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Search Engine Optimization for Your Blog: Three Easy Techniques, and also Drawbacks to SEO

by Tom Johnson on Jun 26, 2007
categories: technical-writing web-design

GoogleSearch engine optimization helps you crank up your rankings in Google. Here are three easy techniques to make your posts land on the front page of Google's search returns:

  1. Put keywords in the title and first paragraph. Google places a heavy emphasis on keywords appearing in the title and first paragraph. The best placement is actually the first word in each. You can also install an SEO plugin in case you can't fit the keywords into the title gracefully. The All in One SEO Pack allows you to customize the title that Google sees, so you can stack your keywords and still have a literate-sounding title.
  2. Link to everything. Incoming links are everything when it comes to SEO. The more people who are aware of your blog, the more likely they are to link to you. So link to as many people and resources as you can in each post. To automate trackback notification, install this Kramer plugin.
  3. Write interesting content. The claim to fame on my blog is basically one post I wrote about blog usability. It received 188 comments/trackbacks and was translated into about a dozen languages. A few popular bloggers picked it up as well as Stumble Upon and It surged my readership from 80 to 250 subscribers practically overnight. The more interesting content you have, the more people will link back to you. The more links you have, the higher your authority. The higher your authority, the higher your rank in search returns.

Drawbacks of Search Engine Optimization

How can there be any drawbacks to search engine optimization? I never considered this, and it is a bit odd admitting it. But I feel a complete loss of anonymity as well as an unfounded power. I also have a greater responsibility to be accurate. When you Google Tom Johnson, I'm on the first page. Uhm, now instead of telling people my email and phone, I can tell them just to google me.

A crazy Haitian guy from Miami called me repeatedly last week affirming he knew me and wanted support for his studies. A random searcher stumbled across my analysis of a Vimeo video and totally trashed me in a comment. Merely mentioning Kevin Shoesmith or Alan Houser in a post title put me on the first page of Google returns for their names. Last month someone gave me $100 to insert a handful of links to Web design companies on previous posts. My friend Mark Hanigan tells me I am quietly gaining a reputation for being an expert in Web technology. I attribute all of this to my increasing visibility online.

I'm not sure what will come of it. My friend Holly says "You have established yourself (in a very short time) as someone who is keenly interested in our profession, technology, and people." I like that impression (it is true). I only hope I haven't pigeon-holed myself into a predefined category.

Good SEO Podcast Recommendation

I listened to a good podcast on search engine optimization last week from the Information Architecture podcast. If you're not subscribed to the IA podcast feed, you might add it to your podcatcher.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.