PubCon 2014 Recap Day 1: SEO Masters Group Training

Some of Yoke’s social media followers might have already been aware that we’re taking part in PubCon this year. For those unfamiliar with the event, the four-day conference held in Las Vegas is the biggest event for internet marketing professionals in the world, attracting such big names as marketing influence expert Robert Cialdini, Google’s Matt Cutts and marketing strategist Jay Baer.

Our designer friends may not necessarily be familiar with these names, but mentioning them to an online marketer or a digital consulting specialist of any kind will result in them breaking out in goose bumps. Needless to say we’re very thrilled to be part of this year’s event.

The first day on Monday the 6th was all about search engine optimisation, a.k.a. SEO. The entire day was jam-packed with advanced SEO talk and presentations right from 8 AM till 6 PM. Needless to say the intensive schedule coupled with jet lag and an initial lack of coffee made the jump in to the fascinating world of SEO first thing in the morning a bit of a struggle, but after the invigorating discovery of the coffee machine, inner peace was restored again.

The sessions were highly inspirational and it was particularly energising to spend an entire day with people who were familiar with the realities of working in the SEO industry. Besides the brilliant technical and creative aspects of SEO that were covered during the day, it was Bill Hunt’s, one of the speaker’s, comments that really provoked some thought.

He mentioned multiple times how SEO wasn’t particularly sexy; not to outsiders, but often some aspects of it not to SEO professionals themselves either. It’s understandable that SEO doesn’t have a great reputation in general. It can quite often be spammy (when done wrong) and involves work that people don’t either really understand or don’t care about. Some people might even call it boring.

These preconceptions, although understandable, can often be pretty wrong. Rather than thinking of a search engine optimiser as the office bore who sits in the corner of the office mechanically implementing keywords into website copy, I think of them as something close to magicians. Perhaps it’s the Vegas influence.

There are so many considerations to take into account when optimising websites that SEO is truly more of an art than exact science. Although you might never quite know what the SEO expert is doing, or you think the changes they make are trivial, but if they’re good, you know that search engines will end up loving your website.

What’s more, as Bill Hunt also noted today, SEO is not a separate silo of work that can be successfully completed as an afterthought. It is actually an improvement process that, when executed well, integrates seamlessly with other business processes such as web design and web development, helping businesses to achieve their objectives.

So, although SEO may not be as sexy as social media, search engine optimisers are one of the few who speak relatively fluent ‘Google’ (sorry Bing) and can make a big impact on a business by simultaneously helping both the search engines serve better results and also the end users to find better content.

Search engine optimisers want to reduce the frustration of both the end user and the search engines when optimising websites, and this is effectively what today’s PubCon Masters Group Training class was all about.

Today’s class provided exceptional knowledge from pros that have been in the SEO business since the 1990s and know what the likely next big shifts in the ever-changing search engine algorithms will be. Without going into too much detail of the sections covered (remember, magicians), it is safe to say that SEO is becoming increasingly complex with many moving parts.

This makes it more important than ever to start treating SEO as the worthy business investment that it is and incorporate it seamlessly into business processes.

Who knows, one day people may even think of SEO as sexy and SEO pros as rock stars (instead of ninjas and gurus).

Talks attended today:

• Training Introduction by Brett Tabke
• Kickoff Talk with Jeffrey Eisenberg
• Core SEO and SEO Tools with Joe Laratro
• Advanced SEO, Link Building and Content Marketing with Eric Enge
• Scaling Your SEO Efforts with Bill Hunt

Tuesday’s PubCon and the subsequent recap will take a broader look at the online marketing landscape and cover not only SEO, but also social media and of course every online marketer’s darling, content marketing.

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