Thursday, October 13, 2011

SEO What?

Okay, so this will be a bit of the blind leading the blind here, as admittedly, I am talking about stuff I only vaguely understand. I think, though, I understand well enough to help YOU understand if you need to understand... ifyouknowwhatImean... erm.

A Little Background

So I was at Linked In... (you know how these stories go, don't you?) and got caught up on a thread that by the LEAD IN, I thought was all gung ho blogging (and yibus KNOW how I love this blogging stuff and all my bloggie friends, yeh?)

Well it turned out the lead in the convo was all over SEARCHABILITY. You know... having people plug stuff into search engines and finding YOU!!!

Death Eaters feeling pretty (source)
And you know... I do this... Naked World Domination? I pop up in the first five entries! Watery Tart? I am 2 and 5... I'm searchable! Erm. Heck, I am slots 2 and 3 for Cross-dressed death eaters. I wonder if JK Rowling has ever searched that term *shifty*

I ALSO am almost the whole first page for Hart Johnson. I even make the first page for Kahlotus, and that's a real live PLACE (albeit, a place without much happening...)

The conversation got a little heated... and it took a little while to figure out we were sort of talking about different stuff.

At the Crux of the Discussion?

SEOs. To the uninitiated, Search Engine Optimizers... Are WORDS people SEARCH FOR that you hope leads them to YOU.

I hear the Naked Cowboy seeks World Domination
Now I really DO hope someone seeking a Naked World Domination movement finds me. I am happy to have partners, minions, and possibly even a rival (because of course a rival for Naked World Domination would mean a pudding fight
<--I could totally take that guy...).

But I ALSO would love people to find me if they want to... Network with writers... talk about writing... talk about Cozy Mystery... talk about YA books... Engage in silliness...

Do you think I have a chance in Kansas of popping up under any of those searches? NO SIRREE BOB!

Oh, but what's this?

NON-Fiction? Oh, well, yeah. I see where it might apply THERE! If I were to write a non-fiction book, it would maybe be... Tartish Life Advice... (Sassy self help?) or... erm... yeah, that's what I got. Any other topic sounds like a lot of work. In fact THAT one sounds like a lot of work. I don't want to write non-fiction. Heck, I don't even READ non-fiction. My life has ENOUGH reality, thank you very much.

But it's TRUE that if you write non-fiction, it would be REALLY NICE to have your name pop up for your topic... and if you WRITE non-fiction, it is probably worth figuring out what kinds of things people would search that would lead to you.

As close as I get to Cozy Mystery Page 1
If you Write FICTION

Let's think about this problem. Do people 'search' fiction on sites that aren't book sites? I think they DO, but from my own experience, I think they do it when they are searching for books that meet this or that criteria. My Cozy mysteries are a good example. I should probably start tagging blog posts for those with 'gardening themed mystery' and 'Roanoke fiction' (or some combo thereof) because in fact, those are fields that are small enough I might make it high on the list, but topics people might search. In fact I half suspect those Berkley editors THOUGHT of all this (waves at Emily)... I won't top a list like 'Cozy mystery' as there are too many of us, but there certainly is a chance the smaller category will be searched.

For Blogs with No Product (whether there should be a 'yet' added or not)

There was an example of a blogger who is African American and writes Science Fiction—a rare combo, apparently... she made a theme of it—pulling African American readers to sci-fi by writing stories that included more diverse characters. Her tags and themes earned her a big following (possibly because she got a fair bit of press) well before she had books to sell.

For the MOST Part, I felt the marketing gurus were missing part of the point of blogging... missing that BLOGGING is not about reaching readers to nearly the degree it was about networking with a system of compatriots, all ready to help each other out when the time arrives... The person who SEARCHES me and arrives once, is less likely to STAY than somebody invested in all of this as PROCESS. A relationship is not built in a hit... SURE, there is probably love at first visit... I've had people say that... I've fallen in love with blogs first visit... it happens. But it is the repeat visits that build the relationships. I'd never be deluded enough to think I could make somebody ACT on a first visit.

So I think we are doing okay, even if we don't have any idea about SEOs... That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

If you NEED it, how do you DO it?  What do I look like? An expert?  I really don't know. I think tags help, but I think here is also something more complex you can do... Maybe Hiveword has advice.  HA!  yes... just checked, there are several blogs.  Go THERE. They know more than me. [for anyone who doesn't know, Hiveword is a writer's blog database--you can find ANYTHING there]


Crystal Pistol said...

Congratulations on Naked World Domination! You've earned it! :)

Old Kitty said...

I say just keep being most NAKED!! The world will soon see sense and come to you! Yay! take care

Hart Johnson said...

teehee--Thank you, Crystal!

Jenny-that's what I keep saying, but it can be slow going!

Pat Hatt said...

With my blog I just post what I want and screw the SEO. I've done that up the ying yang with twitter and all that other social media stuff, blog is just for interaction and to have a little fun ranting. So much better to build a few relationships with it, then to have a bazillion followers and only 2 comment..haha

CA Heaven said...

Yes, I think your name came up last time I searched for cross-dressed death eaters >:D

To be serious; I'm scared of this searchability of everything. That's why I keep my professional life and my blogging and amateur fiction writing strictly separeted.

Cold As Heaven

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It is all about the relationships. otherwise, we could just make a website and be done with it.
I wonder where I turn up in a search for Ninja captains...?

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

All over the blog world, say naked and you pop up. You must be doing something right. :-)

Anonymous said...

SEO makes my brain hurt. I get people to my blog with so many weird search terms. The two biggest this week are "Alex O'Loughlin" and "finish line." No clue why but oh well. :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

That pic of the cowboy is pretty hot. You know how to pick them Hart.

Hart Johnson said...

Pat--welcome! And EXACTLY! I pretty much post what I want, too.

CaH-Ah, yes, but you WANT to remain anonymous. Some of us are naked...

Alex-Totally, on the relationships!

Mary-*snort* I'm so honored!

Liz-I have some really arbitrary search terms, too--I think Cabana Boy is still my top. (and welcome to you, too!)

Michael-I actually have a friend who got to hug this guy when he hung out at Time Square... (he's super tall, too, which is a hot button for me)

Megan Bostic said...

I don't worry about SEO for my writing, but in my day job, it's important. If studied it, gone to conferences, taken classes.

It's big for business owners.

You want a quick class, let me know. :)

Jeanette said...

Ugh. I worked for six months for a company that handled real estate web sites, and SEO was pretty much the lifeblood of the company. As often as not, this consisted of seeding as many highly-searched terms into web pages as possible. It made my head hurt.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I've tried at this SEO stuff, and it's just so much work. Now I just make sure I've got tags, make sure info about me is correct, and check my google stats once in a while. I think the most important thing is to own your name - literally.

Unknown said... lost me at the nekkid dude and guitar...

Carol Kilgore said...

Totally agree about blogging. I wonder if that guy would come to my house and play? I have a guitar someplace. We could worry about that later . . . .

Hart Johnson said...

Megan-that's GREAT that you can help! I will give a shout if I get there! (I can be sort of scattered... you may have noticed.

Jeanette-I think it makes MY head hurt, too!

Carolyn-that is sort of what I figure, but to search for your NAME, you need your army to have gotten your name out there!

Liz, I know, right?

Carol-it's a long commute... I think he's based in NYC normally.

LTM said...

I was trying to do some of that whole SEO stuff when I put out my editor shingle... I'm not sure I'll pop up if you search "editor for hire"... but I do pop up with some search terms.

I'm not complaining!

Yep, relationships. And kicking nekkid cowboy butt. Gently. :D

Trisha said...

I totally agree that blogging for a writer is more about networking with their fellow writers, building up a support group, etc. Until they make it big, and then it's more about reaching readers.

Thanks for initiating me into this SEO comprehension club. :D I have Googled my blog before and I do come up pretty quickly if I search for "word stuff" (#3 on the list).

Johanna Garth said...

Interesting, I do try to tag for SEO (although I'm sure I could do a better job of it) and it's surprising how many people find my blog and stick around based on the most random searches.

Heather Savage said...

As you know, I met you in that particular SEO discussion but have since stopped following it after it started to get repetitive. Anyway, when it started I had just signed up for an EXPENSIVE marketing boot camp dealing with the very same things as the discussion so felt very good about it. Thus far, I've learned that for an indie publisher like me and small potatoes author (under 5,000 books is little) it is all about creating a customer base and inspiring loyalty. It's all stuff that I knew before but am learning how to get the word out more effectively. SEO's? Yeah, those are important, but in fiction, they have to do a search for you specifically or catch one of your tags. Lesson? Make many tags and have them be both general as well as specific. ie: YA fiction & girls who knit while scuba diving. Clearly this is an example, knitting needles could puncture your air line.