Is SEO for authors?
Some authors think that writing the book is the hard part. Well. Don’t get us wrong, writing is hard, but at least you’re a writer. Once you’ve written, you’re going to have to try to be found. Or preferably, in today’s saturated internet climate, you will have to make people find you. We have already covered this topic in more than one article, but in general, this particular step of the publication process is difficult for authors. While we’ve already discussed some topics about how to promote your book and how to use social media marketing for your book, SEO for authors is something we’ve only briefly described, and in this article we’re going to delve deeper into this particular topic.
Of course, when we talk about SEO for authors and how to improve it to get discovered, we assume that you have a website. By this we mean a website dedicated to you as an author and the books you have or plan to publish. While you have the option to create a website as part of the publishing process on our platform, this is a fairly old feature that we implemented at the beginning of our time. If you’re serious about creating a website, it’s best to create one using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Square Space, at least until we update that part of our platform.
Now that we’ve got this out of the way, let’s move on!
What is SEO?
SEO, for its acronym in English »Search Engine Optimization» or search engine positioning translated into Spanish, is a tool that tries to make your website (or individual pages on your website) easier to find for people. through search engines like Google. In general terms, we find two different types of memoir ghostwriter, technical and one more focused on content. We are going to focus more on the second, since it is the most accessible for you as an author. Although it doesn’t hurt to know, much of the basic technical SEO you need can be managed by third-party applications and plugins that are easy to install on your website.
Before we get into technicalities, it is, however, a good idea to have a clear idea of how search engines like Google work. Although it sounds terribly complicated, don’t worry. Let’s make sure you understand.
Essentially, Google has a bunch of little “minions” called spiders, or web crawlers, that it sends out to explore the internet. These spiders collect all the information they find and return it to Google. It then compiles it and places it in its ever-expanding index, which is basically a giant library full of every web page on the Internet.
Next, curious humans come and decide to type a sentence or word into Google in the hope of finding what they are looking for. Then, Google, through our sentence/word, will search its index to find what it thinks are the best possible answers to whatever we “ask” it. He is even kind enough to give us these results in order of relevance and quality. What he perceives to be less relevant or low in quality will move further and further down the list of search results, until he is confined to the obscurity of the second page.
Where to start
Keyword search – what is this?
For your potential readers to find you, it is interesting to know what they are looking for. This is why all good SEO for authors begins with a keyword search. The objective of this search is none other than to find key words and phrases and create content around them. Therefore, if you are the author of a thriller, you will need to create content based on the keywords you find related to thriller books. Generally speaking, every piece of content you create, whether it’s a page or a blog article, should be built around a single phrase or keyword. This makes it easier for Google to rank the content in its index and increases the chances of placing it at the top of the search results page. (SERP)
The easiest way to search for keywords is to simply search on Google (or other major websites like YouTube or Reedit). As you probably already know, Google will give you search suggestions when you do this. These suggestions are the most popular related searches that Google can find, and as such, potential keywords.
You can dig even deeper into your search and use tools such as Google Trends, where you can compare the popularity of different phrases within a given geographic location. It’s quite useful. This tool can help you make more informed and optimal decisions. «Answer the Public» is another of these tools, which could help you discover even more specific search terms, classified by their prepositions (how, what, when, where…)
Of course, this is all well and good, but what exactly am I supposed to be looking for? You may be wondering.
Keyword research – how to do it
Let’s imagine that you have written a fantasy book. You could use “fantasy book” as a starting point for your keyword research and search for it on Google or whatever search engine you’ve decided to use:
Here you have a lot of results. While you could just go ahead and write an article about your book focusing on the term “fantasy book” or “fantasy book series,” it would be a bit vague. Without a doubt, there are thousands of pages that fall within these general terms, and you will have to compete with all of them. And what you want to do is eliminate as much competition as possible, while being as specific as possible.
This is where subgenres come in handy. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re writing about; it probably falls within a particular subgenre. And fans of that genre will undoubtedly be very demanding reader’s eager for that particular type of story. So, let’s say that your fantasy book is actually a youth fantasy book, focused on a group of readers under 20 years old. The suggestions offered by Google will be quite different:
These search terms are more specific and therefore less competitive than the previous ones. Now, for the sake of this example, let’s say that your YA fantasy book is also a romance. You’re in luck, as it’s one of the most popular search terms related to YA fantasy, as you can see above. For a more detailed description of popular searches, you can insert your keyword into “Answer the Public”:
Most of the key words and phrases in the images above are solid options for creating content. You could write a blog post detailing how you came to write a YA romance fantasy book, and what implications it has for the genre. You could also create a page that details the world in which your YA fantasy book takes place, including its history, geography, culture…
When writing these pages and articles, be sure to include the keywords you want to be found, especially in the titles. Now, don’t overdo it. A good way to check this is that if the reading becomes strange due to the large number of times said keyword is repeated, perhaps you are using it too much. You have to try to make the texts as friendly and attractive as possible, since by doing so, people will spend more time on your website, which is a brilliant recommendation for Google. If you are using WordPress to create your page, the Yeast See plugin is a great tool that will tell you if you are on the right track.
Try to create as much content as you can for as many keywords as you can. Just remember that the shorter and more general the keyword, the more competition you will have. Also, make sure the content accurately reflects the keyword you are using to describe it. Google penalizes web pages that are misleading, so your SEO efforts could have the opposite effect of what you want if you are not transparent.
Make sure your page’s work
Once you have created various pages for your website, you will need to make sure that they work correctly. Depending on the size of the site, this task has different degrees of difficulty. Mainly, you have to take into account that there are no broken links or pages that readers can find when they are clicking on your website. This is of course important for the lectors themselves (there are few things more annoying than clicking on an interesting link and arriving at a 404 error page), but also for Google.
This is because Google has a so-called “crawl budget” for each website. Google spiders crawl your site and bring back information for the aforementioned Google index. If some links are broken or dead ends, they will eat up your crawling budget without giving you anything in return. That is why it is very important to take care of your website so that all pages’ work.
Be generous with internal links
Including internal links will allow famous spiders to take shortcuts when they are crawling on your website, making the process much more efficient. As such, you should create links to related pages and blog articles to your website with as much content as possible. For example, if you have a page called »About the Author» you will probably want to mention why you decided to get into writing romantic YA fantasy books. In this case, you’ll want to link to the page you entered with the keyword “romantic YA fantasy books.” Internal links help both readers and spiders navigate your website more easily, which is good for SEO.
Invite people to come in
Once you have your content and its classification ready, you will need to make sure that people who see your website on Google’s list are tempted to enter. The most important factor here is the meta description. This is nothing more than the visible text fragment that you see when Google lists its search results:
Meta descriptions should not be too long, otherwise Google will cut your text in half. A meta description must be brief, quick and inform the reader exactly what they will find if they click on the link. You also have to be careful with the title and not make it too long, as it could also be cut off, as in the following example:
The most important thing here is also to include the keyword in both the description and the title, since the chances of a person clicking are higher if this description includes the words they have searched for. Additionally, it is also something that Google takes into account when ranking search results.
But how do you edit the meta description? Well, that depends on what CMS you are using to create your website. In WordPress and Drupal (the most used), you will find the option at the bottom of the screen when creating a new Book Marketing Agency or post.
Try to secure backlinks
Once your website is ready to be visited by your potential readers, it’s time to be proactive. An important factor that Google takes into account when ranking websites is the frequency with which they are being linked to by third parties. This tells Google that that website is good enough to be recommended by others. Therefore, having other people link to your website is a great SEO strategy, whenever possible. However, this part is probably the most difficult and laborious. Most website owners and bloggers are aware of the value of a link, so be prepared to offer something of value.
Choose these potential partners carefully. Make sure you have content that is relevant to them. Think about book bloggers and sites specializing in YA fantasy books (based on our previous example of that fantasy book you wrote). Perhaps they would be interested in reviewing your book, or perhaps the premise of your book is so promising that an article could be published? If they accept, you could write a post for them as a guest blogger talking about something you’re familiar with (like what it’s like to write and self-publish a YA romance fantasy book, in this case).
Whatever you end up doing, make sure there’s a link to your website in that content you’ve agreed upon, because that’s the point at the end of the day.
Get the most out of social networks
Although social networks themselves do not provide any direct benefit in terms of SEO, they do play an important role in this whole game in general. Because if a big part of SEO is making your content as Google-friendly as possible, it’s even more important that people like your content. If you only create content with Google in mind, you run the risk of not taking into account your ultimate goal: getting people to engage with your page (and buy your book). While it is true that good SEO can achieve this, you will also need to get them to stay, and ideally, share your content. That’s why SEO is as much about creating quality content as it is about finding the right keywords for that content.
This is where social media comes into play. While it doesn’t have a direct effect on your Google ranking, social media provides direct access to your target audience by allowing you to find and interact with these people. In the case of the hypothetical YA fantasy book, some examples of these shortcuts would be Facebook groups, subedits, and hashtags aimed at fantasy fans. By joining and interacting with these groups, you will stimulate traffic to your author website.
Plus, since the people you’ll engage with on these sites will already be part of a target demographic, they’re much more likely to become your readers. Assuming they like your book enough, they may voluntarily become “ambassadors” for it. This outcome would be ideal, as it means an independent third party will share the link to your site, talk about your book, and drive even more traffic on your behalf.
Writers of USA Widgets
As an additional note: if you have published your book with Writers of USA, we can provide you with free customizable widgets for your social media pages. These will take interested visitors directly to your book store’s website. Now, if you want that buy button to be tempting, you’ll have to keep whatever social media profile you’re using with quality content. Fortunately, most of the time, it is possible to reuse everything you publish on your website. We also have an article on how to promote your book on social media, in case you need more information.
Whatever social media channels you decide to use, remember to be transparent in your communication. We are talking about your future readers, so building a friendly and trusting relationship with them is essential.
While the conclusion of this article is that good content is the primary foundation of good SEO for authors, there is much more to it than that. Finding the right people and finding out what they are looking for and how they look for it is also vital. Once you have discovered the keywords you want to test, writing good content based on these keywords will be the next step. Once the content is written, it’s time to be proactive and get that content in front of the right people, while slowly but surely moving your website up the rankings organically. Use social media to communicate directly with your readers and spread the word through their own networks.
This is a pretty basic overview of SEO for authors, but it will get you started and will make a difference if done correctly. If you want to dive deeper into the topic and maximize your website’s visibility in search engines, we recommend heading to the Mos. SEO Learning Center. The Yeast blog also offers some solid advice on the topic. Both web pages are in English.