PubCon Recon – Looking Back Already



I am waiting at McCarran Airport to head back home and see my family after a long week of information overload. I mean that in a good way though. This was my first PubCon and I think it was well worth the time and effort. I met a lot of folks who are passionate about their work and are helping a growing industry move along at a break neck pace through open sharing of information, techniques, resources etc. I have always been on the sales side of search services and I tell you now that I am getting a look at the actual delivery and implementation of internet marketing and all its facets like SEO, paid search, social media, video and on and on and I am impressed. This industry is no longer the fringe. I am not totally sure where and how it fits exactly but it’s not going to be on the outside looking in that’s for sure.

The conference was great for me. Now, I would like to hear from veterans of PubCon to get a feeling for how this stacks up to the past events from an informational standpoint. The ‘social’ aspect I suspect is dependent on who you hang out with and Vegas is, well, Vegas. But back to the information. I spent the bulk of my time in SEO and social media sessions. Here’s a 30,000 foot flyover of what I heard. I will be sharing more in the next few days.

SEO

Surprisingly content is more important to SEO than ever. Not news I know but I think as the industry has matured this throwaway line has actually acquired more importance over time. The engines still want content. Of course, content leads to links and we all know about links.

The printed word (text) still leads the way due to the engines limited abilities that still exist with reading flash, video, images etc. Matt Cutts made an excellent observation that while Google is improving in their ability to index flash content there should still not be a rush to be “all flash all the time”. The simple reason was made clear when he showed two competing sites, one all flash the other not, but he was not looking at it from a Google perspective. Instead he showed how they rendered on an iPhone. The ‘traditional’ site was viewed just fine while the flash site was the dreaded ‘yellow screen of flash’ and not even viewable. Point taken.

One funny thing I saw was how far behind the enterprise SEO machines seems to be due to bureaucracy and the sheer magnitude / size of their sites. It’s kind of entertaining to hear these folks talking about how it takes months to change a title tag. If you are a more nimble small to medium player in any field you should be salivating at this dinosaur’s approach to SEO. Opportunity abounds!

I heard one theory (from Matt Cutts as well) that the future of black hat will now move closer to actual criminal activities. No longer will black hats be able to do what they have always done for success but now more are resorting to domain hijacking etc etc that can land them in jail and not just a Google ‘time out’. Many will snicker at that but the more deviant you need to get to beat anything, the closer you move to an edge that no longer is OK or ‘harmless’.

Social Media

As I alluded to in an earlier post social media has a bit of a Wild West feel to it. What is happening though is that people are started to develop many applications and services to help facilitate the successful implementation of social campaigns and efforts. This is the cottage industry of the internet marketing industry. The most innovation is happening here because there is so much learning on the fly. If you can remain ahead of the curve here I think you can turn these ‘neat and cool’ apps into real money.

Well there is so much more to tell you but that will be for another time. Thanks to everyone at PubCon; both the organizers and presenters. I think I am better for my time there. It’s not often one can say that.