One marketing trick to rule them all

SEO for indie devs, part 1

SEO is a hot topic. No, I don’t mean it’s a dimly-lit store selling Tim Burton’s garage sale crap. It’s an extremely relevant subject deeply studied and debated. It’s an important concept to anybody who is trying to market anything.

If you have a product to sell, it is advisable to have at least a passing understanding of Search Engine Optimization best practices and to put them to use whenever possible.

As a Web writer, I have been formally educated on SEO practices. As a game developer, it is likely that nobody has bothered to explain this stuff to you. And if they have, you may have forgotten while bogged down in coding woes. In terms of game development, SEO is completely unnecessary. In terms of selling games, a little knowledge of SEO will give you an edge your competition lacks.

In this article, I’ll provide an overview of SEO and in subsequent articles, I’ll give some specific tips and practices for you. But first. . .

So what is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making your content easily searchable by Google and it’s frienemies Bing and Yahoo {Keep in mind, Google is by far the largest single driver of Web traffic. Bing and Yahoo are relatively insignificant little mouse farts in the realm of Web browsing (See the graphic below, dubious though the source is)}.


If you want your game to be easily Googled, it would benefit you to have at least a slim understanding of the concept, and put a few best practices into your indie game marketing. The breadth of SEO is problematic to this article, as I will only be able to scratch the surface

How Search Engines Work

Search engines work by sending out “spider” programs to crawl webpages, scan their content and save the page information to be accessed later.

When a user enters a string into a search engine, Google references its massive index of stored web page information, and displays the results in order of “best” to “worst.” Why are these in quotes? Because they are relative terms that are the subject of endless debate and countless marketing articles.

The SEO rabbit hole goes as deep as you care to delve. Entire shelves of books have been written about Google’s ranking algorithm. SEO is a specialty of mine and I will have to resist oversharing in favor of whittling the subject down to a few relevant points you can put to use.

You need a web page.

Your game’s Web Page is the hub for every platform your game is part of. From your webpage, users have access to your blog, your social media, your campaigns (like Kickstarter) your Steam page, email, reviews and everything else you should be working on.

If a thing doesn’t have a webpage, the thing isn’t a thing at all. If there are two tips to take from this article, they are thus:

  1. Create a webpage
  2. Update it often

That’s it. Spend time on the page, create content, link it to your social. I know I touched on this in my last article, so I won’t say too much. But even if I wrote a book on the topic, it would not adequately stress the importance of having a current, relevant website.

All subsequent tips I give you will hinge on your having a website, even if it is just a simple WordPress thing. Although WordPress may or limit your ability to use SEO as effectively, it is still worlds better than having no independent page and relying on your Facebook or Kickstarter page.

To be continued

I know this article is fairly short, and I haven’t revealed a whole lot. But I’ve got to pace myself, dammit! Consider this a primer for the SEO articles that will follow. Read this, grok it and remember it.

Hopefully I’ve at least given an adequate explanation of what SEO is, and you may already be thinking of ways it will affect your game’s presence on the Web.

Till next time…

follow me on Twitter @longie_long

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Also, comment to ask questions and get involved, homie.

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