Showing posts with label descriptions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label descriptions. Show all posts

SEO for Authors Part2: Keywords and Descriptions

Writers on the Move will be giving some basic tips on using SEO to get more visibility and build authority in your niche . . . and hopefully sell more books. Part 2's topic is keywords and descriptions.


If you want to be a savvy book marketer, every thing you do online should have keywords in it. This goes for your webpages and your blog posts.

With that said, you definitely don't want to overdo them.

Keywords are simply words or phrases that people use to search for things online and help search engines to determine what your website and/or post is about. And as an author, you should know the basics for your book marketing journey.

As an example, let's look at the title of this blog post:
SEO for Authors Series: Keywords and Descriptions

This is a heavy keyword title. I didn't do this for search engine optimization in particular, I just wanted to make the article's intent clear to the reader.

Google and the other search engines have come a LONG way. You don't need high-handed antics to get them to know what you're talking about.

But, let's go over the keywords in the title: SEO, authors, keywords, and descriptions.

Since 'descriptions' is kind of a generic term, it really doesn't help searchers. But Google, from the rest of the title and from the article itself, will know that it means in regard to SEO and book marketing. Because of this, they may very well use if for a searcher looking for information on descriptions for search engines.

I wouldn't advise using a lot of keywords in your articles or webpages. This article is full of them because it's the topic and I really couldn't avoid them.

Ordinarily, you only want two or three uses of a particular keyword. In fact, with Google's advancements in their algorithms, they can get the gist of your article without any keywords. That's how advanced it's become.

Other places to use keywords is in the sidebar when you're creating your blog post. You have  areas where you can input keywords. This further helps the search engines index and categorize your article. And, it's a quicker way for them to find them.

Here's an picture of the area in Blogger - the Labels section is where your keywords go:

Here's what it looks like in WordPress:


Now it's on to descriptions. As you can see in the Blogger picture above, there's a separate area to input a brief description of what your article is about.

Unfortunately, most authors don't take advantage of this feature and it's a mistake.

When Google looks for the answer to a searcher's query, it looks at everything, including titles,  keywords, the article itself, the description, and even the optimization of photos. And, if it decides to use your article as the results of a search query, it will use the description along with the link.

If you don't provide a description, Google will, it seems, take the beginning of your blog post.

Now, if your post doesn't jump into a motivating pitch to get the searcher to click on YOUR link, then s/he will  click on another results supplied by Google.

On the other hand, if you create an effective description, you'll have a better chance of getting that click back to your website.

Below is the results for a search for 'book marketing.'

This is what the searcher will see when the results of his query comes up. It's the description that will be a determining factor if that searcher clicks on your link.

And in the Blogger picture above, you can see how I filled in the 'search description' area for this blog post.

So, where ever you have the ability to input information to make it easier for the search engines to use your link and people to find and be motivated to click on your link, DO SO.


The same goes for using social media. Make your posts keyword effective and ALWAYS include a description.

Here's an example from Twitter:

It's an effective, motivating description that will encourage searchers or readers to click on your link.

The next article in the series will be on Outbound Links in your blog posts.


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:


Keywords and Search Engines (What Every Author Should Know)

Why Purchase Your Own ISBN?

Does Your Author Business Card Include the Basics?

Trust your Readers--Part 3

Over-explanation is at the heart of non-subtle writing.  It takes many forms, such as showing and THEN telling (see part 1) and beating your readers over the head with big themes (part 2).

Another issue is leading your readers step by step through obvious realizations or mundane actions, as if they can't imagine these for themselves.  Life is full of boring tasks.  Don't make your readers suffer though them.  Read on for examples. 

Problem #3:  Spelling E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G Out

She pulled on her socks, one by one, tugging them over her heels.  Then she slid her right foot into her right shoe, took the laces in both hands, went right over left, made two loops, and pulled them tight.  She moved on to the next shoe. 

This shows all right, but it's boring, and doesn't advance the plot. 

If your character is so deep in depression that putting on her shoes is a major victory, go ahead and show it.  If she's headed out to face a firing squad and is trying to delay, the scene could work.  Otherwise, give your reader credit for knowing how to put shoes on. 

Another example:

He turned right on State Street, then left on Haley, continuing on for nearly a mile.  At the stoplight at the intersection of Haley and Grimes, he turned left again.  Finally he reached the post office.

Unless you pepper this with atmospheric descriptions (He passed the abandoned Woolworths where John Haley had fought his last battle against corporate America) or add some sort of drama, consider going straight to the post office scene   As Elmore Leonard says, " Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."  Of course, if your character's specific route makes him miss the scene of the accident where he might have been able to save his wife, keep some of it in, but try to add interest and/or foreshadowing.

He hesitated for a moment at the stop sign.  First street or Haley?  If he took Haley, he might catch a glimpse of the new blond waitress at the diner.  What could it hurt?  His wife would never know. 

One more example:

Susie added two plus two on her paper.  Four!

Only if she gets five or twenty-two or the last number in the nuclear detonation sequence do you really need to include the answer.  

This pace-killing tendency of repetition and careful explanation may come from the high school thesis-body-conclusion rule:  "tell readers what you're going to say, say it, then tell them what you said." This works for a five paragraph essay, but it doesn't work for fiction.

Solution to Spelling E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G Out

Practice looking for this pattern in other people's work.  You'll find it.  As with any writing rule, nothing is ever wrong in all situations, and sometimes step by step descriptions and explanations work well.  Analyze the books you like, trying to pinpoint when it works and when it could be trimmed.  Soon it will become easier to see and evaluate in your own work.

Then, get ruthless.  Cut out excess explanation.  And trust your readers to fill in the blanks.

For more:

Melinda Brasher is the author of Far-Knowing, a YA fantasy novel, and Leaving Home, a collection of short stories, travel essays, and flash fiction.  Her short fiction appears in THEMA Literary Journal, Enchanted Conversation, Ellipsis Literature and Art, and others. Visit her blog for all the latest:  w

Show Me!

            Experienced writers have learned this less well, but less experienced writers are still learning it or have it yet to learn. Even for experienced writers it is good to review it every so often. What am I talking about? The “show, don’t tell” rule of writing. It sounds so simple, and yet it is one of the hardest to learn for some of us.

            Telling is what you see with narratives, and it is okay in the proper prospective. But you do not want to fill your book with telling your story. Your readers like action, dialog, descriptions, emotions, all the things that your readers can take and create a picture in their minds.

            Show your story. Give it characters your reader can fall in love with and want more of them. Give them a setting or location that their mind can grab hold of and feel they are right there with the characters. Make the characters speak to them and create action that keeps the story moving. Give descriptions of the setting and characters through narrative and some through dialog, but do not insult your readers by giving them every little detail. Readers like to be a bit creative themselves so give just enough to stimulate their own imaginations, and let them run with it.

            When you have fast-paced scenes, it is good to slow things down and give your reader a chance to breathe. Your story should run in waves of fast pace and slow pace. That is where the narrative comes in. You can use it to slow down the pace of the story.

            Someone once told me to read through my story; and if there are areas where I am telling, ask myself if there is a way I can show it rather than tell it. If there are, then I need to change it.

            Narratives do serve a purpose, so remember not to change all of them. Also remember, it is the author’s responsibility to create a world in which his/her readers can get lost and want more of it.

            Following are some points to remember when self-editing your work:  1) How often do you use narrative summary?  2) Which sections do you want to convert into scenes (action)?
3) Do you have any narrative summary? (You do need some.)  4) Are you describing your characters’ feelings or are you showing them?

Faye M. Tollison
Author of:  To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders
                                Sarah’s Secret
Member of:  Sisters In Crime
                      Writers on the Move

Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) In 2007, America’s Publicist Rick Frishman invited me to participate on the faculty of MegaBook Marketing Uni...