In September I was lucky enough to be invited to, and attend the SEOktoberfest Charity BBQ in Munich, Germany. Having been very aware of this fantastic conference for a while now, it had always been incredibly high on my list of SEO events that I wanted to attend, it was you could say on my ‘SEO Bucket List’. Thanks to industry friend and mentor of mine, Jackie Hole, this year it became a reality. I’d like to take this time to extend my thanks both to Jackie, but also to Marcus Tandler and his fantastic team for all the incredibly hard work they put in to organising this event, and also to the other attendees, whom I can wholeheartedly say were some of the most welcoming, smart, and friendly I’ve ever met.
My Excitement About Oktoberfest
Having taken the entrepreneurial leap and starting AvitaDigital, my own digital consultancy this year, unfortunately my networking and attending industry events (across Europe) has diminished significantly compared to previous years. Where I normally try to attend/speak at, at very least 5 events a year, this year I only managed 3 – something I have a keen view to change in 2015.
This being my first time in Germany (not counting a short stopover at Frankfurt airport some 4/5 years ago) I was incredibly excited and having heard of the sterling reputation of SEOktoberfest I was incredibly enthusiastic about seeing what all the hype was about in attending. Not to mention, being a huge fan of beer itself – Oktoberfest itself has been on my personal bucket list for a long while now too. I had to say that on either front it certainly didn’t disappoint.
SEOktoberfest: An Stand Out SEO Conference
Although I didn’t get to attend the full SEOktoberfest event (something which I plan to change next year), Marcus Tandler and team also make the one-day SEOktoberfest Charity BBQ available to those that would like to support great causes and mingle with some of the fantastic individuals that choose to attend SEOktoberfest.
Something that always catches me off guard when attending SEO [and broader digital marketing] events is the very special sense of unity that exists within our industry, it’s something that I know is often documented, however I’m often reminded of how supremely lucky we are to work in an industry that is so transparent, social and welcoming. SEOktoberfest is the pinnacle of this. Above anything else there are 3 main things that stood out for me after attending SEOktoberfest and something that I will remember for a long time now, these are:
The German/European SEO Community
Having moved to Copenhagen some 1.5 years ago one of my goals was that I was keen to do was embrace the broader European SEO community and to expand my network outside of the UK. SEOktoberfest is simply put one of the events that I’d recommend anyone to make the plans to attend in the future. There is an unfortunate tendency to exist within a silo (something that SEOs can relate to across our discipline) and only attend events in their country, or within their region. The fantastic thing is SEOktoberfest (as well as RIMC in Iceland, which I attended back in March) embodies, is the European [and worldwide] culture of our industry, the innovation that is happening within our sector and the far-reaching acceptance of this as a hugely important digital discipline. This event typifies that SEO is a worldwide industry a discipline that is needed to better businesses online no matter what part of the world they exist. SEOktoberfest is attended by not only some of the brilliant SEO minds in the world, but also has a strong American contingent, as well as a fantastic amount of attendees from the German contingent also – a market that I have widely considered to be one of the (if not the) leading forces in European SEO and digital market. Not only were the great attendees super smart, sharing fantastic innovations but they were also immeasurably welcoming and friendly and it’s difficult to put into words how many great people that I met while there.
The Brotherhood and the Ability to Influence Genuine Change
Another thing that I think is overlooked is how much work is put into organising an event on this scale, and how hard the teams behind them have to work to ensure that everything runs so smoothly. I can only admire an event that has been running for some 7 years now and looks to continue in the future, and extend my gratitude to Marcus and his effortlessly hard working team for letting me be part of it, and for ensuring I had a very good time too – check out some of the photos that I took to see for yourself:
In my opinion, it speaks for itself that many of the attendees have been visiting year-on-year since inception, and that many that I met say that it is the only European conference that they always ensure is booked in their calendars. Another heartwarming fact is that SEOktoberfest is entirely non-profit, and the Charity BBQ (as well as all other activities) are put on with absolutely no profit being made. Yes, the ticket price isn’t cheap (at 5000 EUR a piece) but the level of attention to detail that all those organisers put in goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of before. Everything down to your very own SEOktoberfest lederhosen, a commemorative medal, the caliber of the attendees and entrance into (otherwise unreachable) tents at Oktoberfest itself is something that the Brotherhood have worked hard to achieve, and are all integral to making the event such a huge success. The two causes that the events supports are:
- AMAZONICA – A charity that works with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon in Ecuador, providing education (building schools) and helping them defend themselves against the timber industry that threatens to tear apart their natural environment.
- Münchner Tafel – A local Munich-based charity that helps provide food for those that live in poverty.
I got the opportunity to speak to Mascha Kauka who established AMAZONICA some 30 years ago and continues to strive to support the development of schools in Amazonian Ecuador, though it appears like it has been a long and gradual struggle, I take my hat off to her and her organisation for all the great deeds that they do.
I hope that by reading about my experience at this years SEOktoberfest what the true nature of the SEOktoberfest Brotherhood is all about and also that you’d consider attending it next year. A genuine thank you to all those that attended and those that were involved. Long may it continue!