SEO for Content Creators: The Basics
Your creative talent and countless hours of hard work are seriously paying off. You’ve grown a fanbase that loves what you do and might even be supporting you on Patreon. You’re making some money doing what you are most passionate about and you’re even on the way to making this your full-time job.
But what about all your future fans who don’t know about you yet? Wouldn’t it be great if you could show up on the first page of a Google search for someone looking to find art exactly like yours?
It’s entirely possible that you are one search away from thousands of future fans who would be thrilled to find your work share it with their friends.
Guess what? It’s also entirely possible to optimize your website and work your way to the seemingly elusive #1 ranking on Google. This practice is known as Search Engine Optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO.
Here’s a bit about how it works, and some simple ways to get SEO for content creators to work for you.
What is SEO?
Every hour of every day, there are little robots scouring the internet crawling web pages and indexing them into search engines. These robots take all the technical components of your website into account as well as the text on every page.
Google is constantly changing the search algorithm and nobody really knows the secret formula they use to rank search results. However, tech wizards over the years have come pretty close to figuring out some solid patterns for what makes top ranking pages and creates SEO friendly websites.
In a perfect world, Google provides exactly what you’re looking for and delivers the most valuable results possible to the user.
Specifically, search engines rank you based on these three things:
CRAWLABILITY: Can the bots see your content?
Search engine robots are looking at both the words on a page as well as technical content in the HTML code that makes up a site.
HTML includes specific “tags” that help search engines index and display your content. These are great places to include specific and relevant keywords.
The length and simplicity of your URL also impacts crawlability. Try to create URLs that are descriptive, include relevant keywords, and are easy to read.
Sound technical? It is. But it also doesn’t have to be complicated. Squarespace and WordPress both provide tools that make the technical work easy.
Pro Tip: Study the Moz Beginners Guide to SEO — it is your new Bible.
RELEVANCY: Can people find your creations?
What would someone specifically search for to find your content on Google?
It could be someone who has never heard of your work who enters a search that specifically describes what you do. Perhaps it’s an existing fan looking for your tour dates, a specific podcast episode, or a description of your creative process.
Identify what makes you and your creations truly unique and include relevant keywords in your content and HTML tags. Be specific!
It’s likely that there are many more people searching for “alien webcomic” than “alien webcomic with psychic female characters.” However, if you’re creating alien webcomics and are trying to rank in search using “alien webcomic,” you’ll likely be buried among millions of other search results under such a broad term. You can bet the person searching for those hyper-descriptive keywords who finds your work might become one of your biggest fans.
Pro Tip: Get friendly with Google Trends!
AUTHORITY: How trustworthy is your site?
Is your content providing honest, reliable, and accurate information? Authority accounts for how trustworthy your site is.
One key to success for demonstrating your authority is simply creating content that is reliable, valuable, and shareable. While search engines don’t actively fact check what you produce, your audience certainly will. You never know who is sharing your content. If a big-league journalist from Forbes finds their way to your blog from a tweet about your article, you might get lucky enough to generate some press coverage and a backlink.
Traditional SEO strategy for building authority focused heavily on getting big name sites to link back to your own as the gold-standard solution for higher search rankings. Although a link from The New York Times is certainly not going to hurt your search rankings in the slightest, a well-written article or positive review by a world class journalist showcasing your art is a far more valuable means of illustrating your trustworthiness and getting your work in front of more future fans.
Getting this kind of coverage from ultra-authoritative sites is not easy. For the Rolling Stone to feature you in a prominent section of their site, you have two main options. You can become the subject of breaking news–which is largely beyond your control–or, create content that is so irresistibly good that Rolling Stone can’t help but feature it.
Pro Tip: You don’t need a mainstream media publication to cover your art to demonstrate your credibility. Instead, collaborate with other creators you respect and admire by co-creating or co-promoting content — even just linking to each others work! This can be fun for you and your audience, so everybody wins.
6 QUICK WINS to Rank Higher in Search Results
Crawlability, relevancy, and authority are the backbones of effective SEO. Here are some all-encompassing tips that will make a difference.
- First Things First… Make sure your keywords are in the title of your content. This is among the easiest ways to incorporate relevant keywords into your content.
- Know your traffic! Before you work on your SEO, you need to be able to measure your traffic.Google Analytics is the simplest solution. It’s free, easy to implement, and works on whatever platform you’ve built your site on. Be sure to also learn your way about Google Webmaster Tools.
- Create new content and update your site regularly. Search engines love active websites and fresh content. It also provides your fans will more content to admire, share, and engage with. Aim to publish something at least once a week.
On a similar note…
- If you don’t have a blog, start one and publish regularly. Adding more relevant content to your site creates more opportunities to show up in search results! It also gives your audience even more reason to love your work, share with their friends, and support you on Patreon.
- Transcribe anything that’s not available in written text. Your podcast audio, the dialogue in your webcomic, or lyrics of your songs might be loaded with relevant keywords!
- Don’t overdo it! If you’re spending more time on SEO than your creations, you’re probably doing something wrong.
Lastly, remember this: It’s not about the search bots. It’s about your audience.
Search engines are designed to provide value to your fellow humans, not to the robots that determine search rankings.
By creating content and an experience that your audience finds valuable, you’ll also be optimizing for the search engines. As your search rankings improve so will the quality, commitment, and enthusiasm of your audience.