What a day.

Pubcon Austin 2015 came and went faster than we could have imagined. Our very own SEO Analyst Michael Klein attended this year, encountering a whirlwind of information, nerdery, and, of course, content. While the impending “mobilegeddon” discussed throughout the day turned out to be a bit of a letdown, Pubcon Austin itself was an amazing example of a superbly run conference, jam-packed with information.

SEO is a constantly evolving space. This year’s Pubcon was the truest example of that. Whether it was the overwhelming number of topics on mobile or content marketing in general, Pubcon illustrated how our industry is always changing. There’s always something new to learn and master.

There’s a lot to say about this awesome event. Here’s a walk through BFO’s day in Austin:

8:00am – The conference kicks off with a keynote from Tim Ash. His book “Landing Page Optimization” is an influential resource for SEOs, so it was great to hear him speak live. Tim is all about converting traffic, which is something we as SEOs need to focus on more. Often we’re stuck in a world of trying to build more traffic, rather than working closely on how to convert more of the traffic we already have into customers. Michael even won one of Tim’s signed books!

10:00am – Eric Enge’s quick yet highly informative session proved interesting. He tends to write very technical SEO pieces and this session was no exception. His insight into the inner workings of Google’s “knowledge graph” was a real eye opener to us. He gave a very simple approach to taking advantage of knowledge graph and giving our sites a better chance to appear.

10:30am – Michael used the break as an opportunity to jump back to the main conference room and see the second half of “Local Search and Mobile Optimization” with Loren Baker and Brian Combs. This was the first session of the day where mobile was the primary focus (but it certainly wasn’t the last). We took in some great information on mobile SEO and what to expect from Google’s (then) upcoming update.

11:20am – “SEO and Content Optimization” was the first heavy-duty SEO session we came across. What was so interesting here was the way content marketing and SEO have really become one-and-the-same. It’s amazing to us that only a year or two ago, this session would likely be separated into two. Now, we discuss content and SEO as the same function. (That, though, is a topic for another blog post.)

12:25pm – Over lunch, Michael took the opportunity to meet up with a mentor of his, John Cooper of Point Blank SEO (@pointblankseo). He was a pleasure to finally meet in person. His SEO expertise in the content marketing and link building space has long been a “go to” for Michael. Recently, John has expanded his own services into a full-scale agency. All of it is very inspiring and great to see. We highly recommend following John on Twitter, reading his blog, and reaching out to him if you see him at a conference! This was a highlight of the day.

1:10pm – After lunch, we dove into some different, niche-type sessions. The first was “SEO for WordPress” which we found to be a great niche topic that is rarely addressed. We were more than pleased with the amount of information jammed into this session, as it armed us with quite a few WordPress tips and tricks to use with our clients.

1:30pm – “Texas, Multi-Language, and International SEO” was a bit of a gamble that paid off big. The speaker, Zeph Snapp, lives in Mexico and runs an SEO firm from there. He spoke mainly on the difference between translation and “cultural” translation. It all came down to understanding culture in the SEO space and not just translating. This really hit home for us and is something we can’t wait to implement into an international SEO project in the future.

2:20pm – This nearly 1.5-hour session was completely dedicated to mobile SEO and conversion optimization. This session was largely focused on PPC, but did touch on SEO specifically at the end. Still, the recommendations remain the same. This was all about making sure user experience is optimized for mobile, not just to respond to the Google update, but for users.

3:30pm – Since it was getting to be late in the day, Joe Youngblood provided a fresh dose of excitement. His lecture on “Content Marketing Strategy” was a wonderful departure from a standard content marketing presentation. Being almost impossible to describe, John took us through the creative development process and truly inspired us to get creative in content marketing projects. His process was truly inspiring.

4:45pm – Toward the end of the day, it was nice to hear from a high-profile speaker, and Jordan Koene from eBay was the winning ticket. He spoke of his time at eBay and inspiring them to embrace content marketing, first with a Star Wars project. It was amazing to hear how they were able to drive SEO strategy through two difficult organizations (eBay and Lucas Film). It’s something we work with every day as an SEO agency, and it was very inspirational to hear such a high-level example.

5:30pm – The end of the day brought a much-needed networking and cocktail hour. We were able to catch up with a lot of the presenters, as well as some of the others that we were only able to talk to for a few minutes between sessions. Networking allowed us to truly witness the niche nature of the SEO industry. We even met a woman from an agency that handles only dental startup businesses. It’s always interesting to hear what people are doing in the SEO space.

Pubcon Austin 2015 was a very rewarding experience. Between networking and the sessions themselves, we couldn’t have been happier with the day. We highly recommend attending a one-day Pubcon, as it’s a great way to absorb a lot of useful information without attending a multi-day conference.

We look forward to Pubcon 2016, wherever it may be!

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