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Ignite SMX: Give Them 5 Minutes, They'll Give You DateRank, Circus Life & More!

Earlier this year at our SMX search engine marketing conference, we hosted a special “all-search” version of Ignite. Got 5 minutes? Then watch as speakers cover how PageRank compares to “DateRank,” how well Google itself does SEO, why never to give money to search start-ups trying to beat Google in a garage and much more.

For those unfamiliar with Ignite, it’s a great conference series that happens around the world, either in association with other events or on its own. There’s one rule. Speakers have no more than 5 minutes to cover a topic. Slides automatically advance regardless of whether they’re finished or not. “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” the series tag line goes. The results are presentations that are fast, fun and often surprisingly informative.

Below, presentations from Ignite SMX West, which were given on March 2, 2010:

DateRank: PageRank for Singles

This was my personal favorite, from Google’s Maile Ohye. It’s a hilarious look at dating, if the rules of PageRank were applied to it. “Sometimes the best wingman isn’t a man at all.” Maile also has a short post on the DateRank concept here.

If History (and the 80s) had Search & New Communication

From Marshall Simmonds, chief SEO honcho for the New York Times among other things, a philosophical look — along with a personal message — at how we’ve changed today by having resources like search and new communications technologies. Maybe Kermit wouldn’t have felt so green? Could the Breakfast Club have bridged the clique gap?

Search Life vs Circus Life

I don’t know any search marketer who thought that’s what they wanted to be when they grew up. The job is too new. People have come into search marketing from all types of other professions. Laura Lippay probably wins by making the jump from her days as a performer in the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. In her presentation, she looks at how search folk compare to circus folk. Laura also shares more of her circus stories here.


Sree Kamireddy from Bing looks what we perceive versus what we know about subjects, especially in terms of how it impacts our perception of privacy issues.

Google Doodles: Special Logos Sliced & Diced

For my presentation, I did a whirlwind tour of all those special Google logos that the company has run for holidays and other occasions over the past decade. For the video-challenged, there’s also an written version of this talk: Those Special Google Logos, Sliced & Diced, Over The Years.

Death of a Search Startup

Bing’s Mark Johnson, who came over via the Powerset acquisition, talks about the difficulties that search start-ups face. Having been with three of them now, “I still can’t afford a Gulfstream.” Search is expensive, and he even has an equation complete with the “Johnson coefficient” to explain it all. “The next time some guy comes to you and says oh you know what me and five engineers in my garage are going to build a search engine. Don’t give them any money, because they’re not going to be able to do it.”

Discover The Meaning Of Life

Vanessa Fox was supposed to present during Ignite SMX West but was sick. She later gave her search talk during Ignite at Google I/O, a hilarious look at finding the meaning of life through search engines, from the things they suggest to the results they provide. “I didn’t learn the meaning of life, but what I did learn is that people are crazy on the internet.” Her talk is combined with all the other speakers during that show, so fast-forward to 8 minutes in, to watch it begin.

Google’s SEO Report Card

By far the most viewed of the Ignite SMX videos, this features Google’s spam-fighting chief Matt Cutts examining how well — or poorly — Google does with its own SEO efforts. Google also released a PDF version of its scores, which you can get from the Google Webmaster Central site here.

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