How BIG ENOUGH Made the Front Page of Google

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

At the beginning of 2020, the internet didn’t know about a book called Big Enough. Further, my personal website, the future home of the book, had been dormant for years. To prepare for the book’s release, I designed and built leelefever.com on WordPress with a long term plan to establish it as the new home of my books and other writing.

Today, a Google search for “Big Enough” shows two links to the book on the first page of results. I’m both excited and surprised.

I’m no SEO pro, but I did a number of things to help achieve this ranking.

Links – One of my favorite methods for promoting the book is through appearances on podcasts. For the most part, podcast hosts will link to the guest’s websites when they publish the show. I also link to the podcast when I write about the interview. This has helped me earn a number of high-quality links to the Big Enough page on my website and the Amazon page.

Keyword Density – When I designed the website, selling copies of Big Enough was the motivation, so the entire site was focused on the book page. Headings, internal links, blog posts, etc. Google surely saw that my website was all about the term “big enough”. Secondarily, I focused on words likely to be used by the people I am trying to reach. These are words like entrepreneurship, business, scalability, residual income, lifestyle, happiness, etc.

Engaging Content – I created multiple videos to promote the book and embedded them on the book page for easy viewing. I also provide downloadable PDFs, pre-written tweets, and more. My goal was to keep people on the page, which shows Google that they were engaged.

Load Times – I struggled with this. When I initially designed the site, I wasn’t thinking about load times and it was frustratingly slow. A friend suggested using this GTMetrics tool to figure out what was causing the slowdown. I used ImageOptim to decrease the size of my images on the site and that made load times much faster.

Blogging – I’ve been a blogger since 2003 and it’s an important part of my professional life. I knew that the book page and my website would benefit from regular updates that focus on the book and my writing. As soon as the website went up, I blogged consistently, just as I am now. I share the blog posts on social media, often with the JetPack plug-in, which makes publishing easier, among other things.

Mobile-Friendliness – I’m not a programmer and only know the basics of html/CSS. A friend introduced me to the DIVI WordPress theme and I was blown away by the Visual Page Builder. For the first time, I had complete control over the design and didn’t have to learn how to make it responsive to screen size. DIVI did the heavy lifting.

SEO Tools – I use the RankMath WordPress plug-in to help me understand how my site’s content relates to SEO. I use it to optimize my focus keywords, content length, titles, etc.

Open Graph – You’ve probably seen how social media platforms display a little preview or “snippet” when a link is shared. That preview is also related to meta-data about the page that relates what the page is about (book vs. restaurant, for example). For the first few months, my previews looked like crap and my metadata was not accurate. My friend, Robby, suggested learning about Open Graph and optimizing the metadata and how those previews display. Now I have complete control of the previews on a post-by-post basis. This page helped me get started, but what really helped was testing the links for each platform:

This is my default open graph preview:

Competition – I didn’t do keyword research when I chose the title “Big Enough”, and think I got lucky. The biggest competition for a top-ranking is a hilarious video that features a screaming cowboy. The song is “Big Enough” by Kirin J. Callinan.

Quality – I am a firm believer that there is no SEO trick that can replace the value of quality content. It takes time and effort, but the results are clear. My company, Common Craft, became successful because we earned traffic and rankings the old-fashioned way.

Before You Go: Watch the video below to have a laugh (give it some time), then consider grabbing a copy of Big Enough.

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Each week, I share a story from my life, which usually involves a recent move to an island, building a custom home, publishing books, and running a business. Learn more.

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