#Pubcon 2012: Tips, Tools & Trends

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend the week in Las Vegas for Pubcon 2012. Pubcon is by far the biggest search and social media conference around and features some of the brightest minds in the industry.

With over 50 sessions a day along with non-stop networking events, Pubcon can be pretty overwhelming. However with an on-going stream of tweets and great recaps being posted across the web, you can get a lot of information even on the sessions you missed.

Instead of recapping all of the sessions I attended, I thought I’d highlight the top tips, tools & trends I came across.

Top Tips from Pubcon 2012

Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the bestselling book “Influence: Science & Practice” gave the opening keynote and offered some great tips on the universal principles of social influence. Two of the main takeaways:

Use Your About Us Section Better
People like those who like them. Your about us section gives you the ability to connect with potential customers. Give them something about you they can connect with. What kind of hobbies do you have? Where do you live?

Give Customers Something
Did you know that if there’s a mint on the check tray for each diner, tips go up 3.3%? People are eager to give back and will say yes to those they owe. Give your customers something without expecting anything in return.

Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest. There was a lot of talk about the intent Pinterest users have versus other social networks. Krista Neher of BootCamp Digital noted that Pinterest traffic converts at 10% higher than other social traffic. Matt Siltala also mentioned Pinterest traffic for BuildDirect as having an average time on-page of ~10 minutes. Create content your Pinterest users want, as they are apparently a very valuable audience.

Target the Timeline & Act Like a Local. Facebook now gives you the ability to target your timeline to specific users. Have an offer that’s only valid in NYC? Make sure it only shows to them. You can also break it down by gender, relationship status, interests and age. – Alison Zarella

Mobile Keywords are Different. Michael Dorausch had a great point about mobile traffic when he said, “not every search is suited for mobile”. Often times, we just assume that we should optimize for the same keywords we are optimizing for on desktop but that may not be the case. His other point, when a search query originates from mobile, the best quality site may lose to the best location. Sometimes, we just want what’s close.

Make the Most of Your Content. Tim Ash was on the conversions in a social world session and one piece of advice he offered was to get more out what you’re doing. It’s easy to put out a piece of content but what happens after? Tim used a webinar as the example. After you have the webinar, there is more you can do. Put the video online. Create a transcript. Write a Blog Post. Encourage people to share it. Take the content and make an ebook. The point is, to do more with what you have.

Top Tools from Pubcon 2012

Going into Pubcon, I thought I was hip to most of the tools out there. Turns out, that’s not the case. There are a lot of very cool tools out there ready to give you some killer information. Here are a few worth checking out:

Open Graph HelperAaron Friedman and Mike King developed this tool to help you see what your Open Graph tags will actually look like out in the wild.

WebPageTest.org – Lets you test your load speed, caching, load times and even suggests improvements.

BoardReader.com – Looking for something in a forum? This tool is probably the best public form crawler and can help you find info on a specific brand or topic.

CompeteMonkey.com – Alerts you when a competitor starts using a new service on their site.

PinAlerts – Currently in Beta, this tool alerts you anytime someone pins something from your site.

Repinly – Helps you find the most popular pins, boards and pinners by category.

MajesticSEO – Along with it’s backlink finding capabilities, the tool with show you your IP neighbors, helping you identify any ‘bad neighborhoods’ you might be close to.

Note: The majority of these tools came from the Competitive Intelligence session with Chris Winfield, Matt Siltala & Kristy Bolsinger, which was probably my favorite. Find the session write-up here.

Top Trends from Pubcon 2012

Links are Soooo 2011. While links are still going to matter for quite some time, how they influence search engines is already changing. Ryan Jones had a good quote at his Sustainable SEO session when he said, “It doesn’t matter how many links you have if people come to your site and think it’s crap”. How people interact with your site and how actual people are connected to your site is what’s going to matter.

More Changes More Often. Eric Enge gave a great presentation on the Google algorithms and one thing he mentioned was that while we used to see these big algorithmic updates, what we are now seeing is more updates more often as the search engines improve their capabilities.

Bing. I had to mention Bing because it always amazes me how often they come up at conferences. Duane Forrester does a tremendous job of connecting with the search community, talking about the company, what they are doing and how they are improving. On top of that, the social stuff they are involved in, including their Facebook integration is very cool. It also seems Bing is trying to do big things in the mobile space.

Social, Google+ & Connections. I put these together simply because they all involve the idea of relationships. Not just building them, but maintaining them, utilizing them and most importantly, not faking them! Social networks have given us the ability to connect with people we know, people who like the same things we do, and people who like us. Businesses and people need to be figuring out how to use that for their advantage. It’s already playing a role in the buying process and will continue to play a larger role in the search process.


Pubcon was amazing and I highly recommend that anyone involved in the search or social industry put it on his or her list of things to do. The information that came out of each session was useful and actionable and worth the cost.

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John Yeung — John Yeung, Digital Marketing Manager, Stratford University

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