As a writer, having an author website (in combination with an email list) is an essential tool for promoting your books and connecting with your audience. By implementing effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies, you increase the organic reach and therefore visibility of your website, with the intention of engaging your ideal reader and selling more books.
This is particularly important if you are able to sell your books directly on your website, rather than a signpost to an online bookseller.
Here at Writer's Coaching, we definitely support the scenario where writers are more in control of their author business, such as their brand and marketing, controlling their own platform, ideal reader list, and how they drive traffic into their world. We will also look at how you can analyse your data, and when you may want to consider paying for ads or other promotions.
With this in mind, we'll be posting a series in the coming weeks on things that can move the needle regarding your digital marketing, and we start here by boosting your website's reach.
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The hub of your digital marketing
It can be a challenge to get your site noticed by your ideal readers. It is not enough for a site to simply exist, as you are competing with all the other websites online for your reader's attention. You need to drive either organic traffic to it, or paid traffic.. There are specific steps you should take before you consider paying to drive traffic – make sure that you're fully prepared, and that it is indeed the right strategy for you.
Make sure that you're not missing the mark by working through the following ways to improve your website's visibility and improving your ideal reader's experience.
If you want more in-depth support with your digital marketing, then our Digital Marketing for Writers Course will help you with a deep dive into your strategy. It also gives you access to tools and practical support with your implementation.
8 practical steps to improve website SEO & boost organic traffic
Make your author website load times fast and mobile-friendly
These are important ranking factors for search engines. Optimise your website's images, videos, and code to reduce load times, and ensure that your website is optimised for viewing on mobile devices. Check out PageSpeed Insights for tips on improving, you will need a certain level of understanding of website design for trouble-shooting, but this can be learned or outsourced.
Conduct keyword research
Understand what keywords and phrases your target audience is using to find books like yours. You can use tools like GoogleTrends (or Keyword Planner if you have an ad account), WordStream, or similar, to find keywords related to your genre, book topics, and author name that are used on the internet.
Once you have a list of keywords, you can use them in your website content, titles, meta descriptions, and header tags to help search engines understand what your website is about. Tools such as RankMath & Wincher are very helpful here. If you write in either the Romance or Fantasy genre, then you can also use the following guides to help you:
Creating high-quality content
Search engines like Google prioritise websites that provide valuable, original, and informative content to users. Make sure to write articles, blog posts, and book reviews that engage your audience and provide them with the information they are looking for, and that your content is accurate. Additionally, incorporate your target keywords naturally into your content and make sure that each piece of content is unique and adds value to your website.
Optimise title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags
These elements of your website provide a brief summary of what each page is about and are used by search engines to understand the structure and content of your website. Make sure to include your target keywords in the title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags, and keep them concise and descriptive. RankMath is a great tool for this and you can get started for free.
Both internal and external links are important aspects of SEO as it helps search engines understand the importance and relevance of each page on your website. Internally linking to related pages within your website helps search engines understand the structure of your content, while external links to high-quality, relevant websites can increase the credibility and authority of your website in the eyes of search engines.
Encourage social sharing
Use ‘Call To Action' signals (CTA's) within your content, and when sharing your own content on your social media you should be inviting your reader to share your content. Social media signals such as likes, shares, and comments can positively impact your website's SEO. Make sure to share your content on social media platforms and encourage your followers to share your content with their own followers. This will help increase the visibility and reach of your website and drive more traffic to your website.
Regularly updating your website
Search engines like Google prioritise websites that are active and regularly updated with fresh content. Make sure to add new articles, blog posts, and book reviews to your website on a regular basis to keep your website fresh and relevant. This will help keep your audience engaged and increase your website's visibility on a search engine's results page. You can also refresh existing content to make it more relevant or up-to-date.
Implementing schema markup
This sounds complicated, or techie, but actually is a simple thing to achieve with the right tools. Schema markup is a type of code that helps search engines understand the structure and content of your website. By using schema markup, you can improve the way your website appears in search engine results pages, making it more likely that users will click through to your website. RankMath is a powerful tool that can help you nail this on your pages and posts!
Building on successful organic reach
The above 8 points will take you a good proportion of the way towards improving your website's SEO scoring over time, and having an optimised website. It is important to remember that SEO is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing process that requires regular updating to stay relevant and effective.
By continuously updating your website with high-quality, informative, and original content and implementing best practices in SEO, you can achieve longer-term SEO success enabling your next phase of driving traffic to your website, connecting with your ideal readers, building your email list and ultimately selling more books!
If you need faster results, then our Digital Marketing for Writers Course covers all the essentials you need to grow your author business and sell more books.
Keep an eye out for our next article, where we discuss the importance of using an ideal reader lead magnet as a part of your digital strategy, and how you can set this up using a free email autoresponder on your website, integrate it into your social media content, and nurture your growing email list ready for when you launch your next book!