As more and more of our daily lives move online, it only makes sense that SEO and SEM conferences move right along with them. I freely admit that I have never been a huge fan of industry conferences; I just don’t see a lot of value in attending them. I find that many offline conferences are great if you can send a representative to network for your company, but as the owner I’d rather spend my time on growing my business and getting new clients. You don’t usually find potential clients at an SEO or SEM conference; you find other SEO firms and consultants.
If you opt to sponsor a booth at an offline conference, you are pretty much chained to that booth. I’ve done that before and wasn’t able to attend a single seminar! As the only representative from my company, I was forced to man the booth during the entire
I am, however, an advocate of online conferences for several reasons.
1. No travel time or cost
I work in Boston, so if I wanted to attend a conference in San Francisco I would have to book a round-trip flight, a two or three night hotel stay, rent a car, and eat out every day. Add to that the cost of several missed work days plus the cost of actually attending the conference, and I can easily be paying several grand to attend. While my efforts might help a little (usually in terms of branding), I can think of much more effective ways to use that budget.
As redundant as it sounds, online conferences are online—which means they are anywhere I am. I can attend the workshops I want from the comfort of my office or home.
2. Session recordings
A lot of online SEO conferences will record their sessions and post them online for attendees to view at their leisure. This means that if I can’t sit in on a specific talk, I can download the recording and watch it when I have the time. By recording their sessions, online conferences make sure I don’t have to pick and choose; I can attend every seminar when I want to. I find this to be a huge point of differentiation over offline conferences.
3. No lost work time
Going to a physical conference means sacrificing several days of work time. I can attend an online SEO conference during my lunch hour, or schedule my meetings for the day around the seminars I want to attend.
A lot of offline conferences are about networking. While it’s important to network and make connections, I’d rather spend my time learning new techniques that can help me grow my business. Most online conferences offer live Q&A abilities during each session, enabling you to connect with the expert and other attendees.