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PubCon 2008 Breakdown and Wrap-Up

BACK TO (not so) BASICS: 
Programming for SEOs: 
How to Easily Write Custom Data Extraction Scripts

THE USUAL: Coverage of this month's
hot topicsshufflessound bytesshindigs, attaboys
and word on the wire.

FEATURE: PubCon 2008 Breakdown and Wrap-Up
The Las Vegas Convention Center was filled to the brim last week with the best Internet marketing minds on the planet. PubCon 2008 kicked off on Tuesday with a scheduled 90 sessions, three keynotes, several parties and one very hardcore networking event -- PubCon Classic, a day of networking and drinking at Hofbrauhaus. This article covers all the trends that we saw while in Las Vegas.

BACK TO (not so) BASICS: Programming for SEOs: How to Easily Write Custom Data Extraction Scripts 
Or, How to Use Python to Spider a Web Site

In the title of this article, the word "easily" might overstate things a little. However, as an SEO, there's nothing more frustrating than the mounds of semi-structured data we have to wade through to get to the bits useful to our job. Having access to the development systems for a site makes the job of an SEO somewhat simpler, but it is not often the case that an SEO will have such access. Usually our interface to a site is the same as anyone else's — a Web browser. Third-party site analysis tools are useful, as far as they go, but they're limited too — you're hemmed in by the vision of the tool maker.

Hot Topics

At PubCon this month, search engine representatives were eager to share the word about new features, products and updates. Many of them were highlighted during the Search Engine Smackdown session and many others were shared via official blogs. Here's a rundown of some of these notable updates.


Google was pretty noisy, with a number of new services to announce. Google Flu Trends launched, aprogram that tracks the number of searches being performed on flu-related terms for remarkably accurate predictions on the spread of influenza. It highlighted the incredible usefulness of Google Trends, which also got plenty of chatter throughout the conference sessions. Gmail now offers the ability for voice and video chat and Google announced that a new iPhone application would allow users to search with the power of voice.

The former invite-only beta program Google Ad Planner was made available to all Google account holders and a number of new features were added to the program. The search engine published the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. Google's Site Search tool got an upgrade.


Meanwhile, Yahoo dumped its on-site search tool, Yahoo Search Builder. At PubCon, Yahoo touted improvements to open developer platform SearchMonkey. A new gallery allows users to view experimental applications and newly released local search applications Citysearch and Zagat were made available. Yahoo's open search Web services platform BOSS received press at PubCon, as well. Yahoo Search Assisthas seen a number of improvements in the year since its initial release, including availability across browsers and mobile devices.

Microsoft Live Search

Over at Live Search, Project Silk Road stole the show. The Live Search API for publishers and Web developers aims to provide tools and services to help drive traffic and increase engagement. Live Search Video was updated with enhanced browsing capabilities and Microsoft announced a distribution deal with Sun Microsystems for its MSN Toolbar.

Programming Note: The SEO Newsletter continues its monthly publishing schedule and will be published on or near the 15th of each month. Adopting the monthly publishing date allows us to maintain the integrity and authority of the newsletter, while accommodating heavier travel schedules and increasing internal demands. You'll still receive the same great SEO news and educational articles, just in a thicker, more comprehensive format. Look for a return to our semimonthly schedule in the new year.


According to a Challenger, Gray and Christmas report, 180,000 tech industry jobs (pdf) are expected to be cut by the end of the year. More than 140,000 have been cut this year to date with 70,000 jobs lost in the tech sector during the third quarter.

Those job cuts include a lay off of 1,500 Yahoo employees, 10 percent of its workforce. Early this month,LinkedIn also cut 10 percent of its workforce, or about 36 jobs.

Veoh, a video-sharing Web site, said it was going to downsize 20 percent of its workforce, or about 20 jobs. After a cut of 10 percent of its workforce earlier this year, microprocessor supplier Advanced Micro Devices cut an additional 500 employees this month, or about 3 percent of its staff. Movable Type developer Six Apart cut 8 percent of its 200-person workforce. Social media darling and customer service powerhouse Zappos also cut 8 percent of its workforce.

Lifehacker said farewell to prolific tech blogger Tamar WeinbergAndreas von Bechtolsheim, co-founder and chief architect of Sun Microsystems, left to join start-up Arista Networks as chairman and chief development officer. Arista also announced it had recruited its new CEO, Jayshree Ullal, former senior VP of Cisco Systems's Data Center.

Gawker Media merged Silicon Valley gossip blog Valleywag into its larger media gossip property, Google added four new staff members to post on behalf of the search engine on Google Groups threads.

Sound Bytes

If you like what you read in the SEO Newsletter, there's more Internet marketing expertise where that came from. Check out SEM Synergy every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern and Noon Pacific on Bruce Clay and the other hosts discuss industry news, SEO tactics and marketing trends, while expert guests share their insights on methods, best practices and upcoming events. Check out the show schedule below for a look at recent shows and upcoming topics.

November 5
(Listen Now)

International SEO - Europe

Motoko Hunt

International SEO - Asia Pacific

November 12
(Listen Now)

Optimizing Landing Pages

Lauren Vaccarello

Conversion Tracking of an SEO Campaign

November 19
(Coming Soon)

PubCon Recap

Sage Lewis

How to Get a Maps Listing

November 26

White Space Opened to Wi-Fi

Jon Kelly


Got something to say? Contact the SEM Synergy team and share your thoughts, comments and questions. You might even hear your question answered on the show.


Tomorrow kicks off the first day of Search Engine Academy South Carolina, taking place from November 18-20. The following week, ad:Tech Shanghai will be held November 25-26.

In December, the Email Insider Summit will be December 7-10 in Park City, Utah. Sister conference Search Insider Summit will be December 10-13 in the same city. Wrapping up the year, SES Chicago will be held December 8-12.

A reminder, there will be no SEOToolSet Training in December. Join us in the New Year for our world-classsearch engine optimization training when the SEOToolSet training and Advanced Certification courses return on January 12-16. Also, keep your eyes peeled for new East Coast training dates.


In a boon to Internet and computing companies as well as Internet users, earlier this month the FCC agreed to open the white space broadcast spectrum to wireless broadband services. Social bookmarking site Delicious turned five years old this month.

Mozilla's browser Firefox reached 20 percent market share this month. Around the same time, Firefox also released a new privacy feature in its 3.1 version. A newly released Firefox plugin, Glync, integrates into a Google Webmaster Center account to track links over time.

In response to conservation concerns, online auction site eBay announced that it would ban sales of ivorybeginning January 1, 2009.

The inventor of everyone's favorite space age gliding device the Segway, Dean Kamen, has joined the effort to develop technologies and create sustainable energy sources in impoverished nations.

Word on the Wire

Rumors circulated early this month that MySpace Music would finally be naming Courtney Holt, MTV Networks's executive VP of digital music and media, to the position of CEO.

Net Neutrality legislation could be passed by Congress as soon as 2009. Google may be launching Friend Connect, a social feature sharing site, soon.

In response to a report released by UCLA which proposed that searching online stimulates the brain and improves brain function, Gord Hotchkiss wondered if online searching may actually cause the brain to remap itself.

If you have any questions or comments on any of the articles above or if you would like to suggest topics for future search engine optimization articles, please contact us at Bruce Clay, Inc.