Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Search Marketing World 2007 Conference run by Interactive return. Jason Roe had a great rundown of the sessions he attended, so I will try keep mine related.
As Jason mentioned, the venue was amazing. I had actually never been to the royal hospital before. There was enough space and the facilities were perfect. Registration was quick and I received a lovely USB keyring from Prosperity. I had a nice chat with Laurence Veale of iQcontent and I have to say, he was one of the nicest guys I have ever met.
Danny Sullivan gave the keynote introduction. It was a well thought out presentation aimed at the marketing crowd and he mentioned an interesting concept that search marketing was like “Reverse Broadcast Advertising” and also cleared up to the crowd that contextual advertising was NOT search.
The session kicked off with Nick Walsh from Net Affinity giving a rundown of the basics you should look for in a search marketing company. Although a lot of what Nick said hit home, he did mention some things that I think I should bring attention to. Nick suggested that an essential deliverable of an SEM was Pagerank. He went on to say that the higher pagerank a SEM company achieves for you, the easier it is to get ranked. I kept quiet on this one, however I think it was quite irresponsible to be dishing out that kind of information to potential clients. Nick also mentioned that competition should be judged on the number of results for a search query. I’m sorry, but that is simply not true.
The next speaker was Teddie Cowell from Neutralize. Teddie had a great presentation and was the most humorous speaker of the day. He was lively, cracked jokes and gave some solid and practical advice on choosing the right search marketing partner. Form this speech alone and the quality of the information in it, I would be happy to recommend anyone in the U.K the services of Neutralize.
Last up was Joanne Farnon from the TSB online marketing department. Joanne was speaking from the point of view of a search marketing client. Joanne was very well spoken and knew exactly what she was talking about. She condensed literally EVERYTHING a client should know into about five minutes and sounded like she knew more about SEO and SEM than many providing the service in Ireland!
Caragh McKenna opened with a speech on how well her company had optimized their clients site.
The next speaker was Lisa Shields from Jurys hotel group. Lisa really, REALLY knew her stuff, however one thing she mentioned really had my mind twisted. Her exact words were
“We don’t want our affiliates STEALING our brand traffic”.
Come again? I am sure noone in the affiliate industry was in the room as there was no reaction to this.
Anthony Quigley of online-marketing.ie was the final speaker at this session. He went through his adwords account and showed everyone how it was set up.
After lunch I attended the “Adwords Advanced Academy”. The session went through the correct structure of and adwords account and how to set up mobile ads. In the Q&A session, I asked the Google guys a few questions. First up was why there was no documentation on the adwords dynamic keyword feature. Their answer? A boilerplate “I was not aware that there was no documentation, please contact support”. The next question was about when the Google website optimizer would be coming out of beta? Unfortunately, they didn’t know. The session was well put together for a company looking to manage their own search campaigns but most certainly not for search engine marketing companies.
This session was VERY interesting and quite technical. Shuman Ghosemajumder of the Google Trust & Safety department gave an excellent rundown on the methods of click fraud (Invalid clicks) used by scammers and what Google has done about it.
Afterward there was a wine reception upstairs where there was some networking and general industry casual chat going on. I had some great conversation with others in the industry and got a lot of information about the specifics of what everyone does.
Overall, the event was very well executed and seeing this was the first event of the kind in Ireland, I was happy enough with it. However, the target audience for this event was a little off. There were many people sent by their companies from the respective marketing departments who were absolute novices. This event would suit them to the ground. However, there were many people there including myself who gained little value from the sessions. The “Advanced Tracks” could hardly be considered advanced and I was disapointed at the lack of additional information I picked up. Many, if not all of the sessions were indirect sales pitches for the company giving the session. However, meeting with fellow industry colleges was worth the price of the ticket. As too was getting to meet many people who would (Hopefully) be entering the online marketing world in Ireland very shortly. I also got to have a lengthy chat with the Google Adwords rep, the Adsense rep and the Google analytics rep. I got the majority of my valuable information from them.
Props to Martin Murray of interactive return for a well put together day. I hope next year to see some “Real” advanced stuff and see how far the industry has progressed.