Out of curiosity, a mood I sometimes find myself in these days, I sometimes Google myself or the things I have written. It’s a habit that started three years ago, when writing was yet wishful thinking and I was focusing on running an online fishing tackle supply, and it has since stuck.
Because I was competing in prices against several commercial names, I would spend hours researching the prices of their products vs. the prices of mine. There were a handful of my products that were unique and I created a small campaign to promote them. While I don’t need to get into the details, I will say that I just happened to find one of my products after doing a search.
As I was wont to do, I searched myself.
Lo and Behold, nearly all of my products popped up in the search! And thus the beginnings of an addiction was born.
No, not the addiction to finding myself online. I can see how you would jump to that conclusion! No, it is an addiction that pushed me to do things which would get me on the Google hot list.
With the business it was all about the products. The more I could find for my business; the more I could make mine to sell, the more I wanted to see if I was ‘searchable’ because of my efforts.
And just like my business, so too has it been for my writing as well.
When I first joined the WordPress experience, I could expect to find my work on the first or second page of a search using my pen name. It wasn’t long before R. Richardsson’s Beneath the Headstone, and the many posts that it contained were the only thing on the first three pages! How very exciting!
I continued to work hard on my posts. I began writing webseries for my site to help further the cause. (Oh, and because I also wanted to have free stories for you to read as well!) And for months, I felt like the King of the hill.
But this has all changed.
I have read that Google has made changes in how its code works, that these changes make it harder for a person to be seen. I completely understand that this is something built to help protect against the many, MANY scams that are out there, but what about the little man? What about the entrepreneur trying to make an honest living? What about the independent writer trying to get his or her name out there?
Maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. Or am I?
I know that my work stands on its own. It’s a testament to my efforts and I hope that you have enjoyed reading at least some of the stories I share with you.
I know that my work stands on its own, but it’s disheartening that you can’t find my pen name, either in written form or through images anymore. When I talk about my work with people in passing, if I’ve sparked enough interest in them, they may go and try to find out more about this R. Richardsson character who writes Horror, Paranormal Fiction and Fantasy. When they do, it’s as if I don’t exist. If you search for my website, ‘Beneath The Headstone’, now that’s a different story. At the time of this writing, there were at least three links on the first page alone!
I don’t claim to understand how Google figures its mechanics. I try to use what little SEO knowledge I have to the best of my ability. I don’t spam links to my site on people’s blogs, and when I comment on their own writing, I try to add something meaningful to their work. I promote my work on social media, but I also try to inject a sense of myself into my posts/tweets as well.
I feel like I’m doing all the right things, but as far as Google is concerned, there isn’t a search result where my name rightfully belongs these days? So the question remain; where did I go?
Well the answer is simpler than you think. I’m right here, you see, right where I belong; Beneath The Headstone, in the boneyard of my mind, where all stories are given a second chance at life.
I do so hope that you (continue to) enjoy these little beasties I keep sending your way, because sooner or later, one of them’s going to get you. And when it does, I hope it keeps you awake for many nights to come.
Or at least one. One is good.
SEO is a rabbit hole I wish I never descended. My knowledge of the subject is shallow, but deep enough to understand what it takes to get top-tier search results. It seems highly contrived, almost like a game.
You and me both. I’ve spent enough hours researching into the subject to make my head spin! Of all the techniques I’ve tried, and those I’ve mentioned in this article, I keep finding myself returning to the content. (How’s that go? Content is King?)
But oh, what a twisted game it is…