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April 12, 2007

Search Engine Strategies Diaries – Day 2

“How late were you out last night?”Bleary eyed but bushy tailed colleagues meander through the cavernous hallways of the midtown Hilton trying to remember which sessions they intended to go to and cursing the craziness of staying out all night. Such is the second day of the New York Search Engine Strategies Conference. Though smaller than the San Jose show, New York is far more intense. Perhaps that has something to do with the hyper-charged setting of the big, big city.

Before getting into what I can share from the extraordinary series of events and parties last night, it might be useful to mention some of the notable information shared today.

Traditionally, one of the highlights of a SES show is the opening day keynote conversation between industry luminaries and Danny Sullivan. Today, MSN’s Steve Berkowitz was sat to Danny’s right. When asked about the “double branding” of MSN and, Berkowitz suggested Microsoft was trying to extend brand affiliation but that they planned to integrate more social content in in the near future.

Sessions become more advanced on the second full day of a SES show. Yesterday’s sessions included Link Building Basics, Web Analytics and Measuring Success, Sitemaps and Submissions, Search Ad Buying, Domain and Address Bar Driven Traffic, Writing for Search, Visitor Conversion Strategies, Dealing with Duplicate Content, Creating Compelling Ads, and more. By 6PM, attendees had been treated to over twenty sessions.

The second day of SES also marks the opening of the massive trade show that accompanies the conference. Sprawling over three floors, the trade show brings together representatives of hundreds of web marketing and web services firms. Trying to negotiate one’s way through the trade show floor is an exercise in navigation, without celestial assistance. Massive display booths are set up in hours, converting what once resembled a low-ceilinged airplane hanger into a small village with so many streets a map is needed.

This year, I am associated with two booths, the first being the ISEDN.ORG, the second being WebmasterRadio. Spending time at a booth is about talking to as many people who pass by as possible. For vendors, being at SES is an extremely expensive outing but, the steady stream of traffic passing each booth gives vendors plenty of opportunity to represent their products, ideas or services. Most will see return on their investment.

One notable thing about the ISEDN booth was the number of people looking for an alterative to traditional PPC advertising. Though I only spent two hours or so at the booth, virtually everyone I spoke with was looking for credible advertisings option that carried fixed costs without the risk of click fraud. The ISEDN’s flat-fee contextual advertising structure and expanding distribution system is one of the largest alternatives and the interest shown by most of the visitors to the booth was extraordinary. Veteran web advertisers can obviously see the advantage to the ISEDN’s low cost, flat fee structure. At less than $10 per month per keyword, virtually all are willing to try it.

At the end of the day, the entire convention trade show turns into a social mixer with drinks, appetizers and mingling across all three floors. Once the social is over, another night of parties, gatherings and events begins. Tomorrow is going to be another long day preceded by a mercilessly short sleep. Such is SES. Thank goodness for adrenaline.

 Author:  Jim Hedger is the Executive Editor of Jayde-Online publications and Known as one of the most prolific writers and journalists covering the search marketing scene, Jim also hosts The Alternative on He is currently in New York covering SES NY and getting progressively sleepier.