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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 Matt Cutts get all Google-eyed on us.

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.

Text technique

Let’s take a moment to talk about how big the web is. It’s a mind-bogglingly big mess of sites and cross-links and constant updates and new technology. By some estimates there are a billion quadrillion heptamillion sites on the web at the time of this writing. That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.000 websites. Your Grawlix site is exactly one.

To cover 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.

So in the meantime, if you want to show up in 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 talking termites.

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.”

Decent

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

Deceptive

  • “Groucho Marx gives advice” (This isn’t right. People searching for Groucho Marx aren’t looking for your comic.)
  • “Faerie fairy elf magic” (Now you’re just stuffing keywords into the title. Search engines will suspect you’re up to no good.
  • “Hiking the Milkwood Forest” (Don’t use invented words. People are more likely to search for “forbidden forest” than “Milkwood” until you reach Bone-level popularity. Sorry, but it’s true.)