Guest post: What the heck is SEO (and how can it help authors sell more books)? Part one

Posted By on October 20, 2011

I’m really excited to introduce guest blogger, Lindsay Buroker, who will explain SEO for authors. Thanks to epublishing, Lindsay is a full-time indie author and she’s also starting a self-publishing blog.

She has been writing fantasy novels and short stories since she was seven. She’s been finishing them since… well, that’s a more recent development. Originally from Seattle, she’s currently traveling the world and writing from the road. She was a professional blogger for years, so she had to learn a thing or two about SEO—which most people have heard of but many know little about. Hopefully, Lindsay’s post will change that.

If you’re a fantasy fan, you can check out her free fantasy ebook, Ice Cracker II. (Yes, she even SEOs her author bio!)

Search engine optimization or “SEO” isn’t exactly the most riveting topic. I know; I did it for years for my day job before switching to writing full-time. It is something, however, that’s worth knowing a little about since it can help bring more visitors to your website and/or blog via the search engines. Eve better, some of those visitors might like what they see and go on to buy your books. (Though I’m just a nobody-special independent fantasy author, not too may days pass without someone buying at least one of my books through my blog.)

Sounds good, you say, but what the heck is SEO anyway?

Search Engine Optimization is the art of convincing Google and other search engines that your website/blog is particularly useful and important in your niche, thus meaning it should rank more highly in the search engine results than the sites of your competitors. (In other words, if someone types in “fantasy author” or “fantasy novel,” I want Google to list my site before the sites of all those other fantasy-writing folks!)

When people use search engines, they type in search terms or “keywords” (these can be single words but are usually combinations of words). The search engine attempts to deliver the most relevant results by looking at numerous factors, including:

  • How often those keywords are used on a webpage or blog post (ie. you get more points if the keywords are used in the title, text, and the web address).
  • The number and quality of links coming in from other sites, especially links that use those keywords in the “anchor text” (the underlined words people can click).
  • Overall age, popularity, and “authority” of a site (it’s easier for more established sites to rank in the search results)

Are your eyes crossing yet? I hope not! The important thing is to start thinking about what terms people may type into the search engine to find you. For example, if you’re a historical romance author, people might enter “historical romance” or “historical romance novels.”

You can play around with the Adwords Keyword Tool to get an idea for which keywords are popular in your niche or genre. Once you decide which phrases would be applicable to you, consider making an effort to use them on your website or blog (just focus on one term per page or post). This alone will put you ahead of lots of other authors!

If you’re looking for more tips on blogging, SEO, and book promotion, you can stop by my self-publishing blog. I’m adding new articles each week, and I’ve also started a “Savvy Self-Publishing Podcast” for those folks who enjoy learning while in the car or at the gym.

Check back tomorrow for part two of this post, which includes advance SEO tips.

About The Author


3 Responses to “Guest post: What the heck is SEO (and how can it help authors sell more books)? Part one”

  1. Thanks for posting this, all! I’ll tweet it up in the morning when more folks are online. :)

  2. Thanks for the great post, Lindsay!

  3. [...] Collier presents What the heck is SEO and how can it help authors sell more books? Part one posted at Self-Publishing [...]

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