August could be crowned the month of search in California. Central to the search industry sits the popular, highly attended Search Engine Strategies conference with this year’s fashionable “Glow In The Dark”-themed Google Dance in San Jose, California.

It’s one of the largest conferences in the biz, and attendees can get a private, onsite visit with a big fun factor added: Walk freely (more or less, until you try to access any computer that is not monitored!) on Google campus, socialize with your friends, make new ones, drink and eat to your guts’ content–and ask any questions of the Google engineers. All this right on the Google campus in Moutain View, California. Pretty cool. See some SES campus pictures from Google itself. Lee Odden’s TopRankBlog has some cool SES 2008 pix too. Good to meet/greet these people.

I attended two days of the show (had to get back to my search marketing firm dealing with SEO business in Los Angeles).

I made some key textual summaries below, including a short video that I used Adobe Premier to create, with John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.”

Packed sessions were on the topics of local search, mobile applications/use, landing page optimization (Tim Ash), A/B testing, multivariate testing and search trends (blended search). Traditional SEO and paid search are still the backbone and platform for so many, but extending your knowledge into more niche-oriented tactics, both from a marketplace and technology perspective, is considered a highly valuable move.

Local search, for example, is not just about searching for (example) a dentist in your neighborhood, but more about “finding and discovering” in a new world. (A cool local application for the iPhone, which is receiving some notoriety and user acceptance, is the the “shake” application UrbanSpoon). Mobile search at this level is not about ranking top of Google with incoming links, but rather using new, cool-plus-useful mobile technology coupled with “time and location” parameters and GPS.

Say you are searching for pizza during the day. As a general guideline, the results will differ from what they would return at night. (Nighttime discoveries may reveal more alcohol-centric establishments, leaning toward a more mature, less family-oriented audience). Geographic movements will change results as well. Most of the top panelists consider mobile and local search to be THE real internet killer applications. These are still early-stage, and not with deep user penetration. Hence, there is a lot of opportunity.

Google’s Matt Cutts got asked about “Black Hat SEO,” and this private video captured some of his comments:

Search Engine Land captured more detail in its SES day-by-day play:

Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four

Looking forward to SES San Jose 2009!


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.