Here are my notes of Matt’s session. Might be inaccurate, blah blah blah. Oh, and RSI, so might be a bit short. Check out the post on Matt’s blog too.
Update, August 2007: Matt wrote another blog post in which you’ll find links to his Powerpoint presentation and the video of his talk.
Google doesn’t hate your site. Some guy invented an immortality device (with magnetic rings). His site looks like the love-child of Geocities and MySpace. He claims to have been repressed by Google because of the immortality device. No! Instead, view the source of the page. Ugly things hidden in it! Hundreds of words in a tiny textarea! Hence, the penalty.
Good plugin: SEO Title (swaps the name of your blog with the name of your post).
Don’t put your blog at the root of your domain:
- what if you want something besides a blog?
- people link to main page and main blog page, so you get some extra links that way.
Think about it.
Call your blog “blog” and not “wordpress” — you never know if you might switch.
What do SEOs know that bloggers might not?
What might people be typing to search for your stuff? example… “lol kittens“! Don’t spam, but if you know what people are searching for, there are perfectly natural ways of slipping them in your posts. Use synonyms! steph-note: it’s also better writing than repeating the same words over and over again. Use this knowledge for good, not for evil!
Use category names which are good keywords. Dashes are best to separate words. Then underscores. No spaces is dreadful.
But wait! If everything is already in place, don’t completely mess up your urls to change. Leave the old stuff as it is, and make the new stuff better.
Use alt tags, or the blind guy at Google will get really angry. 3-4 relevant words. Keep it short.
Q: does having .php .html .asp in the URL make a difference?
A: nope. just avoid .exe 😉
Dynamic URLs are treated just as static URLs. However, keep the number of parameters low.
Should I do an audio podcast, or a video? Well, depends on how pretty you are. If you’re not sure, try hotornot.com.
Make sure your site is crawlable (WP: good).
Q Ben Metcalfe: what about duplicate content WP archives create? Supplementary results?
A: Not too bad, but WP does suffer a bit from the fact you can get to a post from 3-4 different ways. Will have WordPress wishlist at the end of the talk.
Make sure post creation dates are easy to find.
Q: Does Google care about the number of slashes in a URL? (Date in URL)
A: Google doesn’t care about link depth.
Moving to a new IP
- Reduce your DNS time-to-live
- Back up your site, bring it up on new IP.
- Watch Googlebot and user traffic until they fetch the site from the new IP address.
- Take down the old site.
steph-note: heck, will be doing that soon.
Q: for mobile/iPhone, different site, or different stylesheet?
A: if you can, different stylesheet.
A2 from public: use Alex King’s wp-mobile plugin
Moving to new domain
- do 301 on one subdirectory and when that is ok do the rest
- write to everyone and ask them to update their links (useful!)
- standardize www or no-www but don’t use both, also slash/no-slash
Free Google tools
- webmaster console
- feedburner (you can get feeds.mydomain.com rather than feeds.feedburner.com with MyBrand for free steph-note need to do that!! so you can leave feedburner…)
- custom search engine
- google analytics
It’s at google.com/webmasters
A famous web publisher used robots.txt to blog Google completely, then called in a panic “what’s the matter! Google is blocking me!”.
- test robots.txt before pushing live
- submit an authenticated spam report
- remove URLs (for emergencies, useful!)
You can see the backlinks — who’s linking to your site.
Q: can google analytics harm your search results? (?)
You can see crawl errors which can give you hints on making your 404 handling better. Also, tell Google what your preferred domain is (www or not).
“Get noticed, then get traffic from Google” rather than “Get traffic from Google, then get noticed” (steph-note: yay, exactly the position I defended in a whitepaper on search optimisation for a client!)
- PDF sign converter
- Lolcat builder
- iPhone app directory
- say Google fast
- sell your moustache on eBay — linkbait!
- free hugs campaign
- hunting down wikipedia defaces
- create controversy (like Dvorak!) — linkbait!
- mention Robert Scoble
- make lists (13 reasons why something rulez/sux0rs)
Be creative! (Well, maybe we need to embrace the fact there are many ways to get attention, and linkbait is one…)
steph-note: Matt is deadly funny… watch the video of the talk if it exists.
If you get popular enough, people might want to hack you. You can make your wp-admin accessible only via a whitelist.
A to Q: Google doesn’t look at meta tags much.
Don’t worry about the algorithm too much, focus on compelling content.
If you’re buying/selling links, make sure they don’t affect search engines.