Red Hot Topics at SES Toronto 2010


I know, I know. If you live in a warmer climate, you’ll find the “heat alert” now in effect for the City of Toronto rather quaint. Still, with temperatures hitting 30C (approaching 40 on the ol’ Humidex), Torontonians may find it irresistible to let down their hair a bit, climb a tree, fly a kite, or at least have an important-looking business meeting on a patio somewhere over what look like iced teas.

I’m here to guarantee you that things are only going to get hotter for the Search Engine Strategies Toronto 2010 conference, hitting the Hyatt Regency on King St. W., in just over two weeks. The rumors are true: SES is not just about ten blue links anymore. There are panels about social media targeting, measuring the ROI on SEO, integrating brand and search, the latest marketing and competitive intelligence toolkits, and new directions in information retrieval, to say nothing of debates about privacy, hands-on clinic sessions, and even Express Clinics out in the exhibit hall for those who are too cheap (er, I mean, too busy) to pay for a full conference pass.

It’s also going to be another great event for business networking and partying. Being that this is Canada, whenever something is supposed to be tailing off, it’s actually just fine. No recession at SES Toronto — you’ll see what I mean when you get there.

As always the agenda sports a variety of fantastic speakers; some tried and true, many fresh and new. No fluff sessions anywhere to be found. We only have two days to get it done, so when the Advisory Board plans the TO show we tend to select the strongest panels from the long list, to put on this agenda. We also make sure to break a few rules by adding completely new material (sometimes, ill-advised and controversial).

Here are some sessions you may want to pencil in for your agenda planning.

The keynote by Peter Morville. Rightly known to insiders as “The Godfather of Findability,” Morville is the author of several books including the recent  Search Patterns: Design for Discovery. Searching as ordinary people, and living in a society where we increasingly invent new ways of finding information and connections, is a never-ending process of invention and discovery. Look past “default” user interfaces and open your mind to possibility.

A Googler who is NOT Matt Cutts! Maile Ohye of Google Webmaster Central is going to bring the ruckus to her keynote talk… or if not ruckus then insight at least!

A solo presentation by Bryan Eisenberg. Everyone who attends this great solo session, “21 Secrets to Top Converting Websites,” comes away entertained in addition to wealthier. What, you don’t like money?

Managing a global SEO campaign. It’s not easy. It’s what the pundits rudely call “kicking dead whales down the beach”. Crispin Sheridan (who is on the SES Advisory Board) manages a complex global initiative for SAP and is among the talented speakers on this panel. Don’t miss it and if you’re lucky you may carry the conversation on after hours with like-minded long-suffering corporate managers.

Taking SEO In House: While my fellow, esteemed panelists talk about the best way to manage in-house search marketing campaigns, I’ll be providing data (or, if time does not permit, then my naked prejudices as an agency owner) that proves once and for all, you’d be crazy to take all this in-house!

Paid Search: Yes, Canada. It’s time to pay up. Or do a better job of your campaign when you do. Paid search isn’t sexy. We admit it. But it’s core stuff. On Day Two you have your pick of an intro panel led by the inimitable Matt van Wagner, or the Advanced Paid Search panel with yours truly Andrew Goodman, Jon Myers, and Jeff Lancaster. On top of some mind-blowing concepts about ad testing and quality score, I think I’ll pull out a couple of really practical tricks we use at Page Zero all the time… and never tell anyone about. One of them has to do with dayparting, believe it or not! The catch is you’ll need to attend SES to hear about them! 🙂

Facebook Feeding Frenzy: I have to admit that I’m a bit proud of this panel. It breaks all Canadian rules of politeness by creating a mashup of aggressive-minded social media marketers (how to channel-target and test Facebook ads; how to work LinkedIn, etc.) and privacy concerns… yes all in the same chaotic panel. I know it’s wrong. It’s like a car accident waiting to happen. And my pledge to you is that if insufficient fuel is thrown on the fire, I’ll be moderating this panel to add gasoline.

After all folks, all the world’s indeed a stage, and we are merely players, performers, and portrayers.

Other high-profile speakers include Shari Thurow, Mike Grehan, Mona Elesseily, Judith Lewis, Greg Jarboe, Anne Kennedy, Dennis Yu, Jason Dailey, Jeff Quipp, and Cindy Krum.

See you in Toronto!

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