Advice for writers

SEO for Authors

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I teach a 3 hr class on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of a Diploma Course in Digital Marketing at City Colleges in Dublin, which I have delivered since 2013. I am also an author with three novels published by Harper Collins and a self published guide to social media on Amazon.

Long ago search was gamed by people who threw up brief but keyword-dense articles to rank high for particular phrases. Google’s latest search updates vaporized the ability of such sites to rank high in the organic search results. A high organic ranking will place you on page one of a search result, without you having to buy an ad from Google to get there.

One step in these changes was that Google+ introduced visible, authoritative online content assessment. Your Gooogle+ identity is used, where available, to assess whether web pages you wrote are likely to be of interest to the people who are searching. Please ensure your Google account is linked to any site you own, when you can, to ensure Google can build a profile of who you are and your area of expertise.

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To complicate things Search Plus Your World (Google S+YW) looks at your search history and location (if it was enabled) to help Google make better guesses at what to serve up to you when you search. Google wants to get closer to knowing (and anticipating) your intentions.

Your goal is to build topical authority around your area of expertise, whether that be cooking or ancient Rome, the world of your novel.

Simply put, authors should consider building authority in areas that relate to their books. If you create high-quality, useful content with thoughtful, original material, which extends your novel or non fiction work you will attract searchers and hold their attention.

Google also measures how much time a visitor spends on your pages and whether visitors share your material across the social web.

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Good design, speed of loading, ease of navigation, and whether a site is talked about on blogs, and on social media, will also affect your organic ranking.

I suggest you engage with your audience through allowing comments, guest posts, and social web interaction. Authors also need to go beyond that however, to set and guide the online conversation with challenging, consistent content.

By creating the best content we can, we will draw attention and traffic and spread the word about our books across the web.

One area that will help, is if authors build relationships with groups who already have established authority in the topic, online. By sharing that other site’s content and asking for links in exchange (link building) you will also increase your organic ranking.

Some key points to consider when creating web sites:

1. Great titles/title tags. Most content management systems (CMS) do this automatically, but remember, post/page titles should relate to your content. Great titles help conversion, SEO and sharing.

2. Headings should also reflect content.

3. Internal/external links should focus on words relevant to your content. There are three types of back links; guest post back links, natural links – people who want to link to you – and your profiles backlinked from other sites.

4. Alt Image tags, an option when you load an image on many self-build sites and blogs, should be used and should contain a keyword/word relevant to your content.

5. Most importantly of all, create compelling content, share it often, and repeat.

Keyword density is the % of keywords in a page, excluding html tags. 1-3% is the optimum or you will be keyword stuffing and lose organic ranking. In other words, don’t make every second sentence use the words Roman historical fiction if your book is about that era.

Finally make your site mobile ready, 50% + of searches in many countries are now coming from mobile, and please use a 14 pt or larger font size to make your content easily readable.

I hope you found this explanation useful. If you are interested in our book promotion services, click here. If you’d like to read another post, about content creation strategies for authors click here.

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