WordCamp San Francisco is a conference organized by the creators of WordPress for their user community. It was just held last weekend, May 30 and 31, in San Francisco. Highlighting the real time nature of the blogosphere, some of the presentations have already made their way onto the net. So those of us who could not make it out to the West Coast of North America can get some of the benefits of this great event.
Attendees have been blogging and tweeting that one of the best presentations was by Matt Cutts who is the head of the webspam team at Google where he specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) issues. With a title like “Straight from Google: What You Need to Know” it’s no surprise that his session was well attended. Getting your blog well ranked by Google is certainly among the top goals for any blogger.
Matt’s presentation slides are already online. Some of the key points bode well for WordPress fans. It’s a 50 slide presentation but slide 12 is the money slide when Matt notes “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO).” That really captures the essence of why WordPress is so popular – especially with beginning or casual bloggers. A blogger can get plugins and tools to get the maximum search engine optimization for their blog – but the mere choice of WordPress hits 80% of the SEO needs and all the other heavy lifting is to get that final 20%.
Matt also lifted up the kimono on his on WordPress blog to show that he does not even use any of the search optimization plugins. The only plugin that he uses that is search related is Enforce www. preference which helps to preserve your permalinks by enforcing your no-www or yes-www preference (http://example.com/ vs. http://www.example.com/) and will strip off index.php from the ends of URLs.
Most of his other comments were not new, but reassuring to hear for folks who have been actively working on SEO and great tips for folks who are new to the world of SEO:
- “We crawl roughly in decreasing order of PageRank” so the higher your page rank, the more likely your site is to get crawled.
- PageRank is based upon your site being both “relevant and reputable” where the number of backlinks you have shows your relevance and the quality of the sites that link to you shows how reputable you are.
- ALT attribute are handy (3-4 relevant words) on your links (I know I have many posts where I might have gotten a little lazy on those).
- When you select the categories for your blog, use titles that are also good keyword search terms.
- Put your keywords in URL paths: example.com/my-keywords and using dashes is best, underscores is next best and spaces between words is the worst.
- Matt also shares some tips on the universe of tools – no surprise as to who owns these tools – Google Webmaster console, Google Analytics, FeedBurner, Google Website Optimizer, Custom Search Engine: free site search and Adsense.
So check out the presentation slides yourself and be on the lookout for the video. As much as I enjoyed this presentation, I’ll be watching the video for the sole reason of figuring out what Matt meant with slide 45 – I have to believe he had a great point besides providing a nice link for a “fringe” political party. You’ll have to check it out yourself. Following up on Matt’s discussion of reputable, I won’t use any of my posts to add to the reputation for that link!