There are plenty of industries that have their own subculture. I believe marketers are inherently wired differently. Mix in the disorder of digital or the madness of search engines, and you probably fit into the SEO subculture.
We have our own language. Tweets are used more than texts or IM. We obsess over Google algorithm changes, new analytics or data slicing tools, and building relationships for traffic improvements. We like the popularity contest of keywords. We’re comfortable being the wooly employee in the corner with 10 o’clock shadow, the warm beer, and the wide eyes ruined by years of reading from CRT monitors.
The SEO (or search engine optimization) industry is worldwide, with a large percentage of practitioners in the United States. I compare it to music scenes: there are towns that are more prevalent in SEO talent than others. Where you might hear, “Omaha has an amazing music scene,” in our industry you will often hear high praise for the SEOs in Philadelphia.
THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION
For over a decade, before SEO became a household name in digital marketing, we generally learned our trade on forum boards. We came together as a group to inform each other, conduct experiments, and debate on the optimal ways of manipulating algorithms to get rankings.
But search engines got smarter, and we needed to mature. SEO is now a generally accepted marketing channel with huge online properties like Search Engine Land, SEOmoz, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal. Many things have changed over the years, but we’re still an industry that lives in the social media space. We are still reliant upon each other to improve our skillset and drive our industry to better, more profitable horizons â€“ both for our clients and our own businesses. Almost all of us consider ourselves “friendly competition” of one another.
Heavily supported by the aforementioned websites, great content and events were born. Our industry has many large conventions, coast to coast. From SMX to SES, from Mozcon to Searchlove, to Pubcon to the Affiliate Summit, there are a ton of opportunities for SEOs to rub elbows and have face-to- face connections. These are typically high-ticket events all over the country, but SEOs turn out by the thousands.
THE PHILADELPHIA SEO SCENE
In Philadelphia there are some big agencies known nationwide for their SEO contributions. SEER Interactive is the castle on the hill, and has been for many years. Other agencies like Webimax and TPG contribute a lot to bolster the name of clean SEO. There are also a few boutique SEO firms that do outstanding work.
Many players from the SEO space meet monthly at Philly marketing events, notably the SEO Grail Meetup. Every third Wednesday of the month, currently at the Triumph Brewery restaurant, the Philadelphia SEO Grail hosts a very large group of expert SEOs and SEO enthusiasts. The organizer, Bill Rowland (@billrowland) drives the agenda to make sure the presentations and discussion topics are current, actionable and thought provoking. The event is open to every level of SEO, and run through
the Philadelphia SEO Grail Meetup Page.
This group has been around for years. Some notable contributors like Jon Doherty, Tom Harari, Mike King, currently some of the industry’s most renowned thought leaders, speakers and bloggers, started in Philly. Though they live in New York now, they still frequent the Grail. We’re still all part of the same group despite a few hundred miles.
The Philadelphia SEO scene doesn’t stop and end with the SEO Grail though. There are plenty of talented marketers here that may not frequent the Grail but still provide amazing contributions to the SEO community.
Next week, Bill Sebald will share his list of local Philadelphia SEO consultants you should be following.-30-
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