Why SEO Is (Usually) a Waste for Novelists

seo_for_authorsSEO, or search engine optimization, is a crucial piece in website development. A site that is not properly optimized will rarely show up on people’s search results. As a result, that site can lose a large percentage of potential visitors. And in the case of authors, that could mean reduced book sales and a smaller number of “followers.”

Yes, all of this is true. But there’s one big caveat that comes with this statement. Poor SEO can only reduce your potential traffic and book sales if people are searching for keywords related to your book. And in the case of fiction authors, that’s a huge if.

Let me explain….

Let’s say your a nonfiction author and you wrote a book on how to write the perfect resume. There are going to be thousands of people each month going to Google, Yahoo or Bing and searching for something like “resume samples” (49,500 on Google, according to the Google Keyword tool). By not optimizing your site for that and related keywords, you will be losing a wealth of potential readers.

But let’s say that you’re a novelist who wrote a book in the suspense genre. What exactly would you optimize your site for? “Suspense book?” That gets 20 searches on Google each month. How about “great suspense novel?” That gets 40.  Is SEO worth it for you? Probably not.

Here’s the truth of the matter: people do not find their next fun read by searching for it on Google.

People find self-help books, historical books, and biographies by searching for those terms on Google. That’s because they’re already looking for information on a subject matter that interests them. But novels? People find out about their next good read from water cooler talk, reading a good review online, or having it recommended through someone on GoodReads who tends to have similar taste in books.

In short:

If you’re a nonfiction author, your site must be optimized for the relevant search terms. Here at Smart Author Sites, we do that for our clients.

But if you’re a fiction author? You’re much better off investing your time and money on social networking, guest blogging, and getting people to review your book.

After all, it’s just common sense…