Search Engine Optimization :: Lyndsay Walker :: Toronto, Ontario

Matt Cutts & Lyndsay Walker – BFF

I’m a little late jumping on the “Matt Cutts and I are best friends forever!” bandwagon, but I just got a hold of these pictures taken at the Google Dance and SES San Jose. (Thanks Joe!)

(Disclaimer: I do not personally know Matt Cutts.)

Anywho, yes, as you can see, I was one of the “Cuttlettes” running around the conference. It was a ton of a fun, and at least that night I *knew* why people were pointing and laughing at me! 😉

It was a pleasure meeting Matt, though unfortunately I really didn’t get a chance to chat with him as he was busy debating with the MSN guy at the moment.

Some other other really great people I met that I have to mention are…
Jessica Bowman
Joe Morin
David and Sally Burke
Rob Snell
Craig and Juan (sorry guys I forget your last names!)
Bruce Clay
Kid Disco
Adam Lasnik

I fully expect this list to grow with every conference to come. Please stop and say hi if you see me sometime!

I’ll be at PubCon Las Vegas, but am not attending SES Chicago. Hopefully, I’ll make it to SES New York.

Danny Sullivan leaving Search Engine Watch

This morning Danny Sullivan posted on his blog,, that he will be leaving Search Engine Watch.

Danny explained that in the past year since Jupiter Media sold SEW to Incisive Media, things were not progressing in a way that he was comfortable contributing to. And so, his contract with Incisive Media will not be renewed.

Danny will chair SES Chicago in December, but he says it is unlikely that he will be a part of any further Search Engine Strategies conferences.

What will happen now? That’s really hard to say. Danny is wise and has a great following. Whatever he chooses to do, he will no doubt find success and support. Right now I think its hard to say how it will impact the SEO/SEM world – but no matter what, I think there’s a lot of potential for new growth and I’m anxious to see what happens.

Google Hacks – Third Time’s a Charm?

I was very excited to receive my copy of the third edition of Google Hacks this morning. Just in time! I am driving to Ontario tomorrow and will need something to read to pass the time during stop overs.

(Why am I driving to Ontario? To see if I can sell my 2000 Ford Mustang there. Click the link for more info!)

Anywho, I see that the new addiction of Google Hacks includes information on Google Maps, which should make for an interesting read.

I’ll be sure to post a review when I get back.

No more wait for Google Analytics

The Google Analytics blog announced today that you no longer have to wait to start up an Analytics account.

Brett Crosby talks about the ways to set up your Google Analytics, formerly Urchin, account – either by going to Google Analytics’ home page or by using the Analytics tab in your AdWords account.

I’ve been using Google Analytics for close to a year now, and it has been great in offering all the stats I want to see. I’ve used it for e-commerce sites, call-to-action sites, blogs, and informational sites. I love being able to cross reference data, and the referral data is very specific.

I’m also noticing that the maximum number of sites I can use my account for has doubled from five to ten. This will help avoid needing a new Google account when I’ve run out of available sites.

If you haven’t signed yourself up for a Google Analytics account yet, go for it. It’s free, easy to use, and if you don’t like it just remove the JavaScript code from your site.

Back to work

Well, first of all, getting up at 5:30 a.m. is a big change from getting up at 8:00, or 10:00 as my body thought it was, last week in San Jose. But that’s alright, I’ll be okay in a few days.

Just prior to me leaving for my trip, our IT department managed to crash the server that held everyone’s files. Beautiful. I never did get it straightened around before I left. I was gone for a full week, though, certainly it would be fixed by time I get back to work today, right?

Wrong… so under orders from the IT department, I could not use my computer until they had restored all my files and folders. But, hey, what a great opportunity to play with all the new stuff I got from the conference. The four of us in this corner are now all sporting squeeze-toy brains courtesy of Industry Brains and and The Karcher Group. Lovely!

I spent some time last night looking at SES pictures online, and I see that a couple other girls also made t-shirts for Matt Cutts. Well, I suppose it was silly to assume I’d be the only one wearing a shirt for Matt, but I am happier with the more subtle message mine sent out. I gotta get on Joe to send me that picture!

I’ll leave for home soon. This is going to be a very busy week – my significant other’s brother is getting married this weekend and the guests start arriving tomororw. Tonight is all about cleaning!

Tales of the San Jose Airport

Not really knowing what to expect, I planned to arrive at the airport for my flight home to Winnipeg nice and early.

As the taxi rounded the airport and we passed Terminal 1, the line for Southwest was outrageously long. I’m thinking to myself, WOW am I ever glad I’m three hours early.

But then we got to the United area of Terminal 3 and no one is waiting. Well that’s good anyway.

I cleared security at about 8:30, but the flight doesn’t leave until 10:55. Looooooooong wait. But thankfully I found a seat next to a plug and forked over $10 for Internet access until we depart.

Still have a little more than an hour to go and I am ready for the nice nap I plan to take on the plane. I figure I’ll need the rest for my mad-dash sprint across two terminals at O’Hare. Yipee!!

Last night in San Jose

The conference itself ended yesterday at around 2:00. I ran into Jessica and Sally and we decided to do dinner later.

After a nice afternoon of lounging and trying to hook up with Joe to hang out, Jessica, Sally, and I went to some place that the name escapes me right now, I’ll think of it later I’m sure. We had dinner and hung out at the Mariott for a while. It was nice and we’re all going to try and meet up again in Vegas at PubCon.

This trip was definately a lot of fun but I am really ready to go home. Here’s hoping for a nice quick trip home.

SES – Day Four

This morning I went to the Meet the Crawlers sessions – representatives were there from Google, Yahoo and MSN – I think. I walked in a few minutes late and missed the introductions. It was really hard to hear and a lot of the questions weren’t really related to what I am interested in. The entire thing was Q&A.

Only two more sessions to go, and it seems like they might all be Q&A type sessions. I’ve sent text messages to some of the people I met Tuesday night to see what they’re up to today. In hind sight, I could have flown home today instead of tomorrow, but I’m hoping to make the most of the time I have left.

SES – Day Three

I didn’t have even one drop of alcohol the night before, but I woke up exhausted and hurting. After a very disappointing breakfast, I wondered down to the talk with Eric Schmidt. It was very hard to hear, but what I did hear was very interesting. Eric talked about privacy, and how Google wants to be trusted and will never willingly or happily hand over search data the way AOL did. Eric talked about the federal subpoena Google fought and eventually won – the federal government had asked for search data and they didn’t get it.

After this session, I dragged my poor beat up body to the Linking Strategies session. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a lot of the session and will have to go back through the presentation to pick up the things that I missed.

The other sessions I had hoped to attend that afternoon included Buying and Selling Links and the In House Forum. Unfortunately, I missed them both due to illness, and as a result ended up staying in Wednesday night.

Google Dance

I admit, I was pretty nervous about having to go all the way to Mountain View solo, without knowing anyone. I had posted as such on the SEW forums. When I got back to my room after another good hour of wondering around the Exhibit Hall, I had a private message from Joe Morin – offering to introduce me to some other people.

Joe advised being out front the Convention Center at around 6:00, despite the advertised departure time of 6:30. It was about 6 when I got his message, it was ten minutes later by time I got there. Well, he wasn’t kidding, there was a massive line by time I got there, and it grew very fast. I met Joe and he introduced me to several people. And off to Google we went.

On the bus, we were all ID’d and given wristbands for those over the legal drinking age of 21. Weird for me, since back home in Manitoba the drinking age is only 18. However, I clear the US drinking age by a few years, so I was given my bright yellow wristband.

I felt bad for everyone – the Google reps who were giving out the wristbands weren’t even putting them on for people. Have you ever tried to put a wristband on yourself? Not easy. Thankfully, I am a wristband pro. After several months now of wristbanding hundreds of people at the Winnipeg Blue Bomber games, I’ve learned a trick or two about putting a wristband on people of all shapes and sizes. Rob, who I was sitting beside, managed to get the sticky part right on his arm. After a quick rip and a bit of pain, Rob’s wristband was off his arm and I put it back on him nice and neat.

The entry way into the complex was lined with Google employees cheering and welcoming everyone as they came in. The theme of the party was Google Labs, with the decorations all themed as the Periodic Table of Elements, but with Google services as those elements. Very neat. We picked up our complimentary Google Dance shirts – WOW, not only did they have sizes OTHER then men’s large, but they actually had women’s shirts!! I was so impressed by that, after already surrendering my SES shirt to my significant other since no doubt he will get far more use out of an XL shirt than my little 5’2 frame ever could.

They were serving a wide variety of beer as well as wine. Now, I don’t drink, and despite several predictions of me being sloshed by the end of the night, I think I had one Coke and that was it. The food under the tent left something to be desired for the oh-so-picky eater that I am. I had half a corn dog and that was about it. What I didn’t know is that the Google cafeteria was open and serving a lot more food.

We headed upstairs to the University Room for the meet the engineers session. There weren’t a lot of people up there at first, but by time we were there, Matt and a Microsoft rep were into quite a debate. Joe decided to thrust me in front of Matt so he could see my “Cuttlette” shirt. He got quite a kick out of it and a few pictures were taken. Unfortunately, none with my camera so I am at the mercy of Joe, Matt, and whoever else’s cameras were used for my impromptu photo op.

The next hour or so was spent in the increasingly crowded room chatting with various people. I met Jessica Bowman from Enterprise Rent-a-Car and we became fast friends. I also chatted with Dan Thies for a while – he is a really great guy. Vanessa Fox used me once as a positive Google Sitemaps example. On Thursday, when I decided to launch this blog, I knew I’d need it indexed fast. I submitted a sitemap and within a half hour I was crawled and indexed. I don’t know if Googlebot was on steroids that day, but I was impressed and wasn’t afraid to tell people that using Google Sitemaps (a.k.a. Google Webmaster Central) is GREAT.

Eventually our group made it back over to the Labs area. By that time our group had become myself, Jessica, Sally, David, Craig, Rob, Juan, and Bruce Clay. We all, save for David who was chatting with the Analytics people, positioned ourselves in the giant cut out Google logo for a Polaroid moment. That picture will be posted as soon as I get home and get scan it.

By this time, there are thousands of people milling around and you can’t really move too much or see too much without bumping into people. Because the majority of the party was outside, this also meant that there was lots of smoke around. By 10:30 I was developing a nasty headache from the smoke and decided to call it a night. The others were going to stay, though at 11 they’d be kicking everyone out anyway. By time I got back to my hotel room, it was 11:30 and I pretty much dropped down and fell asleep right away. It was a great night