SES Berlin recap: the German conference market is growing
Over the past couple of days a large part of the German search market gathered in Berlin for Search Engine Strategies Berlin. This 2 day-event, with a training day the day before, moved to Berlin from Hamburg this year. Under the wings of the "new" Incisive Media team led by Mike Grehan and Matt McGowan SES Berlin grew to a level it hadn't reached before. I was able to attend the conference and talk to many speakers, attendees and could listen to the sessions. Time for a quick recap.
The German conference market is a growing one, both in numbers as in quality. This year the growth could mainly be seen in the Quality, yes, with a capital Q. The line up of speakers already gave the impression the show would be good, but that then still has to come true. In the case of SES Berlin it did.
The conference started of with a 'battle' between the big search engines. Well, battle, not really. But the stage was taken by the biggest search engine (Google) and the one challenging them (Bing). Both speakers had a good story, where Microsoft was more focussed on the 'technical' part, how the search engine works, or in the case of Bing in most European countries, will work. Both had some similar things in their presentations, with one thing which would be coming back the entire conference: user intent.
User intent also was the lesson in a couple of other panels and in the keynote from Bill Hunt on day 2. To be honest, it was a shame Bill was first on the second day because many didn't make it to the first session due to the late hour most of them went to bed the day before. We are in Berlin after all… Hunt's story was very good and well structured. He showed us the business side of search and the future of search.
With these sessions, and the panel on Search around the World, all the English spoken sessions are named. About 90-95% of the panels after all was in German. So how was the content of the German panels?
As on every conference there are speakers who didn't live up to the expectations. However, the most of the presentations were on a good level. Keeping in mind that most of the German visitors were starters in SEO the level of the panels was appropriate. There were not many sessions in which an experienced SEO would learn something new, but the starters definitely did.
Some "advanced" sessions (the word advanced is always dangerous to use since the definition of advanced varies from one person to another) really had some brilliant tips and tricks in them. The PPC session with Evert Veldhuijzen was the best example of that. With humor and knowledge he was able to show the audience some great PPC tricks (which probably won't work anymore if Google finds out).
Other interesting speakers and sessions were the advanced linkbuilding tactics panel in which Marcus Tandler, "Fantomaster", Sebastian Wenzel and Nina Baumann, moderated by Christoph Cemper, discussed linkbuilding tactics which went from whitehat to pure blackhat tactics. Also worth mentioning is the presentation Mario Fischer had on the last day. He knew how to get the audience in "social media mode" by handing them both tips and examples at the same time.
Summarizing the event was good, and if you look at the way the German conference market is growing, it was actually really good.