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

PubCon Wrap Up

It’s Friday night and I’m cursing the fact that I booked myself on the red-eye back to Winnipeg because it’s only 6:00 p.m. but I can’t really go anywhere thanks to needing to be at the airport by 9:00. Most people are still out and about (yeah yeah imagine I’m saying it with the Canadian accent so many people told me I have) and not hanging out in the hotel bar.

What a fantastic week. WebmasterWorld’s PubCon definately has a distinctive taste to it, with many differences as well as similarities to SES. There are many things I loved about both.

I really enjoy that PubCon caters to a more “techie” kind of crowd, something I’d say I lean towards as an SEO. It’s also very informal, which is awesome. But SES is a larger event, and therefore all the “extras” are proportionate. For example, SES San Jose had a much larger Exhibit Hall, which yes was quite nice. Mind you, being able to complete the floor and talk to everyone I wanted to in less than three hours was great, but I missed seeing a few exhibitors, including Bruce Clay.

I hope to find a good balance between PubCon and SES. I think it great that Brett is taking the spring off to tend to “fatherly” duties, and I am really looking forward to coming back to Las Vegas next year. I also look forward to SES New York, and am now sorry I didn’t plan to attend SES Chicago. One thing at a time, but I am sad to think it’ll be another five months before my next conference.

And now after spending time packing and shopping (hey I’ve got a certain allowance of duty free, you can bet I’m going to take advantage of it!) it’s time to say “see ya next year” to PubCon Las Vegas.

Appreciation of some fabulous people

Here’s my shout out to some awesome people that I encountered during my week at WebmasterWorld’s PubCon Las Vegas 2006.

Dan Thies – Dan, you’re still a nice guy 😉 But it was great seeing you again.
Dustin Woodard (a.k.a. Web Connoisseur) – It was awesome to meet you, and thanks for taking care of Sally at the Playboy Club.
Colin McDougal – I know we only spoke for a few minutes, but it was great to talk to a fellow Canuck – Go Lions! (for Sunday anyway – I don’t want anyone to think I’m no longer a huge Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan)
Shirley Tan – Shirley, you make me smile and perk up just by being your bubbly self. Can’t wait to meet up again.
Matt Tuens – My sports buddy!! Loved chatting about the NHL and was really impressed by your knowledge of the CFL and the Grey Cup.
John Marshall – I think one of my favourite PubCon moments was dinner on Tuesday night. If you’re ever in Ontario, let me know and I’ll take you on a wine tour of the Niagara Region.
Craig Paddock – Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl. Got it. Though I think you really just wanted to sit in between Sally and Jessica in the limo! Sorry I didn’t get a chance to see you before you left.
Rob Snell – Rob, you were probably my greatest inspiration this entire week and I am so thrilled to have gotten to know you. I’ll be looking for the double-wide spam trailer next time I’m in the south.
Jessica Bowman – Thanks a million for sharing your hotel room with me – I had a blast. We managed to have enough hot water for both of us in the morning, and even kept a few inches of counterspace available in the bathroom. It’s a miracle! Good luck with, I know you’ll do fantastic.
Dave and Sally Burke – You guys just rock my world, there’s no other way to put it. Thank you for everything you did for me this week, it will not be forgotten. Even if you guys don’t make it to Winnipeg for the Grey Cup on Sunday, you know you’re welcome to come visit any time.
Joe Morin – Joe, you are THE MAN. I had an absolute blast this week, thank you for all you’ve done for me – including finishing my drink that apparently has a completely different meaning in the USA than it does in Canada. I’ll always remember the bath tub in your suite (and please, send me a link to the photo so people don’t think I’m totally crazy!).

I probably missed a few, I apologize if I did. I met a lot of great people, and missed out on meeting other great people. Next time!

PubCon Las Vegas 2006 – Thursday

As it turns out, staying in, relaxing and getting some work done Wednesday was a great move because I woke up Thursday feeling refreshed and raring to go. Danny Sullivan gave the keynote address on Thursday morning and talking about search and where search is heading. I’m going to have to review someone else’s notes on his speech because unfortunately, I was in the back and wasn’t able to see or hear much.

Now, Thursday was a special day. The morning contained the conference’s final separated sessions while the afternoon was home to two Super Sessions. I had the pleasure of attending the Ecommerce Site Optimization session where Rob Snell gave an outstanding presentation of Yahoo! Stores and the best way to organize your SEO strategy on an ecommerce site. I know that I was not the only one who several times said “why didn’t I think of that??” Kudos Rob, you did a great job and bring on the redneck humour – I love it!

I also attended the Bots session and, to be honest, was a bit disappointed. While Bill Atchison and Dan Kramer were obvious experts on the subject, I just didn’t feel that being told what bots SHOULD do was all that beneficial to me. Vanessa Fox outlined the best use of Google’s Webmaster Console, a topic I always love hearing about since I think I’m a tiny bit in love with this service. Brett Tabke spoke about why WebmasterWorld banned all bots, and even gave an inside glance to WMW’s admin panel, and how they filter the good bots from the bad.

The first Super Session of the afternoon was a celebrity panel (Matt Cutts, Tim Mayer, Greg Boser, Todd Friesen, Danny Sullivan) running a site clinic. I missed the first portion, taking advantage of an emptier Exhibit Hall, but arrived in time to see a classic site of how NOT to do SEO. The woman admitted she had no idea what she was doing, and claimed not to have found a programmer in 10 years to help her. I do feel sorry for her, after hearing the audience bursting out laughing several times, and several panel members giving her the tough love approach. But I’m sure she came to PubCon to learn, and I have no doubt that many people have likely offered her assistance.

And for the last session of the day, we listened to representatives from Yahoo, Ask, MSN (oh sorry LIVE), and Google talk about what’s new and what they’ve accomplished. An awesome way to recap the week, and it’s always great to hear the speakers talk passionately about their products.

Ask threw another cocktail reception Thursday night, though this time it was hosted in the Exhibit Hall – much much nicer. I arrived late again and this time didn’t get a chance to do much mingling. I joined Rob Snell and Dave Burke at the hotel steakhouse for a VERY inspiring dinner. These guys are great and gave me TONS of tips and advice while I am starting my own SEO agency.

PubCon Las Vegas 2006 – Wednesday

Now, someone please tell me about the curse of Wednesdays. Just like in San Jose, I wake up Wednesday barely able to function. I did miss John Bataille’s keynote, however had a very pleasant conversation with Shirley Tan and Jeannine Crooks at the breakfast table.

To give you an idea of how out of it I was that day, I just had to go look at the session grid to remember what session I attended. Oh yes, I attended “What Every Webmaster Should Know” – a taste of programming and how it can and should be implemented, as well as the Search Bloggers panel. Rand Fishkin, also known as SEOmoz, cracks me up. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the hotel bar the night before, where he informed everyone of their blog’s Technorati ranking. My blog, of course, not exactly a top 10 (times 1000) blog, but now I didn’t have the opportunity to appeal to an audience of 2000 for a link the way Guy did. Good times, good times.

PubCon Las Vegas 2006 – Tuesday

Guy Kawasaki’s key note was great. He knew how to keep the audience listening, a hard task at 9:00 a.m. for most of us who were out late the night before, and suffering from at least a two-hour time change. Don’t worry Guy, I won’t let the bozos get me down.

The first day seemed a tad disorganized but to be fair to Brett Tabke, they did a phenominal job considering the last minute rush of registrations. Having lunch in one of the session rooms caused some confusion, but not nearly as much as having’s cocktail reception in that same session room – with 2000 chairs set up in that room, it left little room for mingling and most people were crammed up against the bar. Thankfully, I arrived fashionably late and only had to tolerate the masses for about 10 minutes and yet still managed to meet several new people.

Tuesday night’s dinner with Dave and Sally Burke, Rob Snell, Matt Tuens, and John Marshall was extermely interesting. And I’m not even talking about the hour wait to be seated, followed by the hour wait for our food. The conversation was lively and I’d be lying if I didn’t come away with more than a handful of insights.

The night was capped off by hanging out in the hotel bar for a few hours, exchanging success stories, tips, and Technorati rankings (Thanks Rand!)