SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of people are expected to attend the first gathering of a group of search marketers in Utah on Oct. 19. Whether you are already passionate about pushing your website to the top of Google, or are new to search marketing and just looking to get your foot in the door at an agency, SLCSEM.org is for you.
Though Utah businesses have been at the forefront of the search marketing industry for more than a decade, until now there hasn’t been an official way for search marketers to network in the state.
The first meeting of the group has been years in the making, said Elisabeth Osmeloski, president of SLCSEM.org.
The event is being thrown at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City. With low taxes and few health care mandates for employers, Utah became a popular place for technology startups. Some of the most popular brands in the state – Backcountry.com, Overstock.com and 1800Contacts – built Internet-based businesses when search marketing was still in its infancy.
Utah has since become a hub for online marketing agencies, which are now uniting to form SLCSEM.org (Salt Lake City Search Engine Marketing Professional Association). Those who are passionate about search engine optimization, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising are encouraged to attend Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
Osmeloski said hundreds of search marketers call Utah home.
“Over the years, a number of Utah-based search marketing consulting agencies, such as SEO.com, and best-in-class search tools like Omniture have emerged as Utah’s community of search marketers has grown substantially,” Osmeloski said. “As Utah-based search marketers have been attending, speaking and networking at national search industry events for years, it became apparent that we needed a local organization to support hundreds of Utahns involved with many aspects of search engine optimization and managing paid search campaigns.”
In her day job, Osmeloski is the executive features editor of Search Engine Land, an online publication that covers search marketing. A New York native, Osmeloski said she moved to Utah because of the abundance of career opportunities in search marketing.
“Utah is a beautiful place to live, work and play, and we want to raise Utah’s profile for digital marketing expertise on a national level,” she said.
Another prominent figure in the search industry is Salt Lake City resident Jordan Kasteler, a managing partner at BlueGlass Interactive. He said a professional organization for search marketers in Utah is long overdue.
“Utah needs a group like this,” Kasteler said about SLCSEM.org. “There’s been a large SEO scene in Utah since I can remember. [Osmeloski] and myself started talking about getting a meetup like this going nearly four years ago.”
Kasteler said search marketing has found a home in Utah because the state is young and technologically savvy. Since search marketing is a newer field, many who work in search engine optimization are only in their 20s.
“[Search marketing] also seems to be the first step down the road of self-proclaimed entrepreneurship,” he explained.
Kasteler said he hopes SLCSEM.org will rival similar groups in Dallas and Portland, Ore.
The kick-off meeting this month is for freelance consultants, search marketing agencies, in-house SEOs, marketing executives and students interested in careers in search marketing.
Executives from SEO.com are among the online marketers who are expected to speak at the event.
“We’re really excited to be a part of SLCSEM.org,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said. “Networking with other professionals in your industry is highly recommended. Utah has so many talented search marketers, and organizing a group to share knowledge is the perfect opportunity for those entering the industry to launch their career.”
Though admission is free, there are a limited number of tickets for this month’s event. Register at http://slcsem.eventbrite.com/ or visit SLCSEM.org for more information.