SEO for Authors Series: The Basics

Thanks to a suggestion from author of the Frugal Books, Carolyn Howard-Johnson (a contributor to this blog), Writers on the Move will be giving monthly tips on how authors can use SEO effectively.

SEO seems to be confusing and even a bit scary to some. But, it needn’t be. In fact, think of it as your best online friend.

This acronym stands for search engine optimization and its fundamental purpose is to get you visible and build your authority through organic strategies.

This in turn will help you build your readership and help you sell your books and/or services.

Organic means strategies that are free.

And, it's important to understand that having your site and content optimized is for the search engines, searchers (the people using keywords/phrases to search for what they want), and visitors to your site.

Before I delve into SEO, let me talk a bit about websites.

You Need a Website

Every author and writer should have their own website. If you weren’t sure about this before, you can be now.

You can’t rely on social media networks for your only online address. For instance, having a Facebook author page is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be the only place people can find you for a number of reasons.

These networks are continually changing the game. Your organic marketing reach (the other users who actually see your posts) is shrinking more and more. To get more visibility you need to pay to 'boost' your post.

The last I read, organic reach for the average Facebook Page is below 5 percent.

And, if a social network doesn’t like what you’re posting, they can remove it.

To establish a solid book marketing foundation, you need a website.

But, I’m getting off track here.

What is SEO?

SEO is kind of like a popularity contest. Certain actions by people can give your website a vote of confidence (authority). A few of these actions are:

- Liking you
- Sharing your content (blog posts)
- Clicking on your link that leads back to your website (this is considered an inbound link)
- Staying on your site for more than several seconds
- Linking back to your site from their website (this is considered a backlink)

Google considers these actions votes.

If a lot of people are giving you votes, Google will make your website and content more visible to people searching for keywords that are relevant to your site.

An Example of SEO in Practice

Writers on the Move’s basic keywords are writing tips, book marketing, and marketing.

If we’re doing a good job getting votes from people, Google will list our posts higher up on its search engine results page (SERP).

This in turn will bring even more people to our website, giving us more votes.

How it works:

I write a post on book marketing. I share that post on my social network accounts. People see the post and click on the link back to this website to read the post. The visitors find the post informative, so they share it and maybe comment.

Then Amanda comes along and wants to learn about ‘book marketing’. She puts that keyword in Google’s search box.

Google scours its millions or billions of tidbits of information and sees that Writers on the Move has an article that has gotten votes and is relevant to Amanda’s search keyword. So, Google puts the link to that article on the first SERP so Amanda can see it.

Amanda sees the title of the article and the brief description I included. She thinks it will be helpful so clicks on it.

See where this is going?

The more visibility, the more people come to your website. This in turn boosts your authority and ranking along with your chances of ‘conversion’ (turning visitors into customers or clients).

This is SEO.

Sharing and Commenting

Because of this cycle of sharing and visitors and sharing and more visitors, it’s essential to get people to share your blog posts. It’s considered another vote.

And, commenting is yet another vote as to your site’s authority.

Google pays attention to everything.

So, if you’re reading this post and find it’s helpful, PLEASE Share it. And, if time allows, please comment.



Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and ghostwriter. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

To find out more about Karen's online platform classes, visit:


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Suzanne Lieurance said...


Thanks for this post. I think most authors and bloggers need to know more about SEO and the things that relate to it. I'm looking forward to your next post about this.

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, glad you're liking the posts. Most authors don't realize how making simple tweaks to their blog posts can make a big difference in visibility and website traffic!

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