With thousands of books published every day, one of the biggest hurdles for up-and-coming authors is discoverability. In order to successfully sell your book, an interested reader has to know about it! So how do you get the word out about your book? The experts at Web Design Relief know that one of the most effective methods is to improve your author website search engine optimization (SEO).
The Importance Of SEO For Selling Books
SEO is the process of optimizing certain elements on your author website, most importantly the text, in order to boost your site’s ranking in relevant web searches. A higher rank on a web search means more readers will discover your book, increasing the opportunities for making a sale.
Relevancy is key. If you’re selling books, you don’t need to be highly ranked in searches for dishwashing liquid or dieting tips—unless that’s what your book is about. You want your dark contemporary potboiler to be seen by people searching for their next thrilling read.
The best way to raise your website’s ranking is to skillfully pepper your text and metadata with the precise keywords and phrases that accurately describe your book and will attract an audience that’s looking for your genre.
Choosing the right keywords and keyword phrases can take some time and practice. It’s a good idea to brainstorm in order to come up with more keywords than you need, then trim the list to only the best.
Home In On The Keywords Your Readers Are Searching For:
- Define your book’s genre in a way that will attract specific readers. Instead of fiction, for example, consider “dystopian young adult fiction.”
- Break out the thesaurus and come up with synonyms for the above, like “apocalyptic young adult fiction,” or “dark young adult fiction.”
- Fiction writers: Search for lists of fitting tropes, such as “tragic genius,” “love triangle,” or “manic pixie dream girl.”
- Nonfiction writers: Drill down to the specific problem your book addresses that your reader is trying to solve, such as “dieting without hunger” or “city gardening for apartment dwellers.”
- Consider the keyword phrases your ideal reader might use when searching for a book like yours, such as “perfect beach read,” “children’s book about siblings,” or “vegan recipes for Thanksgiving.”
- For inspiration and guidance, check out similar books on e-retailers to see which genre categories have been chosen and which keywords your competitors use in their book descriptions.
How To Optimize Keywords
Once you have a list, it’s time to select the best of your keywords. There are several ways to determine their strength and popularity:
- Search Engines. Type your keyword phrases into Google and note the websites that come up on the first page. Are the websites similar in content to yours, or are they utterly irrelevant? Choose the keyword search terms that sync up most closely. You can also try this on Amazon, which acts as a big search engine for books.
- Google Ads and Bing Ads. Signing up for Google or Bing Ads gives you access to their keyword planner tool. Type your keyword into this tool and you’ll get information about the average monthly searches for that keyword as well as a rating of the competition on their ads platform. A relevant keyword that has a lot of searches and low competition will likely help your website rank higher.
- Amazon Incognito Search Function. If you start to type a keyword in Amazon’s search box, Amazon will auto-populate a drop-down list of keywords. This list is a measure of the most popular keywords that begin with the string of letters you’ve typed. It’s important, however, that you do this search in an “incognito” window so that the results aren’t warped by the data Amazon has collected about all your previous searches.
Using Keywords Effectively To Maximize SEO
Once you have a short list of highly relevant keywords, it’s time to use them in your text and within the back matter of your website. Use keyword phrases in important places for SEO, such as:
- Author website title
- Blog titles
- First and last sentences of blogs, bios, etc.
- First and last paragraphs of blogs, bios, etc.
- Headers and subheaders
The more thoroughly you can use these keywords in the text on your website, on the landing page, on the author page, in the blog, and in the book descriptions, the better the chances you’ll rank higher for those Google search terms.
SEO is an effective way to raise your website’s visibility, which in turn increases your opportunities to draw more traffic to where you sell your books. Remember, however, to avoid keyword-stuffing, which can render your copy robotic. Smooth, compelling, and effective writing trumps all, so use keywords wisely.
QUESTION: Which keyword phrases would you use to describe your most recent project?