Join us for a casual meetup at a local establishment on December 14th (5:30 – 8:30pm) – we’ll provide some appetizers, cash bar will be available and there will be ample networking amongst local peers. [Read more…]
On November 16, 2011, SLC|SEM members from all around Utah converged on Hotel Monaco for the inaugural members-only event. The excitement from the 60+ members in attendance was contagious as they greeted old friends and made some new ones.
With Marshall Simmonds (@mdsimmonds) of Define Media Group as the keynote speaker and presentations by local members & experts Rob Johnson (@robkellas) and Aaron Wester (@aaronix), of Deseret Digital Media, we all knew to get our note pads ready.
In case you missed the event, I wanted to give you five takeaways I gained from these awesome speakers.
Keynote from Marshall Simmonds
Marshall talked about how many SEO experts have a knee jerk reaction every time they hear “Google Update.” Instead of almost wanting to cry each time Google makes an update, embrace it. Google will not stop making algorithmic updates; they are a necessary evil, and that will never change.
Marshall said, “When Google moves the goal posts, it gives us job security. The Brass, or Executives, will always need people to translate it.” And I couldn’t agree more.
He went on to talk about the fact that Panda had been a great motivator to help move SEO initiatives forward that had been on the back burner before. Instead of running for the hills because another update rolls into town, think of it as an opportunity.
2. Work With Search Engines To Maintain The Health of Your Site
I don’t have a direct number to Google (shocking, I know), so when something happens to my websites, I can’t just call and get it fixed. From what I have heard, this is a very common occurrence in the SEO industry.
What Marshall proposed that we use the data that we are receiving from Google Analytics and (Google, Bing) Webmaster Tools to develop and maintain the health of our websites.
Update your sitemaps, and implement structured data (Schema.org) so the search engines know how to index your content. If you have broken links, get them fixed so the search engines can properly index your site.
Even look into your server reports and see where the search engines have been on your site. There could be neglected areas you have missed that search spiders are viewing. Work with them on the areas that they report as needing attention.
3. Stand Out in News Search With the Rel=Standout Tag
This caught my attention because most of the sites I currently work on are news focused. Marshall noted that those lucky enough to be accepted into Google News should be excited about and using the new Standout Tag Google released back in September. I have to admit, I am not the best when it comes to reading Google announcements.
However, when an expert like Marshall Simmonds mentions something that helps news sites, he has my 100% focus. Many times in our SEO pursuits, I think we all get caught up in things that take our attention away from the “small” things that come out on the Internet.
At times, those might be the most important things that could help our sites succeed.
4. Don’t Just Do, Teach!
The local DDM team of Rob Johnson & Aaron Wester went into depth about their work with KSL and some of their struggles helping journalists see the importance of SEO. As the news agency became more focused on digital media,, there were some feelings among the journalists of “digital being the devil.”
The DDM team was looking for an opportunity to help the journalists understand their new audience in the digital world. Working with trending topics gave them the perfect opportunity to teach SEO to the journalists. They developed training that pointed out why the journalists were not reaching their audience effectively. They worked with journalists to show them the reasons articles need an SEO focus to help capture their audience.
By taking the time to teach instead of doing it themselves, they helped improve the overall site performance.
5. Walk the Line With Online Journalism
Again, the DDM team caught my attention with this question: Where do you draw the line between optimized content and quality?
Since I work for a digital publisher, this really hit home because this seems like a daily battle with our writers.
What the DDM team suggested was to find ways to teach the importance of SEO without requiring writers to overly focus on SEO. If you only pound SEO, SEO, SEO into the poor writers heads, they will start losing the creative latitude to be able to capture their readers.
Let them do their jobs and sprinkle their content with best practices, don’t handcuff them so they don’t even know where to start.
The Bottom Line
In my opinion, the SLC|SEM event was a huge success: great people, amazing food, and information you can’t get that anywhere else in Utah. Post your top takeaways from the event in the comments below!
It is also great to see the SEO community starting to connect and to be able to put some names to faces. (You can see the all the photos from the event on the SLC|SEM Facebook Page.) Thanks goes out to the SLC|SEM team for making it happen.
If you haven’t yet joined SLC|SEM as a member, you should! It’s the best way to make sure you’ll get a seat at upcoming events – as members get priority seating, there may not always be space available for non-members.
(December will be a casual, holiday party style meetup for search marketers – date, venue TBA soon. In January, Bing.com comes to talk about video search & user consumption of online video, and in February, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land will be speaking to the crowd of Utah search marketers.)
I will see you at upcoming events!
About the Author:
Devin Doxey is an entrepreneur at heart with wicked programming and SEO skills that have lead him to TechMedia Network where he is currently an SEO Marketer. At TMN, Devin monitors over 20 sites, selectively choosing keywords and strategies that bring in over 20 million unique viewers each month. He can be found on Twitter at @dhdoxey and/or on Google Plus.
For the past several years, online marketing professionals across the Wasatch Front have been forced to fend for themselves in this dynamic industry. Without the support of a local group to turn to for help, most of Utah’s search marketing community have had no choice but to travel to out-of-state conferences to get the necessary education and networking to stay at the top of their game.
Not any longer…
Utah’s professional search engine marketing organization has finally arrived! During the inaugural SLC|SEM event, the 150-200 marketing experts, business owners & entrepreneurs that attended proved to everyone that Utah is loaded with talent and poised as a leader in the interactive industry. That said, in order to attend future meetings and receive all of the benefits of an SLC|SEM membership, you must officially join the organization by completing an application.
For those that still need a bit more convincing before officially joining, here are some of the benefits SLC|SEM offers its members:
Education & Quality Information Sharing
While forming SLC|SEM, our main objective has been to provide the highest quality information possible. We intend to do this by having the most recognized experts in the industry speak at our events in order to share their knowledge and experiences first-hand. In fact, you should expect to learn something new and immediately actionable at every meeting you attend. The value of the information being shared is the cornerstone of our organization.
The Business Case: Attending a national conference with a similar level of quality information typically costs a minimum of $3,000 when you take into account travel & registration costs.
Networking | Build Relationships | Find Talent | Get a Job
We all love what we do. Whether you specialize in SEO, PPC, Mobile, Geo or other online marketing disciplines, meeting and engaging with other professionals in your industry is vital to establishing long-term success. Lucky for us, Utah is bursting at the seams with talented people who are dying to meet one another.
The Business Case: There is simply no better opportunity for you to personally get to know the top experts/companies in the industry than at an SLC|SEM event!
Local and Loving It
This point can’t be stressed enough – we are in your back yard! The cost and convenience of being a member speaks for itself. No need to worry about the expense of booking a flight + hotel + rental car + food and everything else that comes with attending other events.
SLC|SEM is proud of being a Utah-based organization. We live here, work here & play here! If you live in the area, or are close enough to come visit, come to one of our monthly meetings…you won’t be disappointed.
Get Answers – Drive Results
How many times have you found yourself perplexed about the results you’re getting (good or bad)? Have you ever wondered what you should do next, or how to scale a strategy that seems to be working? There’s obviously a ton of questions every search marketer deals with on a regular basis and there is no better resource for getting expert advice than at one of our meetings.
Come prepared to discuss the issues you need to figure out…chances are we’ll have an expert in the room that has already dealt with the same thing and can give you quality advice based on real-world experience.
The Business Case: By receiving one-on-one advice from top minds in the search marketing industry, you can drive incremental success for your company or client. That definitely pays for the price of an annual membership.
These are just some of the great benefits you’ll receive by participating with SLC|SEM. Ultimately, it is up to each of our members to determine what they value the most. Here are just a few samples of the feedback/testimonials we’ve received so far – we can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Top 3 Reasons We Joined SLCSEM
- Learn the most up-to-date strategies in the industry.
- Share successes with the local community
- Connect with the smartest search engine marketers in Utah
Having recently been appointed as the shall-we-say touchstone for all things SEO and SEM at my company, I was interested to see that a new group was being proposed and formed for the express purpose to explore/educate/share about those two topics. I believe this group offers the opportunity for SEOs and SEMs to not just network, but also represent our state in the national (if not hopefully global) dialogue on employing SEO and SEM. Utah is not new to developing technology, entrepreneurial spirit, and active and effective business practices; therefore, it is my hope we can use the combined efforts of this group to not just learn and share about SEO and SEM, but also draw attention to the fantastic investment that Utah companies have to offer to businesses looking for these services.
Last month’s inaugural SLC|SEM event kicked off with hundreds of search and interactive marketers in attendance. Conversations ranged from technical tip-swapping and job connections to convivial banter between old and new friends alike, and the room was buzzing with excitement about the upcoming events.
Not only were the attendees some of the brightest minds in industry. Key sponsors for the organization represent the top search and interactive firms in the country, based right here in Utah:
- SEO.com – Continually ranked in the top 10 search marketing firms in the country by publications including Website Magazine and Promotion World, this Utah institution and founding sponsor of SLC|SEM has worked with clients including Mrs. Fields, 1-800-Contacts, H&R Block and Dell. The SEO.com team also has one of the best marketing statements in the industry, in our opinion: “Search Marketing Firm, Fueled by Geeky Zeal!”
- Progrexion Marketing – This Utah-based marketing organization is on the leading edge of comprehensive interactive campaigns. Working with clients on a range of response-driven services including search, affiliate marketing, email marketing, conversion optimization and even teleservices and design, Progrexion also has a dedicated representative on the Board of Directors in Tambra Hamlin, the organization’s Secretary and Communications Officer.
- Open Air Cinema – Anyone who attended the October event could not miss the Open Air Cinema inflatable screen. Watching the SLC|SEM promotional video projected on this unique palette brought to mind the vision of giant, inflatable Snoopy at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The company, which is based in Lindon, is the world’s largest outdoor cinema equipment supplier and event producer.
The excitement about the newly formed SLC|SEM organization continues as Utah-area search and interactive marketers make plans to attend the November SLC|SEM event next Wednesday, November 16th, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event, which will be held at Hotel Monaco, will feature keynote speaker and industry icon Marshall Simmonds.
Pre-registration ends tomorrow, so make sure to get your tickets immediately: http://slcsem-nov2011.eventbrite.com/.