SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process that makes a web page earn higher rankings in search engines such as Google. The higher the ranking, the more exposure search engines will give you, vastly improving the chances of a searcher finding and buying your books.
How to Optimize a Web Page
There are several things to keep in mind when optimizing web material.
Provide useful content
No matter how well you follow other directions, if you sacrifice robust, meaningful content, you’re only hurting your SEO. It is also important for the same reason, to hire Web Chimpy
Each page should have a specific word or words on which to focus, and those words should be used repeatedly. Search engines are looking for two things:
- The number of times a keyword is used
- The ratio between the number of times a keyword is used and the total number of words on the page. Always write concisely, using the words you need while cutting the chaff.
However, don’t stuff the page full of awkward keywords. It should read naturally. Remember, useful content is rule number one.
There is information in a web page that search engines can read even though it is not visible on the site. This includes the meta-title and meta-description. This is the information search engines will display on their results page, so make sure the text is unique and enticing. The meta-title will also be displayed in the browser tab.
If you are using a platform like WordPress to create your site, get a free plugin like SEO by Yoast to gain the option of filling in this information.
You want keywords in both of these areas, ideally closer to the beginning than the end. “Jane Smith’s Official Page” works better than “The Official Page of Jane Smith” if “Jane Smith” is the desired keyword.
Headers work as subheadings (such as “Keyword Density” and “Meta-Data” used above), displaying larger and/or bolder than the rest of the content. Search engines are particularly interested in the words inside of headers.
As a note, simply bolding a line as a subheading will not tell a search engine you want it to be a header. If you’re using WordPress or similar platform, there are plugins which help you format your text, including the creation of headers.
All images can have an “alt tag,” which is shown if the image cannot correctly display. While these tags should be pertinent to the picture, slipping a keyword into them helps.
What Makes Good Keywords for Book Authors?
When creating keywords, consider what searches your target audience is probably making. You’ll likely come up with several. You might use all of them on your homepage, but, since search engines index even single page, you can also optimize additional pages for specific keywords.
- Your name. In the interest of SEO, it’s a good idea to write about yourself in the third person so your name can be repeated.
- Titles of books, particularly your more well-known ones. You may want to mention some of these titles on your homepage, plus have at least one other page discussing your books.
- Genre or topics. Talk about the types of projects which most interest you and how your works relate to them. If you have many books, organizing them by type is a great way of getting some genre or topic keywords into pages.
Research your Keywords
Some keywords work better than others. For example, google “SEO for book sales,” which was the original topic of this article. You won’t find a single article similar to this one. That would be a good thing except for the fact that there are lots of other results for selling books about SEO. This page would get swamped in that list. “SEO author pages” gets you a lot of pages about something called “Google Authorship,” which likewise has nothing to do with writing books. However, “SEO for book authors,” produces relevant articles. Thus, “SEO,” “book” and “authors” are good keywords. It’s even better if you can combine them into a phrase, such as “book authors”.
Example Author’s SEO
Let’s create a quick site for our fictional author Jane Smith, the writer of End of Summer.
Meta-Title: “Jane Smith | Homepage of Author Jane Smith.” We just managed to get her name in twice!
Meta-description: “Jane Smith is the author of End of Summer, a romance novel set in Victorian England.”
A nice graphic will likely bear Jane’s name, but we put “Jane Smith” in the alt tag. There might also be images of her book covers, and each alt tag would include the book name, such as “Jane Smith’s End of Summer.”
The content might start with: “Jane Smith is the author of 4 books, including End of Summer. She is passionate about both romance and historical fiction and blends the two in every book she authors.” The book’s title, End of Summer, is a link to a page about the book. Links are also helpful for SEO, but only when the contained words provide information. Don’t ever say, “To read about End of Summer, click here.”
We’ve now included her name, her most famous work, and the type of work she does, and in the first paragraph. We’ve also managed to twice identify her as an author, which helps to separate her from other people named Jane Smith.
Today, the Internet is a major marketing tool for all manner of businesses, including that of authors. While authors should be first and foremost creating quality content for their web presence, SEO is an invaluable tool in making you and your books known to potential readers.