SEMPO Forms Chapter in New York, Where Local SEM Groups Abound

Last week, on the eve of the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York, a gathering of the local search community took place at Yahoo’s midtown offices on 40th street near Bryant Park. The meeting’s purpose: to gauge interest in a local Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) chapter, and to discuss what form the group should take.

Organizer Sara Holoubek wrote ahead of the meeting that the stated goal was to “to promote the SEMPO mission at the local level, provide networking opportunities, and drive original content for this very active market,” in an early e-mail invite.

Over a hundred search pros from the area attended the meeting, which was organized through Meetup.com. Among them were members of numerous other local SEM groups, many of which also use Meetup. Some of those groups include The New York City Search Engine Optimization CLUB, NYC Search Engine Super Powers, The NYC Search Marketing Meetup Group, New York SEO/M Meet Up Group, New York Internet Marketing Meetup Group. Many of these groups Holoubek found while organizing the SEMPO New York Meetup and included on the invite list.

Based on attendance, it seems unlikely a local SEMPO chapter will be rejected out of hand by existing SEM groups; rather, organizers hope it will compliment and possibly even bring those communities closer together.

Attendees voiced opinions on what they want to see from future activities. Many requests include discussion and training around video optimization, SEO, case studies, local content, link building, vendor reviews, tools, and social media optimization. Others asked for original content localized for New York and opportunities to network.

The meeting was originally supposed to be held at DoubleClick’s offices, but last minute complications forced a venue change. The European Commission’s approval of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick meant the meeting room previously booked was needed for another purpose. Yahoo was able to step in with an accommodating space. DoubleClick remained one of the meeting’s sponsors, and Dave Fall acted as the scribe for the night. Clickable was the other sponsor.

Since the meeting, Holoubek has used the forum to update the group on SEMPO activities held during SES NY. A Thursday morning session, “The SEMPO Survey: 2007 State of the Market,” will present findings from a survey of search market trends.

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