You don’t need to be an expert on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to make it work for you and help you to sell books.
The key to SEO for writers is not in taking years to learn how to painstakingly manipulate it to your advantage.
But rather to simply keep in mind that millions of people use Google, Bing and other search engines every day to find information and answers to questions they have.
SEO helps your digital marketing when your piece of content appears in search results.
So by understanding this, it is absolutely clear that almost none of these millions of people will use your name or book title to find your website or blog.
Except perhaps for you and your close family and friends.
The prime function of SEO is to attract as many people as possible to your site or blog.
Then hopefully, they will stay long enough to not only read your post or page but also notice your book promotion widgets or book buy links.
Because SEO delivers people who want answers or information, this means that a static site or page that is only about your book or books will not gain search rankings.
SEO works best for blog articles
However, when you create content in a blog post, it certainly can bring site visitors if you are posting useful information that is of value to readers.
In my case, my static author website gets very little visitor traffic at all. But my blogs get tons of traffic, which helps my book marketing.
The reason is simple.
My blogs have a lot of posts covering a lot of topics, which is great for SEO.
If you use Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools you can track the most popular search terms that are bringing people to your site.
In my case, the following were the top ten search terms for one week that were used by people to find one of my blogs.
a cat named sloopy
what is register
errors and omissions accepted
stupid book names
difference between porcupine and echidna
how to be cool on the internet
None of these terms has any relation to my books.
But SEO content brings thousands of potential book buyers to my personal blog, which of course carries advertising for my books, which helps me to sell books.
There is one key SEO factor to concentrate on when writing blog posts. Even if you do not have any SEO tools whatsoever.
It is to make sure that your blog title and the first sentence in your article or post contain the exact same word or short phrase. This is called your target keyword.
You can also apply this to guest posts if you write on other blogs.
To take the example of one of the user search phrases above, what is register, my post included the keyword ‘register’ in the title, subtitle and the first paragraph.
You can read the post on English register here, to note my SEO use of the keyword.
When search engines crawl a site, this is what they look for to be able to ascertain what the text is about. So search engines know that my post is about English register and rank it highly.
And that is SEO.
If you browse through some of my posts on this site, you will see the same pattern of repeating a keyword or key phrase in the titles and first paragraph.
SEO is as easy as that
As a rule of thumb, all you need to do to get SEO working for you is to repeat your keyword or key phrase twice.
Once in your title and once in the first paragraph. Then write content that will be worth reading.
But don’t repeat your keyword phrase more than two or three times. If you overuse it, it will be classed as keyword stuffing.
This can result in search engines failing to index your post.
The extra bonus is that Google and Bing will find other related words and phrases in your blog posts.
If you write long articles of over 1,000 words you have much more chance of getting more search keywords. You will also help reduce your bounce rate.
Because of this, it is better to publish long blog articles rather than quick 300-word posts.
If you have a lot of existing posts, you could think about combining some that are on a similar topic. Then publish it as a new long post and 301 redirect your old short posts to the new one.
There are lots of book marketing tips. Sure, you need to blog, you need an Amazon Author Central page, you need to be on social media and you need to advertise and promote your books.
But learning how to be a content writer and apply SEO is a quick, easy and long-term way to improve the performance of your blog and your book and content marketing.
All you need to do is come up with a good idea to write about. After that, spend a little time on keyword research and then write great content for your readers.
Note: If you have access to SEO tools, such as WordPress, you can also repeat a keyword or key phrase in your separate SEO title and meta description, as well as in the alt text for an image.
SEO is changing from day to day. But the basics stay the same all the time.
Writing content that answers questions, offers sound advice and is worth reading will always rank well on search engines.
There are many on-page and off-page elements to SEO that you can learn about. These will certainly improve your SERP rankings.
But if you are new to SEO, don’t try to dig too deep into the technicalities. All you really need to do is know what your keyword phrase is.
Then after using it in your title and once or twice in your text, write informative and easy to read content.
Yes, SEO for authors is that easy.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then 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 the Alps.
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