Creating an SEO friendly website isn’t as hard as you might think. I know that being an author you probably don’t think about SEO, creating leads for your website or any of the more technical side of marketing your books. Alas, that cannot be the case if you’re serious about building your mailing list.
I’m still learning how to use SEO but I used Nick Pratt’s videos to learn the ropes. Here’s what I learnt.
SEO is essentially you learning how to give search engines what they want out of your content. There are four factor: technical, keywords, on-page and off-page. I’ll go into each of these in detail but by using bluehost and WordPress, as I mentioned in this post, you are starting out on the right path — search engines love a fast loading website (bluehost), WordPress and clean coded themes like Thrive or Studiopress.
Here are some of the basics to creating your SEO friendly website:
- Create links to other sites or to one of your own posts
- Bold or italic keywords
- Use headers (in the drop down paragrah bar)
- Image alt tags (in the image, change the name in the ‘alt’ section)
- Create good quality content
- Update your site at least once a week
Your starting point is promoting your books and making sure you’re targeting your audience, so for me, it’s young adult readers but also, I want to target self-published authors as I want to help them. To do this you need to research keywords by using Google AdWords, as well as using Good Instant and then you create your content around those keywords. You can pay for this but I am looking to not spend any more money until I’ve published Resistance but, if you want to pay for a better service then look at Long Tail Pro.
How to use Google AdWords
First, you’ll need to sign up for an account then, in the keyword planner, type in your search terms – I tried “young adult books”. Then in keyword options select “only show ideas closely related to my search terms” and then click on “get ideas”.
Below is the list of results.
Good Instant is basically you starting to type in something like “young adult books” and seeing what autofill pops up from Google. Here’s an example:
You can enter your search term and then scroll down to the bottom to related searches:
This explains how to use the keywords you’ve found throughout your content (blog posts etc). First of all only use your keywords 2-3 times, don’t over-do it as it actually works against you.
Yoast shows you how to make better use of your keywords without you having to really think about it.
Nick Pratt’s video for Yoast is actually out of date now but Yoast itself takes you through how to set it up step-by-step. The best bit about Yoast is that at the bottom of each post you have ‘Yoast SEO’ (see below, the example from this post) and it shows you the analysis of your text and your use of keywords. By clicking on the eye on the right-hand side it will highlight any sentences that it sees as problematic.
It’s an incredibly useful and comprehensive tool and makes SEO so much more accessible.
This is the difficult bit because it’s something that happens organically over time but you can do a few things to help it along. Personally, I didn’t look into this too much as by this point. I think I have enough to keep me going and when I want to grow further I’ll do some more investigating but for now, this is how much I know.
You can’t take short-cuts with off-page optimisation, search engines will catch you out if you magically have loads of links to your site overnight. So, don’t bother paying for anything. There are a lot of different types of links, like when someone shares your post on facebook or your website on Twitter but, you want more than social media shares. Having other bloggers share your content is really valuable and this usually happens over time, after you’ve built you blog/website up. However, you can connect with other bloggers, comment on their sites, get to know them and you can start linking to each other’s sites.
So there you have it, it’s really not that hard to create an SEO friendly author website. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.