By John Reese, Jun 20 2018 01:57PM
We have said it before and make no apology for saying it again. The days when an author could simply write for a living are over. Whether you write best-selling crime fiction novels or something more mundane authors are increasingly becoming publishing entrepreneurs and yet far too many are missing out on potential book sales because they don’t appreciate the real power of SEO.
It’s not enough for an author to have a busy Twitter feed and make daily posts on Facebook. It may seem like these two giants of Social Media are here for eternity but there is always the next big thing and that is why authors can’t afford to ignore SEO.
Good SEO will make your website highly visible in terms of search engine ranking and any author committed to selling their books needs to aim for the highest possible search engine ranking for books in their genre with the ultimate goal of appearing on page one of Googles search results. It’s not rocket science. Search engines rank sites utilizing keywords that make up the site. When potential customers are on search engines and looking for those keywords, they may or may not find your site in the search results. If they click on your link back through to your site, it creates organic traffic and therein resides the magic. Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram might eventually decline in popularity but SEO gives any author a competitive advantage that to a large extent is within their control. Think of SEO as the bait that brings a stream of potential readers to your site, and it’s what search engines are looking for when displaying search results to users.
Scour the web and you will find yourself inundated with SEO advice from bonafide experts to self-proclaimed gurus but there’s no doubt that an author intent on maximising their SEO to attract more readers should start with an SEO strategy. A strategy can be as simple or as complex as you care to make it but we have taken the guesswork out of it by focusing on the essentials and the actions you can take straight away to ensure the best return from your investment. An author should first and foremost write novels so below you will find the top 5 SEO actions you must take to ensure the best investment of your valuable time. Yes there are other things we could add and we will cover them in a later post but these are the must-haves.
Step One: Know Who Your Readers Are.
Any author wanting to attract new readers must know the kind of readers they are trying to attract. At the bare minimum, you will need to have a clear view of age, gender, education level and broad interests.
Step Two: Identify Essential Keywords for Content Optimization
Look through your Google Analytics or another analytics platform like Keyword Finder, and review the keywords people are searching on. You are looking for what content to optimize, and which keywords you should focus your website improvements on.
Step Three: Know Your Ranking
Everyone has to start somewhere and whichever point you start from will be your baseline so that you can accurately measure your success in terms of organic lead generation. Find out which of your website's pages are your key web pages and rank them in terms of conversions. The first page you should optimize should always be your homepage but don’t get fooled into thinking that the more complex the analysis the better. Keep it simple by ensuring you are signed up to Google Analytics for your website and do a weekly audit to determine which of your pages are converting to visitors.
Step Four: Refine And Review
A regular site audit is essential for ensuring SEO errors don’t mar your efforts. Set aside time to search for your target keywords, and compare where you rank against other authors in your genre. Don't be afraid to try new combinations and change when needed as your efforts become more refined.
Step Five: Blog it
Yes, the popularity of blogging seems to wax and wane depending on whose opinion is being offered but your blog is still a powerful tool for authors seeking to maximize their SEO. Audit your existing content, adding relevant links, correct subheadings, and consistently post relevant relatable content. Include as many of the keywords that you targeted earlier in each and every post. Attempt to add those keywords to meta descriptions, headlines, subhead lines, alt tags for your images. Utilise every opportunity to promote the keywords you want to rank for.
We started by saying that authors are increasingly becoming publishing entrepreneurs and yet far too many are missing out on potential book sales because they don’t appreciate the real power of SEO. One author who has mastered it and as a result seen her books build a highly enthusiastic following is International Bestselling author Jennifer Chase. We had the pleasure of reviewing her latest release Scene Of The Crime and a visit to her website is always inspiring. Click HERE to read our review and visit Jennifer’s author webpage.
Now before we go we need to state the obvious. Mastering SEO requires a commitment of time and more often than not it takes several months to start building real momentum but stick with it and the results will certainly come.