As has become tradition for me, I walked the halls and session rooms of PubCon Las Vegas 2011 with my camera, seeking to capture faces of the SEO/Search industry. Here’s a selection of those photos along with a story behind the faces.
Faces of PubCon 2011
There’s 42 faces in the photo above, a small but notable selection of people that dedicate their days (and many nights) to the industry of search. One of the first photos I took after arriving in Las Vegas was of Neil Marshall (engine) and Amanda Randall, two of the many people that work to make PubCon happen.
Another one of the many people that work to make PubCon a successful event is technology writer and accomplished long-distance runner Lane Ellis. Lane is the lead editor for PubCon/WebmasterWorld, and every time I’ve spotted him at PubCon, he’s been smiling.
Unintentionally, I’ve noticed a pattern of taking photographs of people I’ve gotten to know over the years, although I seek to get fresh new faces as well, without appearing like a creepy paparazzi photographer. Kate Morris was in my 2010 PubCon Las Vegas photo post, and 2009 PubCon Las Vegas photo post, and here she is again, simply because she’s pretty awesome.
Kate was one of the people seated at my table for the Tuesday night Raven Tools PubCon Poker Tournament at the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel. It was a great event, and something I hope they make a yearly tradition out of. Also seated at the table, was Joanna Lord of SEOmoz, another individual that’s been no stranger to my SEO photo posts.
Come to think of it, Joanna is also a long-distance runner, Kate is a long-distance runner, and I already mentioned that Lane is a long-distance runner. Maybe next time in Vegas, we should all meet up at 5 AM and run the strip. #TeamSEO
As far as I know, Danny Sullivan is not a runner, he prefers rollerblading the Balboa Boardwalk into the Southern California sunset. Danny was one of the many search journalists occupying the two center front rows for the Wednesday morning PubCon keynote featuring Matt Cutts, distinguished software engineer from Google.
Year after year, there is always someone that asks a question during a keynote or widely attended session, that gets the entire audience chuckling. Nakul Goyal receives the honor for this year’s keynote question that will go down in PubCon history. It never hurts to ask eh?
Matt Cutts did not forget to shave for the event, he’s been growing a goatee during the month of Movember, in support of changing the face of men’s health. Besides answering questions during his keynote presentation, Matt talked about SEO in 2011, with a focus on low-quality sites (Panda) and what he felt were long-term SEO trends. Mobile, social, local search, and an increase in personal search, were among those trends he discussed.
A search engine conference isn’t complete without Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media live blogging sessions. While she’d rather be eating chocolate sprinkled cupcakes and enjoying a Sam Adams, she (and the rest of the OSM team) dedicates a significant amount of time to educating the search community, and keeping the rest of us up to date with what’s going on in the world of SEO.
To my knowledge, Bruce Clay is the father of the first SEO infographic. How many people remember the Bruce Clay Search Engine Chart from the 1990s? I had that graphic printed and posted on the wall in my office, reminding me that I’ve been studying search engines myself, longer than I oftentimes admit. It’s been a privilege to moderate sessions featuring Bruce Clay the past few years now, and if you’re ever at an event where he’s presenting, be sure to attend. He provides a wealth of knowledge.
Also providing an abundance of knowledge is fellow NFL fan, Tim Mayer. Tim has been a Keynote Speaker at previous Las Vegas PubCon events, and he’s been participating as an attendee and panelist since 2002.
For me, the best thing about PubCon continues to be the wealth of Webmastery information available. While many people may be interested in the latest trending topics, opportunities to speak to experts such as Neil Marshall, Frank Bauer, or Robert Charlton, on topics like htaccess, Perl programming, or enterprise-level site architecture abound. There is an atmosphere of sharing, so never waste the opportunity to ask for assistance.
Working his magic for online marketing company BlueGlass, Dax Herrera drops loads of knowledge every time I’ve heard him speak at an Internet conference. Enterprise-level analytics management, analytics APIs, and the unexpected consequences of iterative software design are topics you’ll likely hear Dax talk about.
Wednesday morning’s keynote by Google’s Matt Cutts also featured a very welcomed visit from the head of Google’s core ranking team, Amit Singhal. According to Cutts, Singhal has the entire Google search algorithm in his head. He’s authored numerous search related publications and has one of the few sites I’ve seen outrank a Wikipedia page with a .info domain.
Many more photos can be viewed in my PubCon 2011 Las Vegas set on Flickr, along with the 2011 Austin set, and the 2010 Las Vegas set. I look forward to seeing those of you at PubCon Paradise in Honolulu on Valentine’s Day 2012, where I’ll be speaking on local search rankings, mobile search, and social. I’ve been told these are SEO Trends we may want to pay attention to.