When people hear the dreaded word “SEO,” they tend to freak out. There is a lot to know about SEO and if you want the best SEO results, you should seek out a professional. But I also know that authors have limited budgets. So, I’m going to help you out with some SEO hacks you can use for your author website.
If you are an author and only have a blog, my first suggestion is to upgrade. Free blogs will not have all the SEO features a full website will have. WordPress does have upgraded blog options to add SEO, so if you are really opposed to creating an easy-to-use template website, you can go that route. In either case, you’ll need to choose the SEO-compatible option so that your site can be found in search engines, and so when you create ads, Google recognizes that your ads are relevant (which affects cost). But that’s for another blog.
Finding Keywords for Your Author Website
When researching keywords, there are three places you should always look.
  1. Use the Google Adwords Keywords Planner. You don’t have to set up a campaign to log into Google Adwords and play around with the keyword planner. The keyword planner gives you variations of keywords and how many people are searching for them. You can focus keywords by country, region and even city to see what word combinations people are searching for.
  2. Google Trends is another tool you can use to see the top trends people are searching for. Keep in mind that Google Trends is going to have shorter word strings (this is marketing talk for the length of word combinations) that people are searching for the most, and so while it’s a good jumping off point, you’ll most want to refine your word strings once you get into the Keyword Planner.
  3. Related websites. If you look up professional author websites for big-name authors, you can see what they’re using. Right click and go to “Page Source” and type in “Ctrl F” “keywords.” One of my favorite authors is Gillian Flynn and her homepage has these keywords: gillian flynn, author, gone girl, dark places, sharp objects, random house. Note that keywords will only appear if meta data has been filled out for that site, which is why not every website will have them, but you can always scroll through the pages and see what words are appearing most.
Use Keywords When Writing Your Content
Keywords are not just for the backend of your website. They need to be in your content. Webpages and blogs should have your keywords throughout. You want them to be as frequent as possible without muddying your content.
Keywords for Authors to Include:
Some of the keywords you’ll want to include are:
  • Your name with author, writer, books by, etc. When people search for you, you want to come up first in search results.
  • The names of your books
  • Your books’ genres
Long String Keywords Versus Short String Keywords
One of the ways keyword research can be like a puzzle is you want to find keywords that are searched for frequently but have lower competition. This is why you will want longer strings of keywords. Instead of “Romance Novel” which is a high competition keyword, maybe you go with “Great Paranormal Romance Novels” which is a lower competition keyword.
If you find any of this confusing, don’t worry, I’m sure most people do. You can always ask me questions and I’m happy to help. You can @ me on Twitter @JBarberAuthor or leave a comment below. Keywords not only benefit you in search but also in advertising, so it’s beneficial for you as author, to have some knowledge of them.