Notes From PubCon 2008 (Tuesday)

by Paul Wilson


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Note: I “borrowed” the image for this post from another Utah SEO web marketer. It’s a great depiction on how PubCon first got started—in a pub.

I am here in Las Vegas attending PubCon. It’s kind of a long story of why I am here, and I will spare you the details. However, I can say that I wish a few of my web marketing buddies could of joined me for this. There is so much information being offered and so many people to network with, that it is a little overwhelming doing it solo.

Yet, even though I am only getting a drip from the fire hose you still benefit from what I am able to glean. Below I have pulled out the gold nuggets from the each panel session I have attended for Tuesday. Plan on daily notes from my first PubCon experience.

PubCon Day 1: SEO, Video Optimization, Keyword Research, Affiliate Networks

10am – Top Shelf Organic SEO
Jill Whalen – CEO of
Jill focused heavily on What SEO is and what it is not. There wasn’t anything I disagreed with. She felt that old SEO was about keyword stuffing, search engine submission, and low quality directory submissions. She boiled new SEO down to building a quality website.

Jill’s Basic SEO Strategy:

  • Keyword Research is absolutely first
  • use your keyword research to use website architecture
  • Map your keywords to pages
  • write compelling content (use a professional copywriter if you can)
  • Good Content will always rank you
  • Site map is not really necessary

Ash Nallawalle – Traffic Manager, Yellow Online (an Australian Directory Publisher)
Ash’s main focus was on having a content strategy. He did disagree with Jill about needing a Google site map. He stated that he has learned that a Gsitemap will speed up his site being indexed, in some cases by almost three months (“I wish we had used a site map because it took Google 3 months to find us.”).

What stuck out to me was Ash’s continual emphasis on using content. He showed in one test that when they added content their click through went from 3% to 33%. He also stressed on outsourcing content and using college students to provide the content you need at a reasonable price.

Bill Hunt – Search Effectiveness Team Lead,
I found Bill’s speech rather interesting. He talked about how he and his team spend their time reverse engineering competitor websites. His main focus was on utilizing relevancy. He felt that relevant content and links are what matters the most in SEO.

Some questions to consider when building out a website:
“Is your site relevant?”
“What is the page about?”
“Can the search bot be able to know what your page is about?

What I found most interesting about Bill’s presentation was his emphasis on relevant backlinks. He asked us how many links do you truly need? His argument was that relevant links were stronger than quantity. We have been arguing about this topic back at the office. Our own reverse engineering shows that Google really likes lots and lots of backlinks to your website for rankings.

So, I asked Bill in Q&A what percentage of relevant backlinks played in getting a website to rank high. Looking back on his answer I wish I would have further clarified my question. His answer was that he felt relevant backlinks were a huge factor in ranking in Google.

However, it sounded like relevant backlinks to him were high page rank links. My question was more geared to backlinks coming from websites that had the same relevancy to your website. If you ever stumble upon this post Bill, let me know if you think relevant websites linking to each other hold more weight than just mass quantity of backlinks (particularly if page rank isn’t a factor).

Bill’s Bonus Tips: “If you are building anything in Flex you better be using an XML site map.” “We use our keywords to create our tag cloud.”

Bruce Clay – President, Bruce Clay, Inc.
Bruce was the main reason I attended this presentation, and he didn’t let me down. I use a lot of his tools and see him all over the internet marketing space of the web. His presentation focused on what the future of SEO is.

He predicted that Google won’t change any algorithm before Christmas, mainly because of the disastrous Florida update in 2003. However, we better plan on seeing a lot of changes coming first quarter or 2009.

The most interesting thing that Bruce spoke about was a prediction on an upcoming Google algorithm change. He pointed out that Google can see and read images, mp3s, and video. Due to this capability he believes website that have “engagement factors” (podcasts and videos) will rank higher than websites that do not. Exact quote: “We think that the top 10 sites which don’t have engagement factors will lose rankings. Those who do have it will see an increase in rankings.”

A question was asked in Q&A if the engaging content on a website needed to be hosted on the site or if it is was permissible to link to YouTube. Bruce felt that it was important to host the content onto your own server instead of a third party. He believes so strongly in this prediction that he will be adding over a 100 videos of his own in the next month.

I am extremely curious to see exactly where Bruce is pulling his conclusions. Not that I doubt them, but he was very light on data proving his conclusions.

11:30am – Video Search Engine Optimization
Robin Liss – Founder and President, (Vice-president of
I thoroughly enjoyed Robin’s presentation. She showed that there are two types of web videos: viral video and topic video. Her recommendation was to focus on topic videos. Topic videos were cheaper to produce, quicker to make, and provided better RIOs than viral videos. Plus, you can never tell if a viral video is going to be a hit or not.

A good example of a low budget topic video that went viral was (YouTube it). However, she showed another example of a video they created to be viral that didn’t get one fifth of the traffic.

Here are her suggestions on Topic Videos:

  • Topic videos will help make your videos more focused and watchable.
  • If you cut the videos up into small video snacks (under two minutes) you can have more targeted videos that rank for different terms.
  • Topic specific videos rank effectively for specific terms, viral is much more hit and miss
  • Topic specific videos cost much less to produce, they don’t need to be gimmicky or necessarily have a high production value.
  • They attract a focused audience that is related to the content instead of random viewers who might be just browsing

Here are her tips on optimizing your own topic video:

  • Have your account name on Youtube be your domain
  • Have a constant graphic with the domain name
  • Repeat the domain name as many times as you can
  • Tease additional information that can only be found on the site
  • Put the domain name in the video description

Edward Kim– CEO of
I kind of tuned out on this presentation (sorry Ed). However, one jewel that I did get out of his presentation was a tool that all the panelist seemed to use— This is a tool to syndicate your video information and to use for analytics.

Mark Robertson – CEO/Blogger on
I like how they introduced Mark as a lowly blogger on However, in truth he is the CEO. Mark talked about two types of video: hosted (to have it on your own website) and posted (to pull video from some where else).

Mark showed that 40% of videos are found through search, and that search for video is increasing. Here are some of Mark’s tips for optimizing video for search:

  • It is a good idea to offer multiple video formats (flv is the most popular)
  • Include keywords in the filename
  • Search engines are not great in indexing in-files meta.
  • Have one video per url
  • Place all your videos in a central root folder
  • Don’t use pop-up players, use embedded players
  • Create navigation links to your video content
  • Follow general SEO principles for optimizing titles, urls, metatags
  • Most video search engine accept mrss feed syndication

LInks to submit mrss:

Google Tips:

  • Google does not accept mrss.
  • Google launched xml sitemaps for video
  • Include thumbnails in your xml video sitemaps
  • Make sure your player has an auto player so that the user doesn’t have to click twice

Final Tip: has a whole video and white paper on mrss.

Grant Crowell – Owner of Grantastic Designs
Grant’s presentation focused a lot on website design for Video SEO. To be honest this was another presentation I didn’t pay too closely to. Yet, in between checking my bank account and my affiliate numbers I was able to jot down a things he went over.

  • Don’t put your text in ajax, javascript, or flash
  • Use Adobe Premiur Premiere Pro in creating video
  • Sorry that was it!

1:30 – Keyword Research, Selection and Optimization
Will Reynolds – Founder, SEER Interactive

Will had a lot of energy in his presentation which was nice considering we just had lunch. His presentation mainly focused on free keywords tools.

Here’s the list of tools he uses:
Amazon and its top seller list
Google Hot Trends
Google Insights
Firefox Macros – Use it to automate simple tasks
Google Suggests
Delicious (“Look at how many different keywords to tag the same thing”)
MSN Adlabs
Top Searches – (“I did a search on “Top Searches” and found that websites are showing me their top searches. Wow, they are doing my work for me.”)
Top Searches in _____ (in region)

Take Away Quote: “I would never have just one tool because they all have flaws”

Ken Junina – President of Epiar
Ken focused on Negative words in PPC, and since I am more geared towards SEO I didn’t really pay attention.

Stoney deGeyler – President of Pole Position Marketing
Just my notes: First phase – finding the core terms (what is this page about?) How do you find these core terms for each page? Seriously look at each page and be specific of what it’s about. Go through your competitors website. Use tools and server logs.

– volume of search
– targeted audience
– what’s your profit margin going to be

Phase Two: Research Terms

Phase Three: ???

Phase Four: Organizing your keywords

Larry Mersman – President of Trellian

No notes

Tip from Q&A: There is a plugin for excel that syncs up with MSN Adcenter (adintelligent) – to make keyword research easier.

4:00pm – Working With Affiliate Networks

Out of all the classes at PubCon Tuesday I was most disappointed with this one. Basically, the speakers went over the four big names in Affiliate marketing:, Commission Junction, Google/DoubleClick, It was like I was reading a wikipedia page, but not so interesting.

Here are the only two things that I took from this class:

  • LinkShare just released RSS DealFeed for WordPress (shows ads related to your website).
  • is a statistics and revenue analysis tool where you can compare revenue in different time periods or monitor customized merchants.

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