Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Website Optimization 2

OK I'm back for the second installment of website optimization for authors! If you haven't read the first installment, website optimization 1, you should do so as this post will work off the first one. I posted the first one a few days ago so it should be easy to find.

Where did we leave off? Last time I talked about using the Google Keyword Tool and gave you some ideas on how you can not only find out how much traffic is associated with the keywords that describe your site, but also how to find other keywords that you might not have considered.

Today I want to discuss how you can use those keywords on your site. This will be a two phase conversation. The first phase will deal with using these keywords in the content of your site and the second phase will discuss using these keywords in the coding of your site. If that sounds scary, don't worry--it really isn't.

OK, so today let's talk keyword content. The number one thing to remember with the search engines is that content is king. Content is not only what the search engines are after but it's also what your visitors are after. It's not enough to have a beautifully designed site with millions of images (which the search engines can't read). We want to know about you, about your books, about your likes and dislikes, about where you are from, blah blah blah. And the search engines aren't any different--they want to know these same things.

What this means is that you want to create content that is informative and helps someone answer a question. That question could be as simple as--how do I contact you or what books have you written and what are they about? The fun part comes in optimizing that content with your carefully crafted keywords to ensure that your site comes up when someone searches on said keywords.

Let's take my website as an example again. I'm a writer of urban fantasy and paranormal romance books. I have written two books and at this stage of the game, I'm most interested in ranking for those two somewhat broad terms--urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Now, from my keyword tool example, I know that "paranormal romance" gets 200,000 searches which means my competition is going to be keen. "Urban fantasy" gets 33,000 searches so that's a bit more reasonable. Keep in mind that for most of you who are just starting on your website or maybe have had a website that's been up for a while but hasn't been optimized, this is not an overnight success game. It can take up to 6 months to see any movement in the search engines. Having said that, I've seen increases within a month or so on the various other websites I work on so don't lose total hope. I just wanted to throw that up there so you're aware of it.

OK, so back to my keywords and my website. I have some other long tail keywords (check my first post for a definition on long tail) that I am also considering but for right now, let's just focus on these two terms, "urban fantasy" and "paranormal romance." The idea is to use these terms multiple times on the page without the reader picking up on it aka don't sound like a robot wrote it.

Let's use my home page as an example: www.urbanfantasynovels.com

Here is the text:

~H.P. Mallory~
Author of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Books

Welcome to the world of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy!
I've authored two books that span both romance and fantasy genres,
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and To Kill A Warlock.
My books blend mystery, fantasy and romance with a touch of humor.

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble is the story of Jolie Wilkins, a witch who can
reanimate the dead.

To Kill A Warlock is the story of Dulcie O'Neil, a spitfire fairy who
also happens to be in law enforcement for the Netherworld.

Learn more about my urban fantasy books. (this is a link)

You can also read the first chapter of each of my paranormal books
by clicking here:

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble: Chapter One

To Kill A Warlock: Chapter One

So, if you'll notice, I repeat the words "urban fantasy" as well as "paranormal romance" and I also use variations of each, including fantasy and romance. Truthfully, my home page could have a bit more content but you get the idea.

So, once you've created your content and you've repeated some choice keywords without them sounding unnatural or invasive, what next? There are ways you can continue to optimize your page to show the importance of these keywords. Some such ways include bolding the keywords and featuring them in links. When you bold something, you do so to show emphasis and the engines perceive bold this same way. If you'll notice on my home page, I've bolded both of the keywords we've been discussing.

Also, when you link to another location using your keywords, that also beefs up the keyword in terms of importance in the search engines.

So, all of your pages need to follow this principal. Aim for around 200-250 words of content per page and don't optimize for more than 2-3 keywords per page. Employ bolding sparingly and use text links with keywords to other areas of your site.

Next post I'll discuss how you can use keywords in your meta data (the tags in the coding of your site) and how you can optimize images to ensure the search engines can see them.

Thanks!

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