PubCon Las Vegas 2010 Recap
I recently got back from my first PubCon.Â For those unfamiliar PubCon is one of the leading, and after my experience in my opinion the leading, Search Engine Marketing conferences. It is hosted by Brett Tabke and Webmaster World.Â Although many shows claim to be all inclusive, PubCon, just like Affiliate Summit, is setting new standards in excellence in terms of the content of their sessions. This year PubCon expanded its offering beyondÂ Search Engine Marketing, with a full Affiliate Marketing track, and they also built in numerous sessions in other verticals to create a truly all inclusive Online Marketing conference.
The thing that stood out for me at PubCon was that in each session I attended, the speakers did a great job of focusing on practical strategies giving straight-forward advice on how to implement them in real world scenarios.Â Whether or not I agreed with the advice given doesn’t matter.Â What does matter is that they were openly sharing how they work and some of the strategies that help to make them money.
Too many conferences are filled with so-called “gurus” whose sessions are full of information about what the guru’s own company does and why you should you use their services, rather than information on things you can implement on your own.Â Thankfully PubCon’s sessions were full of information on implementable strategies and how you could tie them into your own marketing efforts.
I do have to warn you, however, PubCon is not for the easily offended.
It is a very non-pc conference. For example there were quotes and tweets about a life goal being to eat as many animals as possible in the form of tacos (left); there were lots of swear words in certain panels; let’s just say that the veterans at the show aren’t afraid to speak their mind. The networking is phenomenal at these events but you need to be ready for a group that is ready to party and is very social.
The nice thing about PubCon, that I haven’t seen at many other shows, is that if you are standing alone people will walk up to you and start talking.Â There is something about the vibe of the show that just makes people want to smile and have fun while actually working and networking at the same time.Â I met more people in one hour when my friends were off using the restroom or grabbing a drink, than I would normally meet after 3 or 4 days at some other large shows.
I’ve had an affiliate site in a particular niche for a while now and at the opening networking session I ran into a WebmasterWorld Moderator by the handle of Bucksworth who also happens to be in a very similar niche as me.Â Not only did we share ideas with each other but we were also able to both hopefully learn from each other.
It was nice to see that the show veterans were open to sharing their insane amount of knowledge. For instance the lovely ladies of Outspoken Media, Rae Hoffman, Rhea Drysdale, (pictured right), along with Lisa Barone, are not only incredibly smart, but they also think on the fly allowing them to help suggest solutions for the myriad of questions people threw their way.
At PubCon, Rae did her famous panel filled with on the spot site reviews and critiques for the audience. A lot of the advise was simple common sense mistakes or creative suggestions butÂ when you combine her expertise with that of Jim Banks, VP of AdMarketers, you get a great panel. They got you thinking about where your links are coming from and why people would want to link to your site, you know the basics of why you started, as well as throwing in valuable facts and debunking rumors.
For instance the rumor that Google is kicking sites out simply for buying backlinks. It’s common knowledge that you can’t solely rely on backlinks that are purchased and there are stories about Google penalizing people for doing just that. Rae brought up an excellent point that paid links can’t be the sole reason for a site getting kicked out of the search engines because if that was the only deciding factor than anyone could go buy backlinks point them to their competitors and their competitors would disappear.
I think Matt Cutts and the PhDs at Google are definitely a bit more thorough in their algorithm than that.Â I’m not saying to go buy a million backlinks, but if you end up buying a few, it probably isn’t the end of the world.Â Consider a banner or media buy that isn’t backlink related or the goal isn’t to get a better SERP but just to get traffic and sales.Â If this would penalize you or get you thrown out of the search engines than CPM buys would disappear altogether or you would probably never hear the question, “What is no follow” again since everyone would be requesting no follow links so their sites don’t get thrown out of the engines.
All-in-all PubCon was an excellent show perfect for those who want to learn how to grow as an online marketer. It is one of the last shows, just like Affiliate Summit, where you can go in thinking you know absolutely everything there is to know about a particular channel of Marketing and leave realizing how much more there actually is to learn.Â With an A list group of speakers, mostly made up of people who actually do the work instead of executives who talk out of their “you know what”, Pubcon is simply a must attend for anyone serious about online marketing.