As an author, SEO and Branding are your best friends. What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization. It is making your website search engine attractive. Search engines, such as Google, are the first place most people go when they are seeking information. You don’t want your potential readers or current fans to miss finding you and stumble upon another author.
Can Amazon and Other Online Retailers Replace Good SEO?
While Amazon and Barnes and Noble are important to an author, there is little you can do to control all of the other authors who will also pop up via their search engine algorithms. In this case, the algorithms are the programming a computer uses to respond to an inquiry for instance.
Online bookstores have one purpose: to make money. $$$
They don’t care if it’s from selling your book or another person’s book. They are trying to persuade the buyer to simply spend their money. Not only would you compete with the bookstore search engine results, but also with the ads which show at the top.
The Popular Couple: Branding and SEO
Thus, branding your name and the SEO of your website are of the utmost importance to an author. In the past, I worked on branding with the SEO, because in this huge ocean of fish on the internet, only the big fish at the top catch your eye. Tom Blubaugh, just made a very helpful video on “Branding Your Name” and I recommend you check it out, too.
If people find you on a Google, Bing, or Yahoo search for instance because your Branding and SEO is top-notch, then you aren’t competing with all the other authors. You are swimming on top of an ocean of your own!
Often when people want SEO (Search Engine Optimization) performed on their website, they want a contractual promise that their site will rise to #1 on Google. Sometimes, they only expect this in their keyword market within a 3 week time frame. Truth is, if anybody makes you that promise, they are being dishonest.
As an SEO expert I cannot control the outcome of the Google algorithms. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other major search engines change their algorithms, at least as often as maple trees shed their leaves. Not only is there more competition than previously, but there are not any cheats to climbing the rankings. However, I do consistently learn what works and what doesn’t from season to season.
What Does It Require to Improve Search Engine Ranking?
It takes consistent effort and time. It takes a strong combination of SEO and Branding.
The upside, if you have a local storefront, you have a stronger chance of pulling up higher in your region. If however, you are a national/international site, there simply are no guarantees. If you follow good SEO practices over time, you can expect to improve your ranking.
There are so many nuances to SEO. However, there are basic truths that are universal to most search engine algorithms. So let’s start there.
SEO Tips 1-10
- Buy a binder and print out a hard copy of your website. Have a section in it for your SEO information. Keep all important documents printed and inside of it besides keeping your website and documents backed up on your hard drive. This is information you need to analyze on a regular basis.
- A strong keyword domain name does matter. Your page and content titles are important as well. If your domain name already exists and is not strong, no worries, just make wise use of page and content titles.
- Make certain all of your photos and links have strong keyword titles associated with them.
- You need Google Analytics and Google Webmasters for your website. If you are using WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org, it isn’t possible to employ Google Analytics unless you pay extra to have their most expensive plan. There are pros and cons to using WordPress.com vs using WordPress.org on another host. I will cover that in another article. As for Google’s “Search Console,” it is an amazing tool to aid in crawling your new pages or posts, so they index quickly in the search engine.
- Make your website mobile friendly. The quicker a site downloads on a mobile, the better for your rank. SEO is hurt by slow loading mobile sites.
- Record the indexing status of your site. Keeping a record of this over time, can help you catch various issues. You want to see a steady increase in pages crawled and indexed. This means your content is fully accessible to the search engine.
- Check your site for keywords with a crawler. Go back and optimize content, photos, and links accordingly. Don’t keyword load the page unnaturally, also known as keyword stuffing. Just write it so it flows with appropriate keywords placed.
- Check your analytics for any dead links and correct those. Over time, it is not uncommon for websites to delete content.
- Check for any bad backlinks and correct those, if possible.
- Delete any duplicate content, whether you have written it yourself, but especially if you copied from another website. This could bring you penalties. Plagiarism is frowned upon in the current algorithms. Write original, fresh content that will help your customers or share about what your company is accomplishing, etc.
The SEO Wrap-Up
These ten tips will help you climb the ladder on search engines. Keep your content regular. Set a schedule to post fresh content. If you don’t, it’s too easy to let it slide and so will your rankings over time.
***One last note, if you receive an email about a program that guarantees improved SEO just by plugging it into your site…it simply can’t do all the work necessary. The work must be done by hand. Yes, there are programs that charge monthly to check all your backlinks for you, alt tags, etc and report to you all the issues they find, but they cannot correct them. That is your responsibility or whomever you hire to implement your SEO for you.