Best of PubCon 2011

PubCon was great. Here’s the best of the best:

Best Lines

William Leake:  23% of adults have cursed at their phone after a bad experience with a mobile site. What if they put siri on? What if it curses at us better than we curse at it?Best of PubCon

Dan Zarella: All these takeaways are under 140 characters. *wink* just sayin’ (hat tip: Lauren Litwinka)

Ted Ulle: If graphic designers drive the web development process, you are dead, dead, dead! (hat tip: Matt McGlynn)

Roger Dooley: This is a subliminal ad for my book [Large picture of his new neuromarketing book]

Greg Boser: Every year the keynote says SEO is dead. They never come back, but we do. (hat tip: Jonah Stein)

Matt Cutts:

  • What is a cell phone? It’s a computer you carry with you everywhere. This will change things enormously. (hat tip: Lauren Litwinka)
  • If we can move from an anonymous Web to a Web where reputation matters, that’s going to make the Web better. (hat tip: Lisa Barone)

Tim Ash: Recycle content. What’s the least I can tweak an existing piece to publish as new? [That must be a good thing, it’s green]

Derrick Wheeler: No matter how hard SEO team works, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get implemented.

Rick Skrenta: People ask why do we need another search engine? Don’t we already have one? [Notices co-panelist, Bing’s Duane Forrester] Or two?

Best Lessons

Dan Zarella: (Facebook shares)

  • There’s a series of words that correlate with a page having less likes – optimization, SEO, consulting, leverage, etc. Even if your brand is marketing optimization – consider more social ways to describe your business (hat tip: Lauren Litwinka)
  • Most sharable words: why, how, most, world, big, says. Talk about things in the news, it’s basically gossip (hat tip: Merry Morud)
  • Weekends are the best time for FB sharing

Brad Geddes: (Landing pages)

  • DO NOT USE SUBMIT BUTTON ON YOUR WEBSITE!!! Use Get This Offer, or Start Your Order, or Continue, or Proceed (hat tip: Dan Richey)
  • If you don’t NEED something on your form to convert a customer – REMOVE IT! (hat tip: SEOMike)
  • CAPTCHAs just stop conversions. Find another way to fight spam, like hidden edit boxes. [Shows numbers to back this up]
  • If somebody gives you a credit card, take it. Don’t reject b/c of dashes or spaces.
  • Never ask how did you hear about us. That’s what tracking is for. And the answers people give you are usually wrong.
  • Never prefill fields. Our eye is trained to find empty spaces.
  • What I or anyone else tells you is a test you should run yourself. Don’t assume that just because we said it it will work for you.

Joanna Lord:

  • Don’t just test green button vs blue. Test the bigger things on your site. Don’t assume the guy before you tested them.
  • If there are no recognized awards in your industry, create one. Make yourself #6 or something. [Don’t say that. People are going to think just anybody can put up a Best Of post].

Tim Ash:

  • Don’t use green or blue call to action buttons. They blend in to the page. Use a good contrasting color like orange. [Was then asked “Why not red?” Answer: Because it makes people think “Stop.”]
  • Put a box with the most Tweetable line from your blog and prompt people to Tweet that. Works much better than Tweeting the whole post (and it links to the same thing). (hat tip: Alan K’necht)

Jennifer Cairo: Before you think about social media promotions listen on your channels. Do Twitter searches, find LinkedIn Groups

Chris Winfield: Go to Linked In’s How Journalists Use LinkedIn page and reverse engineer it to figure out how you can get journalists to find you. (hat tip: Lisa Barone, details here: Social Media Press Relations & Brand Management)

Brian Chappel: It’s not all about the tools. Follow Avinash’s 90/10 rule. Spend 10% on the tool, 90% on people to analyze. (hat tip: Lindsay Childs)

Matt Cutts: Google will be integrating algos that consider what’s above the fold, what a user sees in the first 500 milliseconds. Do people see content or something that’s distracting?

Marty Weintraub: People think Facebook is for personal and LinkedIn is for business. Wrong! There are great business opportunities on Facebook.

Greg Boser:

  • Brute force is dead regarding backlinks. It’s too hard now to fake a natural footprint well enough to fool Google.
  • Human Engagement is the new Page Rank. Build engagement signals, get links from pages w/ good engagement signals.

Best Jump the Couch Moment

In an otherwise strong opening keynote, Leo Laporte said he’s not sure search engines will still be relevant in 5 months. Really?

Best Exchanges

Tim Ash shows eye tracking results of a page with a picture of a woman and some text and buttons.

Audience member: Those results are bullshit. The user didn’t look at the woman’s breasts.

Tim Ash: It’s not bullshit, the user was a woman.


Question: If I do doorway pages will the whole site get penalized or just the doorway pages?

Matt Cutts: Are you asking me how to most effectively build doorway pages?!

Question: I have to …

Matt: Oh, somebody kidnapped your family and is demanding that you create doorway pages? OK, I sympathize. But tell the kidnapper that these pages don’t work anymore. They won’t help him.

Amit Singhal: Don’t do it, man. Don’t do it.

[2 questions later]

Danny Sullivan: I have my doorway pages on Blogger …

Best Anecdotes

Greg Boser was drunk the night before WebExpo 2.0 and hadn’t put together a deck, so he went online and took one from Stephan Spencer. Stephan was at the session. Oops.

Matt Cutts had to take a break from live interaction sessions because the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu wanted to borrow the PC he used for those sessions. Matt figured it was good karma and his computer would come back much nicer and calmer. [Maybe it came back as a Mac].

Best Theatrics

  • Ziv Dascalu puts on black ski mask to discuss black hat techniques. [Which he says not to use. He’s only teaching you so that you can defend yourself. He’s like a defense against the dark arts teacher].
  • Matt Cutts was asked his favorite Tweet from PubCon. He said this one from @maplenorth (Adam Green): @leolaporte – “I don’t know if search engines are relevant in 6 months” … Somewhere @mattcutts just spit out his morning coffee #pubcon. So Matt recreates the moment by drinking some water and doing a spit take.

Best Session Title

  • Rob Garner: e-commerce SEO is Dead (and I don’t feel so good myself) (hat tip: Michelle Lowery)

Best Lines from Blog Coverage

  • Ryan Jones: Next up is Greg Boser and the room is shocked that he not only has a powerpoint deck, but he also didn’t steal it! Way to go Greg!
  • Lisa Barone: Leo [Laporte] asks what we tell our parents what we do for a living. …  My dad tells people I’m a secretary for Google. Which…I mean…he has a point, right?

Best Tweets

  • @chrisgoulet: via @WarrenWhitlock at #pubcon – Make sure your messages fit into the length of a tweet, or people will be unab
  • @BigKitchen: Twitter makes me want to have drinks w/ ppl I’ve never met & FB makes me want to throw drinks at people I know
  • @lindsaylorraine: You know you’re tweeting too much when hubby stops following you.
  • @mattcutts: I still can’t believe someone at #pubcon asked me the best way to do doorway pages. Amit’s take: “Don’t do that.” 🙂

Best Coverage:

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments or by Tweeting to @GilR.