Posted By Sue Collier on October 21, 2011
I’m really excited to welcome back guest blogger, Lindsay Buroker, for part two of her article on SEO. Thanks to epublishing, Lindsay is a full-time indie author and she’s also starting a self-publishing blog.
She has been writing fantasy novels and short stories since she was seven. She’s been finishing them since… well, that’s a more recent development. Originally from Seattle, she’s currently traveling the world and writing from the road. She was a professional blogger for years, so she had to learn a thing or two about SEO—which most people have heard of but many know little about. Hopefully, Lindsay’s post will change that.
If you’re a fantasy fan, you can check out her free fantasy ebook, Ice Cracker II. (Yes, she even SEOs her author bio!)
Advanced search engine optimization tips
If you read part one of this post, and you found yourself nodding instead of scratching your head, you might be ready for a little more. Here are a couple more tips:
Set your site/blog up so it’s “SEO friendly”
If you haven’t chosen a domain name (a yourauthorname.com address) yet, you may want to work your main keyword into it, especially if your name is already taken. An example might be jeffsmithmysterynovels.com or janesmithromance.com. Don’t go crazy with the keywords or choose anything too long as you want fans to be able to remember your web address.
You’ll want to use your main keyword in the title of your site as well. Instead of something like, “A random writer’s musings…” your blog might be “Jane Doe Historical Romance Author.”
On the main page of my site, the title (the text that appears in someone’s browser bar) is “Lindsay Buroker — Fantasy Author,” and, as I write this post, my site appears fourth under a Google Search for “fantasy author.” I hope to make it to the #1 spot some day! (Though these things take time, so you have to be patient.)
Note, I didn’t use my keywords in my domain name (people generally have a tough time spelling my name correctly, so I didn’t want to add anything extra, and since it’s an original name, the .com address wasn’t taken yet). I just point this out so you know the final decision is up to you. Do what you feel makes sense and looks good to you.
Get links to your site
While it’s good to be SEO friendly, what you do on your site is only part of the battle.
In the early days of the internet, you could fill a page with lots and lots of instances of a keyword in order to rank more highly for it. And that actually worked.
The search engines are much smarter these days. They figure that links to a site count as votes of confidence, so they are factored into how well a site ranks for its keywords. People usually link to things that are useful, so the more links there are pointing to a site, the more likely search engines will consider it an authority (AKA a site worthy of doing well in their results). Also, links from older, more established sites count for more than links from new sites with few visitors of their own.
Try to get people to link to your main page and also some of your individual blog posts. Remember how I said the main page of my site ranks decently for “fantasy author” even though I don’t use that term in my domain name? That’s because I’ve written a few guest posts (like this one, hah!) on other people’s blogs where I’ve linked to my own site with that keyword (scroll back up to the top of the article to spot where I snuck it in here).
Eventually, if you maintain a useful blog (or you’re a great author!), these links will come naturally, but it’s tough getting noticed in the beginning (as with selling books, huh?). Guest posting is a good way to get links. (Click that link to read an article I wrote on the topic.)
Be patient, young Jedi…
If you start employing some of the SEO techniques I’ve discussed here, you’ll be way ahead of the game. Most authors don’t know anything about this stuff (not everybody is a geek like me whose been making a living online for the better part of the last decade).
It does, however, take time for you to start seeing significant traffic from the search engines. Plan to post to your blog regularly and work on getting links to your site (even if you just blog once or twice a week and try to get one link a week, you’ll be doing great) for the next six to twelve months before things really start kicking in.
I know that sounds like a long time, but you’re an author planning to build a whole career out of this, right? The good thing about SEO is that the things you do today (especially link building) will pay off in the future as well. Five years down the road, someone might find your site on Google, thanks to an SEO-friendly article you wrote today.
If you’re looking for more tips on blogging, SEO, and book promotion, you can stop by my self-publishing blog. I’m adding new articles each week, and I’ve also started a “Savvy Self-Publishing Podcast” for those folks who enjoy learning while in the car or at the gym.
Thanks for reading my posts and checking out my links!