Top Ten Things I Learned at PubCon

by on November 14, 2009 · 14 comments

I was lucky enough to attend PubCon last week in Las Vegas. PubCon is a conference centered around search marketing and websites. Some of the top experts in SEO and PPC were there. I met a lot of super cool people and took a lot of notes.

PubCon 2009 in Las Vegas

Here are ten things I learned:

1. Quick – what is the #2 Search engine on the web? Is it Yahoo? Bing? Nope. It’s YouTube. But only 41% of search marketers surveyed actually have a YouTube strategy. This is a huge opportunity. Are you using YouTube? This was from Jay Berkowitz (@jayberkowitz) – his presentation on Social Media was outstanding.

2. You can actually get a decent hotel for $25/night in Vegas. Thanks to tips from Todd Mintz (@toddmintz) and Mike Belasco (@belasco) I stayed at the Sahara, which was right by the monorail so I could get all around Vegas easily. It was no Venetian but what a great deal. Everything else in Vegas, of course, is a huge money grab.

3. Google may add page load time as a ranking factor to the algorithm. According to Matt Cutts, Google wants searching to be as fast as flipping through a magazine, and page load times are a natural factor here. AdWords already uses page load time as part of the quality score for a page. Use to check the load times of your pages. Also More at Search Engine Land.

4. The SEOverflow team is not only smart, they are also super cool. I got to hang out with Mike, Mary, Alex, Reid and Chris a bit at the show. I’ve met them before but this is the first time I really got to hang out with them and they are super cool people. Check them out – SEOverflow.

5. Zappos #1 priority is not customer service. It is actually company culture. Tony Hsieh did a very interesting keynote where he talked about how company culture is the most important factor to getting things right. Zappos just got picked up by Amazon for $1.2B so he has certainly built a company of value! You can download a free audio book on the topic – Tribal Leadership, courtesy of Zappos.

6. Test your keyword phrases with AdWords before investing in SEO. Don’t choose your keywords based on search volume alone. You should also consider click-through and conversions when deciding which keywords to invest your SEO efforts in. You can find this out fast by running a mini AdWords campaign. The Keyword research session with Carolyn Shelby (@cshel), Wil Reynolds (@wilreynolds), Craig Paddock, and Mark Jackson (@markjackson) was excellent.

7. Twitter is so mainstream now, that several thousand SEO Geeks tweeting up a storm for 4 days could not make #pubcon a trending topic on the Twitter home page! I guess after Oprah and Larry King the cat is out of the bag…

8. Google is redefining the definition of “content.” Google is starting to index the content inside images, video and audio so that they can search deep. In the Universal Search session, Bruce Clay (@bruceclay) said he has the research to prove they are experimenting with this. If you are doing audio and video now, you will be in for a huge boost when this starts rolling out. If not, you’d better get on it!

9. The value of traffic to Google is 5-10x more than to anyone else. (From @bobbrisco ‘s keynote.) Ever wonder why Google always beats Microsoft, Yahoo and others out on acquisitions? (Think YouTube.) Well it’s because they can monetize better and therefore pay more to get what they want.

10. The Raven SEO Tools rock. Now I can chuck the spreadsheets we’ve been using to track link campaigns, keywords, etc. I sat through a full demo of this new toolset with the co-founders and can say they have really nailed it. I signed up and am already using this toolset for managing my SEO team and clients.

Follow me on Twitter here (@doncampbell) for more tips from PubCon. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on these in the comments below.

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas November 14, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Thanks for posting!


James Martell November 14, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Hey Don, that’s a great list. Very clever with the whole style of the list. I like it. I am going through the links you shared. All good stuff! Thanks for posting.


Robert November 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm


Thanks for sharing, I am shocked that YouTube is considered the #2 search engine. It’s time to crank out a few videos.

Great stuff!


Brad West November 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Great that you found a great room at a respectable price here in Vegas Don. Love your list, there may be a few tidbits to use there I will forward your e-mail to Sheryl our SEO expert.

Yes You Tube we need to take a lot harder look at. We now have a product that we can have a bunch of fun with and do some great stuff.
Thanks for the heads up!
Brad West ~ onomoney


Curtis November 14, 2009 at 11:10 pm


Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you took the time to put together your top 10. Very informative.
Dr. Curtis Casady


Steve Arky November 15, 2009 at 1:19 am

Great distillation of what you learned. Shows that online marketing is trending toward real marketing and common sense. That we all need to put a lot into it. that the “plan” is appropriately:
Make a great business, make a great content site, make sure it’s optimized, use popular, expertly developed outside resources.
Thanks Don -Steve


Keith Davis November 15, 2009 at 1:53 am

Hi Don
Thanks for treating us to the best bits of info from your visit to PubCon and thanks for letting me know that you had posted the article.

It’s going to take me some time to work through all the info but things that have grabbed my attention…

1) #2 Search engine on the web – YouTube? Big surprise, would have confidently gone for Yahoo.

2) The value of traffic to Google is 5-10x more than to anyone else. Not a surprise that Google is more important, but 5 to 10!

3) $25 for a hotel in Vagas! Still to far for me from sunny old England…LOL

Info is much appreciated.


Jon Buscall November 15, 2009 at 2:46 am

Fun list, Don. I particularly enjoyed the link to Raven SEO Tools. Thanks for the heads up.

Best wishes,


Denise Zangoglia November 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

Thanks for the great succinct list! The information about YouTube is a reminder that we are very visual lot and a picture (video ) can really be worth a thousand words, in more ways than one. I’m thinking of attending Affiliate Summit in Jan 2010 and the hotel information was priceless especially about being located near the monorail. I continue to be amazed at the Zappos team and their philosophy.

I’ve been following your information for awhile and you offer clear easy to understand tips.

Terrific stuff-Thanks!


eileen November 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! Loads of really helpful information, I love it that You Tube is the #2 search engine, this could be a lot of fun creating marketing strategies integrating video.

Please keep posting, easy to read and valuable information.


Mike Ramsey November 15, 2009 at 10:58 pm

I have been using PPC to get keyword data for while now, and find it very useful for research and also selling clients on a nice PPC package. Google sent out $100 dollar credits to get 50 clients started, and though it isn’t much, it can gather great information for free (other than the 5 dollar account set up fee). Thanks for the write up!


Curtis November 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

Thanks for posting those Don! I couldn’t go to Pubcon so I am happy to see yourself and others alike posting the highlights of the conference! It’s 10am on Monday morning and I’m already seeing the big news that Google will start implementing page load times into their algorithm. Great stuff to share with my clients.


Wil Reynolds November 17, 2009 at 11:27 am

Thank you for the review of our panel, much appreciated!


Thomas October 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Great Stuff Here! I always love the tids bits and overview of events that I have [email protected]!

And I often Use adwords before writing a blog post. That way I can optimize the page and content to hopefully rank for a keyword that has volume!


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