Google. It’s the black box that no one really knows what goes on in there. However there are few things you can do to optimize your site so that you can rank higher on Google. After all, what’s the point of having a webpage if potential readers can’t find it in search?
Have a Blog and Blog Frequently
Having a blog is important because it’s the key way that people find out about books. When you type in an author’s name you want to make sure that the author’s website shows up on the first page of search results. You can control the message you send to people and have all the information about you and your books available to anyone who is looking. Publishing as little as two times a week to your blog keeps the content fresh in search engines on Google. Don’t just blog for the sake of blogging but add value. Two great examples of authors who blog are David Gaughran and Joanna Penn.
Linking is Important
Linking is important for SEO. You want to make sure that people link back to your content and that you link to theirs. When someone links back to your blog posts it’s basically a vote for your content. Different sites are weighted differently. For example, if TIME.com happens to link back to you or BuzzFeed happens to link to you, that’s a huge vote for your blog.
Optimize your Blog for Google
The next thing you should do is to make sure that your blog is optimized for Google. You can download plugins like Yoast that will help you set up your tags, title, keywords, and meta data.
- Make sure you enable your sitemap. A sitemap basically tells Google the structure of your site and let’s Google know when a new post is published so it can index it.
- Instructions for submitting to Google, Yahoo, and Bing
- Link out to 3-5 sites
- Get other bloggers to link to your blog
- Titles: Have a good title tag that tells what the blog is about. I used to work at TIME and used to train journalists on SEO. They loved using titles that didn’t say anything about what the content was. (a. Good title: Watch the Supermoon Eclipse in 9 Seconds Flat b. Bad title: Watch a Once in a Lifetime Event)
- Keywords: Have 5-7 keywords that describe your content
- Meta description: A short paragraph of what your content is about. This will show up in Google results
Guest blogging is a great way to establish yourself as a expert. You can also get your content and name out there on more sites and increase exposure. You can always link back to your book or site in your bio. We had an author, Hymn Herself, who wrote a blog post on 10 Misconceptions about Mental Institutions and she linked her book in her bio and sold 1000 copies that way.
Make Sure your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Google changed their algorithm in April 21st 2015 to penalize any sites that are not optimized for mobile devices.
To test if your site is mobile-friendly you can just go to the link here and make sure to follow all their instructions here.
Put Share Links on your Content
Have a fun blog post? Once of the best way to make it go viral is to put social media tools on your content. If you have a picture heavy site you might want to include Pinterest. But do keep Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and Google Plus as options to share.
Make Sure your Amazon Page is Optimized
It’s no question that Amazon is one of the most well indexed pages on Google. If you search for your book or your name it is likely that your Amazon page will show up much higher than your blog. So do make sure to optimize your Amazon pages.
To optimize your Amazon page there are a few things you can do:
- Make sure you have an Author Central account with your bio and picture filled out. Having an Author Central account will help you rank higher on Amazon.
- Connect your social media to Amazon Author Central.
- Make sure your book has the relevant keywords, but the keyword strings you would use to find a book.
There are no guarantees to mastering search engines as authors, but doing the tips above will definitely help you rank higher and make your books easier to find.
Miral Sattar is CEO of Bibliocrunch, a platform that matches authors with trusted, prescreened book publishing professionals. Miral just published her free ebook, A Self-Publishing Guide for NaNoWriMo Writers. She and her writing have both been featured in numerous media outlets including BusinessWeek, BBC, TIME, Forbes, Money Magazine, Consumer Reports, PBS, and other media publications. She has a MS in Publishing (NYU) and a BS in Computer Engineering (Columbia). Miral describes herself as 1/3 engineer. 1/3 entrepreneur. 1/3 writer.