This is the first in a series of quick and dirty posts from the MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010, which took place is taking place NOW (May 4-5) at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Mass. Bonus: The  boil water order was lifted  this morning, the morning of May 4, so that inconvenience is over with, much to the relief of the conference staff, I'm sure. For those of you who were there, here are my notes. If you weren't able to make it, here's what you missed:

First up, Veronica "Niki" Fielding, CEO, Digital Brand Expressions speaking on "SEO—Now More than Ever, a B2B Marketer's Best Friend." She actually talked about a whole boatload of stuff, but here are some key takeaways pertaining mostly to content:

Take heart marketers, if copy works for human beings, it will work for search engines. Write for people.

Also think about starting to incorporating multimedia, as all other things being equal, Google will rank your site higher because it wants to serve up more than text-based content.

More and more, it's about refreshed content so you need to keep your website current. Again, all things being equal, meaning compared to a competing site that is just as optimized, continually refreshed content will train search engines to come to site more often.

Another tip: Every key word should have its own page of content on site that supports that keyword. Rule of thumb: For ever 250 words of copy, your keyword should appear five times,  written in a way that makes sense to a person. Search engine practices are always evolving but their goal always will be to create an ideal experience for person doing the search.

Blogs: Is it better to be host them internally on your website or externally, on a separate website? Answer: When it's separate, it will be another site that will show up in the search rankings. However, if you don't have a great way to continually refresh the other content on your site, then your blog should sit on your website.

Next, Larry Davis, VP of Marketing, PTS Data Center Solutions, spoke.

SEO has helped to increase sales; website search is the No. 3 lead source (20% of leads). The No. 1 source is from our sales folks. DBE also has been instrumental helping to improve experience for user once they get to the site. Hot point: The ongoing battle of visual appeal vs. content. Who wins? The answer: It depends on your audience.

For example, PTS customers are essentially engineers, CIOs, VPs of IT, etc.  They want content; information and education. The PTS website has over 300 pages of content, each optimized to a key word.  Does it work? If you search on "data center consulting" PTS comes up first over much bigger companies.

Trend worth watching:  Content syndication. This is content from partners that is syndicated on privately labeled web pages.

Caveats: Real SEO takes time to take effect. It's an investment. Think months, not weeks, to start seeing a return. Black and white hat techniques may provide instant gratification but might not serve you long term.

Also, most SEO organizations don't optimize their own sites because they don't want their competitors to go to school on them. Check out their client's sites instead. Similarly, if you do a good job, your competitors will steal or "scrape" your content, sometimes wholesale. To deter them, you can provide an abstract and make people log in to get the whole article. However, be sure to leave enough content outside the wall for the search engines to play with.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helena Bouchez is principal and owner of Helena B Communications (www.helenabcommunications.com). Reach her via helena@helenabcommunications.com or follow her on Twitter (@HelenaBouchez).