I recently returned from the Novelists, Inc. conference and now I’m even more fired up about getting my website in shape (as you may have noticed, I’m currently migrating a lot of info, so there are gaps, unfinished pages, etc. etc. Sorry ’bout that, but it’ll all be pretty–and informative!–soon). One of the things that is even more important in this day and age, especially to bloggers, authors, and anyone who wants traffic to their site, is the “stuff behind the stuff”.
Here are some bits and pieces I’ve gleaned. The first is from Terry Odell, who I believe is going to do a series of posts on things she learned at the NINC con and at other conferences she’s been to:
1. The bots don’t see all caps. So, if your book titles are in all caps (as mine were), the bots won’t see them.
2.The bots see only text, not images. So if your website is full of graphics and pictures of your books, you have to make sure there’s text (alt tags) so the bots have something to read. So many of us simply upload an image from our computer, and what appears on a mouse roll-over is whatever name we gave the file when we saved it. However, David told us to go in and fill that alt tag with keywords. I started doing that immediately as well, at least on my home page images. Read more at Terry’s blog…
I also recently participated in a bootcamp with several other authors who are either deep into or getting into publishing some or all of our books ourselves digitally. One is Liz Maverick, who is not only a fabulous writer, but also really savvy about this stuff.
I’ll get more into what Liz shared with our group in further posts, but the really big takeaway is the importance of key words. As Liz said: “search engine optimization is really the art of balance. Too much tweaking for the win and Google will be able to tell and may dock you for it. Too little and you are missing out on traffic that is rightfully yours.
Keywords are the building blocks of good SEO, and I’ll be using that word quite a bit. Keywords are a word or words typed in to a search engine by someone looking for information. Conversely, they are a word or words written into copy as a means to draw readers looking for that same information.”
Fine, but how and where do you use those keywords? Well, one place is in your page/post URLs. Here’s more from Liz:
“URL OF POST
· Google is happiest with short URLs. Some suggest that the optimal number is about five keywords.
· Separate your keywords with hyphens.
· There is some disagreement about whether sub-categories are good, bad or indifferent for SEO. (By subcategory I mean “books” in this example: www.example.com/books/product-page-for-book1) One school of thought says the closer the keywords are to the root, the better. Another says it doesn’t matter and that it’s better to use the folders for a clear hierarchy that makes it easy for the search engines to crawl, etc…”
Liz also shared tips on crafting the title and description of your post, and I’ll share that later. I’m sharing at the same time I’m digesting!
Another bootcamp participant (actually, one of the organizers) was Julie Ortolon, who has documented her very successful journey into the digital publishing world at Julie’s Journal Online. Not too long ago, she had a great post on promoting ebooks effectively, and in that post she discusses SEO. It’s definitely worth a read! Here’s a snippet:
“The #1 Rule to Effective Ebook Promotion is to Market to the Search Engines First, Human Beings Second.
Notice I said engines, plural. That’s because there are many and they each work differently, because each one was programmed with different algorithms. An algorithm is a mathematical equation that controls how the search engine will organize whatever it controls. I’m going to cover three groups of search engines that authors need to understand to promote their ebooks effectively. Read more here …”
Wow. That’s a lot of information to process when putting together a website. And my page URLs definitely need work.
How’s the SEO health of your website? If you don’t have a website but are a surfer, do you use Google to search by keywords? What makes it easier for YOU to find US? Don’t forget that The Cat’s Fancy is on sale right now at Kindle and Nook!