Make Your EBook SEO Friendly!

Ebook SEO

NOTE from CJ: Please welcome Anna Fox back for a guest post on SEO. Enjoy!

Many things need to be taken into account when one is writing an ebook with plans to self-publish, ranging from what you’re writing about and who you’re writing it for, to how you plan to market and sell it.

With all of these questions waiting to be answered even as you commit yourself to writing a full-length book, it can be easy to overlook one of the most important facets of all where getting your work to the masses is concerned: search engine optimization (SEO).

Typically spoken of with regards to websites alone, SEO can have a very important role to play in a successful ebook, as well. So, before you finish your next work, whether one of fiction or nonfiction, try utilizing these six tips for making your ebook SEO friendly:

SEO Within Your Book

SEO

Whether you plan to release your ebook in a discrete digital package, or publishing in full online is on the horizon, there are different techniques that you can use in order to ensure that search engines help interested readers to find your work.

Here are three tips for implementing SEO within your ebook:

1. Utilize Keywords

Whether or not you plan to publish your book for online reading, keywords should come into play as you write, just as they will when it comes time to publicize. Obviously, the focus of your writing will be weaving a story of one kind or another, and that should be where your priorities are, but never underestimate the power of keywords to draw attention to your offering, no matter the medium on which people will consume it.

2. Publish Excerpts

In order to really put your ebook’s internal SEO to work for you, consider publishing tantalizing excerpts online. This could be done via social media, on a personal website, or on a bookseller’s online storefront; the effect will be the same whichever platform you choose.

If you’ve made a point to utilize keywords as suggested in our first tip, these published excerpts will instantly go to work in attracting Google and company to index the pages containing information – and, presumably, a purchase link – regarding your ebook.

This point applies whether you’ve completed a work of fantasy fiction and want to attract readers interested in "dragons," or a technical manual with which you hope to draw readers who are searching for keywords related to the niche it covers.

3. Consider Writing in HTML

While there are many formats to choose from when it comes to writing an ebook, there are a few that offer up extra benefits, HTML first and foremost among them.

Because it is a language intended for the web, you can easily incorporate links, tags, and other attributes into your ebook that will make it better recognized and indexed by search engines. Even if publishing online isn’t your goal, writing with HTML coded language can also be beneficial even when readers are digesting your work on their PC or via a tablet or other digital reader, helping them to surf through your virtual tome more easily; if you’re able to take advantage of the SEO benefits of HTML in the process, all the better!

SEO On Your Ebook Sales Pages

Sales Page Optimization

No matter what type of ebook you’ve written or where you plan to publish it, sales pages are a must when it comes to giving potential readers a means of learning about, exploring, and purchasing your work. Like any web page, you’ll be depending on search engines to bring you the majority of your traffic, so utilizing good optimization tactics is crucial.

Here are three tips for implementing SEO on your ebook sales pages:

1. Make Your Page Niche-Friendly

Whatever the topic of your ebook, you can be sure that you’re catering to one niche or another. Whether that niche is science fiction or DIY home projects, there is a specific group of people that you’ll aiming your marketing efforts at, and it’s vitally important that your sales pages reflect that.

Again, keywords come into play, and you’ll want to be sure that the verbiage on your pages is in line with what people interested in your niche are searching for. There is no tool more powerful than keywords when it comes to attracting the attention of search engines, a point never to be taken lightly.

Also important is imagery and other forms of multimedia. If you’ve written a piece of fantasy fiction, for example, displaying images of swords or dragons is an excellent way to catch a visitor’s eye in order to let them know that they’ve found themselves on a page worth digging into.

In order to optimize those multimedia additions, be sure to utilize standard HTML tags such as "ALT" and "TITLE" entries for images; this will allow Google and friends to more easily denote what your media is, helping users to find you via search engines in multiple ways.

2. Build Links

From posting about your ebook on various internet forums and comment threads, to utilizing niche ebook websites like the books category at MyBlogGuest, building links back to your sales page is a very important part of helping search engines to rank your website higher when it comes to the keywords that you’ve chosen to focus on.

In order to spread backlinks to your pages around the web, you simply have to be willing to talk about your ebook. Visiting related blogs and forums and fitting your ebook into the conversation and guest blogging on other sites in order to give new readers an example of your writing style are just two examples of methods that you can use to alert the web at large about what you’ve got to offer.

It’s worth noting that you should avoid anything that could be even remotely viewed as spam in your efforts, instead being graceful and subtle in getting the word out. No one likes spam, and pushing your ebook too hard and too obviously is sure to be a turn off for most potential buyers.

3. Research Your Audience

When launching a website, whether it’s a sales page for an ebook or anything else, knowing your audience is a must, and you’d do well to get to know yours, as well. Besides giving you an idea of who is interested in your work and why, you’ll also find yourself better equipped to market your ebook into the future.

The best tool to achieve familiarity with visitors to your sales pages is a standard analytics program. By using a service such as Google Analytics, you’ll have access to intimate details about the people visiting your website in order to learn more about your book, including the type of computer they’re using, where they hail from, how often they visit, and much more.

Image Credits: seo, seo strategy, thumb up.

About the author: Anna Fox is the writer addicted to self-improvement. She is running a blog where you can find dozens of tips for increasing productivity.

Why I Cut My List in Half

512px-Mailing_LettersYou have heard me say time and again how important it is to build a mailing list of people who WANT to hear from you.

 

You need to cultivate this list like tending orchids: treating them to the right amount of sunshine, watering at just the right intervals, giving them extra special food you don’t give any other plants.

 

So why did I trim my list in half?

 

I’ve been building my list since 2004 and over those years had more than 14,000 people sign up for it. Note: this is all permission based subscribers—I never add anyone on my own (and neither should you!)

 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? 14,000+ folks just waiting to hear what’s going on with me every month…except they weren’t.

 

Nine years is a long time. Email addresses get changed or hacked. People subscribe at work using a company email—and then move on or get new spam filters. Readers move onto other authors and might not be interested in hearing from me anymore (painful to admit, but it happens)

 

Last year I realized that my open rates had plummeted from over 40% to a mere 10%. Experts will tell you that’s good—in fact, 10% is industry average, but when you’re paying for each email and trying to connect and engage people not just convince them to open your email, it’s not good enough.

 

And honestly, I missed the interaction and involvement that I’d get after every email. After all, my fans put me on the New York Times list in response to a newsletter I sent, I didn’t want to lose that special connection.

 

First, I revamped my content, making it less about me and more rewarding for my readers. I began to include interviews, videos, and bonus offers from other authors my readers might enjoy in addition to sharing behind the scene glimpses into my own life and writing.

 

That led to about 2,000 more subscribers and increased my open rate to 20%

 

Then I began the long, slow process of clearing out any “dead wood” from the emails. I deleted bounced emails. I also began to monitor open rates and if someone didn’t open one of my newsletters more than four to five times in a row, the equivalent of about six months, I deleted them.

 

Which cut my list almost in half.

 

The results? The last three emails I sent had a 55-60% open rate and a 35-40% click-thru rate, with most people clicking on several links as well as sharing with their friends.

 

Not to mention cutting my costs by 40%

 

Trimming my email list tripled my opens and click-thrus as well as increasing my readers’ response and saving me money. All in all, a win/win for everyone: myself and my readers.

 

Sometimes less is more. Where can you get more by cutting back on something in your workflow?

Do You Have a Niche?

credit: JD Hancock

I’ll bet you a basket of Peeps that you do! One where you’ll find your “peeps” (aka people or tribe or target audience).

 

Find this sweet spot that lies somewhere between 7 billion folks on the planet and your cat who nods attentively when you read pages of your novel aloud (oh, is that just me?) and you’ll have it made.

 

Why? Because instead of trying to please 7 billion readers, you only have to ask yourself: is XYZ what *my* people want? Is this latest social networking fad where they’ll be hanging out? Should I buy them pink fuzzy pencils for a reader appreciation gift or instead give them ribbons made of crimescene tape?

 

(hint: if you’re one of my peeps, it’s the crimescene tape–can not tell you how popular that was at the first TFest! Folks wore it on their nametags like it was a badge of honor)

 

But how to narrow down your tribe from a prospect pool of 7 billion? Abby Kerr has a free e-course that could help.

 

I stumbled upon Abby’s website by accident, but who could resist her tagline of: brand editor. calling you to rule your realm.

 

Yeah, she had me at hello, lol! Sign up for her Inklings newsletter HERE to receive your free e-course on how to Create a Truly Irresistible Niche

 

Happy peep herding!

CJ

You Don’t Need Honey to Find Readers, You Just Need a Librarian

Since I talked on Monday about the lessons learned at the Frankfurt Book Fair about the importance of finding your readers, I thought it might be nice to let you guys know about another free publication from Sisters in Crime.

 

(seriously, if you’re writing any kind of crime fiction, their resources are invaluable, so just join already!)

 

Their summer summit report from the American Library Association, How Readers Find Books, is available now as a pdf from the Sisters in Crime website, just scroll down the front page to the “recent news” box.

 

Tons of info there–and what I love is that there’s something for every style of writer from happy hermit to social butterfly!

 

Enjoy!

CJ

 

 

 

You Aren’t Asking the Right Question

Since BLIND FAITH hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, suddenly folks think I’m some kind of marketing guru.

 

I’ve had writers who are total strangers email me asking to tell them what my secret was.

 

(Silly Rabbits! They obviously didn’t bother to come over here and read the blog or the Resource pages, because I share everything with you guys!)

 

Writer friends who I admire for their own success, suddenly calling me, wanting to know “What did you do to make this happen?”

 

Marketing pros and even a few reporters asking: What social media tools/marketing strategy/advertising/promotion/fill in the blank did I use?

 

They’re all asking the wrong question. They want to know “what” and when I try to answer that they shake their head in disbelief because my answer is so very simple and basic.

 

Because “what” I did was put my readers first. By giving them a chance for free books. By risking putting my bestseller on sale. By sharing my hopes and dreams through my Lyons’ Tales newsletter.

 

(Interested in reading it? You can sign up HERE)

 

Then I saw this guest post by Danielle LaPorte on Productive Flourishing and I finally realized the question everyone should have been asking: WHY.

 

WHY have I been using the majority of my promotional budget to give away my books to readers for the past three years? To build a readership and give them what they want: a new author to enjoy and follow.

 

WHY do I not spend a lot of time tweeting or facebooking or blogging or fill in the blank of the current trendy promo tool? Because I need my time and energy to write and I feel my books are my best promotional tools. If I use my time to get more books out there, I’m keeping my readers happy and increasing my chances to find new ones.

 

WHY did I take that huge leap of faith and lower BLIND FAITH to a special sale price?

 

First, as an appreciation gift to my readers. Second, because I thought it would be fun joining with them in achieving a common goal. So the only promotion I did for BLIND FAITH was to send a newsletter to my readers with the subject heading of: Help Me Make a Dream Come True.

 

In it, I explained that I hoped to reach Amazon’s Top 20. Within two weeks BLIND FAITH was #4 on the USA TODAY bestseller list and then debuted at #2 on the New York Times list.

 

But every decision that led to that focused on one thing. What would make my readers happy.

 

Not make every reader happy. That’s beyond my power. I focused on my readers. The people who respond to my Thrillers with Heart.

 

How can you do the same? Play to your strengths: does blogging or tweeting, etc energize you and make you a better writer and engage your readers? Then go for it!

 

(One author who is brilliant at Facebook is David Morrell–but of course, he’s brilliant at just about everything!)

 

Does hosting a community on a forum keep you excited and inspired about your work in progress while helping you understand your readers better?

 

Or maybe you’re like me, a hermit at heart, and need to focus on writing the next book your readers are clamoring for.

 

(which is how I ended up currently writing two books at once, but that’s another story)

 

Whatever you spend your time on, ask yourself WHY? Why is doing this going to make me a better writer? Why is it going to please my readers? Why should my readers spend their time and energy responding to it?

 

Once you ask the right question, you’ll know the direction that is right for you….and you can stop asking others what they did. Why? Because you’ll be in control of your own path.

Update! Target audiences for Children

Update to my post from Monday:

Just released, a free pdf containing the Kids and Family Reading Report from Scholastic!

So now we have info on mystery readers (courtesy of Sisters in Crime) and romance readers (courtesy of RWA) and children aged 9-17.

For a breakdown of the Kids and Family Reading Report, check out this story from Digital Book World as well.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...