Ok, well, here's a nice boring post.
Google searches are something I've taken for granted since they were invented. I've figured that there aren't many other illustrators out there whose names are Brian Biggs, so I assumed that a Google search for something like "Brian Biggs illustration" would likely bring up my site. Now, since I know where to find me, I've never really bothered to give it a try. However, the other day I got a comment on one of my images on Flickr that said something about this, that they searched my name and that Flickr image came up. That got me thinking. Thinking leads to trouble, and that trouble started when I went and Googled the previously stated term ("Brian Biggs illustration" for those of you with short attention spans). What to my wondering eyes did appear but about twenty five other links before my site appears. And when a link to MrBiggs dot com does come up, it's to a random blog entry here in the News section.
I was shocked and more than a little annoyed.
Worse, when one removes the "Brian" part of the query, Google asks whether I'm sure it's "Biggs" I'm asking for, and not "Briggs?" and then gives me the two top "Briggs" results which are to the lovely work of Alice Briggs. In this case, I got eight pages into the results without a single link to MrBiggs dot com coming up.
Now, not to say I don't exist. Yes, Google grants me that at least. Plenty of the results are to my work or mentions or reviews or complaints or things like that. My entry in the Directory of Illustration, some mention of me on drawn.ca, lovely comments on Flickr, pages on Random House and HarperCollins' websites. But in regards to MrBiggs dot com itself, nada.
In this difficult time of recession and hardship, I think we all need to make it as easy to find ourselves as possible. And I'm no exception. Like you probably do, I get several spam emails a week telling me that I can
enlarge my raise up my search engine rankings if I just hire such-and-such company. And also like you, I've ignored such advice, relying on the fact that my name is Brian Biggs, what I do is illustration, and clearly my website is set up so that this is quite obvious. But when a small entry at Strand Books for one of my books I've illustrated is the number one result in a search, I need to rethink my thinking.
Therefore, I ask you, my dear reader, to tell me your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) secrets and send me your linkages. My truck posting last week was a wonderful success (thank you thank you all who took the time to comment), so I'm hoping you come through for me here. The limited knowledge I have comes from a Google search last week in which I realized that pithy title tags and all-graphics homepages don't help anything. I'm not yet interested in doing away with the all-graphics homepage, but I did change my title tags. I'm also working on a site realignment that will probably make WordPress the backbone of my site, which might help things somewhat.
But what I really would like is some method that when you search for me, my website is what you find.
Update 7 April: I discovered that if I Google only my name without including the "illustration" part, the front page of MrBiggs dot com is the top result. So among all Brian Biggseses, I am number one. Among Brian Biggs illustrationers, I am elsewhere. Also, I discovered today that if I Google "Brian Biggs illustration" as I did in the above post, ten hours after posting it, it is now the number one result. I have no idea how this thing works…