Earlier this fall, my employer graciously paid for me to have a couple days away from the office to attend State of Search, a digital marketing conference focused on SEO, SEM, reputation management, and social media marketing here in Dallas where I live and work.

State of Search has grown significantly in recent years, moving from a regional gathering to a conference attracting talented industry professionals from around the world.

This was my first State of Search, and I can’t stress enough how positive of an experience I had as a first-time attendee.

As a young professional, I’m finally getting past a point in my life where impostor syndrome is constantly creeping over my shoulder. This makes attending conferences and industry meetups all the much more enjoyable. Even if you’re still struggling with impostor syndrome, there’s no better conference to attend, in my opinion. Nobody here is looking to “one-up” each other, but rather share in success and struggles.

State of Search promotes SEO success, not absolutes. You’ll find plenty of expertise and authoritative figures in each breakout session and keynote that will teach you the best practices but also how to identify trends and keep your head on a swivel, so to speak.

Organized annually by DFWSEM, State of Search are the good guys, and gals, of digital marketing.

In comparison, do a Google search for SEO controversy. Take a look at the results and also click-through some of the related search results. This is what we battle on a daily basis, people who misrepresent how the industry works and claim to have all the answers, the “silver bullet” so to speak that their agency or business is built on. They fight vehemently to protect their practice of these tactics.

You won’t find these attitudes and behaviors on display at State of Search. This is a place for real professionals to gather, enjoy the camaraderie with each other and grow their craft. A common theme among quality, honest digital marketing practitioners is that they are very open to sharing their findings and ideas with their fellow marketers. This is the basis behind every breakout session during the day. Again, no silver bullets here. When SEOs collectively do the right thing and apply best practices to their work, we all win, our clients win, and the legitimacy of our field grows.

Beyond how to apply the best strategies and tactics to your work, State of Search fosters all the right things about humanity in our field. Mental health and issues such as depression and anxiety are battles many in our industry are facing every day. These issues only intensify in an industry that is largely misunderstood and unknown by our friends, family, and peers and whose roots are heavy in entrepreneurship and small business ownership. A mental health panel was conducted at this year’s state of search to remind us all to come together around our colleagues in need and to never be ashamed of setting professional and personal boundaries. Women also continue to face underrepresentation in the field, and a women’s panel was held this year as an opportunity to discuss how we can better advocate for the incredible female talent in our industry.

State of Search is on the map every fall as a must-attend conference for digital marketers. Learn more about it at stateofsearch.org, and I hope to see you all with me there next year.



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