SEO and Increasing Your Discoverability:
A Note from the Book Expo of America
So, as promised, I have compiled some information and notes from one of the biggest book trade shows in the world, and today I’m focusing specifically on SEO. What is SEO, and why is it important to you as an author of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror?
First off, SEO is an acronym meaning “Search Engine Optimization”, wherein you can improve the ways in which different search engines can find your books and content (or if you’re running a blog, your blog posts). Good SEO is how people will find you and your fiction, depending on the keywords they use to search out the kinds of books that interest them. What you want is for your books / posts / content to rank towards the top of a search engine list so people can find you more easily.
Keep these three tips in mind to increase your discoverability:
1. Use popular keywords and search terms in the titles and body of your blog post!Also use them in your metadata. If someone is looking for information on “Book Publishing and Production”, they should be able to type this keyword into Google and pull up a list of articles, one of which should be yours! How do you do this? Make sure that the words “book publishing” and “book production” appear in your article. If you can sneak one of those words in the title of your post, that’s also pretty boss.
Also, use your metadata wisely. Where the metadata appears, though, depends on the site you’re using. For your main website, you can always toggle the description of the site such that people can find you via search engines and know what your website is about. Additionally, if you’re using WordPress, for example, you can really help yourself get discovered by creating “categories” for your posts, one of which should be “Book Publishing and Production”.
2. Keep your website updated as much as possible! I cannot stress this enough. If you’re blogging, which you should be as a sci-fi & fantasy indie publisher, then you should definitely try to keep your updates coming 2-3 times a week. My personal testimony to this: in the month of April 2012, I was blogging 2-3 times a week, constantly retweeting people’s tweets, posting new info to my Facebook page, updating my Blogger site (and my Google+ site by default), and guess what? A small minnow like me, only four months into the blogging game, was already getting over 2,000 hits a week! Once I had to redirect my energy into school and away from my website, though, my posts slowed significantly and so did my hits… I came tumbling down to about 500-800 hits a week.
Now for those of you who are veterans, you might look at this and go “Pshaw! Small potatoes! I get 10,000 views a week!” Well that’s awesome, but it just goes to show that the longer you’re in the game, the more consistently you post, and the higher the quality of your content, the faster and more consistent the growth of your reader base. Also, many of these hits I received were by unique users, (people who visited my website for the first time). They found me using keywords in online searches that I had also included in my blog posts. SO keep posting as often as you can and post quality, keyword-laden (not overloaded though) topics! I think posting three times a week is pretty prime for generating traffic.
3. Make use of important analytic software! In addition to being a writer (night job), I’m also a social researcher and market analyst (day job). As such, I believe very strongly in data-driven marketing strategies. Use marketing software to find out what keywords are being Googled, which other words are associated with these keywords, and try your best to integrate these words into your articles, article titles, and metadata. (I’ll talk more about metadata in my next post, so no worries!)
Another kind of analytic system you can use include Google Analytics, which can be embedded into your website and used to track your hits for free. Another system, one that I use and love, is CloudFlare. CloudFlare is offered through my web host, and I use a free plan, which allows me to see how many hits my websites (yep, they take multiple sites) get a week. I can also look at daily hits and monthly hits. Try it out and you’ll be able to track how many people look at your site and when. My posts, for example, seem to be the most popular on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 am, 1 pm, and 7 pm. This makes sense as this corresponds with before work, lunchtime, and after work site checking! Now I can focus on timing my posts such that they will be found at those prime traffic hours during the day!
There is so much more to SEO than just these three tips, so stay tuned! I have another post coming on three more tips on increasing your discoverability! 🙂 Remember, take it one day at a time, be as consistent as you can, and most importantly, keep it indie!