Search engine optimization is a critical component of any marketing plan, yet it does not have to be incredibly difficult for writers to master. Search engine optimization or commonly known as SEO, is simply choosing the right key phrases on your blog or website in order for your target audience to find you on the Internet. Learning how to brainstorm and research the right key phrases can mean the difference between you selling less than a hundred books and selling thousands.
When a potential customer searches for something on the Internet, most of the time she will do a Google search. The words typed in the search box are called key phrases, and if you can discover the most common key phrases used by your target audience, you can use those exact words when blogging or when adding content to your website. Google and other search engines will then recognize that your content matches the most used key phrases and will automatically rank you higher among your target audience’s Internet searches. The following are are seven easy steps to use to increase your search engine ranking:
1. Write down the most obvious keywords you can think of. If you are blogging about a new book you have written that centers around a haunted house, for example, you may want to perform a keyword search for the top phrases and see if any of those phrases can be used in your next blog. By incorporating a top key phrase search such as “haunted island near Italy,” you are more likely to draw interest in your blog than you would have otherwise. In one month alone nearly 2,000 people searched for this haunted island near Italy, so your blog could have seen a dramatic increase in visitors with that one modification alone. Doing this several times within your blog post can really ramp up your viewing traffic.
2. Ask other writers and colleagues. Seek the opinions of other writers and colleagues in your genre about what terms they would use when doing an Internet search on the same topic. Perhaps they can give you a different perspective or lead you in a direction you had not thought of before. A fellow writer, for instance, may have just read about a celebrity’s house being haunted, and after a quick search you realize this is a very hot topic among your target audience. This is also great information to insert into your blog and can significantly increase traffic.
3. Perform a keyword discovery. There are many keyword tools that are easy to use and will provide you with how popular certain terms are over the Internet in just a few short seconds. Some of the more popular sites are:
www.google.com/trends/. While Google is free, Keyword Discovery and Word Tracker offer a subscription-based service but do have a limited free keyword option to test drive their services. Full access to the subscription-based tools provide you with data from over 150 search engines and are more accurate and up to date than the free service.
4. Study the popular blogs and websites. Write down 10 best-selling authors in your genre and do a search on their blogs and websites. Take the keywords they use and do your own search. Figure out what they’re doing right and how they are driving so much traffic to their websites and blogs. Look at their meta-tags, study their sites’ headlines, look at the body content, and see what links they use. Now here comes the hard part: find something useful to use for your own blog or website.
5. Be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for the search engines to filter through the changes you have made and to increase your rankings. Search engine results can also change day by day, meaning you could be ranked number seven one day, number 10 the next day, and bounce up to number five the third day. What you want to see is a slow steady uptick in visitor traffic over time. It would not hurt to chart your progress weekly and then check your status each month. You will soon find how making adjustments based on the popularity of keyword searches becomes second nature and get easier over time.
6. Look for trends and stay above everyone else. When you do keyword searches, you may discover new trends emerging. Take advantage of this information and be the first to write about it. By the time others catch on and start writing about the new hot topic, you may have already written three articles on your blog, which will make you soar in the search engine rankings. When your target audience consistently sees you ranked high when doing an Internet search, you will naturally draw more interest and your blog and website will be viewed much more often.
7. Keep writing! When your target audience sees fresh information show up on your blog and website, learns about the new books you have written, and reads your interviews on other sites, your name is placed a little deeper into their memory banks. On average, it takes someone to view your book title 27 times before she will buy it online. This is why it is important to keep adding fresh, relative content to your website and your blog, to be seen on other blogs, be active on social media, and to keep producing new books.
With these seven easy steps you will be able to increase your search engine rankings and attract more visitors to your website, Facebook page, and blog than ever before. Just remember, it will take time to build a large readership, but every month you will be one step closer to achieving that goal.
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