SES Chicago Day One: Geek Becomes Geek-Chic (Maybe?)


The Social Network was the number #1 grossing movie in America these past couple weeks. And the fact that EVERYONE is on Twitter and Facebook
these days (seriously, Federal law mandates American citizens join at
least one of the two social media sites), it seems like we're reaching
another period of IT becoming less geekier than usual. (The first
period occurred in the late '90s when everyone joined an internet
start-up company and thought they would buy a private island after
cashing out their stock options.)

I wouldn't say computer geeks are becoming trendy, (let's not go nuts
here) but they are becoming more mainstream. So it's perfect timing for
Search Engine Strategies Conference Chicago.

Believe it or not, I once trained to become a network engineer. In 2002, I set the curve on my Cisco Systems certification exam and then...found every legit career opportunity required relocation to Bangalore, India.

Obviously, that door closed, but after finishing MBA school, working a couple mundane jobs and later earning a Fulbright fellowship in Media Studies, I returned home from Berlin to found The Sports Bank. If our traffic numbers are any indication, everything worked out for the best!

But there's still a tech geek deep inside me.


Of course, I keep the tech geek buried inside pretty much all the time.

And for good reason. Because I've had sex with a few different women
in my life. And I once had a live-in girlfriend, and I was even engaged
for a brief period of time. And at some point, I'd like to do all of
these things again. And I know discussing apache web servers and PHP
scripting doesn't help that cause.

However, this post is no place for that cause. Let's talk SEO algorithms.

Let's get jiggy with SERPs.

It's party time for keyword density ratios and keyword tracking software!

Oh baby, are you getting turned on? I know I am.


Day one actually came and went with no mentions of The Social Network. However,
there were a ton of mentions about Facebook itself. It really is
engaged in the internet's battle for your soul; versus Google.

This is not my hypothesis. It belongs to Tim Ash, CEO of,
whose lecture taught us that the battle to capture your mouse-clicks
consists of one side appealing on the basis of relation to large masses
of people (Google) versus the other angle, appealing to your allegiance
to a smaller, more close-knit community. (Facebook)

He articulated this brilliant idea much better than I can.

Two other lectures: "Introduction to Search Engine Marketing" by best-selling author Bryan Eisenberg and Dr. Ralph Wilson, Founder of Web Marketing Today and "Link Building Basics" by Anne Kennedy (Beyond Ink, USA) and Debra Mastaler (President of Alliance-Link) refreshed me on a lot of the SEO foundations I already have.

made me feel even more confident about the KSAs I have in this
discipline, and the decisions I've made in navigating TSB across the
internet's rough, confusing seas. And we've sailed into sunny, tropical
waters this October, as Jenn Sterger, Deadspin, Brett Favre and the
texting of his penis pictures
helped shatter the monthly traffic record,
and the weekly record not once but twice this month.

But the
real reason the records fell is because I read two SEO books this past
spring and I already had the optimized foundation in place months before
the story exploded.

And that's why anyone with a website looking
to increase page views will benefit from this conference. Because it
gives you the knowledge necessary to get found online.  

The most pleasant surprise of SES Day one? The male-to-female ratio
was a lot better than 25:1, or the number I expected. And what I've
become accustomed to every time I work out in the field covering various
sporting events.

There were even a couple of females slightly resembling Rachel Leigh Cook's programmer character in Anti-Trust.

You haven't seen that movie? You haven't even heard of it?

Doesn't surprise me- I think I'm the only person in history who
prioritized seeing it in the theatre on opening night back in 2001...and
I saw it again in the theatres!

"DORK" I know, but if I ask around at day two of the conference, I may find someone who can match that.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports , a Midwest webzine. He is also a regular contributor to the Tribune's Chicago Now network, Walter, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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