By Kylie Robertson, Communications Officer, Edmonton
This week, I attended the GetListed Local University event in Edmonton, where a panel of people had gathered to talk about the world of Professional Internetting. Although there were a couple of rushed or faltering presentations, and a bit of repetition, I managed to pick some useful tips on optimizing our website.
The premise behind GetListed workshops is to assist small business owners in getting their web presence heightened online. The low-cost seminar series were set up by a group of international Local Search Engine Optimization experts, with support from Google Places and Bing Local Listing Center.
While the target audience for these workshops doesn't align perfectly with what Cybera does (since we're a not-for-profit, we don't have typical "customers" or "products"), I was still excited to hear what tactics I could glean from the conference that could be applied to our communications initiatives. But before I get too ahead of myself, let's start from the beginning.
GetListed was able to accrue an impressive panel of experts on SEO, Local SEO, SEM, SERP, etc. (I have a glossary page I can scan and link if none of that makes sense!). The afternoon was kicked off by a presenter (Darren Shaw) who delivered someone else's presentation (which created a few awkward moments when the jokes onscreen went over his head). Joel Headley of Google then gave a rushed presentation on Google Places and how to use it effectively, which unfortunately felt more like a 15-minute sales pitch for Google.
Moving on in the day, between Mike Blumenthal, Mary Bowling, and Darren Shaw, all I really got from their presentations was that content was key. And you need to have good content. And don't forget, content is really important! Use keywords in your content… (Are you sensing a theme here?) Those talks felt very repetitive at times, and almost too basic.
It was also mentioned several times that "this may be above your capability" or "you may need to ask your webmaster" or "you may need to hire an outside company." But for a lot of small businesses in Edmonton, it's not as simple as going out and hiring a company to do this work, and I thought that was the point of the workshop Ã³ to learn to implement these things and tools yourself?
It was a huge relief when Matt McGee, an independent online marketing consultant, stepped to the stage. As a social media junkie, I loved his presentation on all things social. Despite having worked with and used social media for the last five years (minimum), he still gave me some food for thought when it comes to how to approach social media platforms. He discussed knowing how to decide what to publish, on what profiles, and for what audiences. His presentation, in my opinion, was far and away the best. Thanks, Matt!
Overall, I'm glad I attended, but I don't necessarily feel that I got all of what I expected from an event this size. I'd recommend GetListed's Local University to business owners that really don't know where to start in the digital space, but if you know your way around SEO and SMO, it may be worth the wait to check out a more targeted seminar.