Reflections on SMX Advanced Seattle 2008

Reflections on SMX Advanced Seattle 2008

This is not a summary of what I learned, just some random thoughts on the conference itself. I am not an SEO insider. I do inhouse SEO and do not mingle with the big players.

First off, this was far better than Search Engine Strategies conferences. I’ve attended 2 SES in the past (last one in December of 2005 — wow, times flies) and those confs are just too broad, too long, and the food is just terrible. At least it was last time I attended.

SMX Advanced was far more focused. Even if there was some serious black hattery, At least now I know what SEOs are really up to.

On the Presenters

  • MS Guy — not the right guy for the panel. All I will say is you should not be on the Bot Herding panel if you don’t know whether MS Live search honors the NoFollow tag. Everything he said after that I ignored because he had no credibility.
  • Yahoo peeps — very nice, but really did not tell me any thing I did not know or offer anything up that was truly exciting.
  • netconcept guys — really enjoyed their presentations and learned some stuff. And I will be mining their for data.
  • Matt Cutts — OK, even though he makes me mad sometimes and I don’t think he always gives the full story, I was pretty excited to see him talk. Interesting how everyone was talking smack about him, but still his session was packed.
  • Danny Sullivan — I brushed past him in one of the sessions. it was like walking past a pop star. Not that I think he acts that way and I have seen him at other conf, but I feel like I should ask for an autograph or have my picture taken with him. I am not so gauche as to ask, though,
  • I won’t call out the individual non-search engine rep presenters here, but I have two main comments on the sessions overall
  1. What about a good user experience?
    How about using blogs for something other than spam? Because as the blog manager for dW, I spend a fair amount of my time cleaning up the spam people are using as some sort of sick black hat SEO campaign. How does that improve the user experience?
  2. Some of the black hats were a little too irreverant for my tastes
    At one session, someone used an extremely offensive and homophobic example. Not cool. I think that if it had been racist, even in the mostly white audience, someone would have said something and the presenter would not have gotten the laughs and implied approval he did. That example left a bad taste in my mouth about the conf. But then, what do you expect from black hat spammers?

Thoughts on Seattle
This is only my second trip to Seattle. Compared to Portland, Seattle is more hilly, bigger, and with more water. Otherwise exactly the same. 🙂

To save money, you don’t need to stay right at the conf center. I stayed a mile away and took the free bus (free during all the hours I was riding around and within the area around the conf center).

I also did a fair amount of walking. Pike Place is super sketchy after 5pm and so is the area around the conf center. I still had to walk a few blocks from the bus to the conf center, so I would not recommend public transportation in these areas after dark.

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