Without an investment in SEO, your author website will be largely invisible.
If you build it, they will come. Right? The people. Readers. Visitors. Purchasers. Customers. Repeat visitors. You write a good book, build a good website, and they will appear, as if by magic … won’t they? NO – not without good SEO.
Simply put, search engine optimization (SEO) is the organic (i.e., not purchased) process of improving a website or web page’s visibility and ranking in the search engines so that it is among the top results for the designated keywords. Your author website cannot succeed without it.
SEO is a giant subject/industry, and there are tons of people out there much better versed in it than we are. However, there are some basic concepts to keep in mind when looking to improve your site’s search engine optimization – and/or hire an SEO company to help you. One thing to remember is that SEO is a dynamic entity, meaning it changes all the time. The search engines recalibrate frequently, meaning that what you did yesterday to get to the top of the search rankings may be not be what you need to do to stay there.
There are a few things that remain consistent:
Make sure your domain name (and the title of your book, for that matter) incorporates your keywords.
- Be selective and deliberate in your choice of keywords.
- Learn to think like your potential readers. What kinds of words will the choose when looking for a book like yours?
- Increase your search effectiveness by adding regional identifiers.
EXAMPLE: Use “Scottsdale first-time homebuyers” vs. just “real estate”
- Remember the misspellings. If your keywords contain one that is often misspelled, include the misspelling to increase your chances of capturing that traffic.
Meta tags are the bits of information that lie behind the stuff your visitors see: descriptions of pictures, titles for your web pages; the name of the program used to create the page, descriptions of the page. Many search engines use the information stored in meta tags when they index web pages, which is why it is essential that your meta tags contain your keywords.
While links have become less crucial as the Web has aged and matured, they still are an important aspect of driving traffic to your sites. Look to link with:
- Similar industry sites
- Sites that will send you traffic
- Relevant sites
Make sure you know how to create a text link. If you learn no other coding ever, this piece is one that will serve you as long as you’re on the web.
book marketing blog for self-publishing authors</a>
NOTE: The text you want to become the link lies between the > and <.
BONUS TIP: Make sure you don’t chase people away from your site by having your links open in the same window. ALWAYS have your links open in a new tab or a new window. Do this by adding one little piece of code to your text link:
<a “target=blank” href=“http://www.marciebrockbookmarketingmaven.com”>
book marketing blog for self-publishing authors</a>
Make sure your content naturally lends itself to good rankings. If you answer “no” to any of the following, you know what you have to do.
- Is the very first thing appearing on your site searchable content that contains your keywords?
- Does your content match your meta tags?
- Do the links pertain to the content on your web pages?
- Does your content contain your keywords (no more than 4 or 5)?
- Does your content make sense?
- Do you have high-quality information?
- Will other website owners want to link to you because your site has good information?
- Is your content easy to follow?
On-page optimization means the things on the web page itself that you can control or do to increase your site’s search engine rankings. These include:
- Page title
- Banner text
- Site navigation
- Image descriptions
Off-page optimization means all other the things you can do to increase traffic to your site, such as:
- Article marketing
- Social media
- Submitting to directories
- Mailers (i.e., the old-fashioned way!)
- Speaking/book signings
For more detailed info on SEO, read every post on SEOBook.com. As we said, it’s a big topic, but investing the time to do it right will make the difference between people being able to find your site, and the sound of crickets chirping as you wait for the visitors to show up.
If you should decide to hire someone to help you with SEO, one big suggestion: DO YOUR RESEARCH! Check things like the SEO on the company’s own site. If they’re not showing at the top of the search engines in a search for “SEO + your city/state/region,” don’t hire them. Check references. Ask what you will get for your money, and make sure you feel comfortable with hiring that company. Reminder: Your gut instincts are usually correct.
If you’re just building your website, this is the time to get the SEO right. If you’ve had your site for awhile, it’s never too late to go back and make changes that could make a big difference.
Download your complimentary copy of the highly useful Website Design & Marketing worksheet from Write | Market | Design.
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Thursday, Oct.6 – Does your author site give visitors a reason to COME BACK?
Monday, Oct. 3 – I’m on Facebook and have a blog – why do I still need a website?
Friday, Sept. 30 – Is your author website DOA?