My 2012 End Of The World Post

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OK, I don’t really believe the world is ending on Friday. But I do want to take this opportunity to share some of the highlights of 2012, both in the PPC world and personally.

The beginning of 2012 brought with it a new job for me, and it’s been nothing but rewarding. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the fantastic team at gyro and to do it mostly from home!

I also crossed 3 things off my bucket list: seeing Van Halen in the front row, walking a half marathon, and celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary with a cruise. All in all, it’s been a very good year!

2012 has been a good year for PPC in many ways, also.  There were some amazing PPC conferences, including the inaugural HeroConf.

There was the uproar over Google ad rotation, and Bing went from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Every year I’m surprised by posts saying PPC is dead, and by the blatant misunderstandings about how PPC works. In fact, my Adwords Debacle post was one of the most-read posts on this blog in 2012. PPC has been around for well over 10 years now, and yet the lack of understanding amongst many advertisers is always a surprise.

2012 brought some amazing info-sharing around the blogosphere. In June, I listed some of my favorite posts. Since then, there have been more good posts, including this one on testing millions of ads and this one on increasing PPC sales. My bookmarked list of great PPC posts grows by the day!

For a roundup of big PPC news in 2012, check out these Search Engine Watch posts by my friends Joe Kerschbaum and Alex Cohen.

And finally, no 2012 roundup would be complete without a shout-out to my favorite PPC resource, PPC Chat. Founded by Matt Umbro, PPC Chat has become my go-to source for quick answers to tough PPC questions. Someone is always there on the hashtag ready to help! I’ve met so many friends and PPC pros, both online and in real life, as a result of PPC Chat. If you do nothing else in 2013, get in on the PPC Chat action!

Finally, I’d like to wish all my readers a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year in 2013. Without all of you, I’d be, well, talking to myself. You all rock!

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Why I Love PPC Conferences

This week’s PPC Chat topic was PPC Conferences. As usual, it was a great conversation about a fun topic. Take a look at the streamcap if you missed it.

The discussion got me thinking about conferences in general. In fact, I’ve been waxing nostalgic.

In another lifetime, before Google existed, I did traditional marketing.   As part of that job, I had to go to several conferences and trade shows.

I hated it.

Even when I traveled to trade shows with coworkers (which helped somewhat), the whole process was a huge chore.  All the strangers, all the small talk with people, all the “being on” all the time, all the “networking” just plain wore me out.  Believe it or not, I’m an introvert, and that much contact with people I didn’t know literally exhausted me. I dreaded going to these shows.

But once I started doing search, it all changed.

I still vividly remember my first PPC conference, which was SES – in Boston in 2003 (yes, this was before SES moved to the Big Apple).  I had been doing search for about a year, and had been participating in a lot of the forums, which were kind of the predecessor to social media and PPC Chat.  I had gotten to know (online, at least) several key players in the marketplace at that time; in fact, we had hired one or two of them as consultants, and I had read every e-book I could get my hands on in my thirst for knowledge.

Well, I couldn’t wait to go to SES. It was a total 180 from the feeling I had before the other conferences I had gone to in my career.  I knew that the movers and shakers were speaking, and I was hoping to meet some of them. I was nearly giddy with excitement.

Needless to say, after that conference, I was hooked.  Back then there was no SMX or HeroConf; and Pubcon was just a small informal gathering of SEOs.  SES, programmed at that time by Danny Sullivan, was the only game in town.  Following that first show, I started making annual SES pilgrimages.

In the early days when I was still learning, I’d be the first one to raise my hand during the Q&A in each session I attended.  I figured this was the cheapest way to get advice from the biggest experts in the field, and I was right. I always came back with takeaways that ended up boosting our profits substantially.  I also swarmed the podium at the end of each session to try to meet the people I’d chatted with in the forums live and in person.  I would never have done either of these things at any of the conferences I’d attended in the past.  I probably annoyed the heck out of the other attendees (and some of the speakers too!), but I didn’t care.

Little did I know that one day, the roles would be reversed and I’d be the one on the speaker podium.  I’ve found that I actually love speaking about search – it’s become a passion of mine. People always ask how I get past my nerves, and my honest answer is that I really don’t get nervous.  I’m just so excited to talk about the career that I love so much.

So how did I go from someone who dreaded conferences to one who can’t wait for the next one?

I believe that when you finally find out what you were put on this earth to do, you’ll discover that your job doesn’t feel like work.  That’s how it’s been for me.  It was really my passion for the craft and the industry that spurred me to ask all those questions and stalk all those speakers back in the day.  My thirst for knowledge far outweighed any shyness or nerves.

Do I still get exhausted with all that meeting and greeting?  I do, but not until I get back home.  While I’m actually at a conference, I’m loving every minute of it, even meeting all the strangers!

And do you know what the best part is?  It’s the fact that it’s come full circle.  I’m now able to help others learn about search, just like I learned from some of the best when I was new.  There is nothing more rewarding than the look on someone’s face when they “get it” for the first time.  There’s nothing like getting emails or tweets from people who enjoyed one of my sessions.  And there’s nothing like going to a conference like HeroConf and feeling like I’ve gone to a class reunion, even though I haven’t met most of the attendees in real life.  We all know each other already.

Can you name a single industry that’s this cool?  I can’t!

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