November 24, 2008

PubCon 2008 Conference

By Chris Phillips

Pubcon-08-vegas Two of my fellow co-workers and I attended PubCon last week in Las Vegas, NY. It was my first time at PubCon, and my first trip to Las Vegas.

The Conference:
PubCon was a good time. It was set up to have several tracks you could attend so people of all levels and backgrounds (SEO, PPC, Webmasters, Online Sales etc.) had something to attend. Some time slots had several sessions that seemed interesting so it was hard to decide which session to attend. By day two I started going to the sessions that had the speakers I wanted to hear, and that seemed to work the best for me.

Some speaker’s presentations were a little too much like a sales pitch for my liking, but most speakers did a good job of presenting good information for the audience. Hopefully next year they will fix the Wi-Fi problem (for some reason the conference only supported 100 users at a time).

I found it interesting that there were several points of view sometimes between speakers on the same topic, which made it interesting. For example, Li Evans presented on how Barack Obama leveraged social media to win the election, and another speaker presented how John McCain’s link building efforts were successful, even if he didn’t win the election. No matter what your political view is, the fact remains that more and more of the general public is now becoming aware of the online community and how much of an impact it can have.

There were a lot of great people at the conference, some big SEO names, Greg Boser, Matt Cutts, Li Evans, Neil Patel, Barry Schwartz, Vanessa Fox, and some other big names from the 3 major search engines… (too many to list here). I really enjoyed meeting and socializing with other internet professionals.

Pubcon-08-vegas-2 My Takeaway:
I felt most of the speakers of PubCon seemed to speak in line with the general consensus by search marketing professionals: The internet is changing faster than ever. It seemed most speakers agreed we have moved away from just tracking rankings and moved towards quantifiable goals, conversions, etc.

Universal search has changed the search landscape already, and all aspects of universal search need to be addressed to fully take advantage of online opportunities. Social media continues to play a larger role in the search landscape year after year. Businesses and corporations need learn how to be accepted in these online social groups (not try to force their way in) in order to fully take advantage of social media. Successful social media campaigns can send several times the amount (and quality) of traffic to a website at the fraction of the cost of PPC or other types of advertising.

SEO and link building is still necessary, and is a key foundation to get your website to perform at its best. Tracking rankings has become a less effective way to measure success because search engines have incorporated local search features that display different results based on where an internet user is located, what else they are searching for, and more.

November 14, 2008

Fun Friday Photos: Motoko & Bill Hunt at the Zappos Party During Pubcon 2008

By Li Evans

I've got two favorite couples in this industry, Dave & Irma Wallace of SearchRank and Bill & Motoko Hunt.  Bill is 'the guy' at Global Strategies, and Motoko has her own Japanese Search Marketing Firm.  I caught them hanging out at the Zappos party at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, during Pubcon 2008.  These two really make me smile, how about you? :)

Bill & Motoko Hunt at the Zappos Party During Pubcon 2008

If you like this photo of Bill & Motoko Hunt at the Zappos Party During Pubcon 2008, feel free to comment and favorite it on Flickr, Sphinn or Fetch this photo as that's how we'll be judging the photos at the end of the year! Check out the rest of the Pubcon Las Vegas 2008 Photos, there's over 50 photos for you all to check out from throughout the year.

November 13, 2008

My Pubcon 2008 Highlights - Social Media Panels on a Short & Brief Trip

By Li Evans

Chris_winfield_and_david_wallace Pubcon 2008 was much like Pubcon 2007 for me, a brief whirlwind of networking, presenting and dinners.  Due to a pretty big workload, and wanting to make sure we keep our clients happy, Pubcon was a 1 1/2 day visit for me.  Pretty much a 36 hour on the ground trip.

I got to sit in for a session and present on Social Media & Search - a Love or War Story.

Of course I think it's a Love Story. :)

My other fellow panelists - David Wallace of Search Rank, Chris Winfield of 10e20 and Bill Hartzer of VizionInteractive , pretty much all agreed that it's a love story too.  David's presentation brough up the fact that many companies are quite there yet in believing in the Love Story of Social Media.  Chris highlighted the Love Story of Google and Digg, how there can be value if you have a good strategy in Digg, and you understand the workings of it.  Bill highlighted how feeds play a big role in Social Media and search, if anyone knows the ins and outs there, it's certainly Bill.  I highlighted that companies need a strategy, that you need to know who your audience is and where they are before you start.  I also said that in the future, search engines are going to be relying a lot more on social media sites for their signals of what's relevant, rather than so much emphasis on links.

The session before ours on Tuesday, was about Social Media:  The Big Sexy Buzz.  This panel had Warren Whitlock on it, who is a huge Twitter advocate and wrote the book Twitter Revolution, he brought up some great points about utilizing twitter, many this audience has heard and espoused themselves.  Guillaume Bouchard had some great data on Digg and how its changed since it did some major overhauling to its algorithm.  Kent Schoen from Facebook spoke about how businesses can utilize Facebook and Brian_carter_pony_pink_purse Brian Carter spoke about the "trifecta" of blogging + twitter + bookmarking.  Brian even gave out a free pony during his presentation, one in a cute pink purse.

Overall it was a great "quick trip".  I had plenty of hanging out time with Shashi Bellamkonda, who is the Social Media guru from Network Solutions.  Any time you have a chance to chat with Shashi at length take it!  He always gives me new perspectives on how to look at introducing social media as another channel of marketing to clients.

Also congrats to Geoff Livingston (who spoke on the session after mine and is a fellow Phillies fan) on his one year anniversary of the launch of his very successful book Now is Gone.  If you haven't read this book, go out and buy it now!  Geoff's another very insightful Social Media mind in the industry.

Since my trip was rather brief, I'm going to leave the rest of the highlight up to Chris Phillips, SMG's newest writer.  He's out there now probably partying it up at the Webmaster Radio Bash (the one thing I REALLY miss not being at!)

November 06, 2008

Pre-Gaming for PubCon & A Little About Me

By Chris Phillips

Hello, my name is Chris Phillips and this is my first post on Search Marketing Gurus. I work at Razorfish (Philadelphia Office) as an SEO Analyst (Click on my name to read more about me).

Pre-Gaming for PubCon
Chris-phillips I am really looking forward to going to Las Vegas for the first time, and attending PubCon. As you can see from this picture I live by the "work hard, play hard" mentality (Note: This picture was taken after 5:00 pm - I have witnesses).

When the opportunity came up to attend PubCon, I jumped for it. In the past I have attended other conferences such as SES New York '07 and SEOmoz Pro Training Series, but sometimes it is hard to stay for the after conference events.
This time I will be at PubCon all week so I can attend all the events.

My favorite part of search marketing conferences is the time after the conference where we have the ability to meet and have great conversations with other search marketing experts, so naturally I feel PubCon will be a good fit.

It's great to speak with other search marketing experts about the the projects they are working on, the issues they have run into and solutions they came up. I feel I usually learn more from conversations with other marketing professionals about dealing with real-world problems than I do from the conference itself.

If you see me at PubCon please stop me and say hi!

How I got here
At one of our monthly Internet Marketers of the Delaware Valley (IM-DV) meetings, Li asked me to start contributing on topics surrounding Website Architecture and SEO. I was honored to be asked to contribute to one of the top Search Marketing websites around.

My Role Here at Search Marketing Gurus
I will be contributing information relating to technical aspects of SEO. Topics will include issues that can block search engines from crawling your website efficiently, server side tips, coding and site structure best practices.

December 11, 2007

Search Marketing Conferences & Entertainment Options

By Li Evans

Dsc_2344 Over the past two weeks that I've been on the road, I've covered different states, 3 conferences and one vacation destination.  So as I'm sitting here in the O'Hare airport, tethered to my Treo for internet connection (because O'Hare fools you into thinking their WiFi is free) as I wait for my flight home which is delayed by two hours (imagine that!), I've been reflecting on the more fun times of my extended business trip.

As search marketers we get to go to some great conferences.  From Search Engine Strategies, Pubcon, AdTech, eMetrics to eTail and, there's no shortage of great venues to attend to learn more about our industries and what our colleagues are doing that is successful.  We learn a lot and we share a lot at these conferences, and there's no doubt each and every one of us comes away with a few nuggets of great information to utilize with our clients or employers.

With that said, there's also the "fun" aspect of what we get to do when we attend the conferences.  Every year at SES San Jose, everyone looks forward to the Google Dance at the GooglePlex and the Search Bash that Webmaster Radio puts on.  At SES Chicago, it's going for a great steak or some awesome Chicago style pizza and hanging out in an awesome blues bar.

Dsc_2277In Las Vegas at Pubcon there are shows, this past conference I got to attend Spamalot at the Wynn hotel and casino, and the Blue Man Group at the Venetian hotel and casino.  Both excellent shows, appealing to different sides of things I like (Monty Python and percussion music).  The Blue Man group was a lot more than I expected, and dinner with friends before the show added a great touch to the evening entertainment.

Even after the Blue Man group's show ended, the entertainment went on.  A meet and greet was arranged and search marketers ended up with blue noses and a bunch of pictures (even some lip balm and a CD).  It was a nice added touch, but I think what impressed me most about the Blue Man group was the care they took for the audience members that were disabled.  I can't tell you how it can touch your heart to see the attention and care a character who doesn't speak a word, can convey such caring.

Dsc_2364 Then in Chicago a night of fun, food and music.  From great pizza at Giordano's to hanging out at Kitty O'Shea's to finally arriving at Buddy Guy's Legends it was another amazing night of run.  Buddy Guy's Legends (just right around the corner from the Hilton), was another great venue to hang out and just network with friends as we listened to the amazing Lindsay Alexander (someone correct me on that spelling if I got it wrong).  This guy is so talented and amazing and had an awesome band to back him up.  From his amazing guitar playing, to his raspy blues voice, it was a surprising night of great music that I'm glad I was able to enjoy.  Mr. Alexander's interaction with the crowd was so fun, and I'm sure Becky Ryan of Trellian can back me up on that! :)

No matter which conference you were at last week, you likely had a lot of fun.  I can tell you though, from experience, getting to all the conferences was definitely something I was glad I was able to do, even though I'm still recovering!

Special thanks to Joe Morin for the Vegas entertainment, to Brandy and Daron Babin for introducing me to Buddy Guy's Legends and to Becky Ryan for driving me down Rodeo Drive in her convertible.

December 04, 2007

Craig Newmark of Craig's List at Pubcon

By Li Evans

Greetings from rather sunny Las Vegas, where it is a little warmer than in Chicago.  Unfortunately I'm just here for the day, but lucky for you, I can bring you a small taste of what's going on here at Pubcon before I head north east to Chicago tonight for SES.  In the mean time, also check out our latest SMG blogger - Brian Cosgrove and his live blogging at SES.

Today's opening keynote at Pubcon featured a rather great keynote talk by Craig Newmark of Craig's List.  I've actually put my entire take of the keynote out on Search Engine Guide, so hope on over to read it there,  after this first brief intro.

Craig Newmark of Craig's List started out before'95 at Charles Schwabb evangelizing the internet.  In high school he  was the true "geek".

Craig, started this email list in Pine to his friends about what was going on at diners and restaurants in San Francisco.  It exploded, soon people were asking for events and even listing apartments.  People passed this list around and then ask to be added, soon list was up 240 email addresses and Pine cannot handle anymore.  His friend helped him upgrade, but he also needed a name - his friend's already called it "Craig's List".  His first venture into branding, and it grew even more.  Denise Caruso suggested that he start putting tags such as "Event" on the emails so they all knew what was going on in the emails.  Eventually he remembered he was a programmer and took his emails and turned them into web pages.

Jump over to Craig Newmark of Craig's List at Pubcon - Webmaster World at SEG, to read the rest of the keynote address.  Lee Odden's actually sitting right next to me also putting up his views on the keynote over at TopRankBlog.

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