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WordCamp 2007 talk: Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers

By the way, if you enjoyed my Straight from Google: What You Need to Know talk from WordCamp 2009, you might also enjoy my WordCamp 2007 talk: Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers.

For convenience, I’ll include the video below:

And here are the slides from the 2007 WordCamp talk:

Not everyone has seen this talk, so I hope folks enjoy this talk from 2007!

Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers

Okay, I’ve got a bunch of pointers to summarize my WordCamp 2007 talk.

First off, here’s the PowerPoint deck that I presented. Google’s PR team was kind enough to verify that it was okay to release. I made the slides from scratch (not even a Google template), so there shouldn’t be any problems with notes in the slides or other metadata. Also note that I made this entire presentation the day of the conference, so let me know if there are unclear parts.

“But Matt, some of that talk is just bullet points! Where’s the context?” you might comment. Ah, I’m glad you mentioned that. John Pozadzides attended WordCamp and taped the talks, and he recently put up a video of the talk.

“But Matt, I don’t have an hour to spare to watch the video!” you might comment. Ah, I’m glad that you mentioned that. David Klein was at WordCamp, and he transcribed the talk into text form.

“But Matt, that transcript has a lot of words. It could take me 20-30 minutes to read all that!” you might comment. Well, I’ve already pointed to Stephanie Booth’s write-up of the session. You could also read the summary that Lisa Barone wrote. Or check out Stephan Spencer’s coverage for CNET.

Now you understand why I blogged about Alex Chiu a while ago; I used him as an example in my talk, so I wanted to explain what those two urls in my PowerPoint meant.

If you read Stephan Spencer’s write-up, he says some people thought that underscores are the same as dashes to Google now, and I didn’t quite say that in the talk. I said that we had someone looking at that now. So I wouldn’t consider it a completely done deal at this point. But note that I also said if you’d already made your site with underscores, it probably wasn’t worth trying to migrate all your urls over to dashes. If you’re starting fresh, I’d still pick dashes.

I also wanted to point out something I’m pretty proud of. If you were at the site review session at Pubcon last year in Vegas, you might remember that there was a chiropractor who wanted to do well for the query [san diego chiropractor]. At the time, Danny Sullivan teased him a bit and said “Well, you might want to put the words ‘San Diego Chiropractor’ together on the page that you want to rank.”

Well Danny, that site owner was David Klein and he took all the PubCon advice from the panel to heart. He started a blog, tweaked the copy on his site, and has even started to learn great linkbaiting techniques. For one thing, he transcribed the video of my talk, which traded some effort on his part to create a useful resource. Even better, he came to WordCamp with a creative idea, a pad of paper, and a digital camera. As he met folks at WordCamp, he had each person write their name, their website, and something that they wanted to do. Then he created an original cartoon of that person doing that thing. Go to the post with Matt Mullenweg and click on the picture of Matt to see what I mean. Matt said he wanted to be a writer, so David posted a cartoon of Matt as a writer.

How is this smart? People love to talk about themselves, and love to see themselves in the spotlight. So these little cartoons are natural linkbait: “Hey look, he drew me as a Photoshop plug-in developer!” How much did it cost to do this particular idea? Practically nothing: just the initial creative brainstorming and a little bit of elbow grease.

It was neat to see a regular site owner go from not knowing much about SEO in November 2006 to really improving his traffic with some creativity and straightforward changes. A good SEO can tune up your web site. But if someone is willing to take the time to study SEO, look for fresh ideas, and put in some effort, a regular person can definitely improve their website (and rankings!) as well. To see that come true with a chiropractor that several of us gave feedback to just last year was really exciting. That’s one of the big things that has stayed with me from WordCamp.

Update: Clarifying that Stephan’s write-up didn’t say that dashes and underscores were the same. Thanks, Stephan!