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Danny Sullivan Defends Integrity of Search Engine Strategies Conference  

:: Monday, August 16, 2004 ::

A blog post from a disgruntled web designer attendee at the 2004 San Jose SES conference prompted a discussion, more blog posts and defense of his speakers, by Danny Sullivan, conference organizer.

In The craptastic adventures of SES San Jose 2004. The author writes,

     "Many of the advanced technical sessions suffered from a severe case of suck (except perhaps the web server issues & feeds/blogs sessions); apparently “expert” means “spent a few hours reading WebMonkey in 1999.” By this I refer specifically to the conference’s worst session, 'Advanced Design Issues: CSS, Javascript, and Frames.'"

Cre8asiteForums moderator Adrian Lee, our CSS guide, was prompted to ask questions about this in SES slammed by designers. Adrian writes,

     "This is only one review of the session, and it would be nice if there is anyone else out there who also attended it to confirm whether the review in the blog is accurate.

If it is an accurate assessment of the what was said, then personally, I have to agree with it, and I'm disappointed that the well known names running the session were giving that kind of advice."

Quick to respond, and rightfully so, is Danny Sullivan. Danny points out,

     "Every session at our New York show rated 4 or above on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being perfect. That's to me a pretty good record."

He continues,

     "The show is about search engine marketing. It is designed to help you do your search engine marketing better. However, it has had to take on areas that go beyond this. For example, we've long had sessions on improving conversion. That's not necessarily an SEM skill -- but it can be closely tied to it. A number of people have suggested sessions on usability in the past. I'm still considering it. But at what point does it turn into a web marketing/web design conference? I'm not knocking that -- but the more you get away from a search-centric focus, the more you lose the focus overall that's made this particular show successful with many people."

Point taken. But, with search engines themselves promoting the idea that they're focused on usability and making their web properties more "user friendly", and the big emphasis on pay per click ad campaigns, I'm surprised at the lack of industry interest overall in web site usability.

Who would I rather pay to promote my web site?

A company that cares about whether or not my web site is designed to convert to sales and signups, making my SEO investment worthwhile, or the SEO/SEM who takes my money to help my site rank, but isn't skilled enough to tell me whether people will stay on the page once they find it, or not?

This is a big plug for my Partners - all companies who do care. (Many are speakers at SES conferences, or sponsor ones themselves.)

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 8/16/2004 02:12:56 PM

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