You’ve probably heard about “search engine optimization” (or SEO). You probably know that doing it correctly can help your website get found. But what you may not understand is exactly how it works, what it involves, and what the benefits can be.
With that in mind, here are eight things you should know about search engine optimization for your author website.
1. SEO involves both what’s visible and what’s not. When Google looks at your website to determine what content it contains, it not only looks at the actual, visible words on your page; it also looks at your “meta data.” Each page on your site contains a title and keywords that aren’t visible to site visitors. Those are written specifically for the search engines. Make sure that whomever is developing your site gets the important keywords both in the visible text and in the metadata.
2. Don’t forget your name and book titles! It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how few people think to include their name and book titles in their SEO efforts. There’s very little competition for those keywords, so make sure to take advantage of them.
3. Be content-rich. The search engines love information. After all, someone who is searching for something is generally looking for … well … information. So make sure that you have a site that’s full of helpful links, tips, blog entries, etc… on the topic. The more text you have, the higher you’ll climb on the SEO rankings.
4. Beware of images. This is the other end of the spectrum. Search engines can’t read the text on an image (they can read alt tags, but that’s for another day). While an author website needs to be nicely designed, don’t go too over the time and make the site purely made out of images. The search engines won’t be able to figure out what your site is or what it’s about.
5. Don’t try to trick Google. When SEO was first introduced, everyone began trying to game the system. They would put text in the same color as the background, so that no one could read it except the search engines. They would keyword stuff their metadata, and the keywords would have nothing to do with the topics covered on the site. While this may sound harmless, it’s not. Such SEO tricks can get you completely banned by the search engines!
6. When it comes to keywords, the more specific the better. This is the most common mistake made with SEO. And it’s not a “mistake,” really … it’s just a misappropriation of efforts. Let me explain. Say, for example, you wrote a book about parenting a child with allergies. You might think that your keywords should be “parenting” and “allergies.” Well, that would be a mistake. There are millions of sites about parenting. No matter how good your efforts, you’d never be able to crack the top 10 pages of search results. But if you optimized your site for “parenting kids with allergies,” you’d have a much better chance of climbing to the top of search results. As I said, the more specific the better.
7. Write blog entries on your specific keyword topics. Once you’ve selected the specific keywords you want to optimize for, make an extra effort to write content for your site specifically on that topic. Blog entries are a great way to do that. Going back to the “children with allergies” example, write blog entries as often as you can covering tips, news, advice, etc… on the topic, and optimize each one for that specific search term. This will help get your site climbing quickly on the results pages.
8. Be realistic. I’ve given you a lot of ideas here on how to optimize your site for search results. But that doesn’t mean that SEO is easy. It’s going to take weeks for any changes you make to start impacting your placement. And, even then, it’s a slow climb. SEO efforts won’t get your site to the top of Google search results tomorrow, but a smart, long-term effort can seriously increase the organic traffic to your author website.
Want more advice on marketing yourself and your books online? Contact us today for a free consultation!