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As Seen on Matt Cutts’ Blog – SMX Advanced 2008 Wrap-up!

Last week I attended SMX Advanced 2008 in Seattle, Washington. SMX — Search Marketing Expo — is the newest search engine marketing conference and expo created by Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan (aka The Godfather of Search).

One of the first things I noticed was Danny Sullivan’s weight loss. He told me that he has lost 30 pounds so far. Way to go Danny!

The conference was very good. On Tuesday I attended all the sessions in the Organic SEO Track. It contained a lot of good information. Some of it, however, seemed to be a little on the gray or black hat side of SEO.

The best part of the conference was the Developers Luncheon and getting to talk to Matt Cutts ( from Google. I found out that Matt is from Morehead, Ky which is about 25 miles from my home town of West Liberty, Ky.


Matt mentioned the lunch on his blog and posted a picture taken by Danny Sullivan, and I just happened to be in it. Here’s what Matt said about the lunch:

One of my favorite events was a “Talk to search engineers” lunch where several people from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft each ate at tables with 10-11 conference attendees.

My table was a ton of fun. I asked for the topic “Anything but Spam,” and even though we talked about spam a little bit, we also talked about a bunch of other topics, including high gas prices and Google’s Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative, which includes an investment in high-altitude wind energy extraction. We also talked about how presidential candidates describe their interactions with drugs, and whether that reflects the willingness of the younger “Chat/IM” generation to disclose their weekend hijinks on social sites like MySpace and Facebook.

See the photo and read Matt’s complete post, “SMX Advanced 2008 Wrap-up”, at In the photo I’m the second one to the right of Matt and wearing a brown shirt with white strips. In between us is Stephan Spencer. Stephan Spencer is the founder and president of Stephan is also the author of the popular “SEO Title Tag” WordPress plugin. Read more about Stephan at

The food, snacks, and Starbucks coffee at SMX Advanced were great. Much better than any other conference I’ve attended. Maybe Matt can talk Danny into getting some Ale-8 next time.

I left a comment on Matt’s blog about the recent talk of SMX Advanced and black hat topics. My suggestion is for Danny to sphinn the gray hat / black hat material in a different way, such as things to stay away from or things our competitors could be doing to us. Just my two cents.

Update: Here’s a copy of the picture from Matt’s blog.