SEO Dinner with Greg and Dave

Greg Boser and I manage the search business unit at BlueGlass. It’s a dynamic partnership that seems like it came together via fate.

We both have interesting stories about how we got into this business, and are cut from a similar cloth of self made entrepreneurs.

From Greg’s own story:

In 1995, Greg was watching CBS news’ coverage of the Malibu fires. During the broadcast there was an aerial shot of three guys foaming down a house and running inside. Greg was intrigued. It turned out that it was a company in Boulder, Colorado that sold protective foam equipment to people living in fire prone areas. As part of their marketing strategy, they chased fires to demonstrate their product. Greg contacted the company and said, “Hey, I want to work for you.” They hired him and Greg became their Southern California sales rep.

Greg started using AOL and CompuServe because it was a good way to connect to fire fighters to recruit them for commissioned sales positions. Greg calls it his “first foray into internet marketing.” After a while Greg decided that he wanted to be a dealer for the company and sell other products instead of working with them directly as he had been. Sometime in early 1996, Greg started his own company, Wild Fire Defense Systems and started building himself a website. Greg built it but no one came. So he began looking for all the information he could get his hands on. That is when he stumbled into Danny Sullivan’s white paper, Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines. Greg became one of Danny’s first subscribers. He recalls, “You used to have to fax him a paper fax of your credit card number because there was no online billing.”

After applying what he learned from Danny, he began seeing an increase in traffic. So Greg borrowed some money from his dad and locked himself in a room for six months to learn everything he could. Greg confessed that he “used to stalk Danny.” He would find out what email discussion list Danny was hanging out in and join those lists. Greg was introduced to John Audette and Marshall Simmonds through I-Search. Greg says, “You didn’t really have any clients so everyone would sit around and write these brilliant posts and submit them.” During that time Greg didn’t have any clients either so he worked for free, gaining experience by doing SEO for his daughter’s karate instructor’s website.

It was pretty hard for Greg in the beginning because he had to convince everyone why they needed SEO. But even though they were difficult times, Greg feels that they were good years where he met a lot of people that he is still friends with today. In those days Greg would make a change to a page, submit the content and in five minutes he would have a new rank at InfoSeek. Greg said “You would submit, refresh, [say] oh I went down to seven, that didn’t work, change the page, submit – it was insane – pots and pots of coffee all night long.

Greg was basically one of the first guys in this business and paved the way for a lot of the successful techniques people like myself have built our careers on.

My story is very similar.

The other similarity between Greg and myself is our zeal to share what we know with the community. With this in mind we thought we would take some time away from this years Pubcon to take a few people new to the industry out to dinner, allow them to ask us questions, and get to meet those insanely important connections that can make or break your career. Dinner is on us, and we plan on being completely uncensored in terms of tips.

Where are we going? Well I love meatballs .. so we are going to head to Cafe Martorano’s at the Rio.

When? Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

What do you need to do to attend?

1) This needs to be your first conference or 2010 needs to be your first year in the business. We want to meet real newbies and also rockstars that are just now venturing out from behind their computers to meet the masses.

2) Write a comment below sharing how you got started in this industry. If it doesn’t interest us, we probably won’t want to spend a few hours eating meatballs and pasta with you, so make the story good.

3) Your twitter username in the comment so we can tell you that you won.

Looking forward to meeting the future of this industry.

37 thoughts on “SEO Dinner with Greg and Dave

  1. Derrick

    Maybe we will do an old guy SEO dinner where we go eat at the Golden Corral at 4:30 in the afternoon

  2. Ok, for the LOVE of meatballs. Kind of hard to resist actually, not to mention the possibility of having dinner with you guys!

    While I might be a relative newbie to SEO & SEM (my first full year as of September 2010) I have a marketing and management background. Of course that was back in the days of Cobol & Fortran. We actually typed term papers on typewriters back then.

    So, you could say I got to watch the computer era evolve. I’ve always had my hand in it somewhere, never too technical, but enough to thoroughly entertain me and peak my curiosity. I can actually say that I was involved in a Y2K audit. LOL* I’m not a programmer by any means and spent most of my adult career in operations management.

    I stumbled into what I am doing now after being laid off and scrambling to find work for nearly 2 years working wherever I could. After the last layoff, I got a job working where I am now. (June 2009) I started in database management for the company’s email campaigns and it evolved into handling all aspects of the company’s online marketing and in-house SEO as of September 2009.

    Needless to say, I have a lot to learn, but I absolutely love what I’m doing and am grateful that my boss is the kind of guy that wants to keep me “up to date” and on the “competitive edge” of all things Search Marketing.

    SMX East 2010 was my first conference ever and Pubcon will be my 2nd. Really looking forward to it!

    @i80equipment09

  3. Dave,

    This is my freshman year as a webmaster and SEO Consultant. I’ve was in charge of IM at my old job and an offline marketer used to pick my brain all the time. One day he caught me designing a website and he asked me to give him a call. Now I work with multiple clients throughout the city of Atlanta helping them brand their presence online and get top search results.

    Eddie Dillinger

  4. Awesome contest, Dave and Greg. I hope I get the chance to learn from (and dine with) you guys. This is my first conference and first full year doing SEO.

    My way into the industry was weird. I needed a summer job. I applied to be an administrative assistant at a market research company. I told the owner in the interview that his website sucked (my web design knowledge at that point was limited to a 2-hour briefing on MS FrontPage). Well, I didn’t get the admin job, but he told me to come design a new website for him anyway. I did, and it really sucked (just slightly less than the previous version – it’s still up; I’ll show you).

    The job left me realizing how much I didn’t know about marketing or the internet. I was really frustrated by my stupidity. I changed majors, started taking marketing classes, jumped into web analytics, and a year ago started a rookie SEO job at SEO.com.

    I read everything I could about SEO, bought and developed my first domains, ramped up on social media, started networking, began guest blogging for SEO sites like SEJ and now I’m managing SEO strategy for some big client websites. It has been a crazy past year, but I’ve never learned more, met cooler people, or worked harder in my life, and I love it.

    Twitter: @scottcowley
    Also, check out my Italian food presentation I did last month at Ignite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DbwyRzRelU

  5. Hi Dave and Greg

    This is my first pubcon. The only other conference I have ever been to is affilliates4u in 2009. I don’t know whether that disqualifies me.

    I started in internet marketing as an email marketer working for a data brokering firm about 6 years ago. I did their adwords and got into doing some SEO on a hobby site.

    I built a few more sites and then about 2 years ago I was making more from my sites than my day job. So I quit to work on my sites full time.

    I am neither a newbie or rockstar. I am just a regular guy. I don’t actually want to be known and am just at pubcon for the laugh. I’m not looking to make any contacts. I just see the chance to have dinner with the industry’s best as too good an offer to pass on so I thought I’d give it a shot even though I may not be the type of person you are looking for.

    my twitter is @copperchunk but I don’t use it. Can you please email if I am successful.

    regards

    Ben

  6. I was at school in Rexburg and had a professor who had a basic understanding of Google Adwords and had a connection to let our marketing class dig around in an account. It completely fascinated me for two reasons…

    1. I had been a door to door salesman for 3 summers during school and came to understand how hard it was cold calling people. Seeing how easy it was to actually get people who were “in the market” to your website was a major AHA moment.

    2. I come from Burley, Idaho population 10,000 minus cows = around 50. There is not much going on as far as work (other than a greater at the local wal mart) , but my wife and I wanted to move back. I could see that I could do this from small town usa and have a good chance at making it work.

    So, I dove in whole hearted during school and helped the professor start a class where everyone had to set up a website, sell someting, and report on it in a semester.

    I sold boxes of Huge Idaho Potatoes and had to get a potato brokers license (don’t ask).

    After that, I started from ground zero trying to spread my reputation locally through Idaho and get some clients.

    I took on my first client in Jan 2009 and realized that a map was popping up when his company was searched for, so I started to play with it, create accounts for friends businesses and just see what lead to rankings.

    That is when I ran across David Mihm. I sent him an email about Local Search and explained I wanted to learn and become an expert. He sent me a list of blogs to follow and I stayed up night after night reading every post Mike Blumenthal, Andrew Shotland, and Matt McGee had ever typed and somehow along the way, I got to know them and was invited to take place in the Local Search Ranking Factors.

    I started publishing my own content, and ran into Ann Smarty who asked if I would write on Local Search at SEJ. It has been a crazy year. The number one thing I have learned is that sharing ideas, content, tips, leads and anything else for that matter has opened up more doors for me than I ever thought could be possible as a Small Town Idaho boy. So, the other day I tweeted that I need to start going to conferences and Matt Siltala said, “next week…pubcon? huh huh???” So, I looked in to it and due to a very cheap $76 dollar flight close by I decided I would give it a shot. I have never worked for a company so learning has been long road and I hope to meet some mentors that can help a brother out.

    That is my search story and now back to your regular commenting program.

  7. The lucky ones chosen will have a great opportunity to rub elbows and talk to two highly respected and knowledge guys.

  8. Thanks for fixing the comment issue Dave! I’ve been doing in-house SEO & SEM for a little over a year. (Sept. 2009) I started with my company in June 2009 (after back to back layoffs) doing database management for their email campaigns. I have no formal training in this field and my first foray into the industry was attending an all day Seminar with Jill Whalen. That was my start. Since then, I’ve subscribed to several blogs and follow a lot of people on Twitter. I have tried to educate myself and learn as much as I can. I’ve never been a webmaster and I’m not a coder. I’m more of a strategist and I experiment on a creative level a lot. I’m big on link building and building our brand and it has paid off. My background is in operations and project management working for small business entrepreneurs and that has been most of my career. I’ve always been drawn to all things computer and the challenge that SEO & SEM present fascinates me. So yeah, I’m a total noob. SMX East 2010 (last month) was my first ever conference, and because I gave my boss a copy of Visibility Magazine, he saw the Ad for PubCon and said, “you’re going”. YAY! I’m really stoked!

    P.S. I LOVE Meatballs!
    @i80equipment09

  9. This is my first year at PubCon. I’ve just recently became the Associate SEO manager for ThomasNet.com.
    I kind of fell into the SEO business. I was working at a law firm in Staten Island, being their resident computer guy, while attending college. Sometime in that period my friend Dan called me to see if I’d be interested in a job at his company. He knew I was moderately knowledgeable in computer programming, scripting languages, HTML, etc., bu I had no idea what the job entailed. I was interviewed by Dan and his manager, Jill. I remember stammering through questions about SEO, trying to steer the conversation towards my strengths in Javascript, Web design, etc.
    I didn’t hear back from Dan for sometime, and during that period my hours were cut at the Law Firm, as the main attorney was retiring. Luckily I got a job quickly, managing the intranet of a Veterinary clinic in Brooklyn, NY. After a year at $12/hour, I got a call from my friend Dan. By that point, I had completely forgotten about the interview I had more then a year before.
    I interviewed again, this time with the Director of Web Operations, Brendan. Again I remember stuttering at the question of how to increase organic rankings. Luckily for me I got a call back, and started shortly thereafter.
    Dan was my manager, and I quickly caught on to the idea of search engines, indexation, relevance, authority, internal linking, link building, and all that good stuff.
    Dan moved on earlier this year, and I was able to ascend to an associate manager position. While I feel very knowledgeable and confident in my position, I know that there is much more for me to learn.
    It would be a privilege to be able to dine and chat with Dave and Greg. I hope I am able to attend.
    Many thanks for the opportunity, hope to see you in Vegas!

  10. Hi Greg and Dave!

    I would love to attend this dinner, especially since I may just be one of the youngest attendees at Pubcon (under 21) and it seems most after-conference events are 21+. I am looking forward to the conference to expand my knowledge base about online marketing techniques through social media as well as some SEO sessions. I have been starting campaigns for a diverse group of businesses in Google Adwords as well (a video production comapany, a cafe and a personal trainer).

    A little history, I do Publicity and Media Relations at Trademarkia (www.trademarkia.com). Check us out, we have a free search engine of U.S. federal trademarks that is more accessible than the United States Patent and Trademark Office TESS database. I have been with Trademarkia for seven months now and I can also show you a new social media related feature we are launching soon. I am currently a college student in the bay area, studying Business and Communications.

    I’m not swimming in the deep end yet, but my feet are long past being simply dipped in the pool. I’ve found my perspective to be very useful at my work, and I would love the opportunity to learn from all that attend this delicious dinner.

    Thanks for reading, Can’t wait to meet you at Pubcon!
    Maria

    I am @MfromTM on Twitter, also follow @Trademarkia :)

  11. Hey Guys,

    I spent the last 8 years teaching myself affiliate marketing. Since driving traffic to websites is crucial for success, SEO became a big part of what I taught myself.

    Fast forward to January of this year, and I became unemployed; laid off from a job of 8 years. In my area, there were no jobs to be had. After two months of solid job hunting and no success, I decided to fall back on what I had learned as a hobby.

    March of this year, I began making a full time income online. In July, an IT staffing firm called me in a panic. They had called on a client that need an SEO. The staffing firm didn’t know what an SEO was. They asked me if I would write their employment ad for them. Long story short, they interviewed me for the position. (By the way, I had to tell them the questions to ask me.)

    Since July, I have been the sole SEO for a multi million dollar manufacturer. This has been the job of a lifetime. I am doing what I like to do. Had I not taken the initiative to stay up till 1am to 2am while working 10 hours a day, I would be in a lot of trouble right now.

    This will be my first conference of ANY kind, and I am technically an SEO newbie. I have never been to a conference, never talked to professionals in the industry and have had no contact with any SEO guru. I am completely out of the loop.

    If you have room at your table, I would like to sit down and talk to you guys.

  12. Hi Dave and Greg,

    since two month I am responsible for SEO and I therefore got the great chance two attend the PubCon. This is my first conference abroad.
    I started in the internet marketing four years ago as a manager cooperations. Since that time I improved my knowledge in several areas. I was doing display advertising, affiliate-marketing, since few Month SEA and now also SEO. I love working in that industry and I would love to get the opportunity to learn from you.
    Twitter: CelinePoepper

  13. I would like to talk to you guys about what the heck I am supposed to be doing as a social media manager. I have been to a couple conferences before but never like this and not for social media. I am suspicious of anyone claiming that they have the slightest clue of what is going on, but if you have been doing this since compuserve then you must be legit.

    I was going to grad school minding my own business when a couple paid research opportunities that I was banking on for the summer fell through (2008). I responded to a craigslist ad for a summer position and haven’t looked back. I am now working for a great company that has some visibility issues. They want me to fix that. Let me show up and I buy dessert.

    @grownerdy

  14. This is my first #pubcon
    When I started in search engine marketing, I came from an events marketing background and got really bored with it so I was looking for other jobs. This was back in 2004. I met this guy who owned allstarheath.com at a friends bbq and he said he was looking for someone to run his online marketing. I said I know marketing but not online. He interviewed me the next day. First day on the job, he handed me the book Adwords for dummies. Here I am now :)

  15. 1. Just started IM around April 2010. Pubcon will be my very first internet marketing conference. I’m psyched.

    2. I got started in internet marketing because I have a passion for really expensive knock-off watches, pharmaceuticals from Canada and dating websites for wealthy people. I just couldn’t find any information on any of those 3 subjects, so I decided to fill that void. Okay, that’s not true but the real story is much less interesting.

    3. @opencobra

    3.5. This would be AWESOME!

  16. My first PubCon and I’m a relative noob to the whole SEO arena. I’ve been a follower of SEO gurus for a long time but not heavily involved in search engine marketing until this year (in fact only a few months ago when I got hired on at a local personal injury firm in Las Vegas) I have a general understanding but I really want to learn from the big boys (and girls) because I know the only real way to learn is in the trenches. really.

    you can call me @snowwrite :P

  17. This is my first PubCon and my first year working full time in SEO. I joined Searchmetrics, a company that offers an advanced SEO analytics tool, in August of this year. Before joining Searchmetrics, I worked in PR as the head of a digital marketing team so I was dabbling a little bit in search.

    Those are the hard facts, but here is my story. When I was a teenager, I remember going to a tarot card reader for fun. This fortune teller said that I would be looking for something for the rest of my life and not really find it, then he pulled up the card ‘The Seeker’. Now, I can’t help but think that it is a strange coincidence that I now work in search, especially considering that the rest of my life is pretty settled and I do not feel an overarching sense I am searching for something. So, maybe this is what I was meant to work in, if you believe in that stuff. =)

    A short second story is that this past weekend I surprised my nice Italian grandmother with a visit, largely because if I tell her in advance she spends a day cooking. I went upstairs for about half an hour to visit with my aunt and I started to smell…the meatballs, which I am convinced magically appear in all Italian grandmothers kitchens.

    I hope you like my story and appreciate that meatballs are my favorite.

  18. As a follow-up, what an awesome dinner! Thanks again to Dave, Greg, and Barbara for generously hosting. I made some fantastic new friends, learned a lot, and ate like a king. Looking forward to staying in touch with the whole crew after PubCon.
    Best,
    Scott

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