SEO for authors, books and ebooks is a term that probably makes most writers shudder at the thought.
Isn’t SEO for books some type of technological science for geeks? No, it’s an indispensable part of digital marketing.
SEO for authors is quite a straightforward content marketing strategy.
With a little bit of time spent improving your SEO, you can increase your book’s discoverability and exposure in the long term.
What does SEO mean?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, simply means that you need to make some small adjustments to your website pages, social media profiles, blog posts and book sales pages.
These changes will encourage Search Engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to index your pages in search results.
The great part about good SEO and online marketing is that once your pages are indexed, they will remain there for a very long time.
It will ensure that your book or books, as well as your author name, will be available to be discovered by Internet Search for years to come.
Simply put, SEO is about finding the answer to this question.
What words and phrases will potential book buyers use to find both my books and my name?
If you think that your book title and author name is enough, you will be 100% wrong.
It is highly unlikely that anyone knows you or your book, so why would they search using these words?
What you need are keywords and short phrases that people WILL use when searching for subjects that are of interest to them.
This is called keyword research. It is the starting point for any form of Internet marketing.
Finding SEO keywords
To give you a real example, I will use one of my books.
Louis by Derek Haines
My name and a one-word title are not going to get me any results.
What I need for SEO are words and phrases that are key elements of the subject and story. After a little research, I made this quick list of possible keywords.
Cold war, MI6, espionage and spy thrillers, espionage, war, world war II, true spy stories, military and spies, secret agents, MI6 spy, wartime espionage, double agents, famous spies, real spy.
My next step was to re-write my book description, by including my keywords that would hopefully be searchable, which are in bold.
Louis is a gripping story of the life of a professional wartime spy. From his boyhood education in Egypt in the early 1900’s, he was being prepared to serve in the newly formed British Secret Service Bureau on the orders of Abbas II Hilmi, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, as part of a secret arrangement with the British government to supply young operatives for the newly formed bureau.
In his early teens, he is separated from his foster mother to make the dangerous journey to England, in the middle of the First World War, to complete his education and training as a British wartime spy. From Dulwich College through to Oxford University, he is meticulously prepared for his life as a British undercover war operative.
From his first dangerous mission in Port Said through to his last in South Africa in the 1960s, Louis is the story of a professional chameleon, who survived wars and conflicts on his instincts, cunning and ruthlessness. Louis was a quiet heroic man who lived an extraordinary life – a life of service that should never be forgotten.
My last SEO addition was to give the book a subtitle. Yes, subtitles are very important for SEO. So my book title became, “Louis, The Life of a Real Spy.”
You can see from the words I have highlighted in bold that they all relate to the theme, setting, story and main character of the book.
They are all much more likely to be used by people when they are searching for information, and if they do, it will help attract them to my book.
After you have prepared your list of possible SEO keywords and phrases, go to Amazon.
You may not realise it, but when you publish an ebook or book with KDP, Amazon adds SEO to your book immediately, and Search Engines will index your book.
However, you can improve and add to your Amazon SEO very easily. All you need to do is edit or add your subtitle, book description and keywords in your book’s KDP details.
Even better, is to use Amazon Author Central, and there you will find more SEO elements that you can add to your book. You can also add editorial reviews and back and front flap blurbs.
Next, if you publish anywhere else, do the same again on your other publishing platforms. Use your keywords and phrases, and your new book description, which is now rich in SEO keywords.
Another beneficial way to use your keywords is to incorporate them into your social media profiles and descriptions where possible.
Most importantly, however, is how you use your SEO for book keywords on your author blog or website.
If you use WordPress, I can highly recommend one plugin, All In One SEO.
I have no affiliation with All In One SEO. But I love this plugin, as it makes it so easy to get my SEO almost perfect for my sites, pages and posts.
As in the case of my book example above, every time I write a post about this particular book, I use a few of my focus keywords again.
Say I write ten posts over a couple of years about this book, anytime someone searches for say, spy thrillers or British Secret Service; they may well find three or four indexed entries for my book on Google or Bing Search on the first page or two.
An SEO strategy for authors and books is not technical at all. All it takes is some research and making sure that you use your specific keywords and key phrases whenever you publish anything about your book.
One example of SEO that you may never have thought about is when you post links to your book.
Links are vitally important to search engines, so never post a bland link.
This is a very bad link for SEO – You can buy my book here.
This is an excellent link for SEO – Available now – A spy thriller – Louis, the life of a real British Secret Service wartime spy.
Of course, there are a lot more advanced methods of using and exploiting SEO for books. But with these few ideas above, you can improve your SEO for your author name and books very quickly.
If you would like to know more about SEO for books on Amazon, you can read this article about using metadata to increase book discoverability on Amazon.
SEO isn’t all that complicated, and in the long-term, it will certainly help you to sell more books.
I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
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