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SES San Jose – Day 2 Recap

Ask.com Keynote Conversation

Day 2 began in a non-exciting way as Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone answered questions during the keynote conversation. I originally had been looking forward to this interview – I’d never heard a major company CEO give a presentation. Much to my surprise, the interview seemed to be a bit more of an advertising commercial for Ask than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ask.com. From a usability and creative standpoint, it is by far the greatest search engine available (though I rarely use it.) In any event, the keynote conversation lacked much in the way of usefulness.

Link Building Basics

On day 2, I took the fundamentals track which offered attendees a chance to learn from the pros. The first session was link building basics which was presented by Mike Grehan from Bruce Clay, Inc. and Christine Churchill from KeyRelevance. Grehan’s presentation was very well thought out – he offered numerous points of advice for link building newbies like myself. Grehan noted that using software like Arelis can make link building a bit easier. In addition, Grehan stated that the number of links pointing to your site doesn’t need to be in the hundreds of thousands – it is far more important to have 25-50 high quality, relevant links pointing to your site. Christine Churchill was filling in for the absent Eric Ward and had no presentation – she was Grehan’s moral support.

Writing For Search Engines

In this session, speakers Jill Whalen and Heather Lloyd-Martin presented attendees advice on how to write in a way that pleases humans as well as search engines. This session was very useful – the speakers noted that not all optimized pages are equal as it is important to reach a wide variety of readers. They noted the importance of writing for various personas, such as skimmers, long readers, etc. In addition, the speakers talked a bit about the importance of titles, headers, and intro paragraphs to aid rankings.

Fun With Dynamic Websites

This session, moderated by Laura Thieme, Mikkel deMib, and Jake Baillie, attempted to uncover myths about dynamic websites. I learned a bit about the importance of URL rewriting as well as how to make URL’s a bit more user friendly. Jake Ballie’s presentation was quite entertaining and useful. He went into the details of implementing 301’s as well as having proper site architecture.

Successful Site Architecture

This session, presented by Matt Bailey and Derrick Wheeler, was the most beneficial session of the day. Matt started the session noting the importance of a proper robots.txt file as well as the proper use of 301 redirects. He also mentioned that using frames within a site prevented proper crawling of websites. This session briefly covered some ways to increase site usability such as simple URL’s. Wheeler’s presentation covered much of what Bailey had already noted, but the redundant presentation helped me to better grasp how to implement successful site architecture.

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