If you’re an author, maybe you want to sell some books, right?
Maybe it occurred to you that maybe you should sell online, right?
No time to waste, let jump right into my huge list of tips…
The SEO For Authors Master Checklist:
- Discover How People Search For You
Think you know how people search for you? Your book? Your topic? Think again! – use Google’s Free Keyword Tool and put in your name, then your book’s name, then your topic, then variations on your topic… look at the “keyword suggestions” – you’ll be very surprised at how people actually search vs. how you thought they searched!
- Use Relevant, High Volume Keywords
Based on the keywords you found in the Google Free Keyword tool, update your pages to incorporate the highly relevant, high volume keywords you found.
- Set up Google Plus & Rel=Author (obsolete – Google killed off this program)
Google rewards authors with a special listing in the search results: here’s the details you need on Google authorship.
- Update your <title> Tags
<title> tags are the the most important on-page elements – use the keywords you found in your keyword research on each page of your site – focus one keyword per page, 2-3 at the most but only if they’re highly related. Stay under 70 characters, including spaces. Yes, that’s a hard and fast rule.
- Update Your Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions won’t help with ranking but it will with click-thru in search results. For each page, incorporate your target keyword, keep in under 155 characters including descriptions, and make it compelling.
- Update Your Page Headlines
Your page headline should reflect your <title> tag and in many cases be exactly the same. Make sure your page title is wrapped in <h1> HTML tags. Yes, this is important.
- Use Your Keyword 2-3 Times in Text
Don’t over do it. Just use your target keyword 2-3 times in a natural manner.
- Advance Your Keyword Research
Go back to the Google keyword tool – try more keywords – change the match type to “exact” and look only at the “local” numbers – use what you found to create new pages.
- Get Topically Related Links
Your book is on a topic; search Google using the keywords you found. Look at the top 25 results and see if those websites have “links” or “resource” pages. If so, look for their contact page, ask them if they’d be willing to link to your site.
- Make Your Pages 350-550 Words Minimum
Google and other search engines are looking for content. They can’t see into pictures or watch videos – it’s content they crawl and index and put into search results. If you don’t have content, you can’t rank. SEO for authors means post content! Snippets from your book are a great idea!
- Do Not – EVER – Duplicate Your Content
Google hates duplicate content. Don’t you dare post the same page on YourName.com that you post on YourBookName.com. Google will get pissed. Don’t do it.
- Get Organizations Links
Belong to a group? Pay dues to them? Ask them for a link to your site. Ask vendors, clubs, associations, and anyone you have a business relationship to link to your site. Especially if you pay to belong, you should get a link to your site. No-brainer, right?
- Use Good Internal Linking
Hub pages: your site is about a topic and probably sub-topics. Link all the topically-related pages to each other using text-based links. Use your keywords as links, you remember, the ones you found doing keyword research, right? Don’t get crazy here, use links that make sense, and don’t make it look spammy, okay?
- Use Image ALT Attributes
Make sure to use your keywords in your ALT attributes. Don’t be spammy. Accurately describe the image in the ALT attribute, after all, your image should be topically relevant, so using your keyword should be natural.
- Blog, Blog, Blog
I beg of you, set up a blog on your site. Blog at least 2 times per week. Use keywords from the Google Adwords Keyword tool in each post. Install your blog at YourSite.com/blog – not on a subdomain, not on a separate site, and please, I’m begging you – not on a free blog service site. Keep the blog on your site, in /blog sub-directory.
- Write On Your Blog!
Your’e an author. Writing comes naturally to you. Yes, I had to emphasize this – write and write some more. Keep it topical. Use the keywords you find in the AdWords keyword tool to focus each blog post. Start writing!
All your <title> tags, meta descriptions, page content, blog content, page headline <h1> tags, and so on must be 100% unique and not duplicated on any other site you have or anyone else has. Yes, this is important!
- Fixing Roadblocks
Those just starting out doing SEO don’t realize that a big job in SEO is fixing the roadblocks preventing Google from being able to properly crawl and index (and then rank!) your site’s pages. Set up Google Webmaster Tools (it’s free) and after a week go into the dashboard and click on “Health” > “Crawl Errors”. Fix all those errors! Google is saying so, you must obey.
- Fixing Roadblocks Part 2
Go back into your Google Webmaster Tools for your sites and click on “Optimization” and then “HTML Improvements” – start with duplicated Title Tags, fix those, then move on to duplicate Meta Descriptions. Fix everything Google’s telling you to fix. Google sez so.
- XML Sitemap
Generate then FTP upload an XML sitemap to the root of your server. If your site’s under 500 pages you can use a free XML sitemap generator like this one. This helps Google to find all the pages on your site, which is a good good thing.
- Set Up a robots.txt File
Upload a robots.txt file to the root of your server. You can use mine as an example – use the sitemap.xml, User-agent references, and then put Disallow: and leave that blank. That’s all you should need unless you need to block spiders from crawling certain parts of your site. Keep it simple, don’t over think this.
- Tracking Progress & Success
Set up a free account with Google Analytics and get the tracking script installed on every page of your site (follow their instructions to the letter). After a few weeks, on the left hand navigation choose “Traffic Sources” > “Sources” > “Search” > “Organic”. Look at the keywords driving traffic to your site. Watch this over time. Look at the other metrics like time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate. Look for patterns and trends. The best success metrics are traffic and conversions – NOT ranking. Who cares if you’re number 1 for whatever if no one’s visiting your site, or no one’s buying your stuff?
- What About Social Media?
The truth is that social activity on Twitter & Facebook can help, but not the way you think. I’ts not going to raise your ranking position in Google, despite what you might have heard elsewhere. The truth is that if you share your content on social networking sites, people might link to that content, and it’s those links back to your page/site that will boost your rankings. The other side-benefit of social media is brand exposure – i.e., people finding out about you and/or even promoting you, and that leads to more people finding you.
- 2 Websites Minimum
You’re an author, so you need YourName.com (replace yourname with, well, your name). Your other website has to be the name of your book. Be judicious here – split logical niches out to different websites and don’t try to jam disperate themes or topics onto a single website.
- Link Your Sites
Link from your main site (yourname.com) to your book site, and back. (Not a huge win, but easy. Just do it.)
SEO For Authors Wrap-Up
That list ought to keep you busy for a while. Get to work! Do every single thing on this list and you’ll see results. Get busy!
Grab your copy of my FREE guide “3 Steps to Instantly Exploding Your Website’s Leads & Sales”