SEO and Self-Publishing Part 1 (Keywords)

If you read my newest post today you’ll be aware that I’m starting a new series of articles aimed at teaching comic book creators about SEO. It’s a rather large topic so I won’t be able to cover everything I’m afraid but I’m going to do my best to cover off what I feel are the most important.

In its most basic form SEO can be summarized as:

  1. Keywords
  2. Links (Inbound, Outbound and Internal)
  3. Metatags
  4. Content
  5. Visuals
  6. Domains and URLs

Some are more important than others but if you land some of these things as much as possible you’ll find that you have a “Google Friendly” website. One that will bring you web traffic and will continue to do so in the future.

You will also probably find that some of your visitors will likely find you by mistake so to speak. They weren’t seeking out your “name” or “comic” in Google. They just so happened to land on your website thanks to your SEO. Hell, I don’t think I’m fooling anyone with why I’ve taken the direction that I have with my own website. Talking about comics and doing a series of How To tutorials brings me visitors daily to my website. These are people that may not even know that I make comics. Nor, know who I am or care who I am.

This is what proper use of SEO does, it brings visitors to your website. Today I’d like to look at Keywords.

SEO Keywords for Comic Books

Typically when a business or niche website builder makes a website it revolves entirely around a keyword or a subject. So if you’re selling office furniture, those two words would probably feature heavily in your site. There are a couple areas where you’d want to feature your keyword heavily.

  • <title> tag
  • your URL if at all possible
  • your Keyword Density in your posts/pages
  • Anchor text
  • your Headings (H1, H2, H3 tags)
  • at the beginning of your content, first paragraph
  • your <alt> tags
  • Meta keywords
  • and even Synonyms

So let’s have a look at some of those in use and what that could look like.

Every page/post/URL has a <title> tag. This is one of, if not the most important places to have a keyword because what is written inside the <title> tag shows in the Google search result as your page title. The title tag must be short (6 or 7 words at most) and it helps to have the keyword near the beginning. The most effective page titles are about 10-70 characters long, including spaces.

Here’s a handy little Google SERP Snippet Optimizer to help you understand it in action. Fill in your details in the boxes provided and right below that it spits out what your result would look like in Google’s Search Page.

Keyword Density is another factor that plays a role. You’re aiming for a 3-7% keyword density in your pages/posts. Anything above 10% looks suspicious to Google and is seen more as Keyword Stuffing. So basically don’t write a keyword dominating post. If I’m talking about “Computers” in a post for example, the word “Computers” shouldn’t be every other word.

The Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a link. Anchor text of inbound links is very important because if you have the keyword in the anchor text in a link from another site, this is regarded as getting a vote of confidence from this site. Not only about your site in general, but about the keyword in particular.

Example:

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page">Wikipedia</a>

The Anchor text is Wikipedia in the above.

Using Headings in your Comic Book Posts

The above is the Heading code in action. Google finds words or phrases that are written on websites using the html Heading tags. (H1, H2, H3) It then gathers information from them and puts them in a certain order of importance. Using only one <H1> heading per page will strengthen your SEO. Typically the title of your page will be H1. So leave it as is and if you use another make it a H2.

Your Image <alt> tags definitely play a role as well. Search engines don’t physically see images the way people do. <alt> text is an option that allows you to specifically describe the image. It’s in your best interest to fill these out. Even better to put some keywords in there! It’s also used by “screen reader” software so that a person who is listening to the content, someone who is blind for example, can interact with your website.

Meta keywords are words or phrases that pertain to your site’s content. In the past, people have tried to take advantage of this tag so now it doesn’t affect your search rankings the way that it used to but it’s still a good thing to fill out as Yahoo and Bing search engines still use them. List a few but don’t overdo it as it’ll just dilute the information. I like to use around 7-9 keywords.

Optimizing for secondary keywords can be a gold mine because when everybody else is optimizing for the most popular keywords, there will be less competition (and probably more hits) for pages that are optimized for the minor words. Using Synonyms or secondary keywords is great for this.

So having learned all of this information you’re probably curious how it could help you.

Well, if I were creating a science-fiction comic book, I’d probably focus on the keywords “sci-fi” and “comic book”. Next, I would devise a sort of plan to use the opportunity to talk about other sci-fi material. This could be influences on your own comic book creation stemming from the sci-fi field or even current news that you find fascinating regarding space exploration or planets being found. Basically, talk about sci-fi stuff!

So instead of just doing measly posts about I dunno — I just got this piece of art in from my artist — talk about your interests surrounding the subject matter of your book. You’re bound to receive extra traffic from your keyword targeted posts than you previously thought you’d get. Before you know it, you may even convince someone to buy your book that doesn’t even read comic books. Nor has any clue who you even are.

Phew. As you can see, SEO is a big topic. It’s very easy to dig deeper and get lost in it all.

So here’s your call to action for today: Is anyone using these sorts of methods? Have you ever been surprised by some web traffic coming from places you didn’t expect?

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About Adam

Adam got his start in comics illustrating and colouring the book Shuddertown from Image Comics/Shadowline. He’s now concentrating his efforts on self-publishing and a larger move into writing novels and helping other authors get their work published. He recently launched his first small press publishing company, EnemyOne, which was realistically over 10 years in the making. He enjoys reading comic books and in particular old, pulpy, crime novels.

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