Shelagh Watkins - Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine


Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine by Shelagh Watkins

Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine by Shelagh Watkins

I read this on your page Selling Books Online:

Search engines drive most of the traffic. If search engines aren't driving traffic to your site, then the only people showing up are likely those you hand your business card to!

Let's say you've written a terrific children's book entitled, Billy Builds Model Airplanes.

The search engines are NOT going to rate you highly in a search for children's books. There's no reason for them to! People looking for children's books aren't looking for your book. If they were, they would have typed in something like:

model airplane children's book

The title of my children's novel is Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine. I decided to do a Google search on "model airplane children's book"

Out of 1,310,000 matches, my book was twelfth on the list:

Children's Books - Zimbio
Guide to great children's books with tips for parents. ... After retirement, Mr. Planemaker decides to build a scaled, model airplane because he wants to ...'s+Books

and thirtieth:

Shelagh Watkins
After retirement, Mr. Planemaker decides to build a scaled, model airplane because he wants to build something lasting for his children but he dies before ...

By adding "flying" to the search, I pulled up my book on the first page, listed tenth:

Shelagh Watkins
I wrote Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine as a children's novel but there is ... Mr. Planemaker decides to build a scaled, model airplane because he wants to ...

I also did a Google book search on "flying machine children's book" and my book showed on page four (32 out of 695):

Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine - Page 148
by Shelagh Watkins - Juvenile Fiction - 2005 - 200 pages
... and announced the proposed date for launching the Flying Machine PHI into space.
... The next stage of the children's training involved the use of a ...
Limited preview - About this book - Add to my library

On Google web search, "flying machine children's book" brought up my book at the top of the first page - number one of 216,000: Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine: Shelagh Watkins: Books
I wrote Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine as a children's novel but there is more to the book than just a story, although readers are left to figure out . ...

Response from Steve Barancik, webmaster:

Shelagh, you're the greatest!

Readers, you've just met Shelagh Watkins, webmistress extraordinaire. Before I respond, let me tell you about a couple of her sites:

Shelagh Watkins - Books, Poems, Short Stories
The Published Authors Forum

Now let me tell you about a huge coincidence. I wrote the text Shelagh quotes above about a hypothetical children's book about a child who builds model airplanes. Then Shelagh shows up having written such a book.

Well, maybe that's not a coincidence. Maybe that's just Google.

Regardless, it's pretty funny.

Now Shelagh, if I read her correctly, is questioning what I said previously. She's saying her book does indeed show up ranked highly in a search for

Model Airplane Children's Book

But if that's the case, she's misread me. I did say her book would rank highly for that search. What I said was it wouldn't rank highly in a search simply for

Children's Books

The truth is, Model Airplane Children's Book is what is called a long tail search. That is, it's so highly specific that it's rarely searched. Yes, it's great if your site comes up #1 for that long tail search, but...

Shelagh's doesn't. Somebody else's site (where her book is mentioned) comes up #12. On the second page of search results.

(However, if one searches Flying Machine Children's Books, Shelagh does indeed, as she said, come up #1. (Her book, not her site.) But that's an even rarer search.)

Almost any site on the net - even the worst site - can come in #1 for a specific long tail search. (As long as the site has been indexed by the search engines.)

For instance, I'm rather confident that this site will soon rank #1 for the search phrase

Shelagh Watkins Webmistress Extraordinaire

Why? Because I used that exact phrase earlier on this page. And I'm confident that no one has ever strung those 4 words together in that order before.

Building a site that will rank highly for highly searched keywords is a big job. Your site needs to be a comprehensive resource on that subject!

Take Children's Books. That's a pretty huge keyword. It's safe to say that thousands of people make that search each day.

This is a pretty huge site on the subject of children's books. I have nearly 300 pages (and counting). But the only search engine where I've yet ranked in the top 30 sites on the subject is msn/live.

Still, I'm doing pretty good. I get a TON of medium tail traffic. Each month I received THOUSANDS of visits from people searching on these terms:

cheap children's books
free children's books
discount children's books
classic children's books
sesame street magazine
free books for kids
free kids books
how to write a children's book
writing children's books
classic children's literature
free books for children
how to write children's books
best children's books

Why? Because I'm on page 1 of the search results for each of them. Sometimes I'm #1! Last month (May, 2008) this site received over 40,000 page views, nearly all of it search engine generated. And the site keeps growing!

Moral of the story? A little website where one author does little more than hawk his or her book or books is destined to receive very little search engine traffic. (Shelagh's sites, by the way, are not such sites. They're huge...and useful. They just aren't focused on the subject of model airplanes.)

The key to traffic, which both Shelagh and I know, is to create a comprehensive site on a focused subject. Lots of pages, lots of words, lots of good, solid information.

How can such a site help you sell your books? Make sure the subject you focus on is a subject that will have appeal to the same market your book appeals to. Then your book will have the chance to sell itself.

Comments for Shelagh Watkins - Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine

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Aug 29, 2008
I want one!
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

These flying children's books are great. Instead of having to find shelf space for them, I just tell them to hover near the ceiling. As long as you don't have a ceiling fan, it's perfect! ;-)

Congrats, Shelagh.

Aug 29, 2008
Search me ...
by: Shelagh

Hi Steve,

I did a Google search this morning on "ebook flying children's book" and my book appeared second on the list!

The power of advertising!


Jun 25, 2008
Thanks, webmistress extraordinaire!
by: Steve B.

Shelagh, thanks for dropping back by and explaining. I guess I misunderstood a little. How nice it is to have someone else agreeing with my point!

I'm looking forward to the day when I rank #3 for Steve. (I figure it should happen sometime in the 28th century.) In the meantime, I'm just pleased to rank #1 for Steve Barancik.

And actually, I mean that. I've had people post to my sites and have their page on my site rank higher for a search on their name than their own site does.

(Not an elegant sentence, but I'm hoping you'll be able to parse it.)

I usually take that as a sure sign of a site that's not living up to its potential.

Oh, and I think I'm going to change my name to Steaghve. #1 here I come!

Jun 25, 2008
Amazon came top!
by: Shelagh


I knew that you said that "model airplane children's book" would pull up a book about building model aircraft. I was amused by your choice of words for a search and decided to see how well my book performed using those same words. It was a fun thing to do and I think it proved your point. I went one stage further and added "flying" and "flying machine" to see if I could succeed in coming #1 and I did, even though it wasn't my website. It was slightly better than that; it was my book on Amazon, ready for someone to buy!

Of course anyone searching for "Shelagh Watkins" will pull up my website at the very top. The interesting thing is that when I checked the stat report for my website recently, I saw that someone had visited the site after searching on Google. The search term was simply "Shelagh".

I'm listed third on the first page of 542,000 entries!

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see my book listed under "Book Results".

Not all names are as useful as mine, but for search engines, it's ace!

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