Sunday, October 4, 2009

Raising Prominence of Archive Pages

  From a search engine's perspective, webcomics are often imbalanced. The homepage and a few supplemental pages get all the attention, but the huge archives receive low page ranks and perform poorly in search results.

  Wouldn't it be nice to place extra search attention on archive pages that are the start of stories, or story arcs? It's not everyone's highest priority, but it gives extra points of entry for new readers by spotlighting key pages.

  One way to do this is to design your site so that each story page links to its first page.

  WordPress users have another option, a plug-in that can be programmed to make selected keywords link to specified internal pages. Similar plug-ins exist, but this one can be over-ridden on a case-by-case basis.

  A related, general approach can help when you want to submit a page to Stumble Upon, but, being from the middle of a story, you are not sure how it will be received. You can create a duplicate of the page that features a prominent link to "jump to beginning of story" or "story arc" and leave it out of your site's table of contents. Then, submit that page to Stumble Upon or similar sites, and people who like the look of your page have easy access to jump to a good entry point.

  If you have lots of internal links pointing at specific entry point pages, it raises their PageRank and search prominence.

  It also increases the chance that they will be included with other Site Links, those internal site page links that turn up under search results for established sites.

  Help search engines understand your site, and they will help you. Internal links that flag and define your second tier pages are worth considering.

  If you want to use Oh, No, Robot! but dread the time commitment, consider just doing your key pages as a supplement to internal link-building.