Help new readers find your webcomic with SEO

 

Funny woman looking for results

Want more readers? Then you need to reach people seeking webcomics like yours.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of making information easy to find. It can also make sites easier to use and more accessible. In webcomic terms, it’s helping readers find stories or dailies that interest them.

SEO isn’t the ultimate way to improve readership, but it can help get your name out there. The key is to get relevant. If you’re creating an original fantasy webcomic, for example, then people looking for Harry Potter fanfics isn’t exactly helpful, even though both are “fantasy.”

So how do we get meaningful SEO?

Best-practice guidelines

Get links to your site. Google judges a site’s popularity in part by how many people link to its content. Whenever possible, encourage people to reference your webcomic with social media links.

Don’t duplicate content. Search engines tend to rate a copy (or worse, the original) as “supplemental” information that ranks lower in search results, making them harder to find.

Try a service: Something like Open Site Explorer or SEO Browser will help you see how your site looks to search engines.

Use alt attributes: Since images are the bulk of webcomics’ content, text that tells search engines what the images are about is critical. If you’re using the Grawlix CMS, you’re already doing this for webcomic pages.

Use unique titles: Think of search engines as your readers. There’s only so many times they’ll read the title, “my webcomic page” before getting bored. Unique page titles give your whole site more keywords. Meanwhile readers will discover your webcomic through events per page, not just the comic’s name. And don’t get clever. A few words or phrase like “dragon goes east” helps search engines more than “Flyin’ east to the in a hurry to beat traffic.”

Challenges for webcomics

Webcomics’ content is mostly graphics. In traditional formats, that means whole pages — dozens of panels and gobs of dialogue — are unfindable. Search engines are blind to them. That’s bad news because just a little information represents all that great art. How do we help each page?

Write a blog: Give every page a few dozen words at least. You can write how that page fits into the story, comment on what your characters are up to, or describe the challenges you faced in making the page. But write something. Give search engines something to read. It’s not hard.

Add a transcript: The Grawlix CMS lets you add panel-by-panel descriptions and dialogue to each webcomic page. When hidden from sighted readers, this description shows search engines what’s going on. For example, if readers search for “fantasy webcomic,” they’ll find a ton of sites. But if they’re more specific, like “fantasy webcomic with dragons,” and you have many pages with “Dragon enters the dungeon,” then your site is more likely to get found first.

Going forward

It may sound like a dull chore, but SEO is an important part of publishing webcomics. And it’s not terribly hard. A blog post, a title, and original material are great steps to getting new readers through search engines.

SEO isn’t a guarantee. But it can help you earn new readers, people actively looking for webcomics, in the long run.


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