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Events

Wanna copy my homework? A guide to the #mozcon lineup

By | Events | 13 Comments

MozCon is going to be epic. Three whole days of amazing speakers (did you know there are 24?!), making new friends, and getting smarter (my brain is going to be huge). But before I go, I’ve decided to put in some hustle and do my homework so that I can get the most out of the conference. Lucky for you I’ve decided to share.

Here’s the low down on the lineup at MozCon (in order of appearance). I have also provided a suggested MozCon game plan, after the speaker breakdown, below:


Paddy Moogan

What Paddy does:
Paddy works for Distilled as an SEO Consultant.

Twitter:
@paddymoogan

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/1/104334957300160196129/posts

What Paddy is speaking about:
Link Building

Some stuff about Paddy:
Paddy is the perfect mix between knowledgable, practical, and technical. Paddy’s blog provides valuable, actionable posts (lots of creative ideas and tips about building quality links). I absolutely love Paddy’s post on “Why Knowing Everything About SEO Doesn’t Mean Shit”. That post, my friends, is what makes Paddy awesome.

Stuff Paddy wrote:
http://www.paddymoogan.com/2010/12/31/why-knowing-everything-about-seo-doesnt-mean-shit/
http://www.distilled.net/blog/seo/7-types-of-content-to-get-traffic-and-links/
http://www.paddymoogan.com/2012/07/02/infographic-link-building-using-buzzstream/

 


Jon Colman

What Jon does:
For the last four years, Jon has done Agile SEO and inbound marketing at REI. He also spent four years working at the The Nature Conservancy focusing on SEO, Inbound Marketing and Digital Marketing there as well.

Speaker update! As of Monday morning, Jon has just announced that he’s leaving SEO.

Twitter:
@jcolman

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/100055172690759548435/posts

What Jon is speaking about:
Agile Framework SEO

Some stuff about Jon:
Jon is an accomplished SEO speaker who has a passion for Agile inbound marketing. He works to integrate SEO, social media, and content strategies.

Some of Jon’s presentations:
http://www.slideshare.net/jcolman
http://lanyrd.com/profile/jcolman/sessions/

 


 Jen Lopez

What Jen does:
Jen is the [kick-ass] Community Manager at SEOmoz.

Twitter:
@jennita

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/111351017082007397609/posts

What Jen is speaking about:
Community as Inbound

Some stuff about Jen:
An SEO herself, Jen has her finger on the pulse of the community and always seems to have a smile on her face. Jen has a background in web development and is a natural star at social media. Jen’s posts on Moz are always detailed, informative, and actionable. I’ve never met Jen in person (she’s on my MozCon bucket list) but it’s easy to tell that Jen has an amazing personality and great sense of humor. I’m looking forward to her take on community and how she would leverage for inbound.

Some stuff Jen wrote:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/community-the-inbound-resource-you-forgot-about
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/a-peek-under-the-hood-how-we-manage-the-seomoz-community
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-social-media-marketers-seo-checklist
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/building-seo-into-development-process

 


Jon Henshaw

What Jon does:
Jon is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer for Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

Twitter:
@ravenjon
@henshaw

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/104757485423766041549/posts

What Jon is speaking about:
How Relationships Drive Link Building

Some stuff about Jon:
Word on the street is Jon’s a pretty energetic guy. I especially like how Jon preaches effective link building via innovation, value, and relationships. Jon appears to be a straight shooter and his passion for what he does at Raven is most definitely illustrated in the quality of their product.

Some stuff to read about Jon:
http://raventools.com/blog/7-things-about-jon-henshaw-you-probably-didnt-know/
http://www.blueglass.com/blog/link-building-interview-jon-henshaw/
http://www.rosshudgens.com/raven-seo-tools-story/


Annie Cushing

What Annie does:
Annie is a Senior SEO at SEER Interactive.

Twitter:
@anniecushing

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/114790400025075547846/posts

What Annie is speaking about:
Badass Excel Tips and Tricks for Your Data

Some stuff about Annie:
Annie has more than 20 years of experience as a journalist under her belt. She is also a skilled SEO who knows and uses the power of social media and well written content to get clients desired results. Annie is a self-proclaimed data geek (i.e. an excel goddess), and loves collecting and interpreting data. That, and, she really likes shoes (I like her already).

Some stuff Annie wrote/recorded/answered:
http://searchengineland.com/a-marketers-guide-to-table-formatting-in-excel-124944

http://www.blueglass.com/blog/regular-expressions-dont-use-ga-without-them/

http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/seomoz-meetup-web-scraping-for-code-ophobes

http://raventools.com/blog/ravenchat-guest-annie-cushing-on-shoes-big-hair-and-why-you-should-never-scare-her/


Matt Peters

What Matt is speaking about:
Web Spam Research

Some stuff about Matt:
Matt has a passion for scientific and qualitative analysis. He spends his time at moz working on data analysis, modeling, and statistics. Matt has a PhD in Applied Math, so we’ll just overlook the fact that he doesn’t have a Google+ page or a Twitter account.

Some stuff Matt wrote:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/does-google-use-facebook-shares-to-influence-search-rankings
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/introducing-seomoz-updated-page-authority-and-domain-authority

 


Wil Reynolds

What Wil does:
Wil is the founder of SEER Interactive.

Twitter:
@wilreynolds

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/105378806328377750709/posts

What Wil is speaking about:
Beyond Link Building: Real Companies do Real Things

Some stuff about Wil:
Wil is funny, energetic, and powerful. It seems like whatever he sets his mind to comes to fruition.  I saw Wil speak at Link Love Boston, where he talked about how to properly stalk people in order to build relationships, and he was nothing short of inspiring. Top that with how much Wil gives back to his community, and he’s just one all around awesome guy. Plus, he can filter, analyze, and utilize data like nobody’s business.

Some stuff Wil wrote:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-google-makes-liars-out-of-the-good-guys-in-seo

http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/10462-entries-over-4-5-years-what-i-have-learned-tracking-my-time-and-what-you-can-too

http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/7-lessons-i-learned-while-being-banned-in-google-for-12-hours
http://wilreynolds.com/post/22659234489/why-did-they-go-what-i-learned-about-turnover


Michael King

What Michael does:
Michael (also known as iPullRank) is the Director of Inbound Marketing at iAcquire.

Twitter:
@ipullrank

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115830385992205597318/posts

What Michael is speaking about:
Social Tools & Data Mining

Some stuff about Michael:
Michael has a knack for breaking down process. He’s really good at using real-life examples to effectively explain SEO, link building, and social media. His posts are chalk full of value and actionable stuff (which explains why he is so popular in the SEOmoz community). I’m looking forward to seeing Michael speak in person.

Some stuff Mike wrote:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-new-seo-process-quit-being-kanye

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/scalable-link-building-using-social-media-whiteboard-friday

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/throw-away-your-form-letters-or-5-principles-to-better-outreach-link-building

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-noob-guide-to-link-building


Richard Baxter

What Richard does:
Richard is the Founder, and an SEO Conultant, at SEO Gadget.

Twitter:
@richardbaxter

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/110038692833123703514/posts

What Richard is speaking about:
Link Analytics Through API

Some stuff about Richard:
Most of what Richard writes and speaks about is technical in nature, but he does a great job of breaking it down for us less-technical-in-nature people to follow. I like how Richard’s bio on his website details his role as a founder and an SEO Consultant. It’s easy to see why SEO Gadget would be an awesome company to work with.

Some stuff Richard wrote/recorded:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whiteboard-friday-get-indexed-faster-with-richard-baxter
https://seogadget.co.uk/using-google-ad-planning-for-links/

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/site-architecture-for-seo

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/schemaorg-a-new-approach-to-structured-data-for-seo


Cyrus Shepard

What Cyrus does:
Cyrus is an independent SEO Consultant and Web Strategist. He used to work as an in-house SEO for SEOmoz.

Twitter:
@cyrusshepard

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/108621512304373089316/posts

What Cyrus is speaking about:
High ROI Content Strategies for SEO

Stuff about Cyrus:
If you don’t have Cyrus circled on Google+, do it now. He shares a lot of great content and insights (he’s in more than 3,600 circles, so you know he’s worth listening to). Cyrus is an analytics and strategic king. He has a knack for breaking down features, challenges, and inconsistencies so that even the most novice SEO can understand. I’ve learned a great deal about SEO since I’ve started following Cyrus.

Some stuff Cyrus wrote/recorded:
http://cyrusshepard.com/20-future-facing-seo-blogs-for-2012/

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/stop-optimizing-and-start-creating-whiteboard-friday

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/blog-design-for-seo


Ian Lurie

What Ian does:
Ian is the Founder and CEO of Portent, Inc.

Twitter:
@portentint

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/1/109108273123284204690/posts

What Ian is speaking about:
How to Earn Links Without Doing Anything

Some stuff about Ian:
Ian Lurie is also on my MozCon bucket list. What I like about Ian is that he’s very transparent; he doesn’t sugar coat anything and he has a terrible sense of humor. It’s also pretty great that Ian’s background and approach is rooted in both SEO and social. I’m excited to hear him speak. Seems like he’ll be pretty entertaining.

Some stuff Ian wrote:
http://www.portent.com/blog/copywriting/web-copyright-for-the-complete-dumbass.htm
http://www.portent.com/blog/random/6-lessons-that-changed-my-career.htm
http://www.portent.com/blog/design-dev/10-reasons-your-infographic-isn.htm
http://allthingsd.com/20120503/why-google-is-not-going-away/


Greg Boser

What Greg does:
Greg is the President of BlueGlass Interactive.

Twitter:
@gregboser

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/104143443295913279306/posts

What Greg is speaking about:
Redefining Business Models in a Post-Penguin World

Some stuff about Greg:
Greg has both a marketing and SEO background, and has been in SEO longer than the industry has even had a name. Greg’s current efforts lie in strategy, tool development, and speaking about organic search marketing.

Some stuff Greg wrote/recorded:
http://gregboser.com/blueglass/how-to-create-social-content-that-maximizes-roi/
http://gregboser.com/blueglass/16-simple-blog-changes-that-will-improve-your-content-marketing-results/

http://www.blueglass.com/blog/greg-boser-videos/


Rhea Drysdale

What Rhea does:
Rhea is the Co-Founder and CEO of Outspoken Media.

Twitter:
@rhea

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/106468242292395394023/about

What Rhea is speaking about:
Online Reputation Management

Some stuff about Rhea:
Seriously, people, Rhea is a bad ass (and I don’t use that term loosely). In a short time, Rhea has built a brand and reputation that is a force to be reckoned with. She is not only a talented SEO, but she is a tremendous leader. Rhea has an analytical prowess (spreadsheets should be her middle name) and a passion for strategy. Looking forward to her session.

Some stuff Rhea wrote:
http://outspokenmedia.com/seo/how-to-choose-a-seo-company-ignore-top-seo-lists/
http://outspokenmedia.com/seo/back-to-basics-defining-your-seo-strategy/
http://outspokenmedia.com/seo/link-building-strategies-spreadsheet/

http://outspokenmedia.com/reputation-management/you-deserve-your-bad-online-reputation/
http://outspokenmedia.com/seo/seo-and-ooda-loops/

 


Marty Weintraub

What Marty does:
Marty is the CEO of aimClear.

Twitter:
@aimclear

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/115758725161136887977/posts

What Marty is speaking about:
Persona Modeling Unhinged: The Zen of “Whole” Customer

Some stuff about Marty:
Marty is a seasoned speaker and author of “Killer Facebook Ads”. Marty has a very matter-of-fact style and a transparent approach to communication. Marty loves good food, wine, and his family.

Some stuff Marty wrote:
http://www.aimclearblog.com/2012/02/01/puppy-mill-upchuck-to-superstar-articles-setting-realistic-content-marketing-kpis/
http://www.aimclearblog.com/2012/06/29/psychographic-targeting-unhinged-the-zen-of-whole-customer-persona-modeling/
http://www.aimclearblog.com/2012/07/04/facebook-ads-ui-buzz-kill-precise-interest-import-quietly-killed/

 


Pete Myers

What Pete does:
Pete, affectionately known as Dr. Pete, is the President of User Effect.

Twitter:
@dr_pete

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/113413848065665509284/posts

What Dr. Pete is speaking about:
A Secret Algo Project Launch

Some stuff about Dr. Pete:
If you’re a Mozer, you know Dr. Pete. He spends a lot of time writing for the SEOMoz Blog (he has more than 13,000 MozPoints!). Dr. Pete has a diverse background as a start-up exec, cognitive psychologist, and programmer. He is known for his experiments and providing extremely relevant, useful, and actionable information. Another one for Mack’s bucket list.

Some stuff Dr. Pete wrote:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/which-page-is-canonical
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/eyetracking-google-serps
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/dont-like-snake-oil-stop-buying-it
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/penguins-pandas-and-panic-at-the-zoo

 


 Jenny Lam

What Jenny does:
Jenny is Co-Founder and Chief Designer of Jackson Fish Market.

Twitter:
@helveticagirl

What Jenny is speaking about:
The D Word: Leading the Way to Great Design

Some stuff about Jenny:
Jenny’s company specializes in design and UX for consumer software. Jackson Fish Market creates “beautifully distinctive user experiences for the web, iPhone, iPad, and more.” It’s great that the lineup at MozCon features a talented designer like Jenny.

Some stuff Jenny’s company does:
http://www.jacksonfish.com/projects/

 


AJ Kohn

What AJ does:
AJ is the owner of Blind Five Year Old.

Twitter:
@ajkohn

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/1/115106448444522478339/posts

What AJ is speaking about:
Google+ SEO & Authorship

Some stuff about AJ:
AJ is definitely skilled at analysis. He brings a very technical element to everything he writes. I’m super excited about his Google+ presentation. We’re big fans of Google+ and taking advantage of the rel author feature and so is AJ, so I’m hoping to learn some new things from him that we can bring to our clients.

Some stuff AJ wrote:
http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/want-links-reduce-friction-and-destroy-inertia
http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/not-provided-keyword-in-google-analytics
http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/google-plus-seo

 


Martin Macdonald

What Martin does:
Martin is the Inbound Marketing Director at Expedia.

Twitter:
@searchmartin

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/110463184748301701886/posts

What Martin is speaking about:
Not sure. This one is TBD but I’m sure it will be awesome.

Some stuff about Martin:
Like Greg Boser, Martin has been in SEO even before it was called SEO. Martin is based in London, from Scotland, but considers himself Spanish (you’ll have to ask him when you see him). He loves to talk about SEO. Luckily, we get to listen.

Some stuff Martin wrote:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whoa-can-query-volume-directly-influence-rankings
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-reach-bloggers-ninja-style
http://martinmacdonald.net/the-curios-case-of-camper-shoes/

 


 Aleyda Solis

What Aleyda does:
Aleyda is a search marketer who is focused in international and local SEO. She is the global SEO manager at Forex Club and consultant for Orainti.

Twitter:
@aleyda

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/100946636994595946319/posts

What Aleyda is speaking about:
SEO Project Management

Some stuff about Aleyda:
Aleyda is an international SEO. Her approach to SEO is practical and sustainable. She preaches the value of involving the client in all aspects, especially link building, in order to achieve desired results. With her technical background and experience in a highly competitive field, Aleyda excels at communicating SEO processes that focus on conversion.

Some stuff Aleyda wrote/answered:
http://seoroi.com/blogroll/aleyda-solis-on-spanish-seo/
http://www.aleydasolis.com/en/uncategorized-en/mobile-search-engine-optimization/
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/achieving-an-seo-friendly-domain-migration-the-infographic

 


Mike Pantoliano

What Mike does:
Mike is an SEO Consultant at Distilled

Twitter:
@mikecp

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/103319539682770023499/posts (Mike states on his Google+ Page that he’d rather you follow him on Twitter)

What Mike is speaking about:
Attribution Modeling: Why You Must Be Doing It and How to Do it Easily with Google Analytics

Some stuff about Mike:
Mike is one sharp dude. His posts on the Distilled blog are very informative, insightful, and actionable. He is also an Excel guru.

Some stuff Mike wrote:
http://www.distilled.net/blog/seo/what-might-be-next-for-not-provided/
http://www.distilled.net/blog/conversion-rate-optimization/why-the-best-time-to-start-conversion-rate-optimization-is-now/

 


Jessica Bowman

What Jessica does:
Jessica is the Founder and CEO of In-house SEO.

Twitter:
@jessicabowman

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/118297628368827504627/posts (Nothing on her page yet).

What Jessica is speaking about:
Estimating Traffic Based on Keyword Research

Some stuff about Jessica:
Jessica helps companies effectively build their in-house SEO. She has a tech background which helps to bridge the gap between marketing and IT.

Jessica’s Blog:
http://www.seminhouse.com/

 


 Joanna Lord

What Joanna does:
Joanna is the Director of Acquisition & Retention Marketing at SEOmoz.

Twitter:
@joannalord

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/1/118212529999599800263/posts

What Joanna is speaking about:
A New Form of CRO

Some stuff about Joanna:
She appears to be obsessed with coffee, but at least she’s aware of it. (Isn’t this the first step?). Joanna is funny, witty, and knowledgable. Like the entire team at SEOmoz, she has an effective approach to online marketing.

Some stuff Joanna wrote:
http://joannalord.com/finding-the-power-in-stepping-down/
http://joannalord.com/what-is-retention-marketing-how-can-you-do-it-better/
http://joannalord.com/rethinking-personalization-todays-ux-golden-goose/#more-465
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223905

 


Rand Fishkin

What Rand does:
Rand is the CEO and co-founder of SEOMoz.

Twitter:
@randfish

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/1/111294201325870406922/posts

What Rand is speaking about:
Head-to-Head: How to build a content marketing strategy

Some stuff about Rand:
What I love about Rand is that his approach and message is always very simple, clear, and powerful. Rand is extremely passionate about what he does and he always speaks with genuine excitement. He inspires people to do good things in the industry and the world. Plus, his wife is a bad ass.

Some stuff Rand recorded/wrote:
http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/seomoz-meetup-manifesto-of-content-strategy
randfishkin.com/blog/128/misadventures-venture-capital-funding
http://randfishkin.com/blog/books
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/white-hat-seo-it-fing-works-12421
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/answers-to-43-questions-about-search-social-content-conversions-and-more

 


Tom Critchlow

What Tom used to do:
Tom was the VP of Operations for the New York office at Distilled. He has now taken a position at Google and will be working in the Google Creative Lab.

Twitter:
@tomcritchlow

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/102717586677070253951/posts

What Tom is speaking about:
Head-to-Head: How to Make Your Content Marketing Efforts Reach Further

Some stuff about Tom:
In everything that Tom writes, his passion for creativity, ingenuity, and education shines through. Like a lot of the thought leaders in our industry, Tom gives it to you straight. When I saw Tom speak at LinkLove Boston, I really resonated with his message about Mediocre to Good. In his talk, he discussed how many businesses give up right before they get great. This can be true for your own company or for the companies that you work for.

Some stuff Tom wrote:
http://www.distilled.net/blog/distilled/how-to-learn-entrepreneurial-marketing/
http://www.distilled.net/blog/seo/the-time-for-content-marketing-is-now/

 


Bonus

Even more value!
This year SEOmoz has awarded the following talented people a 10 minute speaking spot at Mozcon:

Darren Shaw from White Spark will be speaking about local optimization.
Fabio Ricotta from Mestre SEO will be speaking about SEO for e-commerce.
Jeff McRitchie from MyBinding will be speaking about creating professional video on a budget.
Dana Lookadoo from Yo! Yo! SEO will be speaking about structure social sharing.

Also, Gianluca did a great post on the State of SEO in 2012 where he features the input of the MozCon speakers. Check it out.

 


Making the most of MozCon
For what it’s worth, here’s my suggested game plan for MozCon:

  • Follow the speakers on Twitter and Google+. If there is an opportunity to engage with them (i.e.ask a question, let them know you enjoyed something they’ve written, tell them you’d love to meet up at MozCon) do it. But don’t be a loser about it. Don’t self-promote. Make this all about them.
  • Read some of the articles they have written, or watch some videos (including their presentations at other conferences). If you don’t have Pocket yet, get it and then download the app to your phone. It will allow you to put every one of these articles into one convenient place and access whenever you are able (time saving tip courtesy of John Doherty).
  • Make a bucket list. Who do you want to talk to? If you get the opportunity, what would you like to ask them? Do your research and come prepared.
  • Enjoy. When I’m at MozCon, I’m going to keep my game plan in mind, but I’m also going to make sure that I’m living in the moment and taking it all in.

I’ll be tweeting as much as possible at MozCon so follow me if you want to get the inside scoop.

For those of you who aren’t able to make it to to the conference, are there any questions you’d like to me to ask of the speakers? If I get the chance, I’d be happy to connect on your behalf.

See you in Seattle!

 

Why I am a Huge Fan of Link Love

By | Events, Web Marketing | 3 Comments

I’m completely exhausted from lack of sleep, but thankfully still running on adrenaline from Link Love Boston. I wanted to write about why the experience changed my life, but I thought that might be a little dramatic, so I settled for why I loved it.

Here’s why:

The people are, well, human

The people at Link Love restored my faith in humanity. They were genuine and real. There were hundreds of people who attended (delegates as they called us) who actually engaged and became friends. People were talking to each other with excitement and energy. You could honestly tell that everyone felt pretty lucky to be there.

Link Love TeamEven the speakers were approachable (and friendly) and actually spent time with the delegates. I had a great chat with Justin Briggs from Big Fish Games about his passions and career path. I spoke at length with several team members from Distilled about the structure of their organization and how they effectively manage their workload (they don’t mess around).

Before the conference I had emailed Distilled to ask some questions regarding the growth of Mack Web. Will Critchlow (who just so happens to be the founder of Distilled), was kind enough to email me himself and offer his time.

He’ll probably never remember it (which is why I have a picture to prove it), but I actually got to shake the hand of Rand Fishkin (I’m not even going to tell you who that is. Look it up people). At Link Love with Rand Fishkin

Meeting Rand was the highlight of my year (I would say life but that kind of downplays the importance of my marriage and the birth of my two kids). Rand even took a few minutes of his time to chat about how much we love SEOmoz and how it’s changed our business. Truly, he is an amazing man (he is totally worth stalking…I mean following).

It just goes to show you the kind of awesome people who are behind Link Love.

The speakers killed it

No other way to say it. The speakers rocked. Amazing. Awesome. Really, so good. And get this, they were engaging (imagine that). I was probably a little over excited from all of the energy in the room, but seriously, they were funny.

The line up:

Rand Fishkin
Justin Briggs
Ross Hudgens
Rhea Drysdale
Wil Reynolds
John Doherty
Adam Audette
Colby Almond
Tom Critchlow

The best part about the speakers is that they didn’t sugar coat stuff. They just came right out and said look, what we do in SEO is hard work. It takes a lot of effort, time, creativity and patience to do it right (and ethically). So suck it up and just do it (they used a couple of choice adjectives in there but I’m trying to keep this post clean).

We got some s@#! done

Because this was my first Link Love conference, I didn’t know what to expect from the schedule. I thought that there would be a hundred different presentations offered and that I’d be running from room to room with no chance of getting in to hear the big guys speak. I was pleasantly surprised.

The speaker line up (all rockstars if you didn’t quite catch that) consisted only of the top talent. The content they presented was valuable, balanced and inspiring. We got more done in one day than most people do in a month. They didn’t waste any time and the event never ran behind. It was flawless (except for the part when Rand couldn’t log in to SEOMoz. Now that was funny).

I kind of felt like I was on vacation

I probably will not be able to go to another conference that is not held by Distilled or SEOMoz. Hands down it was one of the most professional events that I have ever attended. Instead of walking the mile or so from the hotel to the conference center, there was a luxury shuttle bus that provided the group with a ride (to the Conference Center at Harvard Medical School no less).

And they fed us. All day (with snacks and everything). Right when you walked into the venue there white linen-lined tables with Starbucks coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, muffins and scones (they’re from London). For lunch each person could select from several types of individually packaged lunch sacks. There were never ending beverages and they even put out a dessert table at afternoon break (but since I was so ecstatic about my encounter with Rand, I was way too excited to eat ice cream).

And that’s not all. After the day was done, we were shuttled to a local pub where we were treated to appetizers, an open bar and all around good times with our new Link Love friends.

I learned a lot (for reals)

One word sums up Link Love: value. There were people who worked for big companies, small companies or who even owned their own companies. The information delivered at Link Love appealed to everyone in the room. I took home ideas that will change our processes, systems and approach (because I’m a freak about those things). And of course I can’t wait to deliver more value to our clients.

Hands down, what I respect most about Link Love is that none of the speakers tried to pass off what we work so hard to do for our clients every day as easy work. There were brilliant ideas, tools, and strategies, but no one ever said that there was a quick and easy way to deliver good SEO.

You should go

The Link Love conference completely exceeded my expectations (and I set those suckers high). If you are an SEO, or want to get a feel for the best in our industry, go to a Distilled or SEOMoz conference. You won’t be sorry.

Distilled has an SEO conference called Search Love going on in San Fran in June.

I’ll be at MozCon in Seattle in July. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Thanks for Celebrating Nine Years With Us!

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We know, we know. We said the last one was the last one.

But, we promise, this is the last one.

Probably.

Really, we just wanted to thank everybody who came to our birthday party. It meant a lot to be able to celebrate our 9th birthday with such wonderful, inspiring, supportive people.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, you should seriously check out the rest of the new site.

To those of you who didn’t make it:

1. You owe us a present. And it had better be a nice one.
2. Yep. Ninth birthday, complete with a rebrand and a new website. That was the big secret. Was it really so hard to guess?
3. If you had made it to the party, we might have let you use the Mack Web Solutions Time Machine, but it was kind of a one-time-only thing. Sorry.
4. You should doubly check out the site. That way you can meet us virtually, since you missed your chance to do it in person.
5. You should also keep an eye on our facebook. We’ll be posting more pictures of the event, just so you can see what you missed and lament.

For example:

Anyway…

The last nine years have been fantastic and we feel like they’ve primed us for an explosion of growth and success and general awesomeness. We’re just getting started.

We’d also like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the party, the website, and our company.

Amanda Miller of the Place Setting Company helped us coordinate the event and was an unshakeable support while we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

Chris Musa of the Campus West Liquor Depot helped us select the libations that provided the party’s social…encouragement.

Chef David Daggett of Tastebuds provided the seriously amazing spread of food that we used to lure hapless passers-by into our celebration.

Without the great team over at Rocket Jones Interactive, there would be no new website. And that would be a crying shame.

And lastly, of course, the person who made the party a success and gave us a reason to celebrate:

You.

Unless you didn’t attend. In which case…we don’t even know what to say to you. You make us very, very sad.

Seriously, though, thanks all for a great nine years.

Here’s to the next nine!

Final clue: Falling Curtains & Fat Cats

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This is it, friends.

The last clue. The very last. The ultimate. The end. C’est fini. Finite Incantatem.
Aren’t you sad?

Okay, let’s be honest. You’re equal parts sad and omg-thank-goodness-it’s-over relieved, right?

Yeah. Us too.

But here, for the finale, we’ve got something special for you.

Remember this little trick?

Think of a big, gray land mammal the large ears and a big nose.
What letter does that animal start with?

What number in the alphabet is that? (a=1, b=2, etc.)
Add 4.

Multiply by the number of letters in your first name.
Add the digits together.

The result (unless you did your math wrong or have misdefined the words “large,” “gray,” “land,” “mammal,” “ears,” or “nose):

So put that together with everything else:
Icebergs.
Ferris Bueller.
Lords-A-Leaping.
Hollywood Marriage.
The Trojan War.
New Hampshire.

And then take your best guess.

If you guessed right, congratulations! You get to come hang out with us at our party tomorrow and personally receive a high-five from the members of the Mack Web Team.

If you guessed wrong, sorry. You have to come hang out with us at our party tomorrow and we will point and laugh at you.

But there will be food and booze, either way. So that’s okay, then.

And, hey! You want to see something cool?

We (with a little…all right, a lot of help from the ever-awesome development team at Rocket Jones) got ourselves a little present in honor of our celebration.

Wanna see? Check out the best present ever (our new website).

Seriously. It’s even better than a pony.

Clue #6: New Hampshire

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Well friends, we’re nearing the end of your long and terrible wait.

Soon you shall know the Great Secret of Mack Web Solutions (third only to the Great Secret of the Pyramids and the Great Secret of Why We Put Two Socks in the Dryer but Only One Comes Back Out).

We’ve discussed the nature of icebergs, taken a whirlwind tour of an eighties classic, debated a long-standing Christmas enigma, celebrated successful celebrity marriages, and conducted an overview of the Trojan War.

With hints like that, the subject of our celebration should be blindingly obvious…right?

Just in case it’s not, we’ve got another clue for you.

Today’s clue is…New Hampshire.

Yup. That’s it. Just…New Hampshire.

Not to be confused with Old Hampshire which, I am reliably informed, was a mystical island culture said to have been swallowed by the sea at the dawn of time.

No, we’re talking about New Hampshire. Y’know, 9th state to join the Union, site of the first primary in every presidential election, home of Robert Frost and many cows. Ringing any bells?

Little fun fact about New Hampshire? Their state motto is Live Free or Die. They take this very seriously: they are the only state with no seatbelt laws.

Which seems to imply that they could just as easily adopt Live Free and Die.

Here’s another thing about New Hampshire that I bet you didn’t know: It was once home to Mack Web Solutions’ very own social media strategist, June Macon.

You’ll get the chance to meet June at the big unveiling of the Mack Web Solutions Secret (which, as previously stated, is neither a baby nor a time machine) at our offices on February 9th.

But be sure to let us know if you’re coming.

Otherwise, I will eat all the food that could otherwise be yours.

I will, too. I am not lying.

So, in conclusion, your sixth and penultimate clue was…New Hampshire.

Take it how you will.

So…are you coming to our party? Are you? Are you?

Clue #5: The Trojan War

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Everybody knows all about the war waged by the Greeks against the city of Troy, right?

We all had to read the Iliad in school and we’ve seen Brad Pitt’s excruciating performance as Achilles in Troy.

We know about Helen and her ship-launching face and handsome, useless Paris who just couldn’t leave well enough alone.

We know about clever Odysseus whose one desire in life was to get back his wife and newborn son as soon as possible. Poor Odysseus who was the last of the Greeks to finally make it to familiar shores after a decade of wandering and odd adventures. (And subsequently subjecting legions of baffled freshman to the Odyssey’s wine-dark sea).

We know about Odysseus’ frickin’ wooden horse, right?

And maybe we like Monty Python’s wooden bunny better.

But all of the stories we know about the actual siege of Troy: the epic battles of Hector and Achilles, Achilles dragging Hector’s body behind his chariot, Priam’s grief, the poisoned arrow that finally took down otherwise invincible Achilles when it hit him in the heel…did you know that all of that took place in a single year?

And between the Greek arrival on Trojan shores and that eventful year, there were nine years of siege during which almost nothing of significance happen?

For nine years the Trojans hid behind their walls and let their allies and neighbors battle the invading Greeks.

For nine years, the Greeks waged war against everyone but the Trojans.

For nine years, the Greeks fought amongst themselves and did a little farming on the side.

Nine, long, boring years.

But those nine years prepped them for the good stuff to come.

(Or, hey, maybe Odysseus finally found the motivation to just do something about it so he could get home).

Anyway you look at it, it was only after nine years of what amounted to combative camping outside Troy’s walls, defeating lesser enemies, that the Greeks were actually ready to take down the big kahuna.

With, y’know, a wooden horse.

“So,” we hear you ask, “what does that have to do with the great mystery of Mack Web Solutions?”

Well, simple, really. We’re branching henceforth into equine construction and the besiegement of extinct Asian cities.

Duh.

Just kidding.

Like the Greeks, Mack Web Solutions knows that only after you’ve proved yourself against lesser challenges are you ready to advance to Troy itself.

That taking on new challenges requires creative solutions.

That good things come to those who wait.

Which is what you’re going to have to do.

Wait.

Ha!

(But hey…not too much longer. 20 days and counting… are you ready for the defeat of Troy?)

Uh, the metaphoric defeat of course. We are, sadly, not celebrating the unveiling of the Mack Web Solutions Time Machine.

Sorry. Didn’t mean to get your hopes up.

See you on February 9th at 4pm.

PS: So…how was that for a clue? Any guesses? Don’t forget to compare your thoughts against our other clues (only a few more to go!):

Clue #1: Icebergs
Clue #2: Ferris Bueller
Clue #3: Nine Lords-a-Leaping?
Clue #4: Hollywood Marriage

OR

Skip to Clue #6. Go on. We dare you…

 

Clue #4: We’re Celebrating Something Big

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Happy New Year from Mack Web Solutions!

Today you will find your fourth clue. Do you think you have the answer yet? Have you checked your guess against our other clues? You’re over halfway there! The first three can be found here:

Clue #1: Icebergs
Clue #2: Ferris Bueller
Clue #3: Nine Lords-a-Leaping?

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

Starting a new year is traditionally viewed as a time for starting new things: new diets, new habits, new projects.

New marriages.

Well, that last one seems to be mostly for the tabloid celebrities. There’s an old joke–and judge for yourself how much truth underlies it–that the average Hollywood marriage never makes it past the nine-year mark.

The oh-so-cynical reasoning behind this?

The vast majority of Hollywood actors live in the shiny, shiny state of California.

According to the divorce laws of said shiny, shiny state, ten years makes for a “lengthy marriage.” And the dissolution of a “lengthy marriage” snarls up financial distribution in a way that a marriage of nine years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days does not.

Makes a terrible kind of sense, doesn’t it?

But here at Mack Web Solutions, we like to dwell on the positive. Which is why we’ve compiled this list of those actors who made it past ill-fated number nine in 2011 and those poised to do it in 2012.

A little way of reaffirming everyone’s faith in humanity. And the number nine.

Here ya go:

Richard Gere
Freddie Prinze, Jr. & Sarah Michelle Gellar
Brad Paisely & Kimberley Williams-Paisley
Alessandro Nivola & Emily Mortimer
Jennifer Connelly & Paul Bettany
Adam Sandler
Amy Poehler & Will Arnett
Emma Thompson
Alexis Denisof & Alyson Hanigan

So, congratulations to all of them!

And here’s your newest hint: What could Mack Web Solutions possibly have in common with Billy Madison, Lancelot, and Nanny McPhee?

Beyond our humor, charm, and wit, naturally.

Stay tuned….only 3 more clues to go. We will unveil the secret on Thursday, February 9th from 4:00-6:00 pm at Mack Web Solutions. See you there.

P.S. This is never going to end. See Clue #5

 

The Saga Continues: clue #3 in “we’re celebrating something big!”

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We at Mack Web Solutions have long associated this time of the year with a sense of mystery and wonder. It starts with:

Who in my life is Santa’s spy, reporting on my yearly behavior? Is is my parents, using third party pressure to make sure I behave? Is one of my siblings a plant? Or just a traitor, trying to get in good with the man in red?

The next big question, is, of course:

How does he deliver all those gifts around the world in just one night?

And, of course, the standard:

What is in that big, shiny, beautiful red-and-green box with my name on the tag? Is it the long-awaited pony? Or am I going to open it only to find a babushka-box thing happening, culminating in a pair of socks?

But really, to us, the deepest mystery of all, the one that baffles and confuses and wreaks merry havoc on all Christmas celebrations is…

What did my true love send on day nine?

I mean, we’re pretty clear on days 1-8: a bunch of birds and some bling and even some industrious employees and nutritious milk (He cares about my calcium intake, how cute).

But after that, things get muddy.

Is it nine lords-a-leaping?
Nine ladies dancing?
Nine pipers piping?
Nine drummers drumming?

We’ve heard it so many ways…

And even if we can agree on what he sent me nine of, the question remains:

Why on earth would he think I wanted one of any of those things, let alone nine?

Curious. Curious, indeed.

So. What’s your favorite version of the ninth day?

Also…Merry Christmas from Mack Web Solutions!

PS–Your third clue was hidden in there somewhere. Yet another mystery. Just for you. You’re welcome.

The saga continues (does this EVER end?) with Clue #4

Clue #2 (we’re celebrating something big!)

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Okay, for those of you who have been guessing, wildly, about what we’re celebrating…

NO. Nobody is having a baby.

Here’s a few pieces of random pop culture trivia cleverly disguised as a clue:

  • The script was written in six days.
  • The main characters, teenagers all, were portrayed by actors from age 19 to 29.
  • It heavily featured a cheap car made over with fiberglass to look like a…not so cheap car.
  • It was about truancy.
  • It contains the phrase, “a righteous dude.”

Who would have expected a movie with these vital stats to turn into a film icon?

But it is.

‘Cuz you know exactly what movie I’m talking about, don’t you?

That’s right, Ferris Bueller was absent from school nine times. And I think we can all agree, even without knowing what he was doing for the first eight, number nine was the most spectacular of them all.

We here at Mack Web Solutions are big fans of our buddy Ferris. We’ve learned a lot from him:

  • Sometimes brilliance only takes six days and the right combination of people.
  • Work with what you got. Make it better. Waste not, want not.
  • And though Ferris may have been truant, he was always in the right place, nevertheless. Sometimes knowing what’s truly important means that instead of listening to Ben Stein drone on about economics in the 1930s, you get to catch a baseball game, lead the crowd in a rendition of Twist & Shout from a parade float, and eat pancreas as Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. Which would you rather do?
  • And, finally, strive always to be a righteous dude. It’s the way to take your place among icons.

And here’s your next cryptic hint: If eight are great, number nine is going to be just fine…

The saga continues with Clue #3