Back in October I wrote an article that was a bit harsh on the various comic book publishers out there who deal with licensed content. The article was called “The Failure of Licensed Comic Publishers” and discussed publishers like IDW Publishing, Boom! Studios and Ape Entertainment. It detailed some basic internet marketing work that wasn’t/isn’t being done effectively by the companies in terms of search terms and keywords related to their licensed properties.
Now, if you’re in the comic industry, you may wonder what the heck the Internet, search engines or search terms have to do with making good comics. In terms of “making comics,” those things are, for the most part, completely unrelated. Where they come in to play is if you’re going to try and SELL comics or want to expand brand/product awareness of your product. Obviously, something that is very important to comic publishers.
Going back to “The Failure of Licensed Comic Publishers,” it may have seemed like the various publishers were going out of their way to avoid doing proper Internet marketing for their product, which is most definitely not the case. The issue is that a lot of companies who business has been sold offline for the majority of their existence, really just don’t understand what is available to them — oft times for free — and how the Internet can not only keep their present customers/readers informed about product, but can also aid in expanding product to new markets.
Think of the Internet being similar to having an Ad during the Super Bowl. You have the potential for hundreds of millions of people to see your product, so capturing even the smallest or fraction of a percent of those “eyes” can result in some health market expansion.
What I’m going to do in this article is go over some of the basic ways a comic book publisher can supplement what they are doing with a website and pass along some tips for starting to improve your Search Engine Results. These are some quick fixes and techniques I’ve used on my own sites — sites which will generate well over four million dollars in sales ($4,000,000.00) in 2010 alone. Those sales are all without the use of paid advertising and generally only use the power of properly written content to rank in Google.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to use IDW Publishing as an example — not because I have anything against them, but because they are currently publishing a comic based on one of my favorite properties: Dungeons & Dragons. I want to make sure this comic succeeds and lasts for many issues, so I’m tossing out some tips that I hope will help them pull in additional traffic to their website.
To start off, IDW Publishing isn’t ranking anywhere online when you do a search for “Dungeons & Dragons” or its various spellings. It does hit Google Page 3 when you search for “Dungeons & Dragons Comics,” which is still not quite where they want to be. I mean, if you’re publishing a D&D comic, you want to be on Google Page 1 where everyone can see it!
To be fair, IDW’s Dungeons & Dragons comics are mentioned on other sites and blogs higher up in the search engine results — Comic Book Resources, for example — but they have no control over those links, so they aren’t quite as valuable. Right now I’m just focusing on some tips on writing for SEO, but in the future I’ll deal with things like achieving multiple listings in search engine results, aggregating content, backlinking strategy, interior link strategy, keyword research, market research, building up your site’s “expert status” and other ways to score well in Google and the other search engine sites.
Let’s take a look at IDW’s Dungeons & Dragons Comic page — here is the link for the D&D Comic Product page — taken a look? Cool. Let’s get started.
1. PROPER URL FORMATTING
As an Internet Marketing guy, the first thing I notice is the URL of the site itself. For reference, that URL is: http://idwpublishing.com/catalog/series/1451 . The reason that is a problem is because IDW Publishing is using an ID style number for the Dungeons & Dragons comic book page instead of taking advantage of that space to get keywords in. What I mean there is this, when it comes to SEO, content is king and making sure a website has its keyword appear as often as is viable is important. One of the primary spots the search engines look for keywords is in the URL of a webpage. In this case, IDW is telling us that the most important keyword to this page is “1451.” This should immediately be changed to a URL containing their targeted keywords; in this case, Dungeons & Dragons Comic (or some variation thereof).
With URLs you want to make sure you know how to use dashes (“-“) versus underscores (“_”). They look similar, but work in two very different ways when it comes to URLs and how search engines view them. A dash will allow you to link words together and have them viewable in any order (dungeons-and-dragons-comics could be seen as dragon comics and dungeons). On the other hand. underscores work the same way quotation marks do in a web search – by linking the words together in a precise order. In other words, dungeons_and_dragons_comics will only be read as keywords in that order. It limits (or laser targets) your phrases if you have need of doing so. For the most part, go with dashes to be safe.
Read the rest in my new book, “Comic Book Marketing 101,” now available as an eBook for only $4.99!
- Doing marketing analysis and research to maximize your comic’s potential for success
- Developing a marketing plan
- How to do a proper Product Launch
- Hands-On case studies using the work of publishers IDW Publishing, Boom Studios and Moonstone Books! Learn from their mistakes!
- And more!
For the Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Comic-Book-Marketing-101-ebook/dp/B005PPPRIU/
In multiple formats: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/91945
-Mat Nastos, Super Genius