If you are running a blog as a part of your author business, you’ve probably thought about optimizing your site for search engines.
The challenge is, most of the time, author blogs talk about an author’s personal life and their new books. While that’s great, most folks probably aren’t searching for articles about you on Google. And if they were, those people would already be fans of yours, not new readers like you’re trying to find.
That’s why, in order to get traffic from search engines, you need to find what people are searching for and write content to suit their needs.
This article will tell you where to find those keywords, some tips on how to write content to match those terms, and how to make your page more likely to rank.
First, Do Some Keyword Research
When you have a small blog, like most self-published authors, a lot of your search engine optimization is keyword related. So ask yourself, what type of keywords do you want your website to appear for when people search Google? You want to rank for as many of these types of keywords as possible.
Luckily, there are a bunch of tools that you can use to find keywords. Most tools will give you search data and difficulty ratings, so you’ll have a lot to look at when conducting your research. Here are a few of my favorite keyword research tools:
Ubersuggest is an incredibly popular keyword research tool from Neil Patel. The free tool is getting better and better as time goes on. You can complete keyword research, get content ideas, and analyze the competition.
As far as free tools go, Keyword Sheeter is worth checking out. You simply type in relevant keyword starters and the sheeter will do the rest. You can get thousands of keyword suggestions this way. While the free version only gives you keyword ideas, you can pay to get search data. Or you can use the next tool, Keywords Everywhere.
The Chrome extension used to be free, but now it’s a low-cost option you can use. What’s great about Keywords Everywhere is, when you type a term into Google, it’ll give you an estimated monthly search volume and difficulty score.
The extension will also give you related keywords and their metrics for every search you run. This isn’t just for Google either. You can connect Keywords Everywhere to YouTube, Bing, or a range of other sites.
Or you can complete a simple bulk import and analyze a range of keywords in seconds. This is where the extensions work well with Keyword Sheeter. Once you’ve found a few thousand keyword ideas from Sheeter, you can copy them across to Keywords Everywhere. From there, you’ll be able to look at some basic search metrics.
Ahrefs is a premium software for people who are serious about their SEO. It isn’t cheap, but it’s extremely powerful. Ahrefs offers a range of tools advanced SEO aficionados can utilize, and it’s a product I use personally for my website.
How Many Searches Per Month Should My Target Keywords Have?
Keywords aren’t all created equal, so you’ll need to have a basic idea of what type of keywords are worth targeting. This includes looking at search volume.
As a self-publisher, your blog is more than likely secondary to your book writing, so I’d be targeting less popular keywords. High volume keywords tend to be more competitive, and a writer who is only a part-time blogger will have a difficult time showing up at the top of search results for these harder terms.
The good news is, even low volume terms can get you lots of traffic because they add up. For example, if you target a phrase “best kindle books about vampires,” you’ll probably also rank for related terms like:
- kindle books about vampires
- best kindle books about teen vampires
- top kindle books about vampires
- best amazon books about vampires
Then, Write Great Articles
Once you’ve got a list of keywords that suit your website, you’ll need to do some further research to see which articles are worth writing.
Sure, you’ll be far better off targeting low-volume keywords, but it’s still worth checking to see the competition. You don’t want to target keywords that have huge sites ranking near the top. It’s unlikely that you’ll be out-ranking them anytime soon.
For example, the keyword “best books about witches and vampires” gets zero searches a month according to Keywords Everywhere, but look at the articles that are ranking high– Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and Bookriot. Without deep-diving and seeing each article, I’d think this keyword is a bit more competitive than I’d like to target.
When you’ve found a keyword you think you can rank for, it pays to check out what type of articles are ranking. If all the top results are list-articles, then it’s a safe bet that you’ll get the best results by writing a list.
Also, don’t forget to use images throughout. Aim to create the best piece of content on the web discussing that search query.
Use an SEO Plugin
If you have a WordPress site, you’ll be able to use a plugin to handle most of your basic SEO needs. The most popular ones at the moment are Yoast and Rank Math. Both of these plugins handle a lot of technical SEO business that will ensure you don’t have to add any code or files to your site. They also both have great user guides to make the programs as easy to use as possible.
My only reservation with these plugins is some of the article-writing recommendations. If you’re targeting keywords with low search volume, they’re more than likely going to be quite long, maybe five or six words. Your plugin will suggest you use your exact keyword a number of times within an article before you get their tick of approval.
When writing an article based on a long keyword with low competition, it is overkill to repeat the same six-word phrase seven times in an article. Just use it naturally and feel free to use variations of the keyword when applicable in your article.
Is Focusing on SEO Right For Your Business?
Before you get started with implementing SEO tactics on your blog, it’s important to know a few things:
- SEO is a long-play. It can take over six months of hard work for search engines like Google to start acknowledging your site.
- You can’t simply write one or two articles and expect them to rank. You’ll have to write a respectable number of articles over time.
- SEO isn’t a ‘set it and forget’ type of deal. You’ll always have to be tweaking parts of your site.
- SEO is only worth your time if you want people to find your site through search engines. If you’re writing a blog that covers your daily life and is a way to communicate with existing readers, that’s great. But the time spent working on SEO can be spent elsewhere more effectively.
- SEO is a lot easier for non-fiction authors, as they usually have a set problem they’re solving in their books, so they have connected topics to write about. For fiction authors, it can be more challenging to find topics people are searching online that are relevant to their books. That’s a reason why so many fiction authors write blogs about the book writing process.
If you feel as though you’ll benefit from SEO, boot up your trusty writing laptop and get to work growing your author brand through search traffic. If you don’t feel you need to target search traffic, that’s great news too–you’ve probably saved yourself countless hours.
Getting organic search traffic can be an absolute game-changer for your author business. Hopefully, you can take away at least one SEO tip and start implementing it on your blog.