Miami was the place to be this past Monday and Tuesday (June 18th, 19th 2007) if you wanted to get the scoop on search marketing for the Latin American market. Nacho Hernandez, of iHispanic, headed up a great 2-day conference by Search Engine Strategies at the Inter-Continental Hotel. Conference goers from all over Latin America, the United States and Canada spent the time in sessions that covered the basics of keyword research and linking dealing with Spanish and Portuguese languages to broader site issues such as whether to create original content or just translate existing content.

The conference kicked off with a very interesting and informative keynote with Google’s Gonzalo Alonso who is the General Manager for Spanish-Speaking Latin America. Gonzalo gave us a great bit of insight into how Google is thinking through its development in Latin America. He also discussed major differences between countries and cultures. There were a few great points that Gonzalo made in his discussion with Nacho. One was that Argentina & Brazil are the fastest growing markets in Latin America. Another point that seemed to surprise some of the audience was the fact that the search engines are really the ones that have to take up the responsibility for advancing technology in the Latin American countries, since most governments do not have any plans or programs in place.

From the keynote the days were broken out into two distinct tracks. One focused around Latino search marketing issues. Kicking it all off was a session that dove into exactly what the opportunities are in Latin America. It’s amazing what’s going on in these countries and the potential that lies there for companies wanting to launch businesses on the web there. I’d liken Latin America and the US Hispanic market to a sleeping giant, once this great market awakens, there’s going to be no stopping it.

The other track featured more fundamental issues when dealing with optimization of websites. From site architecture to linking, the major issues were covered by some of the industry’s best professionals like Mike Grehan, Deb Mastaler, Jessie Stricchiola, Matt Williams and many others. To bring home the point for the attendees, all of these presentations of the fundamentals had the added focus for the Latino market.

Some of the best sessions really delved into the issue of content and how to create it or translate it from another language to Spanish or Portuguese. It may sound cliché but, a lot gets “lost in translation” when you are trying to utilize content from another language into Spanish. From synonyms to slang, from jokes to stories and more, all have issues with cultural, dialect and country-to-country translations. Then, add on top of that, trying to figure out how to tell the search engine your site is a site from Columbia, Peru or Mexico – there’s a lot webmasters and business people need to take into account.

Overall, I believe this was one of the best conferences I’ve been to of SES’s. The more intimate nature, less than 1,000 attendees, allowed for you to really get to know people and ask the speakers questions about their presentations. It also allotted for better conversations after the sessions were through, great networking opportunities and for meeting people from countries you might not have gotten the opportunity to meet at the bigger conferences. This conference also exposed me and a lot of the other attendees to an entirely new market and started the “juices” flowing for great new ideas to come.

Next year, if you don’t have plans, take the time to head on down to Miami, you’ll be rewarded with a wealth of new knowledge and business opportunities!

June 21, 2007

Liana "Li" Evans is the director of internet marketing at KeyRelevance Search Engine Marketing. She oversees all social media, online PR and word-of-mouth marketing efforts for a variety of clients within the company’s portfolio. Li also collaborates with the team on all SEO (Natural Search) optimization for clients. Since 1999 Liana has been active in the search marketing arena, becoming well versed in all avenues of search marketing but with particular focus on natural search, image search, and social media. She also has substantial experience in areas of the retail industry regulated by the FTC. Prior to Li’s tenure at KeyRelevance Search Engine Marketing, she helped to design, plan, and implement an Internet Retailer 500 company’s efforts into natural search optimization, successfully revamping outdated navigation and site architecture. Li is an accomplished programmer and database programmer/designer familiar with the demands of large-scale, dynamic retail sites.

Liana holds a B.A. in Information Systems with a minor in Public Relations from Susquehanna University, and an Associates Degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations from Pennsylvania College of Technology. She currently lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Limerick, PA and runs the search marketing blog Search Marketing Gurus.

Search Engine Guide > Liana Evans > SES Latino 2007 in Miami Wrap Up