Here and there around the internet I've heard that authors need to make sure that there websites and blogs have SEO or Search Engine Optimization. I put the information into my memory banks and didn't much think about it. But then the other day on an industry blog, a web guru advised writers to hire a web programmer to build a website for them to include SEO at a cost of $1000 - $1500 AND to ditch blogger and set up their blog on wordpress because you can't do SEO on blogger.
The engineering part of my brain went WTF?!? You can edit the html code on blogger, so you can do whatever needs to be done to get SEO on your blog. But I was assured by the webguru and the blog host that ALL the web progamming experts and gurus say that you NEED to have SEO on your blog and website. The engineering part of my brain was not satisfied with their answer.
Here's the thing about web gurus and computer geeks, they love the bells and whistles of computers and programming. I have much experience with these types of people as my son is one of them. "Oh mom, you need this sound card and this video card to get the best sound and graphics on your computer." Except that I wasn't into computer gaming and those things are only necessary for a great gaming experience. Then there are the mac users vs. windows users arguments. Yeah... Most of us couldn't tell the difference between using a Mac and using Windows. The only people who need to use a Mac are those people who do sound and video editing or graphics like architects and graphic artists. So, the probability that a web guru is telling you that you need to have something you really don't need to have is high.
Web programmers and developers love to complicate things as well. Here's an example: CSS or Cascade Styling Sheets. I still haven't figured out why they are better than using the font or italics or bold codes. In HTML the code for italics is < i > . With a CSS, the code for italics is < s p a n s t y l e = " f o n t - s t y l e : i t a l i c ; " > You tell me which one is easier to remember and type? Right. And yes, I have not yet learned how to use CSS as it appears to be a waste of my time and energy and makes an easy coding job more difficult.
Your eyes are probably rolling into the back of your head, so I'll get to the point.
SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It is doing things to your blog or website so that it will appear higher in the search engine results like google or yahoo or whatever search engine one uses. Sounds like something one really needs, right?
Well, no, not if you're an author. People do not use google or yahoo or some other search engine to browse or search for books they might like to read or new authors they might like to check out. It would be a monumental exercise in frustration to search the entire internet for a book or author when you're just browsing. Amazon or Barnes and Noble are better places to browse for unknown books or authors. In other words, regardless of whether you have SEO or not, no one is going to find you doing a general search on google or yahoo.
And if someone does a search for you using your name or the title of your book on google, then you will pop up in the first slot or at least on the first page. I tested this with Cherie Reich, Aubrie Dionne, Nyki Blatchley, Lindsey Duncan, and a few others. Mette Pesonen who's only published work is The Annals of Hypnosia on Scribblers and Ink Spillers comes up on the top spot of a google search. And none of these pages have SEO.
The bottomline: SEO for an author is a waste of time and money. And if someone tells you to spend FIFTEEN HUNDRED dollars to do it, run the other way.