Earlier this year, I was invited to speak at the ninth International Food Blogger Conference on What Bloggers Need To Know About SEO. Speaking and training is one of my favorite things to do, and the conference was happening at the Sacramento Convention Center near my home, so saying yes was a no brainer.
Plus, in April 2016, I started my own personal blog Inspired Imperfection, where I share recipes, family adventures, and candid commentary on life, so this event was also going to be an awesome opportunity to meet other local bloggers! While I travel to business events and conference after, the International Food Blogger Conference was actually my first blogging-specific conference.
The two-day food blogging conference ran Friday and Saturday with back-to-back sessions and add-on events happening the Thursday before the event and the Sunday after. Sessions were delivered by a mix of individual expert speakers, moderated panel discussions, and sponsored sessions.
What Bloggers Need To Know About SEO
My session, What Bloggers Need To Know About SEO, kicked off the day on Saturday and I was thrilled to see the room packed at 9:00 am with attendees eager and ready to learn about search engine optimization. Speaking about SEO can be challenging because it’s a very big topic with a lot of technical information.
- If you stay super-focused and only cover a portion of information about SEO, attendees miss out on critical tactics and information than can make a big difference in their online success.
- But if you try to cover everything in a single session, the information quickly becomes overwhelming, feels very difficult, and attendees then tune out.
My goal was to deliver the basics of on-page optimization and technical SEO in the most clear and simple way possible. I wanted attendees to have a clear understanding of on-page optimization, image optimization, and content optimization, as well as critical schema markup for recipes and social media, and I wanted them to walk away feeling like SEO is doable and that they can take action and implement what they have learned with confidence.
I covered SEO basics and best practices, as well as tactics and tools to leverage SEO to increase organic search traffic, get found online more often, and attract new visitors — and the session was a huge hit! I heard from several attendees that they have gone to many SEO talks/sessions over the years, and that this was the first one that they actually understood. Hooray!
Tastings, Gift Suites, And Live Blogging
While there wasn’t any food at the Food Blogger Conference during the day, other than a picnic lunch provided by Nugget Markets on Friday, both days of the event wrapped up with very fun and entertaining events that showcased event sponsors and connected attendees with brands.
The last session on Friday was a sponsor showcase and gift suite experience, which meant the Convention Center’s west lobby was separated into two sections, one full of free gifts and one lined with sponsors serving up free samples!
I first hopped in line for the gifting experience. When it was my turn, I grabbed a bag provided by the Sacramento International Airport and walked in a big circle around the tables, selecting one of each free item I wanted to try. There were cutting boards and spatulas, as well as food items like chips, popcorn, oatmeal, granola bars, chocolate, balsamic vinegar, and cheese.
Next, I wandered around the sponsor tasting tables, sampling delicious bites from brands and local restaurants including Puur Chocolat, The Red Rabbit, Thai Basil Midtown, Grange Restaurant & Bar, Downtown & Vine, Chile Avocados, Lindsay Olives, Superior Farms, and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
To wrap up the day on Saturday and cap off the event with a bang, the last session was a tasting and live blogging session. Unlike the night before, where attendees walked table to table, in this session the brands came to you!
For 50 minutes, we sat at our table while 10 different brands each had 5 minutes to present their foods to us and educate us about their products. This was by far the best part of the event and I just wish it were longer as I really enjoyed hearing about the different brands and food products and personally connecting with the people representing them.
During this event, we sampled wine from Bella Grace Vineyards and Ironstone Vineyards, Naples Drizzle Italian Hot Sauce, Lindsay Almond Butters, Chile Citrus, Chocolate Fish Nitro Coffee, California Strawberries, Bread Srsly, Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and Chile Avocados.