Bloggers and website owners seem to obsess about search engine optimization (SEO). As a writer or book blogger, you might be wondering, “What the heck is SEO and should I even care about it?” You do need to know what SEO is and care about it to some extent, but if you write a good blogged book, and a great blog, you shouldn’t have to worry about SEO.
You can find a ton of information on the web about SEO. Wikipedia, for example, has an extensive page on the topic. It defines SEO this way:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine‘s “natural” or un-paid (“organic“) search results.[jargon] In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
In simple terms, SEO is everything you do to help your blog or blogged book become more discoverable—more easily found—by those searching on the internet for something related to your topic. The higher up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) your blog can be found, for example if it is in the #1 Google spot or at least on the first page of search results, the more readers your blog or blogged book will receive because those searching tend to only click through to results found on the first page.
Typically, we think about using keywords and keyword phrases to help the SEO of our blog posts. Photos and videos can help, too, if you know how to use them for SEO. Editing the HTML and other coding can help as well, as can the number of backlinks and inbound links to your site.
Over the years, however, many people have used a variety of tactics to provide SEO for their sites. This was seen as abuse and ranking manipulation by the search engines, which later adapted to provide better and more relevant search results to users. Search engines want to provide relevant information to users, or else users will find a different search engine to use. That’s why the search engines continuously develop more complex algorithms that take into account additional factors.
For example, according to Wikipedia, by 2004, search engines had incorporated a wide range of undisclosed factors in their ranking algorithms to reduce the impact of link manipulation. In February 2011, Google’s Panda update penalized websites containing content duplicated from other websites and sources. In April 2012, Google launched the Google Penguin update to penalize websites using other manipulative techniques to improve their rankings on the search engine.
How to SEO Your Blogged Book
So, how should you provide SEO for your blog and blogged book and avoid penalties? Here are a few simple tips I use daily that you can use, too:
- Write great content focused on your topic.
- Do #1 day in and day out. (Write often.)
- Know your keywords, but don’t use them. Just don’t “stuff” your posts with those keywords. Use them naturally, and your blog will get indexed each time you publish a post—which is why you should write often and regularly.
- Use photos, and do a good job describing the photos. The keywords here will also drive traffic to your blog and get it indexed by the search engines. (See illustration)
- Share your posts on your social networks. Those links are valid.
- Share the link to your blog and blogged book on your social networks, on guest posts, and everywhere you can. This is a valid way of acquiring links.
- Use videos, and describe your videos well, just like your photos. If you put them up on YouTube, include the link to your blog.
- Write great, enticing titles with keywords in them.
- Use keywords in your first paragraph. (Try WP SEO by Yoast plugin for a bit of help on #8 and #9; it will check how well you are doing and also provide a bit more SEO.)
- Tag your posts with keywords used in our post. Tags should be the primary subjects or topics of your post. These are much like keywords. Treat them this way, and don’t engage in tag spamming (using more than 4-5 tags per post).
- Put your post in a category or two.
- Write more, focused, on-topic content.
I wrote on the topic of how to blog a book for five months and found myself in the #1 Google SERP spot. I didn’t even do any keyword research. I didn’t try to use keywords. I just wrote about my subject. Easy schmeasy. And I didn’t even use photos very often back then. Nor was I doing a lot of guest posting, although I did promote on my social networks.
Remember: SEO will serve your published book well. The higher your blogged book rises in the SERPs, the more easily it will be found by readers (buyers). That means more book sales once you release it. Agents and publishers will look at this–and as an indie publisher, this should be important to you, too. I didn’t have that many readers when I landed my book deal, but I had #1 Google status.
So understand SEO. Care about it. But don’t stress about it. Just blog your book and employ some of the strategies above.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles|freedigitalphotos.net