SEO: The Real Way to Set Yourself Apart

VS-SEO

As webcomics became a viable way to build an audience and earn a living, things like SEO, social media and a great website were a great way to set yourself apart from other comics.  In fact, SEO was really good to invest in when comics were unique to the web space.  Unfortunately, webcomics are not unique anymore. In addition, there is so much on the web competing for the same eyeballs every second of the day, in my opinion you shouldn’t waste your time.

It’s simply not worth the investment.

I’m not saying completely ditch SEO. On a basic level, it’s certainly good understand and think about as you’re posting your comics and employ best practices, but you shouldn’t go overboard. How specific is your comic? Unless you’re serving a specific niche, then you should invest your time in your comic. Technology improves so quickly and the dynamics involved in what search engines are looking for evolves at pretty much the same rate. It’s difficult for companies with SEO staffs to keep up.

What does that mean for you? What is the benefit for you to have great SEO?

That’s one thing I’ve learned being away from creating a daily comic – it’s not enough to just crank out a comic that’s kind of funny or almost good every day. It’s important to maintain a schedule to meet your audience’s expectations, but I would argue it’s even more important to create unique and great comics. Frankly, if you’re not doing that, then you should ask yourself what exactly are you doing. If you’re spending a lot of time doing SEO, then maybe it might serve you well to go work for an SEO company – get paid for it! A great comic is what is going to build your audience. It doesn’t have to be great now, but every second you get away from a rewrite, sketching or trying something new is a loss of your investment in developing your talent.

Think about it. No matter how hard you work on everything else, you are going to lose visitors, readers and fans – it’s inevitable. Despite all your hard work improving SEO, making social connections and meeting your comic deadline there are thousands of reasons people will wander away from your site, your facebook page and your comic.

Now think about this: your time developing your skill or honing your talent is a complete investment in yourself which you won’t lose as long as you keep drawing, writing and improving.

So hopefully it’s apparent that I’m comparing the amount of effort to build SEO, your social strategy and your website with the amount of effort to build your talent. Which do you think is a more valuable investment? Which is really going to set you apart from other comics?

I believe your talent can grow and improving is what is really what is going to set you apart. Invest in yourself.  Afterall, I think we’d all rather read a great comic strip with bad SEO than a bad comic with great SEO.

Ken Drab at the dentist's officeKen Drab (me) has a small brain but a savant-like interest in branding, marketing and design. He better, that’s what he gets paid to do in real life. In make believe – he’s a webcomicker with a mediocre comic but a solid brand. Regardless, this is an ongoing series where we take a look at the concept of branding and how it applies to your comic. We’ll highlight do’s and don’ts as well as look at fixes. We’ll also be taking requests and take a critical but constructive approach to help real comic artists nail down their brand. So if you’re willing to put yourself out there – let me know. Email me directly at rtswebmail [at] gmail [dot] com or click here and add Comic Brand-Aid in the subject line. I’ll contact you if I think I can help you and we can help others by showcasing my recommendations.

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Posted in Business, Featured News, Guest Posts, Helpful Hints and tagged , , , .

19 Comments

    • Search Engine Optimization. It is putting in keywords into the code, or the back-end, of your website or blog. Like this post has “Tags” for comics, seo, etc. When you “optimize” a website, you’re putting in “tags” or SEO code for each page, and these keywords must match up to the content of the page and the site. Like on this page we have put in the “tag” of “webcomic” as we deal with webcomics as does this article.

      The idea of all this work is to rank your blog or comic higher in Search Engine searches. It can be a TON of work and I happen to agree with Ken in that if you waste too much time on doing SEO, you’re losing time creating and perfecting your comic/art.

      That’s SEO in a nutshell. I guess we should have explained that in the article. Funny that Ken made an assumption we all knew what that was! Sorry about that.

      Byron

  1. Hey Ken! Good to have you back for a little bit with this article!
    Funny how fast things change. What was important 5-10 years ago is almost useless. Next up: RSS. Google Reader is almost dead. RSS feeds aren’t as popular. I wonder what people will utilize to keep up with their favorite comics online now?

    • I use twitter, Dawn. As well as visiting the Name(required) links of people who comment on my own comic/website. Add to that my very long list of browser bookmarks for comics (so many that I don’t get around to them all anymore)and that’s about it for how I keep up with my favourite comics. WordPress now has a built-in function (a kind of internal rss) that informs you of updates of comics sites you’ve given it permission to follow. I use about three of those.

    • Dawn, my sense has been that people use social media [twitter and facebook] and mobile web apps to keep in touch with content they wish to follow. e-mail subscriptions don’t seem to be fading away either.

      The problem with web apps right now, is either they link to your website, but don’t indicate when it has updated, or you can make a web app that connects to your rss feed, twitter or facebook that will indicate an update. Problem is, in a test I did with people, they didn’t like being directed to an RSS feed, they dont care to read my tweets, they just wanted the site. Going for a native app is a waste of time and resources, so I won’t bother with that at all.

      Now, this is where someone smarter than me steps in and says my mobile web app can be live and not static… [waits]

      As for the SEO aspect of all this, I’ve spent zero energy on it.

  2. A thought provoking article, Ken. Thank you.

    I will now stop worrying about SEO matters and simply continue to use appropriate tags for each post. Over-optimization is a 21st century disease. Welcome to the rat race of the future.

    Now THAT gives me an idea for a story. lol

  3. Well proven, Ken! It’s an absolute virtue for webcomic artists to focus on their art at this early stage, as opposed to trying too much self promotion all at once.

  4. Thank you for posting this post, we apperciate your post on As webcomics became a viable way to build an audience and earn a living, things like SEO, social media and a great website were a great way to set yourself apart from other comics. In fact, SEO was really good to invest in when comics were unique to the web space. Unfortunately, webcomics are not unique anymore. In addition, there is so much on the web competing for the same eyeballs every second of the day, in my opinion you shouldn’t waste your time.

  5. It is very true that tools to promote your site on search engines have a limited shelf life. SEO & RSS went hand in hand and as such are nearing their expiration date. Google is always upping the ante and changing the algorithm in which it ranks sites. Remember meta tags and keywords? I can’t tell you the amount of potential clients who drop a stack of keywords they want included in their website. I feel for the SEO companies that fail to adapt to the newer Social Media Management model, but unfortunately, that model is in midlife and we will have to figure out how to use the next tool that comes along, whateve that tool may be.

    As with all technologies, there are the trailblazers that lead the way on the tech spiral, getting the newest gadgets, software, etc., and then those who wait for all the bugs to be worked out before making the switch. As a comic site on the web, we need to be somewhere closer to the trailblazer but not so much as we’re jumping into a model that may be a dead end and then have to figure out where to backtrack to find the open road again.

    That being said, I agree with Ken in that if we spend too much time with SEO and not enough time with the comic, what’s the point? The best skill to learn is juggling. That way we can devote an appropriate amount of time to what needs to be focused on and then shift to the next task that needs attention. No one said it was going to be easy, it is work after all and we are marketing a product, but once you get juggling down, it should be a bit smoother…at least until you have to learn a new task.

  6. I’ve been thinking, after putting so much effort on things other than just putting out a great comic, that what I’m missing is a great reliable comic (and a blog). I’ve learned my lesson and I’m at a point in my life where I just enjoy finishing projects and making my comics. Social marking, cons, seo, ect are only time wasters if the primary thing is not being made.

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