By Dave Chesson
Today, we are pleased to provide you with Part 2 of Dave Chesson’s guest post on SEO for Authors.
The first part of this article can be found here: SEO for Authors — Part 1.
Writing a book is no easy task.
This is particularly true for independent authors. In addition to the writing workload, self-publishers are saddled with the stress of marketing and promotion.
One of the best ways to help ensure your efforts are rewarded is to ensure you’re not overlooking any SEO ideas that can be applied to your books.
Previously, we explored how SEO can benefit your author platform. Today, we’ll cover –
- How keyword research concepts can inform your book’s topic and contents
- How you can use tools to carry out SEO research for your books
- The most effective ways to apply SEO to your books to increase discoverability and sales
Let’s be clear. SEO is no substitute for a well-written book with an attractive cover. However, the marketplace is more competitive than ever before. You owe it to yourself and your work to help as many people as possible discover it.
SEO For Books Basics
At first, the idea of search engine optimization for books may seem strange.
After all, if books are creative works of art, why and how should they be optimized?
Many people buy books by visiting platforms such as Amazon or iBooks. These platforms are in fact search engines, as visitors input keyword queries and receive a results page.
Therefore, optimizing your work in a way which helps it rank higher on the search page leads to more people discovering and buying your book.
Take the below graphic for example.
The graph is representative of the typical percentage of search traffic your book will receive on Amazon from a keyword search. Imagine 1000 people searched for a keyword related to your work. If you were able to rank first for that keyword, you could expect to receive 27% of the traffic for that keyword, or 270 clicks. Dropping down to second would result in 120 clicks, a serious drop off from the first spot. The higher you rank, the faster you cover the cost of publishing your book.
The importance of ranking highly for pertinent keywords is clearly illustrated above. Optimizing your books is one of the best ways to rank higher.
Taking the time to do this is important for two additional reasons, one of which will definitely apply to your own situation. Either –
- Similar books to your own are already optimized. By not optimizing your own work, you are placing your book at a serious disadvantage.
- Other authors in your book category aren’t yet optimizing properly. By being one of the first to do so, you have a significant competitive advantage.
So what are some of the ways that SEO principles benefit your books, and what are the specific tactics you can use to apply them?
Researching Your Topic And Contents
There are many situations where keyword research can help with the overall topic and contents of your book. These include –
- When you have a vague idea, but want to narrow it down into something specific enough to be a worthwhile book
- When you have a solid idea, but you want to gauge external demand levels to assess its viability
- When you have an overall idea for your book, but want to make sure you aren’t missing out any pertinent sections
So what are the options available for carrying out initial keyword research to inform your topic and contents?
Amazon itself offers a wealth of opportunities for concept and contents research. You should access Amazon through the incognito/private option on your browser to ensure you get the most neutral results possible.
Two main methods for carrying out research on Amazon include –
- Using Amazon’s own autocomplete search feature, as seen below. By typing in part of a phrase, Amazon will show popular searches stemming from your initial idea.
- Browsing through categories in order to get a feel for what’s selling at the moment
Taking the time to carry out research on Amazon allows you to –
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