Writing books is only part of an author’s job description. The writing—most authors would agree—is the fun part, and the book promotion is decidedly not. After experiencing the mental exhaustion of pouring heart and soul into my book, how am I going to find readers to buy it? The answer? I’m always on the lookout for the latest trends in book marketing and promotion. And, it turns out, book promotion is another area I can stretch my creative wings.
What is SEO and why do you need it? SEO, search engine optimization, is the way to get content in front of your target audience. If you have a web presence, you need to read this article.
SEO is an art and a science. There are two main steps: 1. Produce good content; 2. Promote that content. You can have the best blog post / book / website out there, but if you don’t promote it strategically, no one will know. Likewise, you can heavily promote inferior content and risk losing readers / followers. Think quality over quantity.
Content is King
An effective website, or webpage, contains quality content focused on the user’s intent. When creating content, remember word count, keyword distribution, internal links, and headers affect search rank. Choose your topic selectively. Focus on a subject you are an authority on. It establishes your credibility. Aim for a target length between 300 and 1900 words, using concise sentences. Contrary to past trends, readers seek long-form content as long as it’s applicable to them. Engage with your audience. In addition to the “why” and “how-to” posts, using lists, quizzes, infographics, and videos are popular ways to create engaging content. Create content with a keyword in mind.
The Key to Keyword Selection
Use tools like Google Adwords to determine the analytics on potential keywords and related synonyms. Also, consider exploiting knowledge of important (and similar) topics and themes to increase your readership. Use your keyword in the title and the first sentence of your first paragraph. Use your keyword in the metadata title—the highlighted text in a search engine result—and in the metadata description—the text which describes your website. Target keyword density, the percentage of times the keyword appears in your content compared to the total number of words, between one and three percent.
Don’t Forget Formatting
Content structure—which affects search rank—is (almost) as important as the content. Eye tracking studies measure user experience signals where, and for how long, people look on a webpage. In the eight-seconds you have to grab your reader’s attention, it’s crucial to know where they will look first. Use the real estate above the fold—the space you can see before scrolling down—for your most valuable content, and use headers to break your information into easy-to-read chunks. Use white space strategically, and don’t use banners as previous overuse has led to the phenomena called ‘banner blindness.’
You’ve invested in producing quality, well-structured content. Is that enough? What other factors affect search rank? Site speed. A faster site tends to rank higher than slower sites. You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to rate optimization and receive recommendations. Social signals. These include the number of shares and tweets.
Now to put my new-found knowledge into practice!
Agius, Aaron. (2015, December 24). “It’s Time to Rethink Your SEO Approach for 2016.” Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253288 on 2017, June 27.
Cain, Kevin. (2012, August 29). “How to Optimize Content When You Don’t Know Jack about SEO.” Retrieved from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/08/optimize-content-when-you-dont-know-seo/ on 2017, June 27.
Dragilev, Dmitry. (2016, May 11). “Six Top SEO Factors in 2016.” Retrieved from http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29906/six-top-seo-factors-in-2016 on 2017, June 27.
Patel, Neil. (2014, April 16). “8 Powerful Takeaways from Eye Tracking Studies.” Retrieved from https://www.quicksprout.com/2014/04/16/8-powerful-takeaways-from-eye-tracking-studies/ on 2017, June 27.
Si, Sean. “What are Meta Tags and why are they important?” Retrieved from https://seo-hacker.com/what-are-meta-tags-and-why-are-they-important/ on 2017, September 2.
Weiss, Aaron. (2015, December 29). “Trip Through the Google Zoo.” Retrieved from https://www.searchengineacademy.com/blog/trip-through-the-google-zoo/ on 2017, June 27.