SMX Seattle wrap-up

Gah. I’ll never catch up on email; might as well blog a little bit. :)

I had a really good time in Seattle. I got to meet many more members of the Google Kirkland office, go up in the Space Needle, visit the Science Fiction Museum, walk around Pike Place Market, and even see a little bit of West Seattle. West Seattle was especially fun. I ate delicious macaroni and cheese at West 5 and picked up the new album from The National. It’s called Boxer and it sounds like a little like Lou Reed and The Feelies had a love child. I like it.

Also, there was a search conference. :) This was the first SMX conference, and it was a blast. I think Danny did the right thing by pitching the first conference to an advanced audience. It made for a really friendly, laid-back atmosphere. I had a lot more people just walk up to say hello than I usually do, and that was wonderful. I met nice people from Austin, Isla Vista, and all over the world. If you look at the end-of-conference picture, you can just barely see me at the very top left (I’m wearing my green Ale-8 Tshirt). I talked to several Googlers during and after the conference, and we all got good feedback and ideas from the attendees.

As you may know, SMX joins two other major search conferences: Search Engine Strategies and PubCon. I don’t know how the competition between the industry conferences will turn out, but it’s good that each conference is ready to offer what they believe is the best experience for SEOs and webmasters. Adam Lasnik spoke on three panels at SES Toronto last week, and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him and going over the feedback from the last couple weeks. Please be patient though; I’m still digging out from my vacation too.

A few highlights of the conference:
- Seeing all the familiar SEO faces at the MSN party the first night (and getting to meet a few new folks!).
- Starting out the conference with a Q&A session with Danny, me, and the audience. Danny and I got to use these little headset mikes as if we were a boy band. :) I pretty much despise PowerPoint-heavy presentations, so it was fun to just talk search with a few hundred webmasters. We covered everything from supplemental results (and how they’re indexed) to Wikipedia to Stephen Colbert. You can read the write-ups in live-blogging style, a slightly more cleaned up “Susan Esparza” style, an abbreviated summary, or even a write-up in haiku format. Some write-ups don’t mention that to keep the conference fun and casual, Danny agreed to strip from his normal suit into shorts and red Vans.
- Patrick from feedthebot.com asked why the webmaster guidelines aren’t more detailed, and then Riona and Vanessa managed to launch more detailed webmaster guidelines in time for the second day of the conference.
- If you like video, Mike McDonald caught me for a video interview later that day to recap the topics that had come up at the conference so far. I also got Matt-jacked into a dark room by Rand for the “SMX Diaries” video interviews. And WebProNews had some snippets of me from the Q&A session.
- If that’s not enough Matt-video for you, I just realized while doing this write-up that someone posted the video of the keynote Q&A session that I did at SES London a few months ago. That’s pretty funny.
- A nice Yahoo mixer, complete with Yahoo ice cubes (they’re purple plastic and light up when you put them in liquid). I saved a couple as prizes for my team.
- A good dinner with other search folks.
- Meeting lots and lots of cool people at the Google party. I never made it into the dance floor until the party was winding down, but I did get to see the vintage arcade games that were set up and the cool Google ice sculpture. Thanks to the Googlers who helped organize the party or manned tables to answer questions there!
- Meeting Satya Nadella and hearing his Q&A with Danny Sullivan.
- Lots of other fun panels the second day, including the “Give it up!” session.
- The end-of-conference photo and the general niceness of the Third Door team to take care of speakers.
- Woohoo for wifi! I really don’t want to attend any conference without wifi at this point.
- Hitting the SEOmoz SMX party. It was a bit of an off-night in terms of my ability to represent Google well. I bowled a 133, which is okay but not spectacular. Plus Rebecca “Bec” Kelley and Cameron Olthius beat me and a guy from Microsoft at eight-ball. I’d love to blame the MSFT fellow, but in truth I started the game trying to sink the wrong team’s balls. Of course, Cameron let me sink a ball before mentioning that. ;) On the bright side, Danny and I got to rumble in pool. He brought his A-game, and I barely managed to eke out a win. Add in the chance to compare notes on how Google is doing with a couple blackhat spammers, and overall I’d call it a great party. Well done, SEOmozzers.

I know I’m missing a few things, but those are some of the things that stand out looking back a couple weeks later.

24 Responses to SMX Seattle wrap-up (Leave a comment)

  1. You’re forgetting your mention of how to disable personalized web search and that somebody ought to get a few links by making a plugin for it :) Here it is:
    http://www.joostdevalk.nl/code/google-nops/.

  2. Harith

    Good morning Matt

    So you have nothing to say about Update Buffy – June 2007 :-( , How come?

    In the good old days the webmasters good friend GoogleGuy guided us through major algo updates. Not anymore.

    Talking about Google comunications with webmasters.

  3. Hi Matt,

    Did you get a chance to visit the infamous Wingdome in Kirkland? If not, you’ll have to hit it up next time.. ask for a “Number 7″… :)

    As a regular reader, it would have been cool to meet you in person. I would have enjoyed going to SMX as well, but unfortunitly time did not allow for me. Our business is only located one block away from the Google Kirkland office.

    - Scott

  4. Thanks for the mention and a little smile crossed my face upon reading “Matt-jacked by Rand”.

    Joost, way to get the plug-in out there to the masses!
    Matt, I sent the email, did you get?
    Harith, I feel like a poop cause I haven’t read that yet, nice to name it Buffy, sigh, Vanessa. Snif.

  5. Joost, thanks for the reminder. :)

    Harith: historically speaking, summer is a good time to incorporate ideas into search, but I wouldn’t consider that an update myself. We do always reserve the right to tune our scoring algorithms or change the weight of different factors, even if it only affects a fraction of queries (things such as single-word queries).

    feedthebot, I’ve caught up on much of my internal email, but I haven’t tackled external email from the conference yet. That’s high on the list when I can find time this week though. It’s all part of the digging out from vacation + SMX Seattle + SES Toronto process. Is Isla Vista not right? :)

  6. Joe

    Morning Matt, just need to ask a question and hope you can answer it. Some backlinks to my site now show up as supplemental. Does this means these links no longer count as a vote towards that page? Sorry to be off topic.

  7. Harith

    Matt

    Thanks for feedback. Highly appreciated.

    “We do always reserve the right to tune our scoring algorithms or change the weight of different factors, even if it only affects a fraction of queries (things such as single-word queries).”

    Ok. We again differ as good friends. Fair enough ;)

    However, you wrote : “Usually, what registers with an update to the webmaster community is when we update an algorithm (or its data), change our scoring algorithms, or switch over to a new piece of infrastructure.”

    Its rather difficult to differenciate “to tune” and “to update”.

  8. Isla Vista is right. That was a oops comment.

    But come on Matt, other than “digging out from vacation + SMX Seattle + SES Toronto process”, doing your job, dealing with “privacy is fun” week, interviews and replacing the most extrodi-nessa person on your team I just can’t see how you are too busy to answer a few thousand emails from all of us here and there. Tee hee. :) Take care, Seattle was fun, it was good to meet you face to face and I second that whole Danny knew how to throw a conference vibe. Well done.

  9. Harith, another way to say it is that a few of the WMW folks are talking about things that I’m pretty sure haven’t had algorithmic changes lately. I think tedster is combining a few unrelated things together.

    Other than perhaps for some one-word queries, I think most things remain unchanged. And even for most one-word queries, most results remain unchanged. So I’m not sure it’s worth calling it an update.

    feedthebot, it was nice to meet you face-to-face too. :)

    I’m heading to bed; catch ya later..

  10. Dave (original)

    Matt, for email catch-up. Ctrl+a and delete :)

  11. Hi Matt,

    The Penalty Box Summit session was not one of your favorites? I am sure there are many people in the real estate industry who wish they attended that session. :-)

  12. You got any pics of those Yahoo! ice cubes? Come on, Matt, gotta get your Ansel Adams on!

  13. Our problem with the duplicated content is not in the duplicated content of our own pages, the problem is that others sites copy us the content and are they those who are seen by the in Google’s results with our contents.

    For example, if my new article is in mydomain .com/artivle1.php, I would write google .com/autentification/?mydomain .com/artivle1.php

    A solution might be authenticate the contents directly against the Google server whenever we add some article own, in a few months the whole world will realize it, and the companies software.

  14. WB Matt. :)

    Hey, as far as the premature updateulation thread at WMW goes, why don’t you pop in there and mention what you said here? Might quell some of the rumors.

  15. Marc Rasmussen, the penalty box summit was action-packed. I thought it was neat that Danny brought hockey facemasks (Penalty.. hockey.. get it?).

    MWA, imagine ice cube like this:
    http://www.epartyunlimited.com/litecubeimp.html
    except purple, and you’ve pretty much got it.

  16. Jack "Hodge" Hodgkin

    Glad to see that you enjoy the swamp water…a bracing pep! I guess you must have it shipped.

  17. Matt – You’ve got Rebecca’s nickname all wrong. It’s “Boowrecka,” thanks to all the “boos” she “wrecks.” Good to see you as always; hope you come to visit Seattle again soon.

  18. Rebecca Kelley

    Boowrecka is definitely Rand’s nickname for me, but “Bec” is a bit more traditional. It was great having you at our soiree (for the record, Matt stayed the entire night–he sure knows how to party!), and hopefully we can do it again sometime!

  19. excuses, excuses ;)

    Seriously though – it was great to meet you and I’ll look forward to the rematch.

  20. I think a more apt nick name for Rebecca might be the ten-pin-ator as she was like an android – seemingly playing about 3 games simultaneously, and winning them all!

    Great to meet you – here’s to next year’s SMX…

  21. Hi Matt…re: follow up on SMX. I do see “some action” taking place on the Buy Viagra indicative problem… I suppose it is “nice” to see that “something” is happening. What that is?…well, I’m not enough of a techie but I am enjoying watching. Sadly right now the Buy Viagra search on Google has three edu’s in top three. It didn’t take me long to discover and obvious correlation between Phorum and the edu’s. The XSS vulnerability is likely what may have been getting used? http://marc.info/?l=bugtraq&m=111083279031544&w=2 at least in the past? Anyhow…my apologies as in my experimentation of the “issue” I now manage to have created a post that ranks #1 for Matt Cutts Viagra… whoops! Really…my apologies. Happy to see that it is 403′d and the cache is not avail. Let me know what I can do to make it up to you…

  22. “Marc Rasmussen, the penalty box summit was action-packed. I thought it was neat that Danny brought hockey facemasks (Penalty.. hockey.. get it?).”

    I got it. ;-)

    I wish that session was video taped.

  23. The SMX Advanced Recap is Chock Full of Nostalgia ยท Overheard at SMX and SES … SEW Live Seattle Wrapup
    http://www.paroles32.com

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