spammers, poorly trained SEOs, and black-hat practitioners continue give it a bad name.
Jim Hedger and Dave Davies discuss a recent Search Engine Land article by Patrick Stox who wrote, “As much as the SEO industry wants to grow up and shed the shady reputation it had in the past, it seems many don’t want to change and still cast a shadow over the industry. For every company doing things right, it seems there are many more who have not updated their practices or still want to take shortcuts.”
It’s a good article and, for a week where little happened in search, a fun topic for the show.
The big news this week was big changes to Google’s Keyword Planner this week as Google restricts access to those with AdWords accounts as reports say Google has turned off access to those that use the tool without being an active advertiser with a currently active campaign.
Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. He bootstrapped the company by providing internet consulting services while funding/managing a team of engineers and marketers to develop and sell software for search engine marketing automation. (bio snippet from WordStream.com)
WordStream founder and current CTO, Larry Kim, dropped by Webcology for a wide ranging interview on statistics, demographics, analytics and web marketing. Kim is a long term web marketer with incredible insights on how to extract consumer data from social media applications like Facebook and LinkedIn, and how to use that information to radically increase conversions in any given campaign. Dave Davies ran into Larry after his Conversion Conference 2016 presentation, “4 Ridiculously Awesome Ways That Search & Social Ads Magnify CRO by 3-5x”. Larry began his presentation with noting, “… small changes usually result in small changes. Sometimes you need to make bold decisions to get significant results”.
He further notes the importance of knowing what a conversion is. A lead that doesn’t convert actually costs money so if a change drives unqualified leads it’s not a good change. The interview lasts about thirty five minutes and was a truly interesting and fun conversation.
A slow tech week made interesting by a big buy. Earlier this week, Microsoft dropped a cool $26.6Billion on the business focused social network so Webcology opened with the simple question,
We followed with stories on:
Air Date: March 10, 2016
New WordPress Plugin to create Facebook Instant Articles as Facebook announced that Instant Articles will be available to all publishers on April 12, 2016. To increase the number of publishers getting on board with Instant Articles, they have announced their own WordPress plugin to make articles Instant Articles friendly.
Instant Articles is similar to AMP in that it creates an extremely mobile friendly version of a page or article that loads up to 10 times faster. Like the AMP plugin, the Instant Articles plugin will make articles that load faster, right within Facebook, rather than the publisher site.
This plugin makes it incredibly easy for publishers to come on board with Instant Articles, if they wish to use it. While there is full documentation, for those without a coding background, the plugin is an easy solution.
Plus Jim Hedger and Dave Davies discuss a query posed to fellow SEO Alan Bleiweiss that asks,
“Is there a way to allow Google to index our entire site, and have it show in organic results, EXCEPT for a specific geographic location? The exclusion is not content specific. I’d like the option to block a site from showing up in a certain metro area (say Phoenix) or even state (say Arizona).”