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Professional Networking in the Search Engine Optimization Industry
By Eric Lander - January 22, 2002

The search engine optimization industry is one of the most exciting Information Technology fields to be involved with in today's business environment. With the economic downfall of many dot-com's now behind us, one could easily be lead to believe that the Search Engine Optimization ("SEO") industry is having some major problems. With the dedication and communication from those who offer quality SEO services though, the SEO industry has quickly become a promising field.

Within the past month alone, there have been stories published regarding the importance that SEO has within a corporate online presence and within promoting a growing businesses. These stories not only graced the pages of industry-specific publications - They have broken the headlines in major publications like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

What has allowed SEO companies and service providers to emerge from the dot-com darkness? Simply the knowledge possessed by those providing services combined with the need for successful companies to be represented online.

The industry itself has fought off degrading labels and the negative effects of fraudulent services for years. Individuals like Danny Sullivan and Paul Bruemmer (amongst many others) have allowed the marketing world to understand and appreciate the importance of the SEO. As a result, the marketing and advertising industries can not deny that SEO is here to stay.


A New Way to Network
The individuals and companies that make up the group of SEO service providers possess a knowledge base like no other industry in today's commercial markets. With the introduction and growing popularity of affordable web-forum software on the rise, professional SEOs can tap the greatest information source out there with ease and efficiency: Each other.

With forums like those available at Webmaster World, ihelpyou Services and Bowman's Spider Food - SEOs have the ability to interact and solve problematic scenarios for their clients (as well as their own) sites with ease. While the community within each forum may vary, the same communal approach and desire to help one another succeed is obvious.

Moving from Online Forums to Real-World Gatherings
It has been that shared attitude and professional approach, over time, that has allowed this industry to achieve the marks that it has. It is important to note though, that while these forums allow everyone to meet and exchange ideas quickly and easily - there is still a need for attending and promoting offline search engine optimization networking events.

2002 should quickly become a year to remember within the SEO industry for both SEOs as well as the search engines themselves. At a rate like never before, search engines are interacting with optimization specialists - and doing so happily.

At the Search Engine Strategies Conference - set for March of 2002 in Boston Massachusetts - Exhibitors include Overture, Inktomi, Ah-Ha.com, LookSmart, and even Internet.com. It goes without saying that a conference of this magnitude should be attended by all SEOs who consider themselves legitimate service providers, as the amount of talent within that one conference alone is astounding.

The Search Engine Strategies Conference is unique in that it offers SEOs the ability to get up front and personal with leading figures of the search engines themselves. This - as one can imagine - creates the ability to network like never before.

While the entire SEO industry has its conferences and networking events to enjoy, so too do the online forums. While it seems as though the smaller online forums' events would be of less value - that very well may not be the case.

A smaller more intimate crowd of truly seasoned (and experienced) professionals together in one location - talking about what it is they love to do - can be a very rewarding experience. The importance and influence of these events does not go un-noticed by those art the large search engines either. One particular conference, clearly promoted at Webmaster World - has signed up Overture, Fast / All the Web, and Top Dog amongst others to help make their event a success. Clearly, with sponsors like that - the agenda of such conferences will be nothing short of spectacular.

The Simple Values of SEO Networking
The best part about networking within this industry is that attending an SEO event is only half of the experience. From attending a one or a two day conference - you can form and appreciate partnerships with some of the most exciting companies and individuals within the industry. As a result from these partnerships, you can gain insightful knowledge from leading specialists within SEO - and perhaps even develop strategic partnerships within the industry.

There are a lot of great things happening in the SEO industry, and yes, everyone is busy... But can you and your organization afford not to participate in events such as the Search Engine Strategies Conference? Of course not!

Make sure that you do not overlook helping out those smaller networking events too. This is especially critical if you or other members of your company participate within the groups that make up the general attending audience. You never know when the favor will be returned or some truly exciting information can be shared.

Attending and promoting these events allows you and your company to form a credible existence within the SEO industry. This industry, more than any other, relies on structured credibility. Do your part to repay the sources that feed you with knowledge… It is that attitude that allows the industry to grow and succeed.