Top 4 Things I Did Last Week (in hours spent)
3.) Moderated Sphinn.
4.) Read Pubcon and SES session recaps.
Numbers three and four are a direct result of the bozos that decided to schedule two conferences at the same time. (Thanks for nothing.) Since Danny Sullivan was (I think)
the only person to attend both conferences (update: Simon says Li Evans did, too), I’m guessing a lot of you want to know what you missed at the other one. Well, how’s it feel to want? Touché!
Oh, alright. I see how it works: I stay home. I read. I write recap. You win. Here you go:
Everything You Need to Know From the Conference You Skipped
If You Went to Pubcon…
It snowed in Chicago. While you were drinking margarita’s in your limousine with the moonroof open, cruising down the Las Vegas Strip, your friends were drinking warm milk and huddling around a stickfire that they made with flint. But SES went on, no matter the conditions outside.
Jolina Pettice of TopRank Online Marketing covered the SES session on Personalization, User Data & Search. You must read this for the comments from Google’s Aaron D’Souza, if nothing else. Aaron says:
- The data Google has about you also impacts the results of “similar searchers.”
- Google will assign a value to each searcher. Is the user trusted or not?
- The more trusted you are, the more your data impacts results.
That’s just a bit of what he said. He essentially explained what their patent does and the profiles they’re building on all of us. It’s kinda creepy. Seriously, go read. Then come back. We’ll wait for you.
Okay, as if that’s not enough, how about an MSN rep. totally slamming Google and its approach to paid links? Yep. It apparently happened. Check out Marty Weintraub’s recap of the Are Paid Links Evil? session. MSN’s Brian Boland says that MSN considers paid links to be a technical problem (i.e., an algorithm problem). Marty quotes Brian giving Google a throwdown when he says that MSN is “not throwing in the towel on [it] like some other engines”. Microsoft FTW! I’m gonna go use MSN Search for a couple days in honor of that quote.
And speaking of Marty, he also posted some recaps on his own blog this week. He sat in on a bunch of sessions I wouldn’t have attended, like this one: Selling an SEM Firm: Real-World Overview. I don’t have an SEM firm to sell, so this would’ve been a no-go for me, but I enjoyed the material about how firms are valued — your client list, your revenue, technology you possess, etc. Good stuff.
Okay, I’m getting cold just writing about SES Chicago, so let’s go west!
If You Went to SES…
In Las Vegas, it was so warm that they piped sessions via satellite to individual bathrooms so that attendees could enjoy the conference from the comforts of a jacuzzi. Sorry, gang. SES is great, but Chicago in December? Not really. So, what did the Pubcon-attending, jacuzzi-loving, Blue Man Group-watching crowd learn?
Web hosting can be a big issue for small businesses, so you’ll want to read through Sheara Wilensky’s notes on the Web Hosting Industry Overview session. There’s some good Q&A in there. On a related note, Lisa Barone recapped the Hosting Issues and SEO/SEM session. Scott Hendison has some good stuff in there about common hosting issues/questions.
Susan Esparza covered the Pubcon session on duplicate content, which caught my eye because it’s good to hear a search engine rep talk about “acceptable cloaking.” MSN’s Derrick Wheeler suggests detecting search bots and cleaning up your URLs — remove session IDs, strip out unnecessary parameters, etc. Lots of big retailers do this, but many small businesses are probably afraid. All three engines, in my opinion, are just fine with that kind of cloaking.
Lee Odden covered an interesting session on Enterprise SEO. It may not sound like something a small business would care about, but there are small businesses with Big Web Sites. I think you’ll get something specifically from reading the “Problem/Solution” material Lee recaps from Andrew Gerhart’s presentation. The main point being that bigger web sites require flat/wide site structures.
Tamar Weinberg wrote up the keynote “chat” with Matt Cutts. Maybe you’ll spit your favorite beverage on your monitor, like I did, when you read that Brett Tabke tossed this softball at Matt: “What’s the deal with paid links?” Did he really say that? In those words? Ugh.
Avi Wilensky did a fine job writing up what looks like a long Q&A session called SEO 101 – The Timeless and Classic Hits. Nothing real earth-shattering in there, but a few good bits of info.
So, there you have it. If you went to one conference or none conferences (like me), you’re all caught up and can get back to work. Or sleep. Or moderating Sphinn.