SEO Conferences: The Downside

by Gary on March 4, 2009 · 5 comments

in SEO

SEO conferences can be a good venue for learning more SEO techniques and the industry as a whole. However, the truth is that you will likely not learn as much from these conferences than if you simply sit down and do some reading, whether they be good old-fashioned SEO books, ebooks, or SEO blogs. The reason for this is that:

  1. the conference format is not discussion friendly - Speakers are on a time constraint so that it is virtually impossible to discuss complex topics in depth. What you’ll get are usually sound bites or outlines of topics you already know – unless you’re at the beginner level. Even with panel discussions the answers are spewed out as fast as possible to accommodate other people with questions.
  2. many speakers will NOT give you their secrets - Why should they spew out their top secrets and help out the competition? Many speakers come with an ulterior motive – to impress and sell their services, whether as an SEO or a speaker.

If you wish to attend SEO conferences what you should do is to at least make sure you make the most of it. Go there not in hopes of learning some top SEO technique but to be able to build your social network. Prepare to get chatty and don’t forget to bring your calling card! At the same time it would help if you simply narrow down the conferences you attend to those that you feel will actually help you learn something. Look at the topics, time allotted to speakers, and if possible attend conferences that have workshops instead of plain speeches.

If you do want to attend an SEO conference this year I suggest you go see the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) schedule to see when the one nearest to your location will happen. If you’re in Canada or Australia you’d better look it up now since the Toronto and Sydney Expo will be the first ones this year.

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  • gareth

    I agree with you. They just would not dish out the good stuff. But the should considering the price of the tickets!

  • gareth

    I agree with you. They just would not dish out the good stuff. But the should considering the price of the tickets!

  • Jacques Snyman

    All the xperts recommend participating in events like these, saying that you’ll pick up personal tips and build relationships which you won’t be able to normally. I suppose they’re punting these events because they are speakers and / or participate and benefit in other ways…..I agree that reading is still the most effective way of garnering knowledge.

  • JP

    I agree with you. Conferences are usually selling something, and too often it is a hard sell and they’re very persistent. Books and blogs are great and I have picked up some good tips from them. However, there are some good online instructor led classes out there too that take you way beyond the seminar. I prefer the classes to the method of trying to sort through thousands of sites to find the right information.

  • Joey Logano Fan

    The last time I went to an Internet marketing conference was with my Dad, but… every speaker that spoke gave little value to us, and in the end was just pitching their product for us to buy. I didn’t think that was cool… considering we had paid to attend the conference. But I guess I learned that the conferences are more for networking, rather than learning :(