Search Camp – SEO, SEM and More..
After a not so good sleep last night I managed to reach the Tidel Park auditorium to attend the second day of the Search Camp Conference in time. However, the conference had to wait for a good 15-20 minutes to start off as most participants were probably enjoying the lazy Sunday morning.
After attending the Delhi SEO Meet this is my second conference and I must say that in this 6-7 months time Indian search conference has really come off age. While the Delhi SEO Meet was commendable for being the first of its type in India the topics discussed were pretty basic, however Search Camp did see a few good discussion and was a good platform for the agencies and the clients to interact.
It was particularly good to meet some of my blog readers whom I have often seen on my BLOGLOGO widget.
While I am not really the kind of person to note details of every discussion I did make a kind of summary log of the conversations as I was planning to make this blog post. So here you go..
Ratan from Pinstorm presented “Song & Dance for Click” where his key emphasis was on understanding the intent of the client and the prospective target group. A very valid and useful presentation; particularly the part where he discussed about the necessary information that an agency needs to get to design a good SEM campaign. The Q & A session at the end of the presentation however was more informative than the presentation itself. His intentional efforts to blend in some humour into his presentation were well received by part of the crowd.
Vikram – Director of eFrontier presented on “Algorithm in SEM” where he focussed on the requirement for forecasting of clicks, costs and CPA. He suggested that for all campaigns there is an effective position where the campaign gets the least CPA and that is the point where the companies should head for. He also stretched that investing more into a campaign once a campaign has reached its optimum level would probably increase sales volume or number of leads , however, the CPA is going to increase. So in this situation the companies need to make a choice whether they want to maximize revenue at the cost of increased CPA or operate at the optimum level with minimum CPA.
Harish & Vikram from the PinStorm Science team was there to present on the tools they have been developing and how those can help in SEM campaigns. Unfortunately, and if I may say, a bit unprofessionally they were interrupted a number of times by Ratan ( from PinStorm) and once he even walked upto the podium to stop them from discussing some of the details. While it is absolutely valid from the company’s perspective to safeguard their proprietary information, it would probably been a good idea to have pre-planned and audited the presentation rather than those multiple interruption when the show was on.
Vivek Bhargava from Communicate2 did his presentation on The Future of Advertising which was definitely good and Vivek’s communication and presentation skill did make it all the more enjoyable. It was interesting when Vivek was discussing the idea of having contextual ad on digital TV when ads would be served based on customer profiles.
BlackHat presentation by Blackhat guy – Well the presentation was nothing but a copy of Wikipedia BUT the way it was presented was extraordinary. The presenter never came up on the podium and it was staged to give a feel the voice is coming from behind the wings. This was enough for the house to be curious and keep guessing who the person might be. However, at the end of the presentation he did come out from his hide out and declared himself as a white hat SEO.
There was a short impromptu presentation by Jyothirmoyee on how she thinks that businesses with very small budgets can take advantage of SEM. She stressed extensively on the use of long tailed keywords and even using them for Exact match.
This was followed by a presentation by my friend SEO bloggerMani. He discussed some ideas on how to optimize blogs. He did express his choice of self hosted WordPress blogs as one of the best blogging platforms from SEO perspective and did share a lot of tips with the audience.
Venkat was next to follow with a question hour type session where he tarted throwing a volley of questions to the audience and that did get the house to hear a good many opinion for each questions. There were a good number of questions that were directed towards the few Googlers who were there; however, as it has always been with Google- they knew how to give politically correct answers.
The last two sessions were for panel discussions, the first one was a face to face round off with the heads of two media agencies and two major businesses that do their SEM inhouse.
The panel consisted of Vivek from C2, Rajesh Sule from Position 2, and the CEO s of BharatMatrimony and Sulekha.com. The discussion revealed that companies that do thei SEM inhouse are mainly concerned about sharing data and are not sure of the commitment that they would get from agency staff. At the same time Vivek and Rajesh put up their point that if the companies have never worked with an agency how they can doubt their commitment or integrity. Though the discussion did not conclude with any definitive result, it as an enjoyable session.
The second panel discussion was on SEO for Web 2.0. The panel had Ashwin Ramesh – the 16 year old entrepreneur, Mani Karthik, myself and someone from eFrontier. The panel tried to address some of the concerns that the house has showsn earlier about the extensive use of Ajax and other search engine unfriendly technologies used in Web 2.0. Ashwin suggested use of sites like Digg, Del.icio.us etc which was followed by me with some tips on SMO. Also to address some concerns about use of Flash I suggested the use of sIFR. Mani came up with a very valid point which was more about understanding the concept of Web 2.0 and not really using it for anything and everything you do on the web.
There was a pleasant surprise for four of us at the end of the discussion when Sulekha.com (one of the sponsors) presented a laptop back pack to each of us.
Well, if you are not tired after reading this and still want to read you will probably need to take a break because I am tired :(. I will be posting some pics of the Search Camp, which will probably give some more insight of the event to you guys.