35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richard Wiseman
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 16:21:19

    I totally agree. What happened to writing because it makes you happy and selling the stuff because it makes other people happy and is good writing. I wrote a blog about how digital books and all that hasn’t changed anything for writers, but I guess I could update that with what you’ve written.. add the fact that agents are now expecting the author to do quite a bit of the work for them too. If you’re interested in my comments on the e-book self publishing and self promo farce, have a look at my blog, link below. This is all just getting silly. It’ll take a while for the money mad scum to drop out and then only the enthusiasts will be left. I can see this bandwagon getting so heavy with passengers that it just won’t move. http://richardwiseman.blogspot.com/ and find first post below two war poems. (Scroll down). Otherwise thanks for information. I could have guessed as much as you wrote and I’m glad to hear you say it, because it confirms what I thought was going on. Thanks for insight. Take care buddy and play the long game!


  2. Rebecca McCarthy
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 16:30:05

    I am never sure what constitutes “sex SEO.” If I look at my blog and the numbers, I find that a silly piece I did on “truck nuts” and another silly piece I did on Bidets continue to get many hits. When school starts, I get a lot of hits on articles I wrote about ethics, classism, and economic theory (people looking to understand Marx), all pieces I wrote back in grad school days. But these are the popular topics. I am often baffled as to why one topic will bring in more traffic than other topics. I would love, however, to do an experiment. Write one post two ways: 1) normally without forcing SEO terms into the text, and 2) the same post with a few SEO keywords thrown in. Would traffic really change that much? And … how do you find those sexy SEO words to use anyway?


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 16:41:25

      Hi Rebecca: finding those SEO words is a chore unto itself. I’ve heard from a number of people that my SEO wordage isn’t “sexy” enough. When I ask what they are, well, that is when the hemming and hawing comes in. Now, if you want to PAY someone to find them, they will jump out of the woodwork. Yes, it’s a new business, optimizing one’s website for more traffic in key words.

      Wow….typing that last sentence just made me nauseous.

      Rebecca: let me know if you do that experiment. I’d be really curious.

      Thanks for coming by.


  3. Pamanner
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 17:40:50

    Those sexy SEO’s. I hear them over and over again. I concur!


  4. InJensMind
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 17:51:38

    I have had people already comment in my spam of course that I need to use SEO correctly bla bla bla. My blog is where I write to get things out of my head. If I was focused on making money I would write for some company and get paid for it. I can answer the question about Sexy SEO because I have done it.
    In my mind, which may mean nothing, I use tag words that I know people will search for. In other words I use things in my articles that I know I would search for if I was looking for something.
    I can go days or a week and not write anything at all on my blog and still get hits. I have stalking spammers who keep 4 of my posts in my analytics every single day. I don’t want to be known for my SEO skills or writing about things everyone else is writing. I want to be known for my skillful writing about things nobody writes about. Maybe that is my problem! If I wanted to be like everyone else I would write about celebrities. I measure my own success by how deeply I have touched someone. Who cares if you can pump out a post everyday if nobody’s life has been altered by it…


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 18:18:31

      Thanks Jenni. Yeah, I basically feel this way as well. it should be content driven. There is just SO much out there, how do you get found if you don’t play the game sometimes?


  5. Li @Flash Fiction
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 18:54:41

    I did my own little experiment; I deliberately used the title “In Celebration of Filth” in a title just to see if I’d get more hits from…err…a particular class of people. Well, I did get a LOT more views from new people/sources. In fact, it’s one of my top posts of all time. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it was people looking for specific content – if so, I imagine many went away disappointed.

    That was the only time. I don’t even think about SEO, I don’t write for numbers, and I don’t even use that many tags. (I should; they work!) I do occasionally ping my blog, but for the most part I don’t self-promote like I should. I’m very lazy in that respect, but then I’m not actually writing a book at this point so not much to promote. (Excuses, excuses.)

    On the other hand, SEO does work; the trick is to maintain the integrity of one’s writing while working in phrases/tags which will catch the eye of the engines. It’s all a part of good marketing, and is necessary in this day and age of Everything Internet.


  6. Stephanie Queen
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 20:34:51

    I am, and am not, shocked by how much self-marketing has become so important to a writer BEFORE they’re even published.
    BTW, ditto on all your answers to the questions you posed.

    The best part of this blog post: The Pictures!! Love them all – especially the legs with follow-me stockings…where can I get a pair?


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 20:43:42

      Stephanie: the stockings or the legs? 😉

      Self marketing is a necessary evil now: so much material is out there. How do you know if some of the reviews on Amazon are not just from friends?


  7. Damyanti
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 21:17:46

    My answers to all the questions are pretty similar to yours, Stuart.

    I do add in SEO words, and wordpress tells me which words draw in the most visitors…I have fun adding them in to my fiction prompts. “Hourglass” is a term that gets a lot of hits for some reason, so one of the word prompts I gave you (remember?) was hourglass!

    For me writing is the most important thing. When I’m older and on my deathbed (hopefully, I’ll be much older so I have more time to write), I wouldn’t measure my life in terms of my blog popularity, or by the popularity of my writing. I would go for the volume of my writing, and the work I wouldn’t be ashamed at that point to call mine.


  8. Corinne Rodrigues
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 21:55:28

    It seems so silly that we need to engineer what we write so as to draw an audience….I’m trying to imagine Shakespeare working on SEO …Hmmm…wonder what key words and meta tags he used……But then we do live in different times and I’d suggest it’s best you leave that to the professional SEO guys to figure out. I got a free SEO report on my blog done by a company called BigRock – seemed good, but I was not up to paying them to take it further. In retrospect it was not too expensive – about $400 dollars as I remember. I’m sure you could find a similar company to do this for you.


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 22:01:31

      Hi Corrine: actually, I’m not looking for that. My post really was about what your first sentence is about: the whole numbers game drives me bonkers. Thanks, though. This is more an exercise, again, in what I don’t get, or fight getting.


  9. J.L. Campbell
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 22:44:58

    I don’t think about SEO when I blog. I used to when I first started blogging – you know the phase when you read absolutely everything about what you’re doing before you jump in? My word usage is usually centred around writing/readers anyway, so let’s hope I’m targetting the right crowd. I should check out the Google dashboard thingie to see what’s drawing people in.


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 13, 2011 @ 22:57:38

      I am the reverse: I’m only now really thinking about SEO and the “right words” and such. Again, not to reach that larger number, but to UNDERSTAND this whole SEO thing. If my son was here, he’d tell you how easily my eyes glaze over when I think about these type of things. It’s my way to trying to understand it as well as think: “is it worth it at all?”

      Thanks JL.


  10. Susan Kaye Quinn
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 23:08:48

    I like comments because I love conversation. That’s what keeps me coming back to blogging. Concentrating on SEO sucks the fun out of it, and for me that’s a cardinal sin, so I avoid it. Ditto statistics, although I do give them a glance on occasion. I work hard to have fun and share something of value with my readers. 🙂


  11. It's OK to be WEIRD!
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 00:32:38

    I’ve been trying to do better with my titles, too. Sexy, I dunno, but different at least, and often … you guessed it… weird! 🙂


  12. theliteraryshack
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 02:39:24

    I can’t but agree completely with your answers. I feel when there’s passion nothing more is required to steer one to success, because persuing your passion is the first success. And from my personal experience I have got a lot admirers of my work only because they see the fire in me. As long as one keeps at what one loves best other things are insignificant.
    Readership does matter but again it depends on the charisma impregnated in the work. So according to me, “Sexy SEO”‘s don’t matter as much as innovativeness.


  13. Jc Martin
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 04:11:36

    I don’t really think about SEO. Perhaps I’m being dim, but is there something on WordPress.org that tells you how many hits each post receives? My tag words are all publishing/writing/reading related. As J.L. says I hope it means I’m attracting the right target audience. Certainly don’t want to tag an article as “sex” just to see how many hits it gets — won’t want to disappoint! Besides, I much prefer having people leave comments.


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 14, 2011 @ 08:18:30

      Hi JC: the “sexy” words don’t mean you have to have sex, porn, etc in a title, just that they are Juicy, SEO words and phrases that people are looking for/at. Yeah, the sex stuff “sells”, but the it’s looking at the analytics, seeing what draws the most people, and reconfiguring those terms. Interview seems to be one of those words.

      Again, as I’ve stated often, I’m not with the numbers. This was more of a challenge to just see how things roll. It’s interesting to see what gets higher numbers when one feels the content is on a similar level.

      Thanks you.


  14. Valerie Hamer
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 09:06:15

    My friend has a wonderful blog with the word naked in the title. It’s about books and was never meant to be a tease word, but she gets lots of visits because of it. 🙂

    Personally I prefer to write titles which are clever, witty or fun.But I know that they should be SEO relevant – sometimes you just have to choose.


  15. Penelope J.
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 14:56:46

    I’m very glad that you brought up this subject. All agents now seem to require an “online presence.” However, two authors I know who were recently picked up by big NY agents had little/no online presence. However, as someone pointed out to me, a blog is an opportunity for an agent to assess your writing skills. As for SEO, you can look for words, particularly in the title, that will draw in readers (as in the comment using “Filth” in the title. However, what kind of readers? My most popular post, according to Google Analytics, was a little piece called, “What A Slip!” For unknown reasons, it has been a hit with every porn spammer out there. Another, “Try, Try, and Try Again”, which initially didn’t rate high, is now my highest ranked post???

    Content is still king. Copyblogger (an inspiring blog for writers/bloggers) emphasizes this while giving great tips on how to effectively use SEO. Early this year, I spent three months reading some of the top bloggers. One thing I noticed: they all have excellent content and high quality writing. Pick any post by say, Chris Guillebeau, and you will find yourself drawn into the subject and the way he writes.

    I’d like to believe, (as in the comment above from Richard Wiseman about “this bandwagon getting so heavy with passengers that it won’t move.”) that there is some way we can stand out in this ever-growing blogosphere, but I fear that would take more time than I’m willing or able to dedicate to it.


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 14, 2011 @ 15:12:01

      One of the first large jumps in numbers was when I posted the “I got a STD” award. That’s a while back, but it was my first glimpse into this mad numbers/tag words and phrases world.

      I agree with you and everyone else: it’s the content that will not only have me read and possibly leave a comment, but keep coming back AND subscribe to the blog. For me, those blogs are about writing, creative fiction, reading, educational issues, the arts & arts in education. Otherwise…I’m hit and miss. There are a few outside of this “box” I’m in, but for constant reading: yeah, it has to grab me to keep me.

      I’ll take a look at Copyblogger. Thanks Penelope.


  16. deniz
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 22:10:26

    Hmm, so what *are* sexy words for authors?
    I didn’t know that about the Muppet Show – congratulations to them!


    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 17, 2011 @ 22:16:39

      Deniz: that is the question. I think I’ll take some time, soon, to really research it, looking over my analytics, and make a post of it.

      It’s time to get things started!! 🙂



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