Are big SEO events any use these days?

SEO ConferenceYou are never short of events to attend on search engine optimisation. For instance, Eventbrite lists 347 SEO events taking place in the UK in the next six months. Of course, there will be many others which do not use Eventbrite. You are spoiled for choice.

The problem with most events on search engine marketing and optimisation, however, is that they are either training courses or they are conferences. The training courses are run by people who have a good understanding, but who are not usually the leading experts. Indeed, the leading experts are too busy speaking at global conferences to run local training events.

So you could attend a local event to understand more about SEO, or you could attend a conference. But here’s the problem. If you attend a local training course the person you meet is not necessarily an expert. They are probably a great trainer, who makes SEO understandable, but that’s not the same as being an expert.

If, though, you attend a typical SEO conference there is another problem. These events usually attract hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. And that means you can’t get to speak with the expert; you may as well have watched them on YouTube.

Worse than this, some conferences like this are nothing more than “pitch fests”, where the speakers are merely trying to get you to sign up to one of their online programmes, providing all kinds of incentives and inducements to “sign up today”.

And it is not just SEO meetings that are like this. Any number of Internet Marketing or digital events are so big that getting to speak with the people who matter is next to impossible.

A blogger’s tale

A few years ago I heard from a blogger who was 19 years old, lived in Yorkshire and had earned $1m from his blog inside a year. It was how he had achieved this success which struck me. He had emailed other successful bloggers, without response. He had attended blogging conferences, without them helping him. It was only when he got on a plane, went to America and met – face-to-face – some of the world’s biggest and most successful Internet marketers that his blog took off. Why? Because of two things. Firstly, he was able to learn directly from the people “in the know” – something he hadn’t been able to do at “pitch fest” conferences. Secondly, they got to know him and they promoted his work to their millions of followers.

What this story tells me is that even in these digital years, face-to-face contact is still at the heart of success.

So, if you want to massively succeed at SEO it is probably better to meet the real experts in small groups, or even if possible, one-to-one, than go to a massive conference or attend a local training event. If you go to a “pitch fest” conference you’ll either spend a lot of money or you’ll be unsuccessful in trying to get to speak in a meaningful way with the experts.

It just makes me think – are big events really worth it?

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”] I notice that in London in March there is a “Search Bootcamp” where some of the top experts in search marketing will be speaking. But here is the important thing – the audience will be limited to just 40 people. And the event will include small group sessions allowing you to get up close and personal with the experts. If you book before the end of the month you save 27% on the ticket price.[/box]

 

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
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