The individual sessions provided numerous handy tips and insights. Here are samples from my notes:
Your primary audience is human. Search engines should receive secondary consideration. Fortunately, SEO will make your site friendly not only to search engines, but also to your human visitors.
Search engine robots look for two things: text and links. Obviously, if your text is not relevant and your links aren’t usable by the robot, your site is not going to show up very high in the SERPs.
Be honest. Don’t hide text, don’t hide links, don’t misuse ALTs, don’t stuff keywords, don’t have non-relevant text, don’t use link farms.
“People will click up to 25 times as long as they think they are making progress.”
Shari Thurow, GrantasticDesigns.com
Search engines will index only the text on your page. To see what they see, highlight your entire page and paste it into a text editor.
“[SEO] is not about the keywords you want to be found on, it’s about the keywords your users use to find you.”
Christine Churchill, KeyRelevance
Mine your log files. Infrequently used search queries are a great source of ideas for improving your site.
Use keyword tools like Wordtracker, NicheBOT and Trellian but be aware that some results might be skewed by automatic rank checking algorithms.
Search engines measure popularity. The number and quality of the links that point to your site matter. The quality of incoming links has far more weight than quantity. Getting listed in directories such as DMOZ is the quickest way to get a high quality link.
Choose keywords carefully. Select no more than three phrases per page, avoid single words, and base your choices on popularity, relevance, and user intent. User intent is important, because these are the keywords people are actually using to find what they want, and not necessarily the keywords you would choose to describe your own content.
Submit pages to the search engines’ add URL pages—once. Be very careful with automated submission programs.