July 28, 2014 at 5:59 am #28614
I saw an article yesterday where, in short, authors were told they don’t need blogs. It’s fine to believe that, but when I looked at the reasoning I was (not so) surprised to see an important issue being neglected — SEO.
Whenever I see arguments against author blogging, one of the key issues is direct sales. Because some authors don’t see many direct sales from their blogs, they assume blogging doesn’t work for book marketing (to which I say “then maybe you’re doing something wrong”). Others complain that blogs take too much time because they’re expected to blog nearly every day (when in reality, one or two posts per month can be enough to help your site rank well in search results).
I’m thinking about writing an article on this topic soon, looking at some specific examples to demonstrate why (and how) Google rankings can be vital to book sales. And blogging is a huge part of earning those rankings these days.
If you’re one of those authors who refuses to blog and doesn’t care about SEO, tell me why. What makes you hesitant? Give me a few arguments to poke some holes in when I write the post. 😉August 6, 2014 at 11:08 am #28704
Sharon Hurley HallParticipant
I believe authors should definitely have blogs. One well optimized post per month is worth a dozen that are just posted with no thought to SEO. I have no specific examples to offer, but I know that people find me to offer work via my website and I don’t post regularly. But I use the Yoast plugin for SEO so I get the benefit.August 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm #28706
I’m terrible at blogging and I’ve done nothing to attract new readers through my fiction blog (instead, it’s geared more toward existing readers). However, I think it’s really important for authors to rethink the position that blogging doesn’t help find readers. I’m too lazy to get the studies for you, but the number of people reading on tablets and phones is powerful, and you know what else they can do with those devices? Search the web for new authors in their favorite genres. Look at the What to Read after Fifty Shades of Grey Facebook page–people found that because they were searching the web for book recs, so why not take advantage of that and get them to your author page?August 6, 2014 at 10:57 pm #28711
Sharon — You’re right. It doesn’t take many posts to get the SEO benefits. Just having regular fresh content can be enough to improve rankings, especially if you have a feed for it on your homepage. When you factor in the SEO value of individual posts, you can’t go wrong. And with tools like WordPress SEO, it’s practically foolproof these days.
Yo — Exactly. You shouldn’t rely exclusively on Amazon and book-specific sites. Dig a little bit into overall Google searches in your genre, and you’ll find you could be missing out on thousands or tens of thousands of potential readers who are searching for books just like yours. This is especially important for nonfiction authors because there are nearly endless search terms they could optimize for — think about all the questions your book answers. But it’s important even for fiction.
Do some searches in the Google Adwords Keyword Planner for “paranormal romance” and you’ll find there are thousands of searches for keyword phrases related to your books — “paranormal romance” — 2400, “paranormal romance books” — 2900, “paranormal romance series” — 1000, “best paranormal romance books” — 1000, “vampire romance” — 1600, “vampire romance books” — 1300; you get the idea. That’s just a small sample, and you’re already looking at 10.2k searches per month.
And those are just “exact match” searches — not related searches with similar phrasing that would return similar search results. That’s also only for Google and doesn’t account for traffic from other search sources. Blogs are equally good, if not better, at bringing in traffic from social media outlets.
Reach even a few hundred to a thousand of those people each month, and a well-converting site and blog can sell them on your books, turn them into RSS subscribers so they’re exposed to your content and news regularly, or get them on your email list where you can close the sale later. Your blog is what gets them to you from the search engines. What you do with those eyeballs once you have their attention is up to you.
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