Had a busy few days with traveling, SMX and trying to squeeze in some work between talks and sleeping, but it was worth it. I learnt a fair bit and met some really great people. As predicted, arriving on my own meant a lot of standing about sampling as much free food as possible and eavesdropping on conversations trying to navigate my way around the room by what I heard, i.e. trying to find some blackhats to hang out with (:
I’m still thinking about to write up some of the seminars I went to, the type of information on offer is quite different to that I normally blog about. Normally, I’ll focus on “ground level” stuff, meaning – we’re trying to achieve goal X, you can do this by doing Y and end product is Z. SMX was insightful in a different way, there was a lot more focus on the industry as a whole, looking more at the reasoning behind why we’re doing what we’re doing.
It reminded me of a conversation I have with a relative a few weeks ago. He was explaining how a particularly large, fast-reacting organisation he is involved with is run. Sometimes people at “ground level” doing what needs to be done can be so engrossed in what they’re doing, it is possible to miss the bigger picture. For this reason, the organisation as 3 tiers of management with the next tier up looking at why X is happening and at the repercussions of doing Y. The top-level will look at connections, trying to find out what is affecting X and make predictions and models of what will happen in the future, so it all gets a bit more “think tank” the nearer the top of the tree you get, but it works pretty well.
However, I find this is the main-stay of most SEO blogs, talking about the industry as a whole, trends, analytics and what’s new and shiny. The Digerati “niche” as I see it, is more technical guts and “real(?) world” examples of SEO. I don’t want to lose that side of the blog and turn more into a “reporting” blog about what’s hot on SearchEngineLand. They do it well, so no need for me to be an echo.
My favorite sessions were Leveraging Social Media Networks and Local Search Tactics, partially because they are relevant to projects I am working on at the moment and I think they definitely provided some of the best insights. Local Search Tactics particularly gave me a new line of thinking with some naughty things that can be done, so I’m doing a few tests at the moment and I’ll report back on what I’ve found.
From the talks as a whole, Andrew Girdwood stood out for me. He presented some solid talks (with apparently very little preparation) with humour and I think a lot more veiled knowledge that he didn’t have time to get across.
I also got the pleasure of meeting Lyndon Antcliff from Cornwall SEO, who seems to make light work of pwning most social network sites. Kelvin Newman from Site Visibility, who gave me some relief showing me the only LOLcat I’d seen all day in his presentation on levering social media. Also big points to Stephen Pavlovich from Bony Toad who wins for diving in at the LondonSEO meetup to buy me a drink and generally being a top chap!
I spied Jane from SEOmoz a couple of times. The first time she was swamped with people and the second she was tucking into a massive portion of chips & peas, so I decided not to disturb. Although I did get a nod – it’s funny what happens when you stare ^_^
Here’s a photo from the LondonSEO after party, that I stole from Andrew:
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