Prior to launching this blog on July 29, 2010, I Googled “Tosh McIntosh” and learned a few things: the #1 result linked to a complaint filed against a financial advisor of that name in California, the #2 result linked to a Facebook page for Tosh McIntosh of the United Kingdom, there are lots of Tosh McIntosh’s out there, and I was nowhere to be found within the first 20 pages of search results.
A few weeks after launch I had made it to the lower half of the first page. A few months later I claimed the #1 spot.
Which, of course, is information of dubious value because the purpose of search-engine optimization is not only to bring visitors to your site who are looking specifically for it, but to attract with the presence of key words those who are searching for a topic related to your site.
With that in mind, I’ve been periodically conducting key-word searches. The first and most obvious ones are “aviator and writer,” which a few months ago resulted in top hits for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Ann Morrow Lindbergh.
A few days ago I searched those words again and discovered that I had reached the #1 spot. Although my purpose in noting the change might be construed as self-aggrandizement, my objective is to highlight the initial advice given me by my friend, fellow writer, and all-around energy whirlwind Deanna Roy.
Website/blog activity as evidenced by regular addition of content is the key to attracting attention. Search engines notice activity and focus on it. A perfect illustration of this effect is to note the increase over time of the total number of pages of Google results for a given key word search. Ten months after a search for Tosh McIntosh found no links related in any way to me, it produced 34 pages of results.
At this time of “seismic shift” within the publishing industry, a phenomenon Deanna documents in her excellent post here, the importance of creating a marketing position cannot be overemphasized for any writer considering self-publishing as an option to the traditional route through an agent to one of the “big 6.”
Thanks again to Deanna for her assistance in launching my foray into the online world and predicting the most important lesson of the past ten months: frequent blogger activity attracts visitors and is the most effective way to establish and maintain an online presence.