The 2008 World Tour took me to the Big Apple last week for SES New York — one of the most professionally satisfying and personally enjoyable conferences I’ve attended. Oddly, I attended fewer sessions at this conference than at any before. I spent more time doing real work (one day was largely devoted to meeting with prospective partners) and more time sightseeing (because it was my wife’s first real visit to New York). I missed the St. Patrick’s Day parade, but paid a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I saw a legendary singer on the streets (Tony Bennett), ate New York cheesecake, went to the top of 30 Rock (photo at right), and survived the smallest hotel room on earth. Just another week in the big city.
The sessions I attended were chosen with my wife, Cari, who was at her first search conference. We looked for sessions that would help grow her real estate business, and chose these:
- Organic Listings Forum
- Video Made the SMB Star
- Orion Panel: Universal Search
- Social Media Marketing: What Is It and What Is It Good For?
- Successful Tactics for Social Media Optimization
- SEM Small Business Blitz*
* I was a speaker on this one and suggested Mrs. McGee skip it, but she nixed that idea.
I’m hoping Cari will write a post on her real estate blog soon about her experience at SES, but I know she came home with lots of new marketing ideas and actionable tactics to try with her business. The “Video Made the SMB Star” had a big impact on both of us, actually. Three of the speakers gave what amounted to advertising pitches for their video services, but rather than being turned off by that, I was impressed with how far the companies (EZ Show Studio, TurnHere, and Mixpo) have come in creating a video product/service that’s understandable and accessible to small business owners. Whether it’s affordable remains to be seen, but we’ll be investigating some video options soon for Cari’s business.
Several sessions had speakers I’d never heard before, and with a couple exceptions, the new folks were a breath of very welcome fresh air. Props to the SES crew for getting some new voices up on the dais.
My only disappointment with the sessions/agenda was the complete lack of a session about blogs and blogging. Selfishly, that’s an important element of my wife’s marketing and I think a session would’ve been helpful for her. Beyond that, blogs are quite possibly the number one SEO tool around today; ask yourself, What would impact your SEO more: starting a blog or sculpting your PageRank? Sure, blogs were discussed in the social media track, but for a four-day conference to not have a single session focused on blogging seems like a real oversight to me.
I was impressed by the data ComScore shared on Tuesday during the Orion session on Universal Search. They analyzed Google data from one week in January:
- of 1.2 billion queries, 220 million contained a universal result
- 16% of total clicks involved a universal result
- 87 million people searched, 58% saw a Universal result (38% of people saw video, 34% news, 19% images, 10% maps/stocks/weather)
I was disappointed that they grouped Maps, Stocks, and Weather into one category in that list bullet item. I’d like to have an exact percentage just for Maps. I’m surprised it’s less than 10 percent.
Our room at the Hilton was nice, but it was smaller than our living room (and we live in a very modest house).
Just as I converted a bunch of SEOs into In-N-Out Burger fans a couple weeks ago at SMX West, last week I converted Jeff Quipp, Stoney deGeyter, Matt Bailey, and Jennifer Laycock into Junior’s Cheesecake fans. As Stoney said, while eating a slice of Carrot Cake Cheesecake, “This is the best thing that’s ever been in my mouth.” (I didn’t ask what else was in the running for that title.)
I’ve uploaded some of my photos to Flickr: SES New York 2008 Photo Set.