Saturday, January 19, 2013

That's no accident - it's the result of a LOT of hard work

Last week my wife told me a friend of ours decided to look my novel up on Google. The cool thing was the official web site for THE TRIP was the first result to come up. My wife thought this was cool, but I already knew it was going to happen. I planted some seeds in Google when I set the page up, and those efforts are now bearing fruit.

Don't get me wrong - it's really cool to know someone else can find my site through a Google search. (It's one thing with me finding it myself, but it's a totally different feeling to see someone else succeeding at it)

So how did I do this? By day I'm a web developer. I know HTML, some jQuery, but I knew absolutely nothing about SEO (search-engine optimization). I bought a really good book on the topic - SEO Made Simple by Michael Fleishner - and put his advice into action. Voila! A couple weeks after deploying my novel's site, I can find it in Google.

I need to stress here I kind of had a leg up - my personal site (accessible off THE TRIP's site) was out and available for a couple years. Rather than starting over with a new domain, I decided to make my novel's URL a subsite under my personal web site. Why spend more money on another domain that I'd need to maintain when I can do whatever I want under my own banner?

So if you want to do this on your own, could you? Absolutely. You can learn HTML from a good book (I highly recommend Laura Lemay's book on HTML). It'll take a little work, but you can probably put together a basic site within a week or so. This custom built site - if you take Fleishner's advice - will be much better for your SEO rankings than an off-the-shelf site will be. ("Canned" sites tend to limit how much you can customize, and IMHO they tend to look a lot alike)

In a nutshell, landing on the top of a Google search result page isn't an accident. It's the result of a lot of work and - most importantly - time to reach that spot. You can't put a page together Sunday and expect to be at the top of Google by Wednesday.

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