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My Experience at University Spokane

Hopefully by now you know that I live in Burley, Idaho. I love my small town. My wife and I grew up here, “hated and dated” each other through school, I got smart…we got married, and now we are back (that was my life recap in one sentence).

But, one thing that drives me literally crazy about Burley is that it takes the same amount of time to fly as it does to just drive places. Such was the case for Spokane’s University. So, instead of driving to Boise-Flying to Salt Lake-Then to Spokane, I just got a good book on tape and drove. Now my reason for going to Spokane was really 3 fold…

  1. Meet in person with some great local search experts
  2. Learn a bit about how others present on local search
  3. Pick up any little nuggets of information I could

I got there Wednesday night and met up with David Mihm, Matt Mcgee, Mary Bowling, Ed Reese, Professor Maps, Aaron Weiche, and Bing’s own Mikko Ollila for Dinner. All I can say is that everyone was just as great in person as they are online. A truely genuine group of people that I would recommend  to anyone.

GetListed University was split into a morning session and and afternoon session. I will be honest. I spent half the morning session swimming in a brand spanking new pool when I probably should have been helping with registration as David Mihm so gently reminded me. But what can a guy do?

Now, the amazing thing about this conference was how twitter played a vital role. The hashtag #localu really started to gain some momentum throughout the day which increased the audience participation and feedback. Here are just a few of the things that were said…

  • Ran out of chairs at #localu had to beg for more. @ed_reese is killing it on his presentation.
  • #localu Tip from @Google shows how to add business listing on local business center.
  • #LocalU Once business is listed on Google & owner of business is confirmed, allows for auto analytics.
  • #localu – slide on how Google & others captures information for searches. Complex cluster looking like kids scribbling.
  • @mblumenthal presenting at #LocalU about 15-18% of map data is inaccurate. One more reason to claim your listing!
  • Professor Maps is @mblumenthal ‘s new nickname. #localu
  • #Google Algo tips: contact info on every pg of Web site. Business name on landing page. #LocalU
  • #localu Liked what Ed said: With SEO, good design and content is important or lots of people will find you and see how bad your site is.

Now it is important to realize that these tweets did not come from experienced search marketers. The room was full of a mix of Business Owners and Advertisers who were getting a crash course in one of the most complex online scenario’s that they could… and they were not only understanding what we being taught, but building off of it!

Why I think that University Will Be a Nation Wide Hit

First and foremost, the quality of presentations couldn’t get any better. The presenters that were speaking represented about 50% of the leading voices within local search for $100’s less than you will get them anywhere else. You also had rep’s from The Search Engine and The Decision Engine promoting the most powerful SMB marketing tool available at this time.

But, the surprising thing was how hungry SMB’s were for the information. They literally couldn’t get enough. The question and answer session went well into the social hour afterwords with Ed and David explaining why they wanted to put the conference on to people until it was dark!

Small Businesses are really catching on to the vision of local search, and if you ever want an experience that adds up to 10 times the cost, then make sure you catch the next #localu that will be set in the Twin Cities with @AaronWeiche laying a lot of the ground work. I am seriously contemplating the long drive for that event as well. Now if only I could swindle them to coming to Idaho…

For more upcoming #localu information….

David Mihm’s Speaking schedule

Aaron Weiche’s Five Technology involvement announcement