Portland’s SEM Scene

LONG TIME NO SEE. How’s it going? Good, that’s good. Cool. Oh, me? Just, oh, y’know, stumbling into thriving hubs of digital marketing niches in Portland.

Search Engine Marketing, or SEM for short, is getting paid a lot of attention by the buzzing industry in Portland.

I wasn’t even very aware that SEM specifically was so talked-about until I started following a lot of Portland digital-marketing related accounts and noticed the word floating around everywhere.

First, I stumbled upon Michael Cottom’s twitter account; he had recently posted a slideshare about his recent presentation on Google Panda’s influence at a local event, which had gotten retweeted and made its way to me. As it turns out, his sense of humor in presenting is HILARIOUS (clearly a bonus in my book), and I immediately posted it, followed him, and very quickly realized that not is he an SEO consultant in Portland (and we both know how I feel about that), but also a Moz associate. holla. We are now facebook friends and I go about liking all the pictures he posts of his recent tropical vacations. Not that that’s weird, or anything.

michael cottam


Michael is also a board member of SEMpdx, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting Portland SEM events as well as an annual conference, SearchFest, all aimed towards fostering critical thought and discussion around the ever-changing search engine marketing industry and what PDX professionals are doing to keep up with it.  SEMpdx’s twitter feed is active with info about upcoming events and retweets from a highly connected network of Portland professionals all looking to connect and better their SEM strategy. (We follow each other too. It’s casual.)

You can get plugged in to the SEM industry, anytime.

All it took was a twitter mention and a few strategic follows to get connected–not just to the local digital marketing industry, but to SEM in particular. Instead of just focusing on SEO in general, you can try going even more granular and focusing on one (increasingly important) facet of the industry–and one that you’d do well to check in with.




  1. Thanks for the kind words, Mia :-). A similar experience got me involved with SEMpdx a few years ago–and I discovered that we have here in Portland not only a lot of high-powered search marketing talent, but also a very open, friendly and inclusive kind of spirit. At SEMpdx, we’re putting search on the map in Portland, and also putting Portland on the map in search–and from the amazing growth in the industry in our town, that seems to be working. And we’re having fun, helping grow new companies and grow people’s talents and even helping charities at the same time. But it’s not just Portland’s SEM community that’s like this–I’ve found that the rock-stars of search around the world share this attitude, and take the time to welcome and engage with newbies. It’s a cool time to be in a cool industry!

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