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SEO for Authors: How to Rank Higher on Google

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. In English? Having your website or book show up when someone Googles a term related to your book or business. Well, it’s a little more than that, too, as Ian Garlic will tell you.

As a writer and writing coach, I know firsthand how important SEO is for being found by clients. And as an author, good SEO can help you sell many more books. Most authors don’t do a great job of SEO and their websites are not necessarily found that often by potential readers or potential clients.
After meeting Ian Garlic when he joined my Bring Your Book to Life Program, I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce to my tribe an expert on SEO and author to shed light on the why’s and how’s of SEO for authors.

I asked Ian Garlic, an SEO expert, to share the basics of SEO for authors and other writers–and for your book’s success.

Lisa: How do you define SEO?

Ian: This is a big question that many “experts” will provide confusing answers for. Search Engine Optimization is what SEO stands for and encompasses much. While there are some technical aspects of SEO, many of them are fading away as search engines (Google, Yahoo) get better.
At it’s essence, SEO is being there answering the questions and solving the problems of your potential clients/customers/readers as they search the Internet.

Lisa: Can you share with readers what makes SEO so important to writers, particularly authors?

Ian: It’s so funny that I still hear that “My clients/readers are not searching the internet.” When was the last time you did NOT go to Google for the answer to your question?
A recent Pew Survey said we trust the Internet more than our family! No matter who they are, your readers are on the internet looking for answers. There is no better way to get more clients and readers than to regularly be the solution to their problem, even if the problem you solve initially is not THE problem you are solving.
This is especially true when you’re advancing an answer to a problem that people might not know they have. Many authors answer deep issues in new ways. Being there when people are searching for an answer to those problems allows you to introduce your answer in a new way.

Lisa: Wow, that’s such a great insight–that you can look at it from a reader’s or client’s point of view, solve any of their problems with, say, a super-informative blog post, and have a new community member who becomes a client or reader. Can you tell us how to get started with SEO for authors (and other writers, too)?

Ian: To get started with SEO , understand your four pieces of internet capital. These are the four things we stress as fundamentals with every client at our agency, authenticWEB. These are the four things your must develop online in order to be there to answer your readers questions:

  • Your Domain
  • Your Content
  • Links
  • Your Online Reputation

Lisa: So, your domain being the URL or the name of your website, the content being what’s going to be on the website, links meaning get other websites to link to you and online reputation–can you say more about that last one–how we find it and what it means?

Ian: When I mention online reputation, many people think of reviews. That’s critical to authors. Reviews can make or break a book on amazon. Also, reviews, lead to links which lead to better SEO!
The other side of online reputation is you as an author. When many people pick up a book (or don’t) they want to see more about the author. Of course, the first place they look is Google. The results for your name are a critical part of your online reputation. Not only will controlling those improve your book sales, it will make it easier to improve your platform.

People might follow you because you just ran your first marathon, even though your book has nothing to do with running. Someone may follow you because you both have yorkies named “Minnie.”
While those things might be in your bio, having control of your online reputation allows you to present that info on different pages, reinforcing who you are and your personal story.

People will follow you not only for your ideas, but also because they relate to you. Controlling what people find, and making sure your story is there when potential readers and tribe members search is critical.

Lisa: How can people find out more about SEO so that they attract more readers, develop a tribe,

Ian: I wrote a book Stake Your Claim and developed a “Basics of SEO” video course to explain these in as simple of terms as possible. The book is an analogy to going out west and setting up a “Fixin’ Shop” where you fix problems. The class gives you step by step video instruction on implementing it.
I found even the most seasoned of marketers still have a hard time understanding what is important for SEO and get caught up in technical jargon or shortcuts, and end up missing the fundamentals. I made this book so it’s accessible and relevant to anyone.

Lisa: Can you give us the first 3 steps to take in developing a following through SEO?

Ian: First, own your domain and start a blog on that one domain.

Lisa: So, own your own domain–you’re saying you don’t want to have your blog reside on something like wordpress.com. It can be a wordpress blog but it needs to be on your own site. That’s something I also tell all my clients. And blogging, I saw my own site jump to the first page of Google when I started blogging. That’s big. Second?

Ian: Second, decide whom you are talking to and what problems they have.

Lisa: That’s similar to writing a book. You have to know your audience and know what they are looking for, what problems they are looking to solve. Third?

Ian: Third, write more about solving problems and link to the previous problems.

Lisa: So, write blog posts that solve your clients’ or readers’ problems. And then link to previous posts as you make more posts?

Ian: Yes. Imagine you’re developing a piece of real estate and every blog post and link increases the value of that real estate.

Lisa: Anything else an author should know about SEO?

Ian: Think in questions when you write. What is the question you are answering with this blog post? The more specific you are the better. Then use that as the title.

Lisa: Because that’s what people are going to type in to Google? Or because that’s going to be more catchy? Or both?

Ian: ANSWER….. Here’s an example. “SEO for authors” might be a decent title for this blog post. Even better might be “How to get your book ranking higher in Google?” or “How do I get more blog readers to find my book on Google?” or “Why do authors need a blog and SEO?

Lisa: Well you got me. I was going to title this post SEO for authors. So, you mentioned you have something special for my readers…

Ian: I’m offering my class and e-book for free ($188) for the first 20 readers to sign up. After the first 20, the code will offer 75% off the price of the class. I will also email out as I will be discounting the hardcopy version of “Stake Your Claim” It’s illustrated and a great reference for making decisions on internet marketing. You can sign up here.

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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