In no particular order…
1: IT’S SAN FRANCISCO!
Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, Alcatraz, Cable Cars, Twin Peaks—even the Moscone Center where SES is being held. Not convinced yet? Then you need to watch this clip of Ken Block’s Gymkhana five: Ultimate Urban Playground: SanFrancisco, keep an eye out for the little lost GoPro @ around 3:36. Need I say more?
No, but I will anyway, don’t forget a warm coat and dress in layers. As someone said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Being surrounded on 3 sides by water means that San Francisco consistently has the coldest summers in the US with temperatures generally between 56°F and 69°F with wind and fog in the mornings and at night.
2: Big Data
The buzzword of the season and the first session I will be attending. Hosted by Bryan Eisenberg, ‘Big Data, What Marketers Need to Know’ should be an informative session. Discussing tools available to access data, how to interpret the data available and how to act on the information provided.
3: Keeping Up With Search
Learning about penguins, pandas, badgers, skunks, and whichever black-and-white cute, fury animal Google wants to make us fear next. SES is all about the latest trend in what is affecting the industry now. This is the primary benefit from attending conferences like SES – to learn what is impacting your business and what you can do about it, how you can turn threats into advantages, weakness into opportunity and failure into success.
4: SES Talkbacks
I am especially excited about these talkback sessions. Based on my experience last year when I attended ‘SEO is Dead. Long live SEO!’. That session was an open environment, where the panel started the debate and anyone could contribute; both the panel, and the audience asked questions and made points. I expect the SES Talkback to be similar to this set-up, with less of a debate and more of a discussion. Each will be lead by a pair of industry experts, and is an open forum in which the audience is encouraged to ask questions on the topic presented. I won’t be able to attend them all, but will definitely be attending SEO 2013 – the Future of Search.
5: Old Bosses, New Forum
My old bosses Chris Winfield and Loren Baker, of Blue Glass Interactive Inc., will both be speaking this year, in separate sessions.
Loren Baker’s Enterprise Link Building session will reveal how to plan link-building strategies for big business. Looking both internally and externally to optimize current advantages while prioritizing the elimination of vulnerabilities. To achieve this goal Baker will show you simple steps and tools and if we’re lucky, we may get some demonstrations.
Chris Winfield’s session on The Convergence of Search, Social, & Content Marketing, will teach us how to find the new Holy Grail of the online marketing world a products that “tick all the boxes”- no longer can siloed SEO be competitive. Now it will be quality content that people want to share while being attractive to search engines. This session will be of particular interest to any Hardcore SEO’s who have been struggling with the rise of Social Media.
6: Getting Back into the Twitterverse
Over the last year my twitter account has been grossly neglected, at SES 2011 I was lucky enough to win the tweetoftheday on the second. In an attempt to make a similar impression you can expect live tweets of the sessions that I’m not blogging about to come from @Justin_Stein and be sure to follow #SESSF.
Probably one of the most common reasons why people attend conferences is to network, meet people from the industry and gain new contacts. This year SES has tried to supercharge the networking process with an app called Vivastream.
Vivastream is best summarized by this SES interview, described an app designed to help you network and meet people with similar interests at conferences. Although the topics section has been flooded with keywords, thanks to our SEO specialists, I think the app is a great idea and will be using it throughout the conference. I particularly enjoy the ability to join the sessions I am planning to attend and use it as my schedule for the conference. If anyone wants to connect/follow my sessions you can find me here.
What kind of conference would it be if it did not offer late night drinking gatherings? As per usual, Webmaster.fm Search Bash will be a favored outing on Tuesday. New this year we have Good Beer for a Good Cause, where you will find me working the door, sponsored by PPC Associates and It’s the ROI. This event is a fundraiser for Media Cause, a non-profit firm that helps other non-profits obtain, use and optimize Google Grants for online marketing, which as we all know, when done correctly, is a far more economical way of advertising and allows non-profits to dedicate a greater percentage of funds to their cause. Be sure to register as tickets are limited.
9: Gainful Employment
In July I graduated from De Montfort University in England, I’m now one of the many people looking for a job. I had a few inquires about my job status last year and I this year I hope to find a home in the industry.