Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fancy way of saying “make my stuff easy to find in a search.” When most people talk about SEO, they mean Google. These notes are a little more generic — we’ll cover the principles of SEO, and let Google expert Matt Cutts get more specific.

Search engines constantly scan the web for new sites and updates. You can help them understand what your site’s about with a few different techniques.

With text

The web is a mind-bogglingly big mess of sites and cross-links and constant updates. At the time of this writing, by some estimates there are billions of sites on the web.

To scan all of that, search engines are voracious text readers. They’re getting better at image recognition, but it’ll be a while before you can ask even Wolfram Alpha for “Bill and Opus in ’84” and expect to learn about the National Radical Meadow Party’s presidential campaign.

In the meantime, if you people to find you via Google:

  1. Pick a few words that best describe your comic. What best describes your story? Be as specific as you can. “Web comic” is no good. “Web comic with faeries and trolls” is better.
  2. Sprinkle keywords throughout your site. Without overdoing it, try to use related keywords without getting spammy: Faerie and fae folk; forest and woodland; cat and feline.
  3. Be honest. Search engines and readers alike will shun your site if you promise faeries but deliver, say, talking termites.

These examples are a bit verbose:

  • “John the talking cat meets Bruce the disgruntled faerie.”
  • “Bruce and John hike through the forbidden forest of Milkwood.”
  • “John the cat betrays Bruce the faerie for a few bucks.”
  • “John’s conscience takes the form of Groucho Marx.”

These examples are decent:

  • “Talking cat meets a faerie in the woods”
  • “Hiking the forbidden forest”
  • “A sudden betrayal for money”

These are deceptive:

  • “Groucho Marx gives advice” If your site is about fairies, then this isn’t even close.
  • “Faerie fairy elf magic magick” (Now you’re just stuffing keywords into the title. Search engines will suspect you’re up to no good.
  • “Hiking the Milkwood Forest” Avoid invented words. People are more likely to search for “forbidden forest” than “Milkwood” until you reach Bone-level popularity.

Wrap up

On the web, SEO means helping people interested in your comic via search engines like Google and Bing. For now, descriptive — but not deceptive — text is the best solution.

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