Musings from Search Masters 2009 Conference at Google

March 04, 2009
The Google SearchMasters' 09 conference was held in Bangalore on 28th February 2009. I was one of its attendees, rubbing shoulders with an eclectic group comprising of webmasters, SEO experts, online marketers, entrepreneurs and bloggers from across India. The conference was worth the time and effort I spent to reach the venue - The Google Office at Benniganahalli - around 11 odd kilometers from the Bangalore Kempegowda Bus Station.

The Google India team rolled out the SearchMasters 2009 conference to introduce the web masters to the various tools developed by Google which can help enhance their respective web sites and make them more friendly to search engines. The conference also included talks on best SEO practices, building mobile friendly websites and a hands on session on two select websites providing tips on how to make them more search friendly. Earlier I had written about the Google Bus aimed at bringing Internet to the masses. This was a similar event albeit targeted at webmasters, SEO experts and bloggers.

Google SearchMasters 09 Memorablia
Here is a run down on the speakers and the talks they gave at the conference.

Vivaik Bharadwaaj who is manager of the Search Quality Evaluation team in India and Korea kick started the event by giving the welcome address.

Then the stage was taken over by Adam Lasnik. Adam is considered Google's first Search Evangelist. He talked on the various search engine optimization techniques that webmasters can use to make their sites more search friendly. Specifically, he mentioned ways in which you can use the freely available Google Webmaster central tools to boost your website traffic.

Then after a brief respite, Koti Ivaturi who is a Strategist at the Search Quality team at Google introduced the audience to the Google Webmaster Help Forum where, you can post queries regarding the problems you face with your website, and participate in the discussion.

Adam Lasnik later selected two websites at random from the audience and went on to give his views on what could be wrong with these websites and how to rectify their anomalies. By the time he finished the hands-on session, it was time for Lunch (Buffet). And as with all things Google, Lunch was exceptionally good with a plethora of side dishes, salads, fresh fruits, sweets and what not.

Post lunch, Dr Rajat Mukherjee introduced the audience to Google custom search. Dr Rajat is a group product manager at Google working on the Google custom search platform. An alumni of IIT madras, he has worked with Yahoo, IBM and Verity before joining Google. He talked on how Google custom search can be effectively leveraged in various ways by bloggers, web masters, non-profit websites, syndication partners, governments, application developers and search enabled applications.

Ankit Gupta - a graduate from IIT Delhi, now working at Google, conducted a really informative session on building mobile friendly websites.

The last talk was by Deepak Kumar who introduced the Google Analytics and website optimizer to the audience. He explained in some depth the different features of Google Analytics and how it can be used to track goals.

The closing note by Adam Lasnik involved a question and answer session which gave the participants a chance to win some prizes - Courtesy Google.

All in all, the day long Google SearchMasters 2009 conference was very informative and every bit enjoyable.