Monday, 28 February 2011

The diary of an SES Conference virgin

Last week I attended SES London for the first time.  Actually I should say: last week I attempted to attend SES London, attempted because my pesky colleagues would keep booking me in for meetings when I was suppose to be there.  So, in the words of the new cult phenomenon, Rastamouse: "Wagawan?"

Why did I want to go to SES London?

I like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable about search engine optimisation, but it's one of those subjects which is ever changing, and that can make you wonder.  Whatever your knowledge and skills, if you find yourself occasionally gripped by an irrational paranoia that there is some big secret or new development that you're not aware of, then SES bills itself as the cure!

In particular there were three sessions I wanted to see:
  1. Content Marketing Optimisation with Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
  2. Developing Great Content with Amanda Davie, Founder & Managing Director, Reform and Caragh McKenna, Senior Manager, SEO, The Search Agency
  3. SEO Through Blogs & Feeds with Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Creative Director, and Andrew Girdwood, Media Innovations Director, bigmouthmedia.
Did I learn anything?

Yes I did.... Firstly, SES reinforced a lot of things I already knew, and there is value in that.  It also gave me time out of a very hectic office to stop and think, and that is important. 

But what else?
  • The continuing importance and value of content, and I'm delighted to say not just any content but quality content.
  • The big digital content strategy lie: "build it and they will come."
  • Dozens and dozens of new web tools and case studies
  • And lots of new ideas to explore in further blog posts.  I shall write about the sessions I attended in more detail in some new posts to come.
And the networking?

Unfortunately I couldn't make any of the evening drinks, which judging by some of the hangovers people were sporting, is probably not a bad thing.  There wasn't much opportunity for networking during the show because most of the time I was dashing from one sessions to another and back to work, though thanks to the power of Twitter, I met up with Nichola Stott, founding director of SEO PR Training.

As an aside, a word on the venue: The Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, it was stiflingly hot and the lunch was pretty rubbish, but on the plus side it is just round the corner from work!

So would I recommend SES London?

Yes I would, there were some excellent speakers, with a lot of knowledge.  I wish I'd been able to go to a few more sessions as there was plenty to keep anyone interested in content strategy engaged.  One thing I haven't mentioned that needs flagging is the cost.  It is pretty expensive, so choose which days you go carefully based on the programme.

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