There are many different things that you can do to promote your blog or your business online. You can choose to buy advertising on other websites or even through Twitter. However, one of the most powerful things you can do is to rank for your target keywords and keyword phrases in the search engines. Most people use Google, so that’s a good place to start.

My Name Comes First

Long-time readers of this blog will remember three years ago when I fought to rank for my own name. There was a Hong Kong-based singer who shared the Michael Kwan name for me and some webpage on a radio station website ranked higher than my homepage for my name. About a month later, I was able to take the first spot and I have not let go of this top ranking since.

However, I’m guessing that not too many people search for “Michael Kwan” on Google. There may be a few of you, but ranking for my own name was more of an ego boost than anything else. In order to attract more clients for my freelance writing business, it is much more valuable if I rank in Google for some more appropriate and relevant search terms. For instance, I was able to land a gig a long while back, because the client found me in Google when he was looking for a biography writer.

It’s About Relevance

More recently, I’ve discovered another search engine optimization achievement for my site. If you go to and search for “freelance writer,” you’ll find that I’m about halfway down the first page. It’s not quite the top of the heap, but I’m quite proud to see that I’m on the first page of search results.

Click on the image below to see a full-size screenshot on Flickr.

This ranking does appear to be location-specific, however. If you were to search for the same term in, my website doesn’t appear until about the third page of search results. I’ve heard from some people that they don’t see for “freelance writer” until the fifth page.

Real World Ramifications

Will this bump in my rankings result in added business? That’s hard to say, but I have noticed a slight increase in quote requests through the contact form on my freelance writing site. That’s a positive sign, I’d say.

P.S. I forgot to mention that I was interviewed by Joseph Planta yesterday. We discuss my upcoming book with John Chow, the potential death of books, the rise of ebook readers, and the possibility of a true Google phone. You can find the (audio) interview on You can stream it or download it as an MP3 file for later listening.