You can’t help but admire Danny Sullivan. His affable good nature, pleasing yet persuasive presentation skills, and uncanny understanding of the dynamics of search engine marketing have reared the Internet’s search engine industry, and even more importantly, the search engine community, out of infancy.
Beginning as a journalist (and a native) in Southern California, Danny was first drawn to Search by an unquenchable curiosity to decipher its many mysteries.
Why does one Web site rank higher on Netscape or AltaVista (at the time), or Google, Yahoo or MSN (today) than another? To date, his thirst for knowledge has yet to be slaked. Along the journey, Danny created the search engine marketing industry’s founding Website, SearchEngineWatch, which he has since replaced with the next generation, info-potent version SearchEngineLand.com. Sullivan single-handedly programmed and MC’d the industry’s first world tour, or “circuit,” of search industry conferences, dubbed Search Engine Strategies or SES for short, from San Jose to New York, and from London (where he resides with his young family) to Munich. Danny is also the voice of Search as the host of The Daily Searchcast where he can occasionally be heard ranting or singing but always demystifying the latest industry breakthrough, factoid or foible.
At last, this wizard of Search has come full circle, by bringing his Search marketing road show home to the Emerald City. Danny hopes that Seattle will be the annual home of Search Marketing Expo Advanced, the most sophisticated version of his conference series to date. As Danny points out, Seattle is a city that is home to much of what is happening in the world of Search at present, and has even more to do with where Search is headed in the future.
Seattle24x7: You’ve selected Seattle as the premiere venue for your inaugural Search Marketing Expo conference. Why Seattle?
Danny: Aside from my great love of rain? No, really, Seattle’s a great place because there are a lot of search marketers already there. I did a half-day show in Seattle last year and there were just a ton of really good, really strong questions. I thought “we should come back and have a higher level of conversation.” You know when you’re speaking to someone who doesn’t speak your language – you know everything you want to say but you have to slow it down. It’s the same with search – when you speak with someone who doesn’t know search you have to slow it all down. But when you deal with an advanced search marketer who speaks your native language – well, that’s what I want to do. There are so many smart advanced search marketers in Seattle. Plus you’ve got Google’s Webmaster Central and Microsoft – so there are a whole lot of good reasons to do the event in Seattle. Plus, you get to come out to Seattle!
Seattle24x7: You’ve billed SMX Advanced as being especially geared for advanced search marketers. Can you give us a brief idea of topics or aspects where you will go into greater depth?
Danny: We have several “special” sessions that I’m looking forward to. Google’s Matt Cutts is going to do a You&A With Matt Cutts session where the “You” of the audience puts questions to him on webmaster issues. Keynote Conversation With Satya Nadella will have me talking with Satya Nadella, who runs Microsoft’s newly-created Search & Advertising Platform Group. We’ll be discussing his new role and plans for Windows Live Search and Microsoft adCenter. We also have a debate on the future of bid management and several summits and open forums to explore issues such as duplicate content and future paid search products.
Seattle24x7: How is the format of this conference different from other shows you’ve done before?
Danny: I think the key thing is that this is especially an advocacy and discussion driven show. Rather than do sessions on solutions to duplicate content issues, known workarounds, for example, we wanted to get search marketers involved with shaping solutions that might make workaround unnecessary. We also want to help them give voice to influence future products for both paid and free search.
Seattle24x7: Your new company, Third Door Media, has also introduced online search seminars. What other plans for online and offline events do you have in the works?
Danny: We’ve just announced the rest of our shows for 2007, plus Search Marketing Expo West in Santa Clara next February. That will be a bigger, industry-wide show which will appeal to search marketers at all levels.
SMX Advanced is just the first of many… We’ve got several Search Marketing Expos planned for the rest of this year: SMX Local/Mobile in Denver, October 1-2; SMX Social Media in New York, October 16-17, SMX Travel @ Phocuswright, Orlando, November 12 & 13. We’ve also got SMX Stockholm, October 31 and November 1, and SMX London, November 15 & 16.
I think there’s always a place for in person events and the special connections you can make through them. But not everyone can travel, and there’s plenty of learning that can be done online. So, in addition to our in-person shows, we have regular online seminars at Search Marketing Now. The online seminars help fill that roll. And of, course, we have Search Engine Land, our main news site, which continues to grow.
Seattle24x7: With Google Kirkland, Microsoft, and other luminaries like Marchex, Amazon.com and others, do you see Seattle as a significant Search capital?
Danny: Yes. Aside from the companies you’ve named, there are many other search players ranging from Expedia to Zillow. It’s a huge industry for the city and region. It’s a key reason why we decided to come to the city.”
Seattle24x7: You appear to be an incredible traveler, commuting from London to SFO to Seattle, New York and back. How do you manage? Do your frequent flyer miles allow you to travel first class? Will you ever move back to the states with your family or do you love the English countryside and European lifestyle?
Danny: I try to manage my time as best I can, combining lots of things when I make the jump. Yes, using those miles for upgrades can help. Eventually, I’ll probably be splitting my time more in both places. With our kids so young, we think it’s better they’re mostly in one place, for the moment. [24×7]
The Website for Search Marketing Expo Advanced in Seattle is
http://searchmarketingexpo.com/smx_advanced07/ For a $50 discount on
admission, enter the code sea24x7 on the registration page under Code.