AHA · Authors Helping Authors · Marketing

“Search Engine Optimization is Not Rocket Science” by Corey Smith

Search engine optimization isn’t rocket science, brain surgery or even omelet making but with the way some people talk, you’d think that it was. True, there are some components that make it a little more complicated to understand… after all, that is why SEOs (search engine optimizers) make $15,000 or more per small site just to optimize website content… once. Then, usually they’ll charge a hefty fee monthly to make sure that the site stays optimized.

SEO (search engine optimization) is something that needs to be continually addressed. Not only does a site need to have new content added all the time, but the existing, static content, needs to be adjusted, changed and modified. If your site isn’t evolving, then why in the world would someone ever come back?

If your audience have already seen your marketing materials (your bio sheet, a flier and, yes, even your book), do they go back to it very often to try and glean new information? I would bet not. Why do we seem to think that people will do that with our static and never changing websites?

So, if Search Engine Optimization isn’t Rocket Science, then what is it?

It is time consuming and requires effort. It requires patience and practice. But, given the right knowledge, you can understand the basics. Here are the five elements of content that you should consider for your site.

Write core site (static) content.

Content is critical. Compelling content is even better. Don’t make it too long, but don’t skimp. Create content that people will want to read when they are looking for more information. Format it properly… make it pretty and easy to read.

Write page descriptions.

Each page as the ability to have a page description. This can be the same as content in your page or it can be different. Be careful that if you make it different that it talks about the same things. Be careful to not be too wordy here. Keep your description to about 150 characters or less.

Write meta tags.

Meta tags are keywords that describe the page. Usually they are the top few key words the document has. Don’t use too many. You don’t want to use more than about 10 per page, but you can make them different from page to page so that you can optimize pages different from each other. Note that Google doesn’t weigh meta tags but other search engines do.

Change your content and add to it often.

I get the question all the time, “How do I get more content?” The two key ways to add content are news articles and blog entries. Write press releases on your book signings, touring, etc. You can even repost releases from partners, publishers, etc if they are applicable. When you write opinion or blog pieces, make them compelling. Write them so that people will want to read them. Write them so that people will come back for more. If there is no change to your site, people won’t want to come back.

Write for people and not for search engines.

So many people try to find ways to trick the engines. They come up with all sorts of tactics designed to fool the Googlebots. The key is, if you fool Google and people come to your website on false pretenses, they won’t stay or care what they see. Your website is built for people, so write for people. Google, Yahoo and other search engines work hard to present results to their clients that matter. So, if you write for people, your results in the search engines will be better.

Sure, it is a lot of work, but creating your brand is not easy. Online brand development takes time. If you can’t do it for your company, hire someone (like Tribute Media — yeah I know, shameless plug) to do it for you. If you aren’t going to do it right, you might as well not do it at all so that your customers can find your competition more easily.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Corey Smith is President of Tribute Media and Author of “Do It Right: A CEO’s Guide to Web Strategy”. His firm specializes in building websites for businesses, (including authors). Connect with him at About.me.

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