When I created my Essays on the Craft of Dramatic Writing! website in the late 90’s (the title a reflection on what I’d learned from Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing), my main and only impulse about urls was that they be short.
So, for example, my essay on the movie Lethal Weapon was wdetect.htm.
Short and sweet, but it had no link to the actual title of the movie, detectives, weapons, or Mel Gibson’s religious views.
Neither did the url help anyone find my website http://www.storyispromise.com
And, to be blunt, anyone who didn’t know about my site who typed in a search for ‘how to write a movie script’ was probably not going to find a referral to www.storyispromise.com or wdetech.htm
I’m now going through the slow process of rethinking and redoing my old urls (while leaving the old ones up to date for people who link to them). I want them to reflect both what I’m saying in a particular article, and to have something in the title that helps an audience find the article.
When I’ve thought about why I didn’t learn SEO when I was younger, I came to two realizations. One, for me learning about SEO by searching the term on Google was like standing on a beach and looking out over an ocean of information, and not knowing what I needed to learn or where to start, or what that big black fin in the water meant. So I didn’t go in.
Also, this was during a time when there was a HUGE debate on the web about Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO. (*Black Hat SEO being about ways to understand how Google ranked pages and use that to create things like link farms to create artificial links to a web site, White Hat SEO being about ways to create valuable content and promote it in useful ways).
Looking out over the war zone, I couldn’t begin to figure out what I needed to learn or even figure out what Grey Hat SEO (a mixture of the two) was about, or whether or how I should use SEO.
Besides, I told myself, I’m not selling Ginsu knives.
Then the e-book explosion hit, and my trade paperback sales dried up. I knew I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what.
Then I started an SEO class. And it has been a revelation about what was relevant to me, and how to ‘reel it in’ from that ocean of information I faced.
For people who can’t take a class, I recommend you watch some videos at The Challenge (http://www.challenge.co/training/) Each video has an introduction, and a longer video that explores what’s set out in the introduction.
Now I need to get back to work on my web site.
Bill Johnson is the author of A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 and on Smashwords. Promise is about the mechanics of telling a story, Deep Characterization (a section of the book) is about how the mechanics break down when people write stories to process their personal issues in life), and the Spirit of Storytelling is about how great storytelling relates to the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious minds. Available at Amazon and Smashwords.