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Road Report From Search Engine Strategies Dallas - December 11-12, 2002

The winter edition of Search Engine Strategies is typically one of the smaller conference gatherings. The weather tends to be foul and the holidays are fast approaching. Search engine marketing may not be the first thing on the mind of online marketers, but it should be, or should have been during the previous few months.

Despite the holidays and the chilly weather (yes, even in Dallas!) hundreds of search engine marketers showed up for the 2-day conference. YAHOO! and Overture sponsored the event, while Ah-Ha (pay per click search engine), Ask Jeeves, FAST (www.alltheweb.com), Inktomi, Jupiter Research and LookSmart filled the exhibitor hall.

The list of speakers read like a who's who of the search engine marketing industry.

Highlights included:

  • Brett Tabke of WebmasterWorld made his first appearance at SES with a presentation on the state of cloaking.
  • Dr. Amanda Watlington, Director of research at iProspect and famous for the "Gorilla Snot" presentation, give a lively presentation on keyword research and selection.
  • Nick Usborne, online copywriting expert and moderator of I-Copywriting discussed the importance of online copywriting and effective online communication to improve conversion rates.
  • Greg Boser, President of WebGuerrilla and repeatedly one of the highest rated speakers as Search Engine Strategies conferences provided lively commentary on the "Spam Police" panel, and the SEO/M vendor forum.
  • Stephen Hutcheson, ODP meta editor made a rare appearance and candidly discussed the challenges faced by the Open Directory Project and efforts underway to overcome current issues.
  • Elisabeth Osmeloski, senior account manager at Beyond Ink and About.com skiing guide discussed the challenges and opportunities when dealing with directories and sat on the site clinic panel that evaluates website chosen by the audience.
  • Bryan Eisenberg, CIO of Future Now spoke on the topic of increasing website conversion rates to dramatically increase the return on invesment from online marketing campaigns.
  • Adam Jewell, search engine marketing specialist at NetPlus Marketing and rookie on the circuit, spoke in the small business and non-profit track primarily about an on-going project with breastcancer.org.

A great time was had by all

As usual, search engine expert Danny Sullivan coordinated and served as the MC of the conference. Following the presentations, there was plenty of networking in the local bars and restaurants among conference attendees and participants. A substantial contingent of WebmasterWorld members gathered for the first time at Search Engine Strategies to talk shop and hangout. Speakers and attendees alike all had a great time, returned home with additional expertise, and began making plans for the Boston conference.

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