Ten Tips for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
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Don’t let anybody misinform you: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) matters, and it matters a lot.
Although it should go without explanation, here’s why: Google is the Number One Web site in the world (with an estimated 900 million unique visitors a month). Yahoo is Number 3, and Bing is Number 10.
And most of those people are on those sites for one reason and one reason alone: They’re looking for content. It boggles my mind that the same people who are yearning to extend the reach of their comic beyond the “webcomics community” can’t see the value of SEO. It is — absolutely — your ability to reach new readers. And that’s what we’re all trying to do, right?
So, SEO… if you underestimate it, you’re making a grave mistake.
To that end, I wanted to share ten tips I’ve collected to help you move towards optimizing your site’s SEO potential. They’re easy, intuitive, effective ways to improve your ability to grow your site.
The page title is a search engine’s primary target. It gets checked first and has a tremendous amount of relevence towards a search result. Word yours carefully. It should be descriptive, and it should use words that focus on your site’s content. However, cramming it with keywords will make your site look like spam, so don’t get carried away.
Word Press sites are well-tuned to search-engine optimization. Just using WordPress gives you a leg-up on SEO optimization. If you use one of the SEO plug-ins, experiment first to make sure that it’s not slowing down your site and/or eating up bandwidth. I’m told Yoast SEO is a good choice, but I have not experimented with it personally.
ALT IMAGE TAGS
Don’t discount the importance of adding tags to your image files. It’s an important step in making your site more accessible to a wider range of users, and it increases the chances of someone finding your content. If you use Comic Easel, there’s a tag function along the right-hand side of the Add Comic function.
KEYWORDS IN THE URL
Again, Word Press makes it easy. Go to Settings –> Permalinks and choose the option of Month and Name. When you name a post or a comic, use descriptive words in the title. That’s why it’s there.
Search engines find things more quickly when links to the content are posted on Twitter or Google Plus. Again, Word Press has a plug-in.
This is a hard one for most of us, but I want to put it out there. A lot of those searches are being done on a smartphone. If your site isn’t prepared for that, you’re going to have a high bounce rate from those users.
W3C has a free validation service. It will flag errors on your Web site. Fixing these errors makes your site more accesible and increases search-engine rankings.
This is one of those back-to-basics tips that I always overlook. It’s always good to get linked-to from a higher-ranking site. If that site has a forum or a commenting function, it’s a great idea to become an active participant and find appropriate ways to link to your comic. That’s not a license to spam. Meaningful, appropriate links get clicks, and that’s what it’s all about.
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT
This is advice I’ve posted here before, but it bears repeating. Your ability to blog regularly (and well) is a huge asset to improving your traffic. It’s crucial for Community Building, and it gives those search engine spiders something to chew on. Make time for it.
GET INTO THE HABIT
This isn’t a fix-it-and-forget it thing. You have to make this a regular part of how you put content on your site. It has to be something that’s in the back of your mind, guiding your decisions. Make it habitual.