So, you’re a new author: you’ve climbed the gargantuan mountain of writing, rewriting, tearing your hair out at some unknown hour in the morning, pitching your book several times, and going through the editing and publishing process, and now you’ve finally heaved yourself up that last ledge—you’ve been published!
But as you look up from that beautiful book in your hands, you realize that you’re not done after all. There is still a little ways left to go, and those seemingly infinite footholds on the mountainside spell out a terrifying word: marketing.
Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. One of the best ways you can build your brand and put your book out there is through developing your website. This serves as a place where your readers can learn more about you and your book, locate you on social media, find promotional events, and more. But with over 3.5 billion Google searches made every day, how do you ensure your website stands out? Ooligan Press encourages authors to utilize search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to bump your site higher in the ranks. Continue reading for simple tips to help your book reach the peak of its potential!
- Identify Your Keywords
All right, so this seems like an obvious answer. However, it is still important to note that in order to utilize SEO correctly, you must select the right keywords. In fact, the more specific they are, the better chance they have of ranking higher in searches! For instance, instead of using “fantasy” and “unrequited love” as your keywords, opt for specific subjects in your latest novel, such as “wood nymphs” and “immortal love interest,” to reach that niche audience. Make sure that these keywords are used in your title, your meta description, and elsewhere. Google recognizes that users are more likely to click on a link that includes the keywords they are looking for in both the title and the description, and so they place those websites that do this higher in users’ searches and penalize the websites that don’t. There are many creative ways in which you can include your keywords on your site. In fact, you can even put your keywords in your alt text, which is usually included as an option when you upload an image to your site. This is helpful because Google cannot read images but does recognize alt text.
Placing your keywords everywhere on your site may be tempting, but did you know that it’s possible to use your keywords too much? This strategy is also known as “keyword stuffing.” When you needlessly fill your webpage with your keywords, Google will read that as a spamming tactic. Research has shown that in order to achieve the best results from utilizing SEO techniques, it’s best for keywords to account for 2–5 percent of your total text.
- Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
The number of mobile users has increased exponentially in the past decade, and Google has made a recent update that penalizes sites that are not mobile-friendly. This means that if your site isn’t compatible with mobile devices, Google will automatically disregard your page in the rankings. Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? You can place your URL here to check.
- Take Advantage of Free SEO Tools
I know what you’re thinking: I’m a writer, not a website developer! That’s okay, because there are resources out there that are not only easy to use, but also free! Tools like Google Search Console will give you insights on where your site ranks, which pages are giving you the most traffic, and which keywords are getting clicked on the most. This tool will notify you if there are any errors on your website and help you optimize your content so that your potential readers can find you not only by searching your book title, but also through other tabs on your website, such as your book blog, accolades, and promotional events.
And there you have it: a few simple tips and tricks to get you started in learning how SEO techniques can help your website soar in the ranks—and with it, your book sales too!