The 2008 edition of SES London was a refreshing change from the previous year. Not only did it start better for me with no unwanted groping, the initial session really set the tone for the rest of the conference – fun and different. This year I also resolved to get over being shy in person and introduce myself to people I have been reading.
I got as far as introducing myself to Liana “Li” Evans and Adam Lasnik and stopped. Sometimes being a journalist bites as I am always aware people are suddenly careful about what they say around me. Makes for a difficult time making new friends!
The sessions offered far fewer sales pitches than previous years and far more content. One colleague who attended with me was very impressed at the amount of information she was able to pick up. SES London was pitched perfectly at people who were just learning about search optimisation and marketing.
If I were structuring a learning program for someone new to SEO, it would go SES London, SMX London, PubCon then SMX Advanced with if possible SMX West, SES New York and SES San Jose. I also highly recommend the places I speak Well, I would. My upcoming speaking sessions can be found in my deCabbit’s London View of Conferences Ahead
At the end of the first day was the anticipated (but not as anticipated as the SEO Chicks take-over of LondonSEO Pissup) networking drinks. Held on the main floor with the exhibitors, we each had a sacred ticket, sacrifice of which was rewarded by the keepers of the temple of alcohol. The wine was excellent for cooking and the beer was just the right strength to ensure new growth in your annual flower beds. Yum.
Heading off for food, those among us intrepid enough to do so headed off to a pub… which had nowhere for us to sit so we headed to Thai Square. When in the area of Angel/Islington, do visit this Thai restaurant. Not only did they accommodate all 22 or so of us, on my table where there was a vegetarian and a seafood allergy, they cooked special food for us. They so rock! I’d like to apologise to the good folk on the other table I never got to say hi to. It is the curse of the commuter and her train schedule.
Day 2 was a late start for me (lightweight that I am) but not so late that I missed all the sessions. I even did my job of interviewing despite the mocking in the press/speakers room. Sessions were again great with Googlers out in full force. It was great to see Googlers on panels who were not just sales people. That was a refreshing change.
Search Term Research and Targeting was an excellent session with fellow SEO Chick LisaD giving an excellent section on researching keywords and her own experience of a client with an Egyptian God for a business name wanting to rank for that name. Excellent stuff!
The evening of the second day was a washout for me as I had a friend coming over. It was a lovely evening though and I was re-energised by the and of it and was ready to face another extremely early start and late end.
Day 3 was, of course, the most important day. Each passing session was a step closer to the SEO Chicks take-over of the LondonSEO Pissup. Meet the Crawlers had knowledgeable people from each search engine (but Live) talking about some of the stuff us SEOs want to know (like how to get in to Ask or how to get spidered more frequently). Site clinic was, as always, a good laugh with a few small take-aways and really, all the sessions added great value but evening was approaching.
Having had a lacklustre meal at Med Kitchen (compared to Thai Square especially), we headed over to Camden Head for chocolate, beer, wine and, apparently, a comedy evening! My chocolate had melted *SHOCK* and when I tried to get more they were sold out *MASSIVE FAIL* but it was great fun nonetheless. Every time I tried to escape the stairs though, I was inevitable pushed back there. I think the stairs liked me. I also got a back massage, chest bumped, bum rubbed and got to set up a friend and another new acquaintance. Hey, misery loves company
All in all, London SES was a great place to be to learn, meet people, have fun and enjoy being an SEO!