SES San Francisco – Searching for Successful Search Strategies

Technology Report will be featuring coverage of SES San Francisco, though we’re not sure yet if we’ll be there live or just virtually.

SES San Francisco (formerly “Search Engine Strategies”) is one of the world’s oldest and for many the top online marketing conference series.

Social media continues to shake up the search landscape as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other key large social media sites have become a key focus of online marketing campaigns.   A key focus, but not necessarily a

For more about the upcoming SES San Francisco visit the site and review the Conference Agenda Online.

Key conference keynotes:

  • Design Your Own Search Engine: Lessons from Tough Calls on Content at Google
    What would you do if you were charge of your own search engine? In an interactive panel, Google’s Patrick Thomas walks through some of the tough calls and difficult policy decisions you would need to think about as you try to organize trillions of web pages online.

    Keynote Speaker:    Patrick Thomas, Policy Specialist, Google

  • Running the Gauntlet: Driving Strategic Change in Your Business

    Jeffrey Hayzlett’s Running The Gauntlet is a rough-and-tumble guide for running and driving change through the business gauntlet. In this keynote, Hayzlett addresses what every marketing leader must face: Getting Ready, Getting Going, and Creating and Sustaining Momentum.

    Keynote Speaker:    Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, Best-selling Author, Business Change Agent & Marketing Expert, Hayzlett.com


    Creating Campaigns that Count: The Impact of Converged Media

Mike Grehan, Publisher, ClickZ & Search Engine Watch, Producer, SES Conference & Expo

Speakers:
Duane Forrester, Senior Program Manager, Bing
Daina Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics
Adam Singer, Product Marketing Manager, Google Analytics
Conference first timers will want to note that SES San Francisco  is pretty fast and furious, a proverbial firehose of information.

Review the materials carefully before the show and pick a few topics and speakers you’ll want to hear and be sure to attend those talks.  Ask a question or introduce yourself to the speakers afterwards.    Some of the best search insights I’ve ever had were from talking to speakers at social gatherings or in the hall.

SES Parties:   As search industry has matured so have the participants, but you’ll want to keep your eyes open for party opportunities with the many exhibitors at the Conference.  Unfortunately the amazing “Google Dance”, held at the close of SES on the Google campus in Mountain View, is no longer the internet party highlight of the year.

Domain Name Registration Tips and “domain tasting” by registrars.

For many the best approach to “having a website” is simply to start a free blog at Blogger.com or WordPress.com.  Both are simple and give you access to powerful free tools as well as worldwide exposure (though you’ll find very few people are likely to visit your blog, even if it’s great).    For a very small annual fee of under $20 you can upgrade both Blogger.com and WordPress blogs to have an address with your own domain name, such as “MyOwnDomainName.com”.

Alternatively you can register your own domain name and sign up for “hosting” and create a website.  This is also cheap, and with available templates not very difficult, though blogs are generally easier to create and manage if you’ll be writing often.   Websites are more appropriate for business exposure, though all businesses should ALSO be blogging which helps your site rank better in search engines – most notably Google which is where almost all free internet traffic will come from nowadays.  Note that a blog is a simply one type of website that uses a general “posting” format.

Easy internet riches from domain registrations is generally a fools game, but it’s also true that a few people made big fortunes with domain name portfolios, and also it is reasonable to register names that suit your fancy for future projects.

Generally you should avoid mail, phone, and online appeals to register or renew names.   Some are outright scams and many are simply a way to get you to move or register names at very high cost.    Discount registrars like Godaddy.com charge only about $10 per year per name for .com, .net, and .org (less in bulk).    Although Godaddy’s upselling is annoying, they are about as cheap as you’ll find for name registrations.

Another challenge to making “easy money” with domain registrations is “domain tasting”:

Domain Tasting and Early Domain Deletions from “Domain Estimator” website:

Domain Tasting refers to a fairly new domain phenomena that claims over 1.5 million domain registrations and deletions per day. Most of the major TLD registries have allowed registrars to delete domain registrations and receive a full refund within the first five days of registration. This results in domain tasting, or the process of registering domains (usually by the thousands), testing them on parking pages for a period of 4-5 days and then releasing the domains that are not generating revenue. There are no rules when it comes to deletions, so in theory, a domain taster could register and taste a domain multiple times before finally deciding whether or not it meets their criteria (usually it must generate more money in a given year then it cost to acquire). Several large, well funded companies have now mastered the art of domain tasting and claim pretty much every daily dropped domain. In other words, any domain that drops as part of the daily drop cycle gets registered and tasted, almost immediately after dropping, and then re-released several days later for others sample. Many tasters register tens of thousands of two and three word combination domains that were never previously registered, in addition to the drops. Most of the high volume tasters own at least one registrar and have budgets that allow tens of thousands of domain registrations per day. Since they only keep a very small percentage of what they taste, the money stays in constant circulation. The only way to combat domain tasting (since virtually anything that drops as part of the regular drop cycle gets picked up by them) is to backorder domains through one of the drop catchers.

Star Trek Google Doodle – the best Google Doodle ever?

Today’s interactive Star Trek Story as the Google Doodle is arguably the best Google Doodle ever.    www.google.com     Star Trek Fans will appreciate that they are showcasing one of the great episodes, where, on a far away planet, Kirk is battling hand to hand with an  Alligator Alien, using only his human cleverness and ingenuity to win.

And speaking of cleverness Google Doodles are always fun, but this one – with several interactive screeens – has got to be one of the best of all time.  

SES San Francisco Conference Agenda

Here’s a clickable summary of the SES San Francisco Online Marketing Conference coming up next week at the Moscone Center.  

We’ll be reporting live from the conference.   Links take you to the SES website here:  http://sesconference.com

 Day 1 Agenda – Tuesday, August 14 – Moscone Center

7:00-6:30pm Registration
7:30-9:00am Morning Coffee
9:00-10:00am Conference Welcome and Opening Keynote
Business Optimization in a Digital Age
Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist, Google
10:00-11:00am Grand Opening of the Expo Hall
10:00-6:30pm Expo Hall
Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 Track 4 Track 5 Track 6
Marin Software BloomReach Learn with Google
10:30-11:30am Information Architecture for the Modern Website Spy vs Spy: Competitive Analysis Social Media Optimization that Won’t Break the Bank Big Data: What Marketers Need to Know Kick Start
The Foundations of Search Engine Marketing
Keynote: Search and Beyond with Google AdWords and DoubleClick
11:30-11:45am Session Interval
11:45-12:45pm Keyword Modeling Analysis Page One Power
No BS Link Building for E-Commerce Sites
Mobile Marketing Tactics Beyond Keywords! Extreme PPC Targeting Kick Start
Introduction to Analytics
Winning the Moments that Matter with Local, Social and Mobile AdWords Search Strategies
12:45-2:00pm Networking Lunch in the Expo Hall
2:00-3:00pm SEO & Website Migrations: How to Have a Smooth Transition Insider Tips to Ad Optimization Social Media, Meet ROI: The Secrets to Social Commerce Quantcast
Performance Targeting through Real Time Bidding and Display: The Complement to Search
Kick Start
Getting Started with SEO
DoubleClick Search: The Power of Platform for the Next Step in Search Marketing Management
3:00-3:30pm Afternoon Break in the Expo Hall
3:30-4:30pm Internet Marketing Ninjas
Pandas, Penguins, Authors, & Links
Optimizing Landing Pages for Conversion and Revenue Local Myth Busters – Local Optimization Facts Proven or Debunked Web Analytics Deep Dive Kick Start
A Beginner’s Guide to Paid Search
Richer Tools for Targeting: Search + Display
4:30-5:30pm Meet the Experts: Roundtable Forum
5:30-6:30pm Networking Cocktail Reception in the Expo Hall
9:00pm-late WebmasterRadio.FM's SearchBash
WebmasterRadio.FM’s SearchBash

[ back to top ]

Day 2 Agenda – Wednesday, August 15 – Moscone Center

8:00-6:00pm Registration
8:00-8:45am Morning Coffee
8:45-9:00am Morning Briefing with Mike Grehan
10:00-3:00pm Expo Hall
Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 Track 4 Track 5 Track 6
9:00-10:00am Key Metrics for SEO & Social How to Win with Google & Bing Big Data & Social: Mining Social Media Data to Add Value Optimize B2B Content across the Sales Cycle Effective Paid Search Tactics SES Talkback

 What is it? 

10:00-10:30am Morning Coffee Break in the Expo Hall
10:30-11:30am SEO Tools of the Trade Channel Surfing: Measuring Profit & ROI Across Channels Activating the Social-Search Dynamic The Do’s and Don’ts in Executing an Effective Retargeting / Remarketing Strategy Building Your Brand with Paid and Earned SES Talkback
Understanding the Mobile Customer Journey
11:30-12:30pm Meet the Experts: Roundtable Forum
12:30-1:30pm Networking Lunch in the Expo Hall
1:30-2:30pm Enterprise Link Building Bing
New Features Lab
Generate More Pinterest: Getting the Most from the New Kid on the Social Block Optimizing Conversion from Strategy to Execution – The Three Keys to Success Semantic Search: SCHEMAs and CMS: Increase Engagement and Freshen Your Content SES Talkback
How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level
2:30-2:45pm Session Interval
2:45-3:45pm SEO 2012: What Still Works? Paid Search Analytics & Multi-Touch Attribution Analysis Social Media Marketing: Killer Facebook Ads Better SEM in a Cross-Channel World The Convergence of Search, Social, & Content Marketing SES Talkback
Search, Social, and Mobile in Asia
3:45-4:00pm Afternoon Break
4:00-5:00pm Bionic Search Marketing: Fusing People & Technology Actionable Statistics to Advance your PPC The B2B Data Challenge: Value & Attribution Global SEM: Turn Right at Reykjavik – How to Reach Europe’s Biggest Markets Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues SES Talkback
SEO 2013 – the Future of Search
5:15-6:30pm SES Eliminator Quiz & Networking Event
6:00-9:00pm Good Beer for a Good Cause
Register: http://mediacause.eventbrite.com/

[ back to top ]

Day 3 Agenda – Thursday, August 16 – Moscone Center

8:30-3:30pm Registration
8:30-9:30am Morning Coffee
9:30-10:30am Morning Keynote Panel
Integrated Marketing: What Does That Really Mean?
10:30-10:45am Session Interval
Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 Track 4 Track 5
10:45-11:45am SEO Diagnostics for the Skilled Search Mechanic Latinosphere: Marketing to Latinos in the Age of Digital Local & Social: Maximizing Visibility App Analytics: Proving the Value of Your App The New Inbox: The Intersection of Email, Mobile, & Social Marketing
11:45-1:00pm Networking Lunch
1:00-2:00pm Building a Massive Customer Base through Content Driven SEO Effective PPC Auditing Get Inside Your Customer’s Head: Research. Insight. Discovery. Global SEM: Hidden Dragons—Mastering Search in Tempting Asian Markets How to Drive 51% Engagement Through Email Marketing
2:00-2:15pm Session Interval
2:15-3:15pm Successful In-House SEO PPC Beyond Search: New Ad Formats, Display, & Social Keys to Success with B2B Video Data That Persuades: How to Prove Your Point Getting the Content Right: Constructing Effective Messaging Over Email
3:15pm End of Conference

SES San Francisco. Live Reporting Starts August 12

Technology Report will be live blogging SES San Francisco, one of the world’s oldest and arguably the top online marketing conference*.   Most of that coverage will be here at Technology Report but I will also have posts at JoeDuck and our Retire USA Retirement Blog when the topics may be of interest to seniors and retired folks.

Technology Report was actually started with my California Technnology buddy John Ghysels to cover SES plus other conference events in Silicon Valley like the Mashup Camp and Startup Camps  (I miss those!)  but I have not been to SES for several years and I’m looking forward to reporting from there this year and giving extra  attention to the topic of Search Engine Optimization or ‘SEO’, something always near and dear to me as somebody who supervises so many websites.

Social media has shaken things up quite a bit both online and in the SEO field.   In my view Google has become much more conservative ranking websites.  Google now assumes very correctly that most new websites are spam or very low quality sites, and therefore Google looks for “big signals” to allow new sites to rank well for valuable terms.   This adds yet another burden to new websites that deserve to rank well, especially those that seek valuable niche markets.

For more about the upcoming SES Conference visit their website, review the SES Conference Agenda Online, or go directly to the following conference highlights here (these link directly to the SES Official Site):

INTEGRATED MARKETING

SES Conference first timers will want to note that this conference is fast and furious, and you can’t possible take in everything over the course of three days.    I’d recommend you review the materials carefully before the show and pick a few topics and speakers you’ll want to hear and be sure to get to those talks.  Ask a question or introduce yourself to the speakers afterwards.    (tip – you’ll certainly want to have Google’s Avinash Kaushik on that list).

SES Parties:   Sadly, the incredible  “Google Dance” is no longer a feature of the SES conference but you’ll want to keep your eyes open for party opportunities with the many exhibitors at the Conference.    The burst of the dot com bubble meant downsizing of both internet companies and their parties, the best of which was the amazing “Google Dance” held at the close of SES on the Google campus in Mountain View.

* There are basically three major online strategy conferences and the history of these events is quite fun and interesting.  They are SES, SMX, and PubCon.

Facebook IPO values company at over 100 billion

Call me crazy but I think the frenzy over Facebook shares is very shortsighted and another example of internet bubble trouble brewing.    Facebook is a fantastic company with an amazing product, but I think people coming in now are probably overestimating the revenue potential for the company.   Note how, in the IPO road show, insiders were cautious about claims for the future.   Smart.   In fact possibly a way to outsmart naive non-insiders who will simply think  1. Facebook is huge.  2.Facebook is growing 3.  Facebook shares are a good value  (BUZZER HERE!).   At this valuation Facebook will have to be very, very good at monetizing traffic, and this is an area in which they have had somewhat limited success so far.

A key factor here is how Facebook will evolve in China and India and Europe.   Major inroads there could mean profits will catch up with expectations, but failures there will make it hard for Facebook to dominate the social media landscape in the same way Google has dominated search.

The Goldilocks Planets and SETI

Two extraordinary technology items this week are the identification of a new “goldilocks planet” named Kepler-22b.  Kepler-22b may have attributes so similar to earth it could harbor life that is “like us”.   This isn’t the first such planet, and researchers in this field are increasingly optimistic about finding many, many planets that could harbor life something like what evolved here on earth.  Generally they are looking for stable temperatures that allow for the presence of liquid water, thought to be a good “breeding ground” for the building blocks of evolution – increasingly complex molecular structures that change through random mutations over long periods of time into simple and then into complex organisms… like us.

SETI, the “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence”, has been around for some time but thanks to new funding and tech and discovery advances it will have a better chance of success.  Many believe that other life is more than 99.99% likely (we are NOT that special!), but *finding it* with our primitive technologies is going to be difficult.

www.seti.org

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is once again searching planetary systems for signals that would be evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Among its first targets are some of the exoplanet candidates recently discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

The SETI array of radiotelescopes will be able to focus on planets like this, hoping to pick up a signal from other civilizations that may have evolved on these other planets. A

 

Google announces big winners in the “Project 10 to the 100th” contest.

Kudos to Google for sponsoring the Project 10 to the 10th contest which winnowed down about 150,000 ideas to five great ideas, all of which will receive millions in funding from Google:

Idea: Make educational content available online for free

The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that provides high-quality, free education to anyone, anywhere via an online library of more than 1,600 teaching videos. We are providing $2 million to support the creation of more courses and to enable the Khan Academy to translate their core library into the world’s most widely spoken languages.

Enhance science and engineering education

FIRST is a non-profit organization that promotes science and math education around the world through team competition. Its mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by giving them real world experience working with professional engineers and scientists. We are providing $3 million to develop and jump start new student-driven robotics team fundraising programs that will empower more student teams to participate in FIRST

Make government more transparent

Project funded: Public.Resource.Org is a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. We are providing $2 million to Public.Resource.Org to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all.

Drive innovation in public transport

Project funded: Shweeb is a concept for short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail. We are providing $1 million to fund research and development to test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting

Provide quality education to African students

Project funded: The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a center for math and science education and research in Cape Town, South Africa. AIMS’ primary focus is a one-year bridge program for recent university graduates that helps build skills and knowledge prior to Masters and PhD study. We are providing $2 million to fund the opening of additional AIMS centers to promote graduate level math and science study in Africa.

http://www.project10tothe100.com/

I love the innovative spirit in contests and project like these, and also believe funding from deep pockets like Google is critical because I think in general innovations …. fail…. even in the for profit sector.     However in that sector we reward success hugely, so we get a fair number of entrepreneurial “players” who are looking to win the innovation lottery, and these players tend to spin out a few good ideas among mostly bad ones.

The current USA system tends to dramatically reward success and ruthlessly kill commercial failure, which is probably a good approach to optimize business success.  A common mistake by those who argue that “innovation is golden” is to only look at the few innovative projects that have had huge success  (Apple Computer, Google, etc) and ignore the *thousands* of failed innovations, most of which most of us never hear about.      One of the big lessons that should have been learned from the internet and real estate bubbles is that innovation does NOT foster success – it simply fosters new ideas.     Most internet companies that were spawned during the bubble have failed where a few like Google have become global economic powerhouses.

But as usual I digress.   THANKS Google for helping to spawn new ideas to do good.   That’s cool.

Google Instant … changing search for the better?

Google Instant is a new feature at the search giant, and as it catches on it’s likely to change the way people interact with search as well as the way advertisers strategize to collect more eyeballs for their websites.

Google Instant presents you with many more options than before, and they are based on the initial letters / words you type into the search query box.   It’ll take some time for all of us to decide if we *like* the idea of constant prompting for search refinements, but it’s usually a good idea to assume the Google routine is smart – smarter than we are at determining the best sets of searches to drill down to what we need to find.  Obviously you don’t have to choose from the options presented, but it’s best to assume that the results you get from these options will form a more relevant list of results than if you choose otherwise.

It’s this last aspect of “Google Instant” that may create some interesting new issues and  opportunities for advertisers and SEO specialists, as Google’s searchmeister Matt Cutts pointed out over at his blog.

As search becomes more personalized – using input from social networks, user created content, past searches, and other personal information collected over time – we are likely to see shifts in the way advertisers try to reach us, and hopefully in the appropriateness of the advertising appeals.

More on Google Instant from … Google.

Google Social Circle

Google labs is testing a very interesting new feature within the Google search results which lists and ranks content from people that have connections to your own social networks, websites, blogs, etc.   It’s called Google Social Circle and I think this approach has a lot of potential.

Google labs writes:

We’ve taken steps to improve the relevance of our search results with personalization, but today’s launch takes that one step further. With Social Search, Google finds relevant public content from your friends and contacts and highlights it for you at the bottom of your search results. When I do a simple query for [new york], Google Social Search includes my friend’s blog on the results page …

Filtering the massive oceans of content is what Google has been doing so effectively for some time, but the social media explosion has created a new kind of relevance Google’s basic ranking system has not been taking into account.    The content of trusted friends and associates is often going to be more relevant to us than that of, say, internet marketeers in a foreign country.     If, for example, my pal has travelled to Morrocco I’m going to trust his stuff – and probably be more interested in it – than information from strangers.    Google Social Circle will incorporate that relevance into the search results, and I think by doing this they may succeed where Facebook and Twitter have pretty dramatically failed.    Facebook’s search system and layout – in my experience – makes it very hard to search for information.  It can even be difficult to find a person you know, let alone find content they have created that is relevant to your search.    Twitter lists are something of a step in the right direction of targeting for relevant information, but Twitter search is severely lacking and I don’t even know if they they are particularly interested in providing the kind of contextual content mapping Google is testing with Social Circle.

Another interesting – some would say sinister – aspect of this approach by Google is to create internet environments filled with “trusted online information sources” that have been endorsed by different networks of friends.    Clever use of the data flowing in will allow Google to better screen sites based on human input, which is much harder to spoof than manipulations commonly done as part of aggressive “Search Engine Optimization” tactics.

The Social Circle reminds me of an advanced version of “del.icio.us”, a tagging and bookmarking service aquired (and largely abandoned?) by Yahoo a few years ago.  Delicious allowed users to tag and label sites and content, creating link lists of things relevant to them and giving them the ability to share these links with others.    By automating that process and using their brilliant search algorithm to slice and dice individual information, Google has pushed us one step closer to the holy grail of search – a system that shows us exactly what we want/need to see even if we cannot clearly state exactly what we want or need.