Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Get Top-Rank on Search Engines

dark fern

When I teach about blogging at Mount Hermon, people are going to ask questions like this: how can I get top rankings on search engines? How can I stand out from the blogging pack?

This will compel me to share my success story. See, I get top-ranking (or at least some ranking) on search engines... for... well... searches with keywords like...

plant seedlings in stone
terracing your own yard
hands that flung stars into space
stone that removes scars
stones to help fall out of love
should we eat out of season tomatoes
stone shaping
h & m "mighty warrior" t-shirt

The good news is that anyone looking for L.L. Barkat might land here at Seedlings in Stone (notice that "L.L. Barkat" is in my blog subtitle?) The other good news is that anyone looking for magical stones might land here and find a spirituality more powerful than any stone on earth. The other good news is that gardeners and stoneworkers might find more growth and building advice than they bargained for.

What does this really mean? If you want to get top rankings for a particular niche, make sure your blog title and posts reflect the content of your desired niche. In other words, if you want to sell widgets, call your blog something like The Widget Place.

Conversely, you could be a writer who discusses art, writing, spirituality, and life, with a touch of grace... and name your blog something metaphorical like "Seedlings in Stone", then sit back and enjoy some unexpected visitors.

Fern Photo, by L.L. Barkat.


Randy Ingermanson's Branding Your Blog

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Blogger Llama Momma said...

Or you could name it after an animal, write about God and children and life in general, and really frustrate people who want to learn about the nighttime feeding habits of llamas.

Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. ;-)

2:41 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

Ha ha -- Llama's comment made me laugh. :)

I get such a kick out of looking into the keyword searches that get people to my blog. I get a lot of hits from people looking for "first cigar" and "spiders cockroaches lizard geckos Florida." Seriously. Handfuls and handfuls of hits from people with variations on these two themes.

Good luck in your Mount Hermon seminar. I'm sure you will do splendidly and those attending will be bolstered, gratified, and sufficiently tooled.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

How fun it is going to be to present together at Mt. Hermon!

Thanks for the link, by the way, but just what are you trying to say about the mission of my blog? ; )

The most accurate seo I've done was on HillCountryWriter quite by accident. I posted a series of Easter Dramas. It's not often searched for, but when people want them, they find my old skits. Funny.

Google Trends helps people look at the relative felt need of search phrases, by the way.

Are Llamas nocturnal?

3:10 PM  
Anonymous heather a. goodman said...

Wish I could be at Mt. Hermon with you fine folk :(
At Christmas time, I always get a slew of folks searching for Rudolph because of one post I wrote.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

You mean don't call your blog some cryptic name like "Every Square Inch"?

Where was all this good advice when I started blogging 18 months ago?

5:56 PM  
Blogger The Gyrovague said...

I love what people are searching for when they find me. It is a real gasser.

Keep up the writing.

11:14 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Llama... well... do you know anything about the night-time feeding habits of llamas?

Christianne... In fact, I clearly remember the posts that would draw in based on those keywords! As far as MH goes, I'm looking forward to it. And I'm glad that Marcus is going to come along and discuss some of the more techie stuff regarding blog tours.

Marcus... I like that about the Easter dramas. It shows that blog writing is not as ephemeral as some people make it out to be.

Heather... Rudolph! Now that's amusing.

Every Square... the flip side is that search engines aren't the only way people find us. And in that case cryptic names can be a draw.

Gyrovague... oh, do tell us some of your top keywords!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Thanks for the tip about putting my name in my blog description.:)

1:07 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

Actually, llamas sleep at night. They're not nocturnal at all.

And, contrary to popular belief, only llamas who have been abused spit at people. Lovingly cared for llamas are quite sociable. (Though they do spit at eachother, but that's another thing altogether...)

At least half of my google searches are about Llamas or Is your Mama a Llama, that sort of thing. I knew nothing about blogs or search engines when I started out.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

So what do you think I'd get if I name my blog ( ok, well maybe this summer I'll actually start one.... it will be the start of a 7 month Sabbatical the church is giving us) something like "Don't know what the hell to name this blog"?

2:13 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Eve... you're quite welcome. :)

Llama... thanks! I had no llama knowledge to speak of; you're giving me an education (even if it wasn't the planned mission of your blog-life).

Kim... !!!!! You're here! Oh, you've made my day. Now, about that name. I think you would draw a lot of angst-filled people who are wondering about the meaning of life and who name their children things like Kid 1 and Kid 2. (But, really, knowing the incredible thinker and writer you are, I don't think the name of your blog would much matter.... you'd develop a reputation through social networking, which is probably more powerful than anything search engine rankings could do for you.) Oh. I'm just smiling. You're here. :)

2:50 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

You all are so far ahead of me -- I don't even know how to find my top rankings. I love this post, though, LL. It's practical, and yet not trying to make a blog something it's not for the sake of a search engine. You're the real deal!

5:47 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

wonderful fern photo!

6:11 PM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

ummm... what if people find you by looking up 'dirty country girls'? what does that mean? :) that's just one of the many strange and funny searches that have led people to my blog. they obviously didn't find what they were looking for...

1:00 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

At last year's Mt. Hermon conference, a speaker in the professional track advised us to litter our websites and blog posts with attractive key words in order to increase traffic. A couple other non-fiction writers and I were uneasy with this suggestion. I'm glad to know L.L., that you are guided by art and spirit and Spirit. Of course, writers need an audience, so we must consider these things to some degree, which is why we so need Spirit!

The most interesting search term I have seen on my blog related to a post I did called "Desperate Minister's Wife." It was the testimony of a friend whose husband, a pastor, was a closeted homosexual. (She had crafted the title and the post.)

For weeks and weeks, people were linking in from a related term. I finally clicked back onto the site from which they were linking. It was a website where married women (reportedly 1,000,000+ of them) could advertise their availability for clandestine affairs. Shocking, to be sure, but I realized an opportunity had occured. I prayed for these people as they linked in to my friend's story of how her life was devestated by her husband's infidelity. Perhaps some were spared such heartache.

Amazing new ways to minister in the digital age.

Blessings to you as you speak, L.L. and Mark.

1:53 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Charity... check out Google Analytics if you'd like to track such things. Or, alternately, stay sane. Thanks for your sweet compliment too.

Nancy... yes! I was hoping someone would look at the photo. Isn't that an amazing fern? It just grows at the foot of the ivy in my "little woods". I don't know how it got there, but I love it, really love it.

Blue... no matter. Maybe it's just where they needed to end up. :)

Christine... good to hear your voice. I'd be interested to know who said that (I'd love to go look at their sites to see what I think!). Thank you for the thought that I'm guided by art, spirit and Spirit. It's a challenge to be wise in business while at the same time being innocent as a dove. Now, as to your Desperate experience, I think that's actually wonderful that those people ended up in the exact place they needed to be to hear the other side. It's a lack of empathy sometimes that allows us to go forward with damaging behavior.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Wonderful, great advice, L.L.

It is fun, while at the same time being serious. Or maybe both fun and serious at different times. Or the same time.

'Tis the end of a long week, as you can tell (I wish it was!). ha.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Here's the author's link.

He's a brilliant guy and shared a lot of good ideas. As you'll see from his website, he's a little over the top, but his site reflects his personality.


11:55 AM  
Anonymous ChiefHazelrah said...

You could tell your friends to advertise for you.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Christine, I love Randy Ingermanson! What a great guy. I'm glad to hear he's over the top. I used to teach Grapes of Wrath by having the students parade around the school singing the battle hymn of the republic, so he and I should get along just great at Mt. Hermon in March...

2:50 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I honestly don't have high expectations for my blog in terms of getting ranked in search engines. Hmmmm. Don't even know fully how I would make that happen. Anyway, my blog name, Preparation4Eternity doesn't seem to inspire much in the way of traffic. Don't even know how I'd check or know other than people who leave comments (which definitely aren't many) It's all I can do to post once a week with my work and home schedules. What would it be like to write for a living? Hmmmm...

3:36 PM  
Blogger Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Good blogging is all about good writing. Do that (as you do), and the people will keep coming back for more.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Glad to hear it Mark! Have a good time. I may drive up for a day. L.L. will have to introduce us.


10:24 PM  
Blogger A Musing Mom said...

May have to rethink my blog name. Or start a new one. Although I'm thinking I must have "arrived" in the blogging world because my blog does up as number two on a search for "Do boiled peas really cure fish?".

Wish I could go to Mt. Hermon -I'd be sure to come to your seminar!

12:25 PM  

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