Google Dance Zurich Quick Recap

Oct 1, 2018 • 7:15 am | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News
 

Mihai Aperghis, an SEO Specialist from Romania, attended the Google Dance in Zurich and has shared with us his recap of the event. Mihai is super active in the SEO community and it is an honor to have him contribute here.

Not even two months after the last Google Dance event (the one in Singapore), the Search team held their first European Google Dance the other week, July 21st 2018, at the Google offices in Zurich, Switzerland. Being in Bucharest, at just a few hours away by plane from the Swiss Alps, I decided this would be the excellent opportunity to meet some of the Search Googlers in person.

Since the event was scheduled to start at 4PM and was on the same day with one of the Webmaster Office Hours Hangouts, I answered John Mueller’s call to join him and a couple of other SEOs for the morning (9:30 AM) hangout. That also took place at Google’s offices, though at a different location than where the Google Dance took place.

Following the hangout, we grabbed some coffee with John and took a few hours to walk around Zurich, grab some lunch, and then headed for the event.

The Google reception room was quite crowded when we (me and Alexandra, my partner) arrived, with people grabbing their badges and sifting through the pile of t-shirts, looking for an appropriate size.

A couple of minutes past 4, Martin Splitt, Developer Advocate at Google and one of the organizers, grabbed us from the reception room and led us to the main event area.

After a few snacks and drinks, Martin presented us with the schedule for the evening. There would be four main speakers, two of which were Googlers, and five speakers selected from the audience, who applied in advance to hold a 5-minute “Lightning Talk” each on a subject related to Search/SEO. John Mueller, Gary Illyes, Takeaki Kanaya and André Naumann were also there as part of the organizing team, though they didn’t hold any talks.

Apparently, after a quick survey, about 80-90% of the people that came to the event were either from Switzerland or from neighbouring Germany and Austria. Fortunately, the whole event took place in English, so there were no problems following along and interacting with anybody.

The two Google speakers were Yariv Adan, Product Lead for Google Assistant, and Na'ama Zohary, Software Engineer on the Search Console team.

Yariv talked about how Google Assistant evolved to what it is today, along with a few examples of what is it capable of doing now and how it integrates within the Google ecosystem. It was really fun hearing from someone who’s really passionate about bringing the future of AI much closer to the present day. There were quite a few questions from the audience on whether the assistant will be monetized, how it will credit sources and how it will store users' data.

Na’ama (who came all the way from Tel Aviv) took us through the new Search Console features, the importance of the feedback loop between the team and webmasters, and what’s in store for the features that weren’t yet migrated from the old UI. Hint: if it’s not used, they’ll likely won’t add it to their new infrastructure (and I mention ‘infrastructure’ because, according to Na’ama, the new Search Console was built from the ground up, using many new technologies that weren’t available before).

The two other main speakers were Myriam Jessier and Mirko Eberlein. Myriam talked about Google bombing and SEO client relations, with some nice examples related to hacked sites, while Mirko gave a general presentation about the SEO process.

The 5-minute lightning talks focused on subjects ranging from a very interesting machine learning approach to dealing with a large UGC website’s crawling budget & indexing (from Satoshi Kimura, who came all the way from Japan!), to highly useful Google Tag Manager tricks for better analytics and insights (from Angela Grammatas).

Snacks and drink stands were refilled (including some really tasty macarons), and we spent the last two hours of the event networking with other attendees and with the Googlers that were roaming around.

Overall, it was pretty much the best experience an SEO could ask for, and I’m really happy I got to meet John, Gary, and everyone else in person (though I did previously meet Gary at an SEO event in Istanbul a couple of years ago).

This was the third out of four Google Dance events this year (next one’s in Osaka), which is pretty amazing work from the Search team. Some of the Googlers also mentioned there might be plans for even more events to come, which is something I think the SEO community could really use and would really enjoy.

(One badge was for the Google office where the hangout was held, the other one was for the event)

Mihai Aperghis is the founder and technical SEO of Vertify, an SEO & Content Marketing agency based in Bucharest, Romania. He is also the creator of the Search Analytics for Sheets tool, a Google Sheets add-on used by many industry specialists and webmasters around the world. Mihai loves chatting about all things SEO, whether on Twitter, speaking at industry events, or as part of the Top Contributor program on the Webmaster Central Help Forum.

Note: This story was pre-written and scheduled to be posted now, I am currently offline for a holiday.

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