SphinnCon Israel review part 1: Barry Schwartz’s introduction

Barry Schwartz and Eli Feldblum at SphinnCon Israel

I know this is way overdue, but I actually have to work sometimes. So apologies.I already wrote a general overview of SphinnCon Israel. The next four posts will cover the sessions, and the information that I thought was most interesting and useful.

Barry Schwartz from Rusty Brick and Search Engine Roundtable kicked off the event with an introductory presentation. He explained that he was here for his nephew’s bar mitzvah, and the event was planned around that. So a big thanks to his nephew for being born 13 years ago. Also, as I mentioned in my previous post on SphinnCon Israel, he is hoping to hold a much bigger event, on the scale of SMX, in Tel Aviv.

Here is a summary of Barry’s introduction. Scroll down to see it in video:

Google’s secret for good SEO: good content

As I mentioned in my previous post, an Israeli Google representative in Dublin sent a little video to us to wish us luck at the conference. He gave us the official Google “secret” for getting good search engine results

  • Good content
  • Use Google Webmaster Tools to make sure your site is running properly.

The people on the panels seemed to think there’s a bit more one can do to rank better in the SERPs.

Paid Text Links

Matt Cutts went on record for the first time in September 2005 saying that he doesn’t like text links. In October 2006, he warned about a possible penalty for text links. The penalty came in Oct. 2007, when many bloggers and sites saw their PageRank drop.

Google PageRank

Barry said that the Google toolbar shows a different page rank than Google actually uses in their algorithms. So it’s possible that you see a public PageRank of 4, but in fact your value according to Google may be higher or lower. So in fact, we could just ignore PageRank, and go along doing our best to build up our sites with good content.

PPC and Adwords

PPC is seeing steady inflation. The cost per keyword increased 25% over the past six months. Why?

  • Click fraud, which is increasing. Click fraud in content networks is higher.
  • More competition, which means more people don’t know what they’re doing and are bidding too high.
  • General economic factors – things cost more.
  • New PPC algorithms


Barry spoke a bit about things going viral, and said that the first ever viral success was the The Hamster Dance, a little video of dancing hamsters that was sent around via email. This brought to mind the most watched video on YouTube: The Evolution of Dance, which currently has been viewed over 74 million times. I think these two examples of what humans are attracted to is an interesting (worrying?) commentary on human nature.

That’s all for now. I hope I’ll get the next part up next week. Here are the videos:

Part 1


Part 2


And…The Evolution of Dance (I couldn’t resist)