Back from PubCon

Wow, PubCon was a blast. I can’t even begin to go into a full recap, so I’ll mention a few of my favorite things:

– talking to a ton of people. I saw lots of familiar faces, but I was (happily) surprised at how many people came up just to introduce themselves and chat for a bit. Some people wanted to report spam or discuss why a site might have been penalized and some people just wanted to say hello. šŸ™‚ I also did 3-4 video interviews that should eventually show up somewhere on the web.

– playing Werewolf Search Spam. Rand and Co did a great job on the party and printing up a custom deck of cards. I answered questions at the “Meet the Google Engineers” event beforehand, so I only had time to play a couple games. In the last game of the evening, I got to be a blackhat/werewolf. I realized that the person to my left was the healer (“Danny Sullivan” in this game), and decided to pretend to be the healer myself. Then I realized that the person to my right was the seer (“Matt Cutts” in this game. I know — my head hurt too.). As the “whitehat healer” I convinced the other villagers to lynch the seer. I got voted out early in the game, but enough people believed I was the healer (hi Jonah!) that the villagers voted out the real healer soon afterwards. With no healer or seer left alive, the two remaining blackhats played like pros and won. Just so you know, if there’s video of me celebrating with a little dance and chanting “Blackhats rule! Blackhats Rule!”, that’s why. I was just celebrating our team’s victory. šŸ™‚

Andy Beal took my new favorite picture of me during my keynote Q&A:

Matt Cutts: PubCon Vegas 2007 keynote

(Image used under a Creative Commons License.)

– Speaking of the keynote, at one point I talked about how Search Engine Roundtable did a nice write-up of how to report AdSense spam. I thought that Barry Schwartz did the post, but in fact Tamar Weinberg had done the post. Thanks to Tamar Weinberg being in the front row, I was quickly able to correct myself.

– I got a kick out of how many Googlers participated this year. Just a few years ago, I was one of the only people representing Google at PubCon. At one conference (2005?), I did five presentations and totally lost my voice. This time around, the numbers were reversed. Four people from our webspam team (plus several other Google colleagues) spoke on panels, and that’s not even counting Aaron D’Souza, who spoke at SES Chicago. This year I’ve been trying to step out of the spotlight a little bit to make room for more Googlers to communicate. It’s really wonderful to see just how many Googlers are talking with webmasters and SEOs these days.

– In the Las Vegas airport on the way out of town, four other people were riding the tram to terminal D. Three of them were SEOs, and we had a nice chat. šŸ™‚

34 Responses to Back from PubCon (Leave a comment)

  1. Great to listen to you at PubCon Matt. Presentations were motivating. Just finished transcribing Wednesday nights session with Guy Kawasaki.

  2. Some great tips at the keynote, Matt! Thank you for that.

    And for delighting us with those interesting dance moves šŸ™‚ I was only there for 2 days but got a couple of nice gems that made the trip worth. Too shy for pubcon though…

  3. Hi Matt,
    Great to meet you. Here are the interviews we shot. I think there were 17 in total. Thanks again for speaking with us. –

  4. You look like you’ve lost some weight!

  5. Definitely commend Google in their openness with the SEO community and webmasters in general. We may whine and moan about areas we don’t see eye-to-eye on (paid search penalty comes to mind) but overall it is really nice to have such great communication with a company like Google.

    P.S. No I am not doing any ass-kissing. I still get grumpy from time to time. šŸ˜‰

    Brent David Payne

  6. Matt,

    You were way beyond a pro at Pubcon.
    Every person who walked up to you was treated as a friend.
    The guy you never met was given the same attention and respect as the millionaire SEO.

    Your positiveness, and energy exuded non stop from beginning to end.
    It was like a prize fighter one, two, one, two, non stop.
    You set a great example by not drinking in front of others, and also by not mentioning it.

    And then you behaved as if you were around 12 years old at the Werewolf event, which was my favorite thing at Pubcon.

    “Pick Me! Pick Me!”

    I know of at least one veteran guy who spoke suspiciously of you before meeting you, and then afterwards in addition to being impressed, was grateful for your help.

    And yep, it was great to have other Googlers there too.
    We are lucky to have you in the limelight of our profession, literally fighting for truth and positiveness. Let the light shine.


  7. Here is another favorite pictures of Matt!

    Matt Cutts gives a thumbs-up to paid links! šŸ™‚

  8. Hey Matt,

    Was cool to finally meet at WMW. I asked a question in the last site section about how links are treated when the META type=EXPIRES tag is used. You mentioned this as a good way to plan for content that loses it’s timeliness (like classifieds posts), but we needed clarification on whether to 301 that page to not lose the link value.



  9. @Hawaii SEO – nah, it’s a special filter I use. It cost me thousands, but I needed it for any photos of myself. šŸ˜‰

    Seriously, a few people commented to me that Matt looked like he had dropped a few pounds.

    Glad you liked the photos Matt. It was your fireworks post and book recommendation that convinced me to get a DSLR.

  10. Oh, you’re welcome. šŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the shirt, Matt!

  11. Matt:

    Sorry we missed you this year. We had to skip this year’s Pubcon because our business is growing faster than we can keep up with it.

    Thank you for answering Tabke’s question regarding linking. I wanted to confirm this was your words and not transcribed incorrectly:

    “Use your gut. Trading links is natural and it’s natural to have reciprocal links. At some level, natural reciprocal links happen, but if you do it way too often, it looks artificial”

    As you know, we’ve been preaching this to our thousands of users for years.. We want to use your quote in educational materials as we continue to educate our users – but first wanted to make sure these are your exact words and not mis-interpreted?

  12. I really enjoyed those last two games of search spam (the first two I played were really boring). I almost caught you in a couple of lies during the first round, but the real healer didn’t stand up, so I was convinced that you defied the odds and were the healer two rounds in a row!

    Let it be known that Matt did well both as a blackhat and a whitehat. He’s got a great poker face and is a decent actor. Maybe I’ll use you in my next film!

  13. looking svelte matt.

  14. Hi Matt
    I really had a good time chatting with you, the walking, Jason Calacanis talks. Thanks for the time to get a Video, which i will upload it soon in my blog and trying to get some sphinns and Diggs. The session i enjoyed was when the guy who was drunk kept on asking the same question. Guy did a good job as a moderator this year. When he asked the questions to all of them in the panel, your answers were all to the point.
    The Pubcon itself was good, Danny’s Shoe šŸ™‚ Only Danny can pull things like that. Enjoyed it. The IPhone and Danny’s Phone conversation was fun. Overall it was great. Thanks for hanging out with everyone there.
    Did you finally get your Google T-Shirt?
    Thank you Matt and will comment with a link to the Video

  15. Matt, great seeing you again at PubCon!!

    SearchSpam was the funnest game of the week! I knew you were the “Black Hat” all along….

    – Tony (the person to your left…lol)

  16. Joel Lesser, that’s a pretty accurate gist of what I said, but my hunch is that if you wait a few more days, someone will have recorded it and might transcribe the literal remarks.

    Thanks all — I have been trying to take better care of myself since I hurt my back this past summer.

    Andy Beal, you’ve already surpassed me in the photography department. šŸ™‚

    Tamar, my pleasure. I haven’t had much luck with bean bags..

    Tony, it was a ton of fun playing Search Spam with you!

    suresh, I enjoyed hanging out and doing the video interview. It took me a couple questions to adjust to Guy’s style, but it was fun. šŸ™‚

  17. Nice sharing the tram ride with you – glad you caught your flight.
    Thanks again to you and your fellow Googlers for their part in a truly awesome PubCon.

  18. HI Matt
    I have uploaded the Video to Youtube here: and in my Blog here:
    Appreciate your Time Matt
    Thank you

  19. Hey Matt. I just wanted to say that it was great to meet you @ Pubcon. I enjoyed your keynote presentation, and also the site review session that you sat in on.

    Here’s my photo set from Pubcon (had a couple of you)

    And for anyone who’s not sure, when Matt says in a post to “come up and introduce yourself”, he means it. šŸ™‚

  20. Badi, it was nice meeting you too. šŸ™‚

  21. Hi Matt,

    I have a quick question. I’ve noticed that one of our competitors owns 5 websites that provide the same service and heavily interlink. I found this out because I searched DNS and found that the same guy owns and operates all 5 sites. This obviously skews the search results because people are thinking that they are getting 5 different sites when in reality they are only getting one site. How do you propose I go about reporting this?

    Thank you for your time.


  22. Thanks for your feedback on the site review panel with Greg and Michael. I was surprised that you said Google only counted three of my backlinks. That feedback has helped me a lot.

    Also I enjoyed your keynote.


  23. It is good for me to place a face with the name I hear so much about in the Internet and Webmaster world. Mabye we will get to come out and meet you sometime as well. Thanks for all of the good information you put out on your site.

  24. I had a great time at PubCon, and thought that your speech was much more interesting that most of the others :). I’m still dissapointed that I missed out on the Werewolf game, maybe next year?

  25. Nice to see you guys have had such a great time, hope I will be able to make it next year.


  26. As I said before, I look forward to the next Werewolf game. I was ‘Matt Cutts’ to the right of the real Matt Cutts. I wrote about how I saw it all got down that night here:


  27. To touch on one of your points, do URLs reported through the “Ads by Google” link even get read? Or is there such a huge backlog of it in the system that big G takes awhile to get around to it.

    I was perusing some comic site a few months back and hit a page (actually there were dozens of pages with similar content) that was pornographic (if hentai counts) and displaying AdSense banners. I reported it and when I read your post here I went back to see if G did anything about it, lo and behold it’s still there comfortably nestled between 3 ad units:

    (warning this link has an image that is definitely NSFW)

  28. The PubCon seems to be where all the fun is in conventions.

    Looks Like I need to check it out next year.

    Maybe I can play Matt Cutts in the Werewolf game.


  29. Matt,

    Thanks for stopping by our booth, being honest and pleasant. It’s always an honor to speak with you. Find some more interesting pictures of you here- even one with Marc from Yahoo!


  30. Hi Matt,
    I’m the guy that cornered you at PubCon about my domain,

    As we discussed, I’ve owned the domain for 2-3 yrs and built a site on it patterned after one of my other sites. I haven’t done anything black hat on it or made any other Google offenses (that I know of). You looked at it and told me that it had a very bad history before I aquired it and that you had removed the penalty(s). You told me it wouldn’t take long for Google to index it. But it’s been about 5 weeks now and it’s still not in your index. It has some very good links pointing at it. It has always ranked well on Yahoo and MSN.

    Could you let me know how much longer I have to wait?
    Getting it indexed by Google would be a nice Christmas present after all these months.


  31. Matt – while I’m late in reading your post, you look AWESOME! Happy, healthy and ready for anything!

    Make it a GREAT 2008!

  32. Some great tips at the keynote, Matt! Thank you for that.

  33. uhhh, Matt?

    My playa site mentioned above still hasn’t been indexed. šŸ™

  34. Matt, I know this is a trifling request, but can you either can the link on my name in this post to ItsTheROI or remove it? Seems my former employer is still #2 for my name even though it doesn’t appear on her site, so I am going to have to individual contact webmasters and ask them to update the links.