Oh my goodness! Have you heard? Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have become strict disciplinarians who don’t tolerate any nonsense. All their algorithm updates with cute names have made it harder for everyone to make it to page one of the search results. And they’re not done yet because they promise more challenges to come when we talk about website optimization and rankings. Oh, why are you doing this to us?

“Google has got to keep trying to be smarter and smarter. So our mission is to organize the world’s information to make the universe more accessible and useful.” – Matt Cutts, Head of Google Spam Team (2013)

Okay, so that’s the main reason why we’re always getting those rolling updates that can affect our ranking, at least for Google. Well, since we can’t do anything about it and since we don’t even know what types of criteria are included in the algorithms, the only thing we can do is keep on improving our sites and keep up with the updates. But wait, do you have any idea what to do? If you don’t, I’m willing to share 12 of my secret tricks when it comes to book brand website optimization. Here they come.

  1. It’s all about the book!

What’s the main point of your website? Of course, to showcase your book and sell some copies to your readers. So, everything about your website should be connected to your book. Really, how can you do this?

  • Choose a relevant URL for the site like the book title or your name as the author.
  • The theme and template should be a reflection of your book in order to encourage better brand recognition and development. The colors, font style and other elements of the book design should be incorporated. You can even put some book image into the site.
  • Allocate a page solely for your author biography. This way your readers can get to know the real you behind the words of your literary work.
  • There should also be a page intended to show the details of the book – description, purchasing details, book excerpts and book reviews.
  1. Time to do your homework.

If we’re to talk about website optimization, the first thing that comes to mind is what? Yes, you’re right, the keywords. They should be relevant to your site. That is why, it is important to set aside enough time to research the right keywords that suits your brand, or in this case your book and author image. Now, it’s not a simple process of listing down strings of related phrases and words. But don’t worry, you can use tools to make keyword researching easier. And you can check out tips when it comes to keyword researching through authoritative sites like Moz.com.

  1. Say no to sanctions.

To gain the attention of the rulers in the world of search engines, then you have to behave badly. But if you don’t want to risk being punished, then you have to sidestep all issues that might be harmful for your site. For instance, you should avoid duplicate contents throughout your book website. You should also fill out necessary fields with correct data like the page title, meta description and even your H1 tag. Most importantly, avoid keyword stuffing. It might have worked before but Matt Cutts and other powerful people have changed the game.

  1. Let the bots give you a vote.

As we all know, search engines let their awesome bots crawl your site. They will check every page for indexing and ranking. Therefore, you must make the bot’s task easier for them if you want to be number one. Make sure every element of your page is readable for these bots to make their results accurate. You can work with your web developer on this one so you can make sure everything will work to your advantage.

  1. Play nice with alt texts.

Remember the saying, “A picture paints a thousand words”? Well, we don’t really apply it when it comes to site optimization. As search engine bots crawl your site, images without alt texts are nothing but an unrecognizable block of element, which might somehow affect your ranking. That is why, even if it’s just a word or phrase, you must make sure that every image or video in your site has an alt text. This way, the bots will get a hint on what it’s all about.

  1. Be sociable to be lovable.

Remember, social media is the current ace of marketing. And people are more likely to share your content if you provide various social media share buttons that they can use. Not just that, search engines also like to see that you’re willing to share the contents of your website to other people. And of course, the more content shares you get, the more visibility you earn hence the higher you can rank in search engine results page. So, what are you waiting for? Put share buttons now and start mingling in the cyber society.

  1. Go mobile!

Mobile is the new in. Everywhere, people are using all those mobile devices to access their social media profiles, do their shopping and read their favorite books. Therefore, you must adapt to these phenomenal changes. And you should do it quickly or else, you’ll be left behind. If you don’t know how to do it, you can ask the help of a web developer again to make your site work perfectly even in mobile devices.

  1. Befriend the links.

There are so many types of links that you have to know when it comes to book website optimization. But you only have to befriend three of the most important links of them all. The first one is called the internal link, which pertains to links of any content or page within your book website. It’s like advertising your own work, which is fine by search engines as long as you don’t overdo it. The second one is the so-called outbound link that when clicked, it will lead the reader to an authoritative site with a high page rank. Last but not the least is the inbound link, which you can get when another website creates a link towards your book website. You can get this type of link when you guest post an article or when someone writes about you, your book or your site.

  1. Ask yourself: is your site indexed?

If the answer is no, then you have a big problem. How can you rank in search results if search engines don’t know that your site exists? Yes, there might be times that search engines might automatically discover and index your site. But to make sure you’re on the right track, you can follow these steps for Google indexing written by Kristi Hines on Kissmetrics.com.

  1. Regular update is a priority.

There is nothing wrong with not updating your site in a day. But seriously, you expect your site to rank even if you haven’t updated it in a year or even in a month? There can be broken links or bad content in there that could affect your ranking. Therefore, it is important that you always keep your website updated at least once month. Disavow any bad links, remove bad quality content and provide fresh ones in order to gain a two thumbs-up from search engines.

  1. Quality content is still royalty.

Hail to the king of SEO! Quality content will always get you to the top. So, make sure you’re always updating your blog or even the posts in your website. Set aside time, at least once or twice a week, to provide new, unique and interesting content for your audience. Trust me, this will not only help build up your image as an author and a good brand image for you book. But it will give you more web traffic and sales conversion, which is your ultimate goal for optimization. Won’t you agree?

  1. Welcome other media in the site.

Some SEO gurus and specialists have said that images and videos are usually easier to rank. For one, it makes your website content more interesting and catchy since images are more appealing to most people. Just make sure they are connected to the topic you’re talking about in the page. And don’t forget to apply trick number 5, which focuses on the use of alt texts, okay?

Don’t let the threat of algorithm updates and changes scare you. There is nothing to fear, especially if you have these 12 tricks as your secret weapon. Now, are you ready to be more visible online?






image credit: bookcovercafe

Jill Bennett a marketing specialist of LitFire Publishing, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia. For the past six years, she’s been working with several self-publishing authors in terms of book marketing, publicity and distribution.