I'd like to share some highlights from the two-day Search Engine Strategies 2008 Toronto Conference & Expo that took place last week. I was delighted by the opportunity to give a talk on "Web 2.0 and Search Engines." My audience consisted of search engine marketers, sales, strategist, consultants, and engineers. The participants had a common goal: how to maximize search engine optimization -- for themselves and/or their clients.
Day 1: The keynote delivered by Fredrick Marckini was excellent, with many useful learnings. I also attended a great session called "Universal and Blended Search" session. Key takeaway here for me: Because users spend more time viewing images and video nowadays, SEO involves more than just text and links on the page.
The "Getting Found in Maps & Local Search" session offered useful information. The materials were not new to me, but that's probably because I'm a local search engineer. The session on "Twitter: Ultimate Time Waster, or Great Tool" was quite interesting. I didn't expect much from this session because I hadn't twittered before. After the session I started twittering.
The SES party sponsored by Yahoo! was great. Unfortunately, I couldn't party all night long because I needed to tweak my presentation and tune it for the SES audience. That's the advantage of presenting on Day 2 of a conference. Let's face it, as a speaker, you can't please everyone, but at least you can try to keep the audience awake. If you can't do that -- go take a Toastmasters course!
Day 2: I hid myself in a conference room to rehearse my presentation, which focused on Web 2.0, and how Yahoo! leverages microformats and semantic markup to enable SearchMonkey. With SearchMonkey and the semantic web, site owners can differentiate themselves from their competitors by creating their own blended search experience and unique presentation. Site owners can (theoretically) redefine the search result page heatmap. The customized search result and informative presentation will attract the users' focus to the publisher's listing. So the conventional wisdom of heatmap and golden triangle are outdated. SearchMonkey creates new opportunities for search marketers. SEO is not longer just about links, metadata, h1s, keywords, and text. It's about creating efficient access to information by recognizing the context of the data. Content alone is NOT King. Content without context is like a life without purpose.
My message to the audience was: Give meaning to your data with SearchMonkey's semantic markup --then you'll be ahead of the curve. Happy SEOing!