First off, a definition. SEO is:
"A way to increase the number of visitors to your website by ranking well in the search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo) for keywords related to your site or blog." ~ Me (so, it's somewhat lacking, get over it)This might mean you want to rank #1 for your own name, it might mean you want to rank for the phrase "most amazing author ev-ah", or something else similarly silly. *As a side note, I rank #1 for the term "porn stars named Tiana". Who knew? (That was totally by accident by the way, and no, I'm not a porn star. Sorry to disappoint).*
Now that we have the definition out of the way, let's get down to the nitty-gritty basics of how you can optimize your own blog for SEO.
1. Get a piece of the Google Analytics action. Installing Google Analytics on your blog helps you know how many people are reading your posts, which posts/pages are the most popular, how long people stay on your site, how they found your blog in the first place and oh-so-much more. If you want to understand your audience, and if you want to learn how to maintain (and grow) your readership base, Google Analytics is the way to go my friend.
2. Set up Webmaster Tools. This can help you become aware of any problems your site has (if Google cannot index a particular page, for example) and helps you fix them. Some people say it can even get your posts indexed faster ... but I'm just going off of gossip there.
3. Stop using the Blogspot RSS feed address. Just stop it already. I use Feedburner, which helps people subscribe to my posts by email, and also helps me keep track of how many people are subscribed by RSS. Now, Feedburner isn't perfect, so I promise I won't be offended (too much) if you choose a different RSS manager. An RSS manager is another way that you can tell which of your posts are successful, helping you tailor your content to get more readers.
4. Post titles - they're more than just a pretty name, so choose your words wisely young padawan. When you can, use keywords that will help people find your post. For example, I could have named this post something obscure, like "My Day Job Takes Over My Blog" but no one would search for that in Google, well, unless they were weird. Instead, I titled it "SEO Basics for Bloggers", which helps readers know exactly what this post is about (though I sometimes ramble ...).
5. Use keywords in your posts too. I rank #1 for my own name because I have talked about my name in previous posts. (I may or may not be narcissistic. Don't judge me). Don't spam your posts with keyword after keyword, since that just looks bad. Also, search engines don't like it when you're overly dense. (Ha ha, get it? Oh, never mind.)
6. Use keywords in your links. If you are writing a blog post and you want to reference a previous post you wrote because it was so ah-mazing, use keyword-rich anchor text rather than just saying, "visit this link: http://www. ..." or saying "go here" with the link embedded in it, or just "link".
7. Get people to link to your blog. This is definitely easier said than done. One way you can do this is by becoming famous. If that doesn't work, try having great content that people want to link to, re-blog or Tweet about. You can also participate in blogfests. You can participate in blog awards. And, while I don't recommend it, you can annoy people and leave a link to your site every time you leave a comment on their blog... Yes, to a very small extent, that can help your SEO, but make sure you ask yourself if the trade-off (looking like a needy blogger and overly-promotional type) is worth it to you.
8. While that Archives by Date widget thingy is all well and good, you can take it one step further. If you'll notice, I have an Archives Page that lists my previous posts, and, wonder of wonders, I use anchor text with links to help my SEO. Granted, this takes more work, but I never said SEO was easy. (OK, well earlier in this post I said I'd be giving easy tips, but, hey, sometimes I lie, and really, if you think about it, this is still pretty easy to do, so there. Also, I used a lot of commas in that last sentence. Please forgive me.)
9. When you are picking your labels for your post, choose keywords that are descriptive and that actually mean something, rather than just Monday Posts or something else lame.
10. This post is already getting really long, so I won't talk about Meta tags, or anything else more technical. I just wanted a number ten so that this list looked all pretty.
So, those are all really basic things, especially since I didn't know how much this topic would interest you, or what your own level of SEO-awesomeness is. I know this post is pretty different from my regular routine, so let me know if this is something you hated/liked/want to know more of/have questions about, or even, hey, leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite color is. Why not?