Two Steps to Being the Top Google Search Result

A headline like that is sure to draw traffic, right? I do actually list two steps to being the top Google search result below, but will then emphasize how what a blogger really wants is not a high click-through rate for a single post but a vibrant community of readers who keep coming back.

But you want to know how to be the top search result, right? So let’s get to it.

  1. Focus on a less common term: It’s probably going to be hard to top the charts with a generic name like “Internet” or “music” or “ravishingly beautiful.” (I’m sorry if you take offense at me dismissing your chances at that last suggestion, I could be woefully mistaken.) But within two months of launching this blog three years ago one of its posts became the top link for a Google search, and this blog continues to dominate that search today. The term? “Crustacean Christmas.” (I don’t want to hear that no one would ever consider conducting that search.)
  2. Put photos of personal craft projects in your post: You heard me. The first Crustacean Christmas post, and the follow-up post the next year, included photos of family holiday display projects, namely plywood characters we drew, cut out and painted. I’ll bet this is a tip you don’t usually see in the near-infinite number of blog posts giving advice on search engine optimization, or SEO. (I would note that, just like a pitchman on late-night television offering to send you a free book on how to get rich, someone offering SEO advice for free on a blog is probably providing value equal to what you are paying.)

So in the spirit of this post, I will seek to position The Artist’s Road atop a more competitive Google search result. The term? “Political Pumpkins.” (I like alliteration.) It will be a heavy lift, because the current top result is by a mom-and-pop organization called the Associated Press. To fulfill step #2 above, here are some jack-o-lanterns I’ve carved in recent years at my home in suburban Washington, D.C.

I'll start with this year's creation. The stupid federal government shutdown may be over, but I'm not over the stupid federal government shutdown.

I’ll start with this year’s creation. The stupid federal government shutdown may be over, but I’m not over the stupid federal government shutdown.

This was last year's creation. Yes I am a supporter of President Obama, and his logo proved pretty easy to carve.

This was last year’s creation. Yes I am a supporter of President Obama, and his logo proved pretty easy to carve.

This was my 2008 attempt at mimicking the Shepherd Fairey Obama image. Unfortunately I think I made the soon-to-be president look a bit sinister, exactly not my intent.

This was my 2008 attempt at mimicking the Shepherd Fairey Obama image. Unfortunately I think I made the soon-to-be president look a bit sinister, exactly not my intent.

Was my 2009 creation political? Well, perhaps with this globe I was calling for world peace.

Was my 2009 creation political? Well, perhaps with this globe I was calling for world peace.

Structural integrity proved a challenge with this globe. North and South America were pretty stable, but…

Europe, Eurasia and Africa simply weren't sufficiently anchored with pumpkin. Within 24 hours this globe was collapsing as if it were in a Michael Bay movie.

Europe, Eurasia and Africa simply weren’t sufficiently anchored with pumpkin. Within 24 hours this globe was collapsing as if it were in a Michael Bay movie.

In case my sarcasm has been too subtle, I’m not a big fan of SEO evangelists. I am a big fan of compelling blogs well-written. That is the focus of my online Loft Literary Center course “Becoming a Standout Blogger: How To Create, Write and Grow a Compelling Blog.” The six-week workshop-style course focuses on creating a blog that draws the reader back again and again. My next session begins January 13th.

Yes, I did indeed just sneak a commercial into this post. My apologies. But why wouldn’t I want to plug the class for the next two months to anyone who goes to Google to search “Political Pumpkins”?

If you’re a blogger, what are some odd search terms that lead readers to you? If you’re on WordPress you’ll find the results on your Dashboard. Or what search term do you wish you could dominate?

About Patrick Ross

I'm a writer chronicling his commitment to living an art-committed life, which included a cross-country road trip meeting with creatives of all stripes.

10 Responses to “Two Steps to Being the Top Google Search Result”

  1. Nice pumpkin carving! I’m a blogger, also living an art-committed life. I think your advice is solid but I tried market-blogging a few years ago and have learned about myself that I’d rather the vibrant community of bloggers who keep coming back.

  2. Related but unrelated, I’d actually love to hear about what its been like to run your online course, what it was like to develop, etc. LOVE your pumpkins :) I haven’t seen an East coast fall in 7 years now and I really miss it.

    • Hi Carrie! I can imagine you miss an East coast fall, and if I recall you were from the Southeast, where the foliage is as thick as anywhere around. Growing up in Arizona, I experienced the fall much like you are likely now; I miss winter in AZ but not fall.

      As to the class, are you referring to the shift from teaching it in a classroom to teaching it online? It was a challenge, but not nearly as much as I thought it would be. It probably required more work outside the class for me, because I was trying to maintain discussions over the course of the week, but I saved massive amounts of time not having to commute across the DC area to a classroom! Perhaps I should blog on the experience of shifting from in-person to online.

  3. Patrick… strangely, I’m getting a lot of traffic around the word “Scrooge.” I would have thought that people would be attracted to my blog’s official title: “The Meaning of Life Blog” but that’s probably keeping readers away. In fact, I get more readers to my website via a non-blog essay on my website titled: “Erotic Tattoos: Manufacturing Desire.” No surprise. And, no, my body sports no risqué tattoos, but for years I wrote for a tattoo website.

    • Okay, this is getting to be too much, PJ. You wrote for a tattoo website? Once again, I want to have led your life. That sounds like way too much fun (more fun than the pain of a tattoo needle, which I’ll confess I’m fairly familiar with, although nothing risqué on me either). Scrooge, huh? Well, as far as fictional characters go, there are few as compelling or memorable, so that’s not necessarily a terrible thing for a novelist to be associated with.

  4. I have to laugh. I went back to my Dashboard and I guess the strangest search term that led someone to me is kai guang amulet which I had to search for to find out exactly what it was before I wrote about it in my post.

  5. I like alliteration, too, Patrick. Happy Halloween!

    The two posts that continue to get the most hits on my blog: One with a photo of a cat and werewolf, and another mentioning Mogli and Kaa.
    Go figure.

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