For the search crowd, the SXSW session to take place on Saturday called "Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!" is no doubt on the list of those to attend. It was supposed to have Google's head of web spam Matt Cutts, Bing Sr. Product Manager Duane Forrester (who has kind of become known as Bing's Matt Cutts) and Search Engine Land Editor in Chief Danny Sullivan, who has established him as one of the leading voices in the search industry.
Matt Cutts announced, however, that due to his wife having surgery, he will be unable to attend. He tweeted early this morning:
http://t.co/CRRAulpC I'll try to Skype in for the panel.My wife has foot surgery tomorrow, so I won't be able to make it to SXSW in person:
He actually wrote about the news on his blog a few days ago, but at that point thought he would still be able to do the panel:
Every so often real life catches up with you in ways you didn’t expect. My wife broke her foot a few days ago. She took a unfortunate spill off a stepstool, but she’s telling everyone it was a ninja fight. Those ninjas pack a wallop: she’ll wear a cast for up to 6-8 weeks, and the doctor said she can’t drive with her current cast. Overall, the broken foot has been a good reminder that having your bike stolen, while annoying, isn’t too horrible in the grand scheme of things.
One wrinkle is that my wife and I were going to spend about a week together at South by Southwest, and I was scheduled to participate on a panel. She’s not going now for obvious reasons (ninja fight). I’ve rejiggered my travel so I’m only away from my wife for a day but I believe I can still do the panel.
That now has an update on it, reflecting what he said in the tweet.
Fans will no doubt be disappointed. I've seen this guy walk the halls at conferences, constantly being surrounded by people who want to talk to him. Just like a rock star. The Twitterverse is understanding, however.
@mattcutts You are a great husband. Our philosophy is family first. Best of luck to your wife (and you too!) 🙂
@mattcutts sounds painful. Hope she feels better. Please send her my best.
Here's the official description for the session:
If you build it, they might not come, if you haven't thought about how search engines view your web site. Forget testing for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Search engines are the common browser that everyone uses. The good news is that search engine optimization (SEO) doesn't mean terrible design or some type of black-magic trickery. Rather, there are good, sensible things that everyone should do that pleases both search engines and human visitors. In this session, representatives from Google and Bing provide this type of advice. They'll even get you up to speed on the impact that social media is playing on search results. Even better, it's all Q&A. Bring your top questions about how they rank sites and get answers directly from the source.
Cutts, Forrester and Sullivan all put together a session together at last year's SXSW as well. Here's our coverage of that. It could give you an idea of the kinds of things to expect, though a lot has certainly happened in search in a year's time. I'm sure Search Plus Your World, for example will be a topic of discussion this year.