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SES SJ 2007 Session of the Day: Personalization, User Data & Search
Monday, August 20, 2007
Well day one of Search Engine Strategies has completed and rather than give my opinion of all of the sessions that I have attended, I thought that I would present a review of my favorite session of the day.

I attended three sessions on day one, the best of the three that I attended was by far Personalization, User Data & Search. Enquiro's own Gord Hotchkiss kicked of the session with his thoughts on personalization including what the SERP might look like in 2010. Gord mentioned the Circle of Importance where a handful of sites or specific content will emerge for each "theme". Optimization will come across content buckets. Gord mentioned our latest whitepaper on personalization that is now available.

It was interesting to note the number of other panelists that were taking notes during Gord's presentation. This included Sep Kamvar from Google and Tim Mayer from Yahoo! who was also fevershly taking notes.

The second speaker was another Canadian, Richard Zwicky of Enquisite discussed what was beyond personalization hinting at regionalization of results and reagionalization differences and the fact that SEO campaigns will need to be even more focused.

Up next was yet another Canadian, Dave Davies from Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning who touched on some personalization related patents that Google had submitted. Dave also discussed topics that included User Behavior, Personal Page Rank, Group Data and Influencing the Engines. He mentioned potential solutions for SEO when dealing with personalization. These solutions included:
  • Design your site to be sticky (design for time spent on site and page views)
  • Localize
  • Link out to help associate yourself with other industry authorities
  • Attract high PR visitors
The fourth speaker up was Johnathan Mendez, founder of Otto Digital who had a very entertaining presentation. Johnathan discussed how personlaization is easy and that many have been optimizing for personalization for years. He described some methods for improving RPV (Revenue per Visitor). Overall a very entertaining presentation.

The final two speakers were from the Search Engines. First up was Sep Kamvar from Google. Sep is a very laid back and personable person who mentioned two key factors as they relate to personalization:
  1. Design and optimize your site for the user
  2. The importance of building useful gadgets that will keep people coming back to view your content within the gadgets.
Sep also made an interesting comment that "personalization works best with one or two word queries."

Finishing out the panel was Tim Mayer from Yahoo. In terms of personalization, Tim mentioned four things to remember:
  1. Become the known expert on a topic. Tim mentioned that this can be accomplished through community participation.
  2. Have unique content.
  3. Have fresh, breaking content and promote this content through tools such as DIGG or del.icious.
  4. Promote your content through various communities such as DIGG, iGoogle etc.
All in all it was a great session. Some of the items discussed went over the heads of many in the audience as I looked around and noticed that there were a lot of confused faces. This tells me that personalization is still very new to many who are not directly involved in the search engine industry.

Tomorrow will be another exciting day with more great sessions and of course the Google Dance taking place over at the Googleplex.

For more in-depth coverage of the sessions at SES SJ check out posts from the team at Search Engine Roundtable.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, August 20, 2007  
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