That’s a Wrap — Looking Back on WebmasterWorld’s Pubcon Las Vegas

  • Posted December 11th, 2007 at 10:50 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Industry

We saw, we spoke, we sipped cocktails, and now that all is said and done, this year’s WebmasterWorld conference in Las Vegas was full of industry hot buttons, interesting debates and stand-out keynotes. Here’s a snapshot of what I took away from the event:

Key Conference Theme
Walking around the conference, one key theme that really caught my attention was the discussion of social media as it relates to marketing and search. With social media such as Digg.com and blogs proliferating, digital marketers now have the choice to optimize for organic/PPC listings or use social media to generate traffic. Their viral effect, in particular, was discussed in great detail throughout the event as was the need for modern SEOs to consider developing social media campaigns, using social widgets and creating videos and images as ways to get the Web to talk about their sites.

Key Debate
There was an interesting debate between Gord Hotchkiss and Greg Boser on the meaning and significance of universal search, particularly with regard to which experience is better — integrating images and videos throughout the search results page or using clean separation of images, videos and traditional web results. SEOing for universal search can be a challenge, as the space is a moving target and lacks a steady definition.

Noteworthy Keynote
I thought that Richard Rosenblatt’s keynote on Wednesday delivered sound insight. According to Richard, most content online today is about sports, politics, news, and other common topics, leaving long tail topics underserved. He emphasized that there is significant demand for quality content in the long tail and therefore an unaddressed opportunity to create content and capitalize on the monetization opportunities. Susan Esparza at Bruce Clay, Inc. lived blogged from the address, where Richard revealed, “The old model was about owning a generic domain name (pets.com). The new is that the search engines don’t care where you are. Get a one or two word domain on a nontraditional domain. Target the wide body and the long tail.”

Another panel that received some industry attention was “SEO and Big Search” with Dave Roth, Yahoo!’s Director of Search Engine Marketing, and his counterparts at AOL and Google. Tamar Weinberg at Search Engine Roundtable recaps his discussion of how to do SEO and SEM at a place like Yahoo!.

Industry Recaps
With a slew of industry influencers live blogging from the event, there’s already been a number of panel recaps. Check out Search Engine Roundtable for more detailed information. They list both WebmasterWorld and SES Chicago panels and give readers a breakdown of their top five stories across both conferences by pageviews.

Overall, the discussions that took place at WebmasterWorld really brought a number of significant shifts in effective SEO to the forefront. Social media is not only impacting and changing our culture, but also the way in which SEO can and should be done. As social media continues to evolve and penetrate the search and marketing industry, I anticipate that optimizing for it will be an increasingly critically component of the SEO mix.

Sharad Verma
Yahoo! Search

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