Friday, April 29, 2011

What is SEO, anyway?

One year, two publishing companies, and three websites later, I still have no clue what I'm doing when it comes to the inner workings of the internet. Sure, I have two blogs, and two URL's (one that currently feeds into the other), but at the end of the day, I'm doing all that I know to do and still I'm not sure it's enough.

To quote ad nauseum, publishing is the wild west of the internet's new frontier. But technology can't replace humanity. People still long to feel valued, appreciated. While some have warned against becoming too close because writers tend to lose their mystique, that's just not my style. Tweet, email, message me in any form or fashion and I'll always try to correspond back within 24 hours. Why? Because it's important to me that people know how much I appreciate them taking their time to reach out and connect in some way.

I didn't get into writing to make money. Good thing, because apparently the majority of writers are poorer than Job's turkey. Some call it "sacrificing for the craft". I personally think it's because writers spend their precious time writing, not learning the in's and out's of marketing, which is intricate, complicated and flat out frustrating. I'm not complaining. It's an honor each day to sit down and develop a story that will hopefully challenge the way people perceive the world. But I'd be lying if I said that some part of me wouldn't mind making a living as a writer. I think everyone has that dream. Going down the hall to the office, still in pajamas. Writing all day, maybe coffee with a beta group, lunch with the girls at the literary society, and then back home to crank out another blockbuster. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Which brings us back to the subject at hand. SEO. I know it stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's a way to bring a site higher in the search engine rankings when people search for related terms.

What I don't know is why, as a writer, is this relevant to me?

For example, this month alone we had over 1700 unique visitors to the author site, with over 20,000 hits. I sit here grinning like a jack-ass eating briars, not having a clue what this means.  It is fascinating to say the least, but it's a lot like trying to read Chinese.

So I'm just going to ask. What is SEO, anyway, and should I be a little more aggressive in learning about it?