Lee Odden

SES Chicago and Week Wrap Up

It’s been a pretty amazing week. Chicago SES Sunday through Wed and Thursday my 300C was rear ended by an Isuzu Trooper – ugh. Today I’m still catching up. We’re getting more inquiries for new business now than every before. That’s the idea, right?

My situation this week is nothing compared to what Barry had to go through to get home. Here’s Barry’s wrap up of all the posts he, Ben and Chris covered this week. It’s amazing what those guys can get done.

I heard from several people that I missed a great party Wed night at SES in Chicago that was sponsored by WebmasterRadio.fm, Bruce Clay, TrueLocal and NY Times held at Buddy Guy’s Legend Jazz Club in Chicago. Ward Tongen has a photo on his moblog. None of the search engines or other vendors were planning an overall party for the conference, so Brandy from WebmasterRadio.fm set it up on the fly – that’s amazing.

Lee Odden

SES Chicago: Q&A on Links with the Search Engines

I had some distractions earlier in the day and did not get to blog any of the pre-lunch sessions. So here’s the first post-lunch session:  Links Q/A with Search Engines moderated Detlev Johnson from PositionTech.  This session is a combination of short presenations followed up with Questions and Answers.

Speakers include:  Kaushal Kurapati – Ask Jeeves, Charles Martin – Google, Tim Mayer – Yahoo, Ramez Naam – MSN.

Detlev announces a part this evening sponsored by WebmasterRadio, Bruce Clay, PositionTech, TrueLocal and NY Times.  This is kind of funny: Tim Mayer takes a photo from the podium of Barry Schwartz blogging from the front row.

First up was Kaushal Kurapati from Ask Jeeves to talk about how links work with Ask Jeeves.

Links from high quality pages are best.

Lee Odden

DMA Beefs up Membership with Andrew Wetzler

Lee Odden     Marketing Industry News

Since I’m on the DMA Search Engine Marketing Council, I thought I’d post this release that just went out.   The Search Engine Marketing Council (SEMC) of the DMA was previously known as the Association of Interactive Marketing (AIM). Lots of acronyms, but also lots of good work.


New York, NY, December 7, 2005 – The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) announced today it has appointed Andrew Wetzler, president and co-founder of MoreVisibility, membership chair of its Search Engine Marketing Council (SEMC).

Lee Odden

SES Chicago Day 2 Wrap Up

This is the first SES conference I’ve been to where there were no large scale events sponsored by any of the major search engines. There are smaller, invite-only gatherings, but they only involve a small number of attendees. 

I opted to check out some of the Chicago steak houses recommended to me by Jolina, one our Public Relations rockstars, who is from the area.

On Sunday, Andy from WebCertain and I first checked out Harry Caray’s.  This place is definitely a Chicago tradition in sports bars. Unfortunatley, their interpretation of what "medium" means was very different than what Andy and I had in mind. Service was excellent though.

Lee Odden

SES Chicago: RSS Blogs and Search Marketing Panel

The last session I attended on day two of the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference was RSS Blogs and Search Marketing moderated by Danny Sullivan.

Speakers included: Dick Costolo – FeedBurner, Nan Dawkins – RedBoots Consulting, Greg Jarboe – SEO-PR, Stephan Spencer – Netconcepts, Amanda Watlington – Searching for Profit

First up was Amanda Watlington:

Blogs Good and Evil
Shows quotes from
BusinessWeek: Blogs Can Change your Business
Forbes: Attack of the Blogs

Offer platform for businesses to provide a more personal method of communication.
Can provide feedback through comments and trackbacks
Advertising opportunity

Can put out negative information

Blogs Continue Grow
70,000 per day as of Oct.
13% updated weekly
1.2m posts per day

Blogs are a threat to mainstream media

Lee Odden

SES Chicago: SEM via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging

More Search Engine Strategies goodness from Chicago: SEM via Communities, Wikipedia & Tagging

Moderated by Danny SUllivan.  Speakers included: Jeff Watts – National Instruments, Andy Hagans – Text Link Ads, Aaron Wall – SEOBook, Jim Boykin – WeBuildPages

First up was Jeff Watts of National Instruments.

National Instruments approach to community:

Traffic = Community + Search + Content

Very focused on content development. NI looks at community as a way to find out what people are looking for relevant to their web site.

Any conversation about community needs to start about buzz. Need to make sure you a part of the conversation. Alludes to Cluetrain:  “The conversation is going to take place, the issue is whether you choose to take part or not.”

Lee Odden

SES Chicago Keynote with Danny Sullivan

Keynote Day 2 of Search Engine Strategies with Danny Sullivan

Danny says keynotes should be inspiring.

How are we (search marketers) viewed? 
Shows photo of guy wearing spam shirt and drinking a beer.

Shows quotes from various sources characterizing SEOs as:  Worthless, shady, criminals, cockroaches

Who to blame?  

Blach Hats:
Blog spamming, keyword stuffing, content thieves, cloaking

But consider some contradictions:

  • Some news sources are allowed to cloak
  • Large respected pubs selling links
  • Web site of respected blog software maker hosting spam pages

White Hats:
Algorithm ingnorant, simple tips overselling, industry best practices


  • Simple tips aren’t simple to people who don’t know
  • Working with designers and others to do content SEO is a skill
Lee Odden

Search Marketers to Spend $5.7 Billion – 2005 SEMPO Survey

After the last session about advanced keyword research, SEMPO held a reception where they were to announce some of the preliminary findings of what Dana Todd called their annual "big ass survey". 

The SEMPO state of the industry survey run last year provided some very interesting and insightful statistics about how marketers are using search marketing as well as future expectations.

The 2004 SEMPO survey indicated search marketers planned to spend about $4 billion on paid search, organnic and paid inclusion. The 2005 SEMPO survey reports that number to rise to $5.7 billion as announced by Kevin Lee of SEMPO’s Research Committee. Confetti flew at the SEMPO reception as Kevin announced more statistics out of the survey.

A press release about more details of the survey are forthcoming.

Lee Odden

SES: Advanced Search term Research Tools

The next session I was able to blog at Chicago Search Engine Strategies was Advanced Search term Research Tools Moderated by Detlev Johnson of PositionTech.

Speakers included:  Christine Churchill – KeyRelevance, Lori Weiman – KeywordMax, Shayn Ryan – LSI Systems, James Lamberti – Comscore, David Warmuz – Trellian

Christine was first up and started with keyword selection consideration for PPC and SEO.

Things to look at:

  • Relevance
  • Keyword popularity = traffic potential
  • State in buying process
  • Competition

Golden rule:  It’s not about the keyword YOU want to be found on. It’s about the keywords the end users are looking at.


  • AdWords
  • Yahoo/Overture
  • GoodKeywords.com
  • Wordtracker
  • KeywordIntelligence.com
  • KeywordDiscovery.com
Lee Odden

SES: Earning from Search and Contextual Ads

Here is the first session I was able to attend at the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference: 
Earning from Search and Contextual Ads –  A session on how web site owners (content publishers) can monetize their content by carrying search results and contextual ads. Describes programs available and successful practices.

The session was moderated by Andrew Goodman of PageZero

Speakers included: Will Johnson – Yahoo, Scott Meyer – About.com, Jennifer Slegg – Jensense and Satya Patel – Google.

First up was Jennifer Slegg:  Making Money with Contextual Advertising.

Jen started out by comparing Google and YPN:

Large numbers of advertisers
Ads in RSS
Similar formats
Real time stats
Cannot run both at same time – but you can do split testing


YPN – 2000 publishers (correction, actually 3000 now according to Will from Yahoo)
Google – All international publishers can appy

Lee Odden

Interview with Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR

Lee Odden     Interviews, Online PR

The use of news search SEO and marketing has grown significantly in the past 2 years. Search engine optimization practitioners as well as public relations firms are realizing (albeit the latter slower than the former) the value of optimizing electronic documents such as press releases, articles, white papers, and the syndication of those files as news and blog search engines grow their audiences.

A pioneer in the field of using search engine optimization in combination with press releases is Greg Jarboe. Jarboe is a veteran search marketer and public relations professional. He frequently speaks at industry conferences including ad:tech, Search Engine Strategies and WebmasterWorld Pubcon on the topic of marketing through news search engines. He is also co-founder of SEO-PR.

Lee Odden

December Top SEO Firm Rankings

This is pretty cool – the December topseos.com ranking of search engine optimization firms has TopRank Online Marketing at number five.

Other top five designations went to: Zunch, SEO Image, iProspect and Bruce Clay. Congratulations!

According to the press release:

Each SEO firm is evaluated in terms of its:
– Competitive advantage
– Superior services and pricing
– Customer and technical support
– Response to client problems
– Innovations that set it apart from the competition
– Overall efficiency
– Overall performance

I guess I should get that gratuitous self promotion category created. Hey, like I said before, I’m a marketer.

Tags: seo firms, seo firm rankings, internet marketing firms