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

SES – Day Two

Day 2 had lots of great sessions, and I had trouble choosing between them. For the morning, I stayed with the Advanced Organic track, then switched to the Linking track in the afternoon.

The first session I attended was “Can You Please Them All”. Aaron Wall, Dave Davies, and Michael Murray talked about what matters most to the search engines, and the specific things that each search engine likes. Rahul Lahiri from Ask was available for Q&A.

The second session was the Duplicant Content session with Shari Thurow, Mikkel Svendsen, Matt Cutts from Google, Tim Converse from Yahoo!, and Rahul Lahiri from Ask. This ended up being a rather comical session, as it was Mikkel vs. the rest of the panel as he tried to convince the audience that automating keyword replacement is a great idea. The others were quick to label any type of automation as spam, but it was very lighthearted and a lot of fun. During the Q&A, however, I would like to highlight a quote from Mr. Svendsen:

“Have fun and spam the engines.”

Because MSN did not have a representative at this session, it truly became a “pick on MSN” session. Someone said, though I can’t remember who, said that MSN really cared, they would have sent someone to represent them at this session.

At lunch I wondered around the Exhibit Hall for a while, picking up some cool swag including a stuffed goat from Trexy. Okay, I admit – I have a lot of stuffed animals, but mostly Canadian critters. I can honestly say I’ve never had a stuffed goat before and I think Trexy’s goat will make a fine addition to my collection.

I spent the afternoon learning all about Link Building and Site Architecture.

Mike Grehan, ahh, he’s a funny guy – first thing he did was pull a fast one on the audience. He said he had placed a yellow post-it under one of the chairs, and whoever had that post-it on their chair had to stand up and tell everyone why his or her site deserved to rank number one. He laughed at all the paniced faces in the crowd. Another thing that sets Mike apart is his use of a shoehorn as a pointer. Definitely a creative one, that Mike is.

Back at home, Mark had mentioned that at a Mike Grehan session, the phrase “green fairy dust” would surely be used. Mark, I think you should know that it took Mike nine minutes to say “green fairy dust”.

Eric Ward and Debra Mastaler also talked about link building, and link myths and mistakes.

The Site Architecture session, I have to admit, was disappointing. The majority of the presentation dealt with duplicate content – something that a lot of the crowd had already heard about earlier in the day.

Barbara Coll, Derrick Wheeler, and Matt Bailey presented. They talked about robots.txt, session IDs, and redirects – things that had been mentioned already. 404s were grazed upon briefly, and SSIs and other headers were not discussed at all.

The other disappointing aspect of this session was the replacement of a Q&A with a site clinic. Instead of taking questions from the audience, they took web sites and examined them. So instead of taking probably 6 or 7 questions, we examined two web sites. The second web site the owner even admitted that it didn’t need help, he just wanted to know it was okay. I felt that a great waste of my time, the presenters’ time, and the audiences’ time.

And so ended Day 2’s sessions.

Internet at the Hilton San Jose

I haven’t taken my laptop down to the WIFI spots here at the Hilton yet – frankly, my laptop is a piece of crap so I’m leaving it in my room.

I was rather disappointed to learn that not only is WIFI not available in the guestrooms, but wired high speed internet is not free. Okay, so I pay my $53 or whatever it is, and am happy because I’m at least connected for the rest of my stay.

I have never experienced such slow internet since the last time I was making use of my 56K. This is absolutely rediculous. I have no idea how long it’ll take to publish this post – if it’ll even get that far. is lost to me. I’ve been trying for 20 minutes now to make a post. I don’t know if that site is bogged down because of added traffic from the conference, but I cannot believe how hard it is.

Come on people. It’s 2006. No one expects these waits anymore!!!

SES – Day One

So far today, I have attended the following sessions…

Search Engine Marketing – Introduction
Since it is my first SES, I thought I’d attend this session to get used to things. Plus, Danny was speaking and I figured that would be a good experience. The session was very interesting, though I can’t say I learned anything new.

Search Term Research & Targetting
I came into this one a bit late because I originally sat in on the Search Landscape session. I don’t know if it was where I was sitting or what, but I found it very hard to see the detail on the power point slides, and couldn’t really tell what Michael Lanz was saying – he seemed to be speaking quite fast (maybe time restraints?) . Anywho, since I had deliberated which session to attend, I ended up switching.

I caught the end of Christine Churchill’s presentation and saw all of Dan Thies’s presentation. He’s a great speaker, great at keeping the audience’s attention. I’ll post specifics of his presentation later.

Social Search – Up Close with Google
Shashi Seth from Google talked about two new products – Search Topics and Subscribed Links. The presentation was short, only about 30 minutes, and I only stuck around for about a half hour of the Q&A.

For the last session of the day, I believe I will attend The Search Laboratories.

I know of know public parties, so I hope to explore a little bit of downtown San Jose this evening.

Sitemaps – Now Webmaster Central

One thing I missed in my last post is that Google Sitemaps has been renamed to Google Webmaster Central. Definitely more appropriate, but far too many syllables.

The Preferred Domain tool, which apparently was called such because Danny Sullivan can’t pronounce “canonical” is in fact to cure canonical issues. I know a lot of people will be happy about that.


I’ll head to the convention center shortly to register for SES, but I see that while I was sleeping like a baby, Matt Cutts posted a “12 Tips for SES” video.

While watching, he mentions that Google Sitemaps rolled out some new features on Friday. Sure enough! The first thing I noticed is a “Preferred Domain” tool.

This tool allows you to choose whether you want all indexed pages to appear as, or vice versa.

Will this really help with the ever-causing-headache canonical issues? Or will it just make the SERPs look pretty and consistent? I’ll let you know after the Lunch with the Google Sitemaps team today.

In the meantime, here are some screen caps for your enjoyment.

Danny Sullivan in USA Today

I’m a few days behind, but I’ve finally had the time to sit down and read USA Today’s article on Danny Sullivan.

Search Engine Watch was definately one of my first stops when I began my SEO journey, and it became clear early on that not only did Danny know what he was doing, but that many of the other major players in the industry have a great deal of respect for him and his knowledge.

Looking forward to learning more from the man himself next week in San Jose.