Ash Buckles presented on "SEO tips for Your Blog" at Wordcamp Utah. Here are my notes from Ash's presentation.
Strategy and Purpose
Ash says, You need a strategy with search engine optimization (SEO); otherwise you're just pinging content all over the place. Everyone has an agenda, a strategy, or a reason – or should. If you don't have a reason, you should shut your blog down and walk away.
(He later took some criticism for this comment.)
Include internal links to your content so search engines can better find your posts.
User permalinks in your titles.
Include a XML sitemap on your blog.
Include a call to action in posts (e.g., remind users to take the next step, such as to buy your book).
You don't need a ton of content on your posts (300 to 700 words is fine), but avoid posts shorter than that. You can't create a call to action based on a single paragraph. If you run out of words, cover the journalistic Who-What-When-Why-Where.
Ensure keyword density in your posts. Use keywords in your title and content. (He didn't mention much about placement, but I'd say definitely include keywords in the title and first paragraph.)
Focus your posts on how to solve a problem.
Hone your copywriting skills. You need to lead a reader down a path gracefully.
Search Engine Marketing
Create link bait with your content (make it enticing for others to link back to you).
Keep linkbacks varied. Google is suspicious about linkbacks that all have the same anchor text.
The more linkbacks you have, the greater SEO.
Add comments on other blogs.
Partner with other bloggers, such as by going to events such as Wordcamp.
Write guest posts (this can introduce you to a new audience).
Add your URL to blog directories.
Send your latest post links across Twitter. (Ash uses Twitter to follow links more than Google Reader.)
Akismet, All in One SEO Pack, Comment Luv, Contextual Related Posts, DoFollow, Easy Inline SWF, Easy Tube, FeedBurner, FeedSmith, flickrRSS, Google Analytics, Google XML Sitemaps, Keyword Luv, Make Clickable, Rewtweet, SEO Post Link, ShareThis, Subscribe to Comments, Twitter Tools, What Would Seth Godin Do, WordPress Mobile Edition, WP Auto Tagger, SEO slugs
Avoid static links that are spread across every page of your site, such as a blogroll. Google looks at these types of links suspiciously. Put your blogroll on just one page. (This is the first time I've heard this advice.)
Avoid duplicate content. The content duplicated between your category archives and your single posts is undesirable. Ash recommends using excerpts or titles on your category page instead.
Avoid thinking instead of doing. Don't sit around contemplating hypotheticals all day.
Ash asked people to submit questions via Twitter. Interesting social phenomenon -- he received tons of questions, but people felt free to heckle him playfully with tweets.
I'd Rather Be Writing Newsletter
Get new posts delivered straight to your inbox.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.