Over 5.5 BILLION searches are processed a day just by Google alone. We need to find ways for our sites (and books) to get noticed! The answer is SEO.
I let you skate for a few days with easy tasks. Not now. Have a seat.
Today, Day 25, we’re going back to your website and looking into “SEO,” or “search engine optimization.” That’s a fancy way of saying “making sure your website has the right words for search engines to notice, so it pops up early in search results.”
A good overview that explains how search engines work and what they look for (along with tips specific to WordPress but likely work on other sites) is here. Take a minute to give it a look.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone typed in “children’s book author” and your name popped up in the top three results? or five? or ten? One way, of course, is to have a website that has a million hits, which means you have a best-selling title (or six). But there are ways to pad your website to up the chances a little bit.
The bad news is, I can’t tell you exactly what to do because we all have different sites and different focuses and reasons and audiences. But there are general guidelines the experts say to bear in mind.
Tips to maximize SEO:
- Images and videos are better than simple text. It not only makes people stay at your website longer, it can up your name on image and video search queries. Add more images to your pages, and more video.
- Caption your images! And be sure to include an “alt text” description of each image.
- Pick a scalable template or see if your web host will optimize your site for mobile devices. Scalable means your website dimensions will automatically adjust for the screen size of a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. When someone looks at your website on their phone, for example, your top banner won’t take up their entire screen; they will get to see your website almost like they were looking at it on a larger screen. It might seem like something obvious but not all template or designs do this.
- Keep your website up to date. You know that regularly adding new content keeps readers coming back for more. Did you know it also improves SEO? New content shows search engines that your website is active and relevant. That means you have to keep going back to your website to edit, update, or add. The search-ranking autobots want to know that your site is “alive” — as in, there is a person tending to it regularly. The more active the bot senses your site is, the higher it will appear in the standings. It does’t want to look stupid by recommending a site that hasn’t been updated in five years. (If it had feelings, that is)
- Add internal links and make sure they’re current. That means you want to link back to your own website as much as you can. (You may have noticed in this Challenge how often I point out things like “We covered looking your best in taking headshots on Day 7” — I often link back to my own posts, which helps prove my own content is valid and important.)
- Use keywords repeatedly, such as in headers and in summaries (I have heard this doesn’t work as well as it used to though). At a minimum, repeat the words used in your post’s title.
- Simplify language and URLs if you can, so search engines know how to find you and the content you are talking about.
The best advice I can give you is to go back to your website host and check their FAQ for SEO. They are bound to offer specific steps you can take. Wish I had a plug-and-play answer for you (and myself)!
[Oh, and have you followed 10 new people yet?]