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Looking Back at PubCon

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My mother always says that the longer you leave something the harder it gets… And realising that I haven’t really set foot on my blog in almost a month is kinda depressing. But it’s been quite a month…

The Reds Hit Pubcon

Myself and Dave decided to hit the annual webmaster pilgrimage better know as PubCon. Staged in Las Vegas, the event is one of the best known SEO conferences with a speaker line-up that includes virtually every well-known name in the SEM industry.

Fabulous Las Vegas

Fabulous Las VegasEverything is big in the US. And boy oh boy, the Las Vegas Convention Center doesn’t let down on this count either. We had a good laugh walking through the cowboy convention the first morning. You’d never believe the cowboy products you can actually buy unless you saw it with your own eyes :grin:
 

The Highlights

 

A lot happened during the 4 days in Vegas, so best bet here is to cover some of my highlights:

  • A lot of attention was being paid to link buying. Interesting that so many speakers fessed up to buying links. Matt Cutts scribbled away in his notebook throughout the Link Buying session. Speaking of links, met Jim Boykin and now understand how fruit figures in the SEO industry.
  • Sat down with Mr. Patents Bill Slawski on a couple of occasions. Bill is one of the nicest and approachable people I’ve met during my travels online, and shooting the breeze with him for a couple of hours was pretty cool.
  • Matt Cutts the blackhat. Lots of folk probably joked about this, but the fascinating part of watching him play werewolf was that the all-around nice guy can certainly play the game when needed. Interesting insight IMO.
  • Meet the Engineers means 40 people circling Matt Cutts, and groups of lesser-know Googlers huddled together. Maybe next time you guys should wear Google t-shirts so folk can find you? On a further negative note – the geo-targeting tool within Webmaster Console is either slightly broken or very broken depending on which member of the Webmaster Tools team you corner (that deserves a post of its own). I better apologise about my Webmaster Group rants – hope none of you took it personally. On a positive note – had a great laugh with Jonathan Simon who is a real fun down-to-earth Googler.
  • Domaining is seriously hot. Lots of quiet chat amongst SEOs about domaining. I noticed that searchengineoptimization.us sold for $2k at the live auction. Wonder how much the .mobi would fetch? Had a drink or four with Nick Wilsdon who has set up camp in Russia and seems to have many fingers in many pies. Very nice unassuming guy.
  • Leave it to the Brits and Irish to prop up the bar late at night! We managed a 6am finish on day 2 – myself, Dave, Rob Kerry and Lisa Ditlefsen were the last wo/men standing. Good laugh that.
  • Best session for sheer entertainment value has to go to Jake Baillie’s take on Competitive Intelligence. Laughed a lot at his collection ‘techniques’.
  • Sat in on the enterprise Level SEO session – it’s more about politics, setting expectations and managing people than actual SEO. I’m learning this myself these days.
  • You can meet people anywhere. On the bus from the airport we got talking to Erik Gough who we had quite a few drinks with during our stay. And apparently not all afilliate marketers are scum – Richard Kershaw was great to chat with over the few days. The Canadians were nice guys and really up for it – Tony Clifton was a master stroke IMO :mrgreen:
  • Most speakers were wearing suits – just goes to show how it’s gone mainstream and the serious money is now entering the industry. Was I born in the wrong country?
  • Although everyone told me to take Vegas for what it is, I have to admit the place just doesn’t ring any bells for me. Really happy I made the short hop to the east coast for a few days in Palo Alto and San Fran (yet another post).

All in all it was a great way to turn off from the day-to-day client stuff. I’m not quite the socialite that Dave is, and networking isn’t really my thing, but it was great to make the journey and open my mind to just how big SEO is outside of wee little Ireland.

Certainly came away with some new ideas about what to get involved in next year and how to extend my career. More to follow as semi-regular posting will recommence shortly.

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