I’ve been doing SEO for 10 years, and I still learned something new at Las Vegas Pubcon 2014


As a previous panelist at Pubcon, it was a pleasant change to take a back seat to speaking and enjoy the event this year as an attendee. It was refreshing to be able to pay more attention to listening and learning rather than finishing up presentations, double-checking, practicing, and presenting. Thanks to the Ninjas, I got a free gold pass for winning the Instagram contest of #TakeNinjaSelfie. Thanks again Internet Marketing Ninjas.

It’s difficult to cover everything at Pubcon

It would be great to have the ability to clone yourself to attend all of the events occurring simultaneously. Given the relevance of all of the events, it is always a daunting task to select which events appear to superior to the others presenting at the same time. For 3 days, there are 8 simultaneous sessions happening, many are equally interesting, and going alone makes it impossible to cover everything. Various companies also may chose to host booths at the event. If networking is a priority of yours, this is yet another activity bidding for your time. The best strategy is to carefully pick and choose which sessions you will attend. I normally attend the sessions I am most interested in and passionate about, but given my extensive SEO experience, many of the presentations often reaffirm of my current practices as opposed offer new insight.

This year I noticed a wide array of sessions on Google updates from a historical point of view, Google’s philosophical point of view, theoretical discussions and practical actionable takeaways. There were also many sessions on off-page strategies for content marketing, engaging users, integrating social, etc. I am quite familiar with most of these topics through online reading, similar personal experiences, and also from our large team that researches these topics on a regular basis. It is always great reassurance to hear that we are doing the right thing.

It was great seeing all these great speakers in action:

Brian LeFrance on building tools using APIs

Kristine Schachinger (don’t let me pronounce her last name) on Google Authorship and Author Rank

Carrie Hill on schema markup

The Google Patent reviewer, Bill Slawski on schema markup

Forever entertaining Marty Weintraub talking about psychographics and audience targeting

Exceptional delivery (as usual) from Jim Boykin, mostly on Google algorithm updates

The SEO veteran that I followed since WebmasterRadio.fm SEO Rockstars days in 2005, Greg Boser talking about Google algorithm updates, changes in the industry, and more.

My primary criteria this time was to attend the sessions on which I had the least amount of prior knowledge. Below are the 3 sessions that remain the most memorable. For each speaker in the 3 sessions I will explain the 3 beneficial takeaways.

Please note that these takeaways were taken from my written notes, and may or may not be direct quotes of the speakers, may or not be paraphrased statements or they could totally be something they did not mention at all, but inspired me to gain some insight on how I would do some of the things they mentioned.

Creative Techniques for Selling Your Services and Retaining Your Clients

Jabez Lebret, David Vogelpohl, and Dennis Yu were equally excellent. They shared their experiences in being an authority, client retention, and building a relationship with your clients.

3 Takeaways from Jabez Lebret

  1. Writing a book and getting it published gives instant credibility.
  2. Be an authority in your targeted niche area and condition the market to view you as the authority.
  3. Features tell and benefits sell. Tell your audience more about the benefits than the features of your product or service.

3 Takeaways from David Vogelpohl

  1. Setup up all analytics and click tracking on thank you pages, service cancellation pages, and unsubscribe pages. Many insights can be gained here.
  2. On a cancellation page or unsubscribe page, provide a knowledge base or link to FAQs or any resource about the common confusions a customer may have. Make it super easy to follow, take advantage of videos. This may save a client from cancelling a service.
  3. Proactively reach out and recommend how to save money by avoiding overages in subscription service businesses. If a business has various payment plans for a set number of hours, bandwidth, credit or whatever measure and the client is near going beyond the limit, proactively reach out and recommend an upgrade to a higher plan where they can save more than being charged for overages.

3 Takeaways from Dennis Yu

  1. Client love is all about showing authentic care for a client. Remembering birthdays and anniversaries not just by giving a card or buying a gift, but being different – like singing them happy birthday in a voice mail and actually calling to leave a voice greeting.
  2. Personalized greeting using targeted ads by email. Display ads and email ads can be targeted in social media or common email platforms like Facebook and Gmail. Only the specific email user will see the greetings, it is personalized and the cost per click should be very low.
  3. Celebrate successes. Recognize small KPIs and big KPIs by sending out emails, or even sending out plaques to the client. Clients love it and actually hang them up on the wall.

How to Delete RipoffReports from Google

RipoffReport.com is a website of which most SEOs are aware. It is notorious for ranking many companies and personalities in Google, often ranking for the #1 spot or #2 spot right below the official website, and greatly affects the reputation of the company. A common SEO strategy is to push down RipoffReport’s ranking possibly to page 2 by making 10 other websites outrank it when searching for branded terms. This is where social media profiles, press releases, and sometimes even separate microsites are created to help push down rankings. The largest obstacle with this tactic is that often the sites made to outrank RipoffReport are new websites without much history and online authority are built up which makes RipoffReport very powerful to and difficult to push down. Attorney Kevin Hutcherson shared his process on how he has successfully removed over 500 RipoffReport listings on Google using a legal process.

3 Takeaways from Kevin Hutcherson

  1. Gooogle has a Submit a Court Order Form where you can upload a court order stating defamatory content, unlawful content, or a copyright violation. Specify the URLs where the content is hosted and Google will take appropriate action and remove the results from Google.
  2. To obtain a court order you need to have a case and sue the author of the post, as opposed to RipoffReport themselves. Be sure to prepare to have all proof that supports your case. If you must come up with proof that the content is defamatory, unlawful, or violates any copyright. If the violation lies within a comment, then you can go after the commenter instead.
  3. If you have no information about the author of the post or the commenter, you can address this as a “John Doe” and give the subpoena to RipoffReport and they will give the contact information of the author/commenter. If this contains false information on the identity, then extra work is needed to trace the email and IP address going to the ISP of the author/commenter. If no identity can be traced, in some states where the case is filed, a public notice is posted on various publications calling out the person and is considered as if a subpoena was sent to the author/commenter.

There is more to this, and attorney Hutcherson offered more valuable insight in addition to my 3 takeaways. He also had great answers to many of the questions asked by the audience, but to state everything would deserve to have its own standalone blog post.

How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon

Another event I decided to attend due to my lack of prior knowledge was about how to gain the best visibility on Amazon. Much of the talk dealt with some of the ranking factors and strategies on how to sell books successfully on Amazon as an author. Although the session was specifically about books, I assume some lessons could still be applied in selling other products on Amazon. The speaker Penny Sansevieri has clearly shown her expertise in this area not only helping others market their own books but also on how her strategies have proven successful through the sales of her own book as well.

3 Takeaways from Penny Sansevieri

  1. Similar to SEO, keyword research is important in how you name your book. Aside from looking in to keyword research tools, also pay attention to the suggested keyword modifiers with Amazon as well.
  2. Category selection is important. Find at least two broad categories that best fit your book topic and narrow down in the best subcategory that has less competition so it is easier to reach the top result of that category.
  3. A printed book can be split into multiple ebooks since short ebooks seem to sell better than long ebooks. Each ebook can be used to promote and sell the subsequent ebooks and the printed book since they are all related products.

Similar to the other quality speakers, Penny had lots more tips and tricks up her sleeve to perform well on Amazon that she couldn’t possibly fit into her presentation time; And my few takeaways hardly do her presentation justice.

Other Pubcon festivities

Time was of the essence, so I skipped some of the parties. I did however attend the US Search Awards. Unfortunately, we did not win any awards, but is still an honor to have an entry included on the shortlist of finalists. I was fortunate enough to briefly speak with some of the judges and many said that the amount of entries was overwhelming per category, so being on the shortlist was already a notable victory on it’s own; it was very difficult to choose the main winners.

I had a pleasant time meeting up with other industry friends, online acquaintances, former colleagues, new industry friends, finally talking with people that you know but don’t know you, and vice versa.

And after Pubcon, with the time available, I was able to find time to go up the Highroller and spent my Friday working from the IMI Vegas office. Pubcon is always a great informational experience. I recommend that all professionals in digital marketing make it a goal to attend.

7 Responses to “I’ve been doing SEO for 10 years, and I still learned something new at Las Vegas Pubcon 2014”

  1. Dennis Yu

    Ben, awesome write up! PubCon is the BEST digital conference out there. Best learning and best networking!

  2. Simon Heseltine

    Where was the write up on the In-House sessions? Bah 😉

    Nice coverage though 😀

    • Benj Arriola

      Sorry Simon, nothing on the in-house session, didn’t have the time to attend that. But I do have a 15 second Instagram video of you accepting the best in-house SEO team award at the US Search Awards!

  3. Shawn

    Thanks for this summary Benj! Something I have been dealing with is answered in this specific post.

    • Benj Arriola

      Good thing I know you Shawn, because this sentence: “Something I have been dealing with is answered in this specific post.”

      sounds like a comment used in spamming tools *LOL* The ones that are trying to become general statements that can be applied to any blog post.

  4. Mikhail Tuknov

    Benj, Looking sharp! Thanks for the latest and greatest update. It would be nice if you cover some technical stuff.


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