Search engine optimisation or SEO for authors is the art of making your website or blog discoverable by the search engines. It’s all well and good producing a great looking author website but if it’s not hitting page one of Google then you’re missing out massively. When you’re searching online you rarely ever go past page one so the chances of your website being discovered on page ten are zero.
In this article I’m going to give you a simple guide to SEO and lots of actionable steps for improving your google ranking (as google accounts for 75% of all web searches). Before I start though you need to be aware that boosting your ranking isn’t something that will happen overnight.
Lot’s of little things done correctly will add up to make this happen. See it as a long term strategy, do a little bit each week and you’ll reap massive benefits further down the line. The best part of this strategy is that it is completely free and we all want free traffic to our site right?
- Keywords, long tail keywords and how they can improve SEO for authors
- So you’ve got some keywords, what next?
- Blogs and cornerstone content
- Are back-links the ultimate way to improve SEO for authors?
- Site speed and efficiency
Keywords, long tail keywords: How can they improve SEO for authors?
All great SEO for authors should begin with solid keyword research. Firstly, you need to decide which search terms you’d like your site to rank for. These terms need to be relevant to your brand so they can bring the right kind of traffic to your site, it’s no use ranking for something that is completely unrelated to your content. Alongside this you don’t want to choose keywords that are too competitive.
Sure it would be great to rank for a term like ‘children’s author’ but the reality is, how many children’s author’s are trying the same thing and hoping to rank on page one of google? I don’t even need to answer this question.
A better approach would be using a long-tail keyword. This is a longer strain of keywords which includes your chosen phrase but with extra words in addition. Examples of these can easily be found when you type the term in google and you’re given suggestions, like this…
So a better choice for a children’s author such as me would be something like ‘childrens authors uk.’ This is a search term that is still popular but is much less competitive, giving you more of a fighting chance of ranking on page one.
There are lots of free tools out there to find keywords more easily such as google adwords, Or if you want more in-depth research you can paid tools like SEM Rush and Moz (which are incredible for detailed SEO).
So you’ve got some keywords, what next?
So you’ve found a list of keywords and now you need to know what to do with them. I’m going to split this into two areas, meta-data and content.
Firstly pop your chosen keyword into your slug (which is the bit that adds onto the end of your page name) mine is http://www.andyslinger.com/seo-for-authors.
Add your keywords into your page description (the paragraph of text that shows up on google searches). Otherwise Google will extract a bit of your page to use instead.
Also add it to your SEO title, which is the bit in blue on the image below. This all shows the search engines that if someone is wanting to find out about SEO for authors then this is the place to come to.
Have a look through this blog post and see how many times you can spot my keyword and where I’ve positioned it. You’ll never want to hear the phrase again afterwards.
In regards to your content you firstly need to look at how a website is structured and what this means when it comes to optimising your site. Different headers are ranked in order of importance with <H1> tags being the most important all the way down to <H6> which are the least important.
Search engines crawl through your sites every so often and check out all these tags, looking for terms which occur regularly. When they have this information they categorise your webpage based on these terms so they can provide the most relevant content. Yes google is watching you.
So you need to pop your keywords into these titles (specifically <H1><H2><H3>)and also into the first paragraph of your text so that you show up in search rankings. Don’t overdo it though. It’s easy to throw keywords in all over the place but you have to ensure your text still flows naturally. And there is a popular opinion that Google actually penalises you for using keywords too often. (referred to as keyword-stuffing).
If you have a WordPress site then you can use a free tool called Yoast SEO which analyses your text and makes suggestions on how to improve your SEO score. I use it and it works like a dream.
Blogs and corner stone content
So now you’ve got your keywords and a good idea of how to use them; to really benefit from SEO, apply this to your blog. Pick a topic you’re going to write a few blog posts about and that’s where we can begin with this strategy.
I want you to imagine a spiders web, with your main topic at the centre, the thing you want to rank for (this can be described as your corner stone content). Branching off from here you’ll have other sub blogs which relate to this content, but which all link back to the big topic in the centre.
As you write more and more blog posts your web will grow and grow, but it should all inter-link and all the posts should compliment each other. So if you were me you might have author website design in the middle, with author website SEO, author website marketing and author website blogs all feeding into the main article.
What this serves to do is tell the search engine that your content is valuable. If someone is looking for info on anything to do with author websites then google will point them in my direction. I’ve got the correct keywords and related content all linked together. If visitors enjoy my blog they can jump from post to post and find loads of interesting pearls of wisdom. They then stay on my site for longer and are more likely to pop back and say hello again.
Done well you can position yourself as thought leader in your chosen subject. How’s that for free marketing?
Are back-links the ultimate way to improve SEO for authors?
Back links are links that come from another site and point traffic your way. Search engines love these kind of links as they show your site has important content and therefore rewards you with higher rankings, hooray!
It’s worth noting here that links from social media like Facebook and Twitter sadly don’t count here. So how on earth can you get links to your site?
The answer is fairly simple but not something that isn’t going to happen over night.
You have to build relations with other people. Comment on other blog posts, send nice e-mails to related sites and ask if it’s ok if you link to their site because you love their content. They may be really nice and return the favour and if not you’ve made a cool connection. Many bloggers are more than happy to help you out and love being part of a community.
Also you can write guest blog posts for other sites which link back to you. They get an incredible article from a talented writer and you get magic SEO dust sprinkled on your website.
Another really clever way to get links is to find no-follow links. Have you ever clicked on a link and got a 301 or 401 error message come up, saying the page is out of order. Well if you find these links (there is software you can use to discover them) contact the website tell them about the broken link and ask if they can pop your link in there instead. You’re doing them a favour by fixing their site and get another back link as a result.
It sounds like hard work and it can be but it’s also really effective way of boosting your site.
How important is site speed and mobile optimisation for SEO for Authors?
In recent times google has changed the way they rank to place more emphasis on site speed and usability on mobiles.
It’s crazy that now almost 90% of internet use is through a mobile device. So don’t spend loads of time building a site that looks amazing on desktop but looks a squashed up mess on your phone (trust me I’ve done it myself). Most website building software can show you a preview of what your site looks like on tablets and mobiles so make sure you take this into account.
Search engines consider this an important part of usability, so don’t become unstuck here.
The speed of your site is also an integral part here. You can analyse your website for free by using tools like Up City SEO checker. The key to keeping your site fast is to not cram it with too many videos, high resolution images and fancy widgets which slow your site down. Besides nobody wants to browse a site which takes ages to load. We live in a fast paced digital world, we don’t have time, we’ve got books to read and write.
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