SEO for Authors: How Readers Find Your Books
The Pocket Guide to SEO for Authors
Do you know what search engine optimization is? Do you understand why it should matter to authors? Even if you do understand it, how do you apply this to your own website?
We’ll explore all of these topics in depth in The Pocket Guide to SEO for Authors. If that isn’t enough for you, an online course is coming soon, or you can book a time with me below.
Preorder the book now, and prepare to get your website working for you today.
Need Help From a Pro?
If you need help with the SEO for your website or need to understand Amazon keywords and categories or SEO for other retailers, feel free to reach out.
I can do everything from teaching you how to do SEO yourself to doing some of the work for you. It all starts with either a FREE consultation or a one hour, in-depth paid consultation.
Google is a great source for this information. As you can imagine, they offer you the explanation they want you to understand. But things can be a little more complex. Dive deeper with MOZ here: How Search Engines Work.
Or in this article on Search Engine Journal: How Search Engines Work.
Do be careful out there: searching for how search works can be a gamble. Often sources are trying to sell you something, or they are just plain wrong. These are two leaders in the SEO industry that I know you can trust.
Hosting for Writers
A few details for you, and then an explanation: web hosting matters. There are some companies that do this well. Others not so much. Part of that depends on how popular of an author you plan to be: what will your web traffic actually be like?
Hosting for writers can handle large volumes, sophisticated eCommerce stores, or simple one to three page author sites. They find you deals on domain names, and can handle that part of the process for you.
Customer service is excellent: I have been with this company for ten years, and they never miss a beat. I feel like I know the whole team, and they’ve become my friends.
Warning: affiliate link ahead. I do get paid a tiny sum if you click on the link here and sign up. But I wouldn’t send you anywhere I don’t go myself.
Check out hosting for writers today, and tell them I sent you over.
Website Building Tools
From WordPress to Wix to Shopify and other newcomers to the field, there are a ton of choices out there. What do you choose?
Check out this great article about what might be right for you WordPress vs. Website Builders.
I use WordPress as my base, and either DIVI or Elementor as my builder for pages and posts. But as with anything else, there are a lot of options. Elementor does have a free, less powerful version you can try out before you buy.
DIVI is another powerful options and with a few recent updates, I recommend it whole-heartedly. It is a bit more expensive, but easy to work with.
SEO Tools and Plugins
One of the most common SEO tools is Yoast SEO. They have a free and a premium plugin for all kinds of websites. It does a great job, the premium offers some useful boosts, and it can help you structure your content well.
So can All in One SEO pack and others. They can help you improve content, create good meta descriptions and more. Yoast can be “memory-hungry” something you will learn about as your website gets more traffic, so be aware of that.
But what really matters is the plugin you will be most comfortable with that will work for you. I use Yoast, but you might like something else better.
Here’s an article that might help.
Domain Authority and What it Means
Domain Authority is actually a third-party metric created by MOZ, a search engine optimization company, that helps to explain how well your website is performing and how well Google likes it.
MOZ has its own index of the web, and evaluates sites based on what we know from Google and some things we assume by observing a large number of search results. The range of Domain Authority (DA) is from 0-100. Most writer sites are close to the bottom: sites like CNN and Forbes rank near 100.
The higher your site ranking for things like your name and your genre, and the easier it is for others to find using search engines, the higher your DA. Lots of things impact this little number.
Here’s an explanation. MOZ has some cool tools to look at your own domain authority.
You read a lot about link building when you read about SEO, Domain Authority, and Google Rankings. The links to and from your site to other websites tell Google more about what your site is about.
You can earn links organically because someone likes your content, quotes it, and links to it, or you can intentionally build links by guest posting or reaching out to other authors, book reviewers, publishers, bloggers, and others asking that they link to your site from theirs.
Here’s a more in-depth run down of link building and how it works:
The E-A-T Principle
Google has long emphasized the E-A-T principle: a website must have Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness to rank well. This means essentially that if you claim to be an expert in a certain area, you should be an expert in that area. Check out this article I wrote about that a few years back. Becoming an Expert Content Creator.
Google has yet another update coming soon, and not only does it emphasize E-A-T, but it also emphasizes mobile speed and other factors. Over 85% of websites don’t pass this test currently. Even fewer author sites do. So if you can get your site to pass, you’ll be ahead of more than 85% of writers. Learn more about Core Web Vitals by clicking the button below.
Essential SEO Keyword Tools
Google Tools to Analyze Your Site
Google offers a lot of tools that tell you how your site is doing. Why ? Google wants to you do well as long as you are providing the answers to questions people are searching for. These tools are all free, and they have an extensive blog with instructions on how to use these tools to improve your site.
If you’re tech-savvy, this is really useful. if not, give your web developer access to your Google Analytics dashboard. It gives them a great framework to build your site on.
Check out the analytics dashboard for your site, and then navigate to the help section for tips and tricks.
Finding the Right Amazon Keywords
So how do you find what keywords are common in your genre? What about what people are searching for on Amazon? Or even what keywords you should target with your Amazon ads? Well, there are ways to do extensive searches, create your own spreadsheets, and find keywords, authors, and even other books like yours.
Or you can grab a tool like Publisher Rocket. It does a lot of the hard work for you. It’s a keyword, category, and advertising tool all in one package, and it is totally worth the cost. David Chesson has an extensive blog, and he gives away a lot of tips and tricks for free, even offering free tools to help authors.
Check it out now!
Amazon Analytics and K-Lytics
Amazon has algorithms just like Google and other search engines. They have their own website and their own rules. There are thousands of categories and sub-categories.
If you are going to understand your market, and write to that market, this tool is a must. With analysis in nearly every genre, in-depth reports, and data no one else shares, K-Lytics will save you hours and dollars too. A definite career enhancer. Check it out! (Non-Affiliate Link)
DIY vs. Pro Website Building
Should you build your own website, or hire someone to do it for you? Well, the answer, as stated in the article above about website builders, really depends on you. Building a website will cost you either time or money, sometimes both.
What can you afford? What do you want to do with your time, and how valuable is it to you. Would you rather be writing or learning to code?
Much like book covers, formatting, and other author tasks, sometimes hiring them out is the best option. In other cases, learning skills is worthwhile.
Check out this article for more information:
Did I Miss Anything Else You Want to Know?
There is a lot of information here, but I may have missed something you want to know or failed to add a resource to something you might find valuable. If so, let me know! I’ll be adding resources all the time, and I would love to have your input. Just email me at email@example.com and I will respond right away.
And use the form below to sign up for my writers’s list for updates on events, courses, and more coming soon!