SEO For Book Bloggers: A Guide

I’ve been promising a post on SEO For Book Bloggers for quite a long time now, but haven’t exactly followed up on it until today.This is by no means exhaustive or the end-all, be-all, but should hopefully be a tiny bit helpful.

Google

Rank With Me And You’ll Go Far, Kid

Why do I think I am qualified to write an SEO post?:

I am by no means an expert. I will be the first to admit that. However I have a google page rank of 5, and the vast majority of my traffic comes from search engines.  And people ask me questions all the time about SEO. Of course, I learned from the best and want to share some of my knowledge.

Terms/Definitions:

SEO - Search Engine Optimization,  the act of making  your website optimized for search engines so that they can index it.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page – where your website shows up in search engines, basically you want to be #1 in the SERPS

Unique Hits - The number of unique people who visit your website

Page Views - How many times your page is viewed – i.e. I visit your site and then see you have some cool content linked in your sidebar and visit 3 of your other pages, in all you receive 4 page views. Page Views DO NOT EQUAL UNIQUE VISITS.

Keywords: The search words that people use to find  your blog, what you want to rank in the SERPs for.

For this post I am specifically going to focus on the WordPress platform, because that is where I’ve found success and what I currently blog with. This isn’t to say you can’t have success doing SEO on a blogspot blog, I’ve just found with WordPress, you just plug your info into a plugin and you are good to go.

I know a lot of people have made the switch from Blogger to WordPress, which is great, but do not expect overnight SEO magic after switching. It won’t happen. SEO is something you should actively work at. By this I mean, when you switch over, you need to actually fill out meta tags and alt image tags. Spending a little time every day filling those boxes out is going to affect your search engine results positively.

Things That Affect Search Engine Results:

  • Duplicate content -Let’s say you have your own blog, but also work on a collaborative blog. You post reviews to both your blog and your collab blog. Google will see that as duplicate content and downrank your page in the SERP.
  • Keywords – Let’s say you want to rank for Book X by Author Z. But you only use the term Book X by Author Z  once in your whole post. You won’t rank. So, instead of saying ‘the book’ or the author, write out the full keywords you want to rank for. Use the keywords in your header tags. Use the keywords in your title tags, meta description and meta tags.
  • Your Coding – if your on-page HTML coding is bad, your site is going to be down ranked. You can get your coding checked here.
  • Your Theme – sometimes your theme can play a part in search engine results. My theme, Thesis, is SEO Optimized right out of the box and I was able to google the best settings to maximize my SEO.
  • Page Rank – the higher your page rank, the more Google indexes your pages, the higher you rank in SERP.

Tools  To Help:

Google Webmaster Tools – Google Webmaster Tools has been a godsend for me. Basically you register on there, read the FAQ on how, and it will tell you: the keywords you rank for and your average position in the search engine, it will give you HTML suggestions for your metadata, ie if you have duplicate Meta Tags, if your Meta data is too short or too long. It’ll tell you if there are crawl errors. It’s a wonderful tool if you are looking to monitor your SEO. ALSO? It’s free.

Google Adwords Keyword Tool- Let’s say you take this keyword thing VERY seriously. One of the best ways to increase your SEO is to rank highly for keywords that have low competition but lots of monthly searches. If you type in a potential keyword, it’ll tell you the competition and also give you variations on the keyword. This tool is very helpful when writing reviews and also going back and updating old reviews.

Google Analytics – I probably sound like a google fan girl at this point, but friends they have a lot of great free tools that you should be using. I’m pretty sure Google Analytics is the MOST accurate free statistic measuring tool out there. It does not count spam visits like Blogger Stats. You can look at specific information about your visitors like how they got to your site, the search terms, country of origin. It will show you bounce rates. AND Google analytics has updated so there’s a whole slew of new information like social engagement, content, monetization, etc. However, you can’t see your real-time current day visits on Google analytics.

Sitemeter – Personally, I prefer sitemeter, but I know other people have success with Stat Counter. You can put sitemeter on your website and it’s a nice, easy way to measure your real time visits. I leave my sitemeter open so pubs can verify my traffic claims and know that I am not lying.Typically my sitemeter numbers correlate very closely with my Google Analytics numbers.

Yoast SEO Plug-In – Basically to get this you would go to plugins and then add a new plugin, look it up and add it in. I don’t use Yoast because it conflicts with Thesis. However, Allison At The Allure Of Books uses Yoast and it’s positively affected her on-page SEO. Basically Yoast gives you a checklist at the bottom of your posts and makes sure that your page is optimized for search engines and it tells you how to improve.

All In One SEO - Another plugin where you go to plugins and add a new plugin. This is the SEO plugin I used before I got Thesis. It allows you to fill in boxes for Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords for each post which totally does affect your SERP. I personally use the on-page SEO included with my Thesis theme.

SEO Information Blogs/Blogs About Blogging:

One of the best things you can do to improve your blog is to educate yourself about the technical side of blogging. It’s really NOT THAT HARD. Look, if I can do it, any one can do it. There are so many great resource out there that put the technical bits into laymen’s terms.

ProbloggerI have learned SO much about improving my blog technically and improving my SEO from reading Problogger religiously. I’ve also learned quite a bit about monetizing from Problogger.

Daily Blog TipsThis website is EXCELLENT for learning the technical side of blogging. I’ve learned how to decrease my bounce rate, how to optimize my blog and many, many more things for Daily Blog Tips. Also, check out the right sidebar for the most popular articles. There is a WEALTH of information there.

Copyblogger – A large part of SEO is writing for humans and not a search engine. Copyblogger is a site that aims to help people improve their writing and thus improve their search engine rankings through content marketing.

A Few Last Minute Tips And Suggestions That Have Worked FOR ME:

Always use alt-image tags. Search engine bots do crawl your images and the alt tags will tell the bots how to categorize your post, thus improving rankings.

Interlink – The more links you have coming into your posts, the better. I mean, I’m not saying join a linking scheme, that WILL BACKFIRE. However, you can always go back and interlink your old posts. Like whenever I review a series, I always go back to the older books in the series and generate links to the reviews of the newer books in the series.

Link To Other Bloggers – I saw  a fantastic post on Problogger about outbound linking and why you should do it. Personally, I like to link to other reviews because it generates some traffic to my friends, adds a little bit to my bank of good karma (I need every little bit I can get), and plus because people sometimes reciprocate. ALSO, it helps give the reader a bigger picture of the book, to read other opinions and all.

So, what are some of your SEO Tips and Tricks?

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Comments

  1. I know that repeating the title and author several times is good SEO, but it’s ANNOYING writing. We’ve all read books when authors repeat character names, or certain phrases over and over and it’s not good writing. I know I don’t repeat the names enough in my posts, so I do need to start doing better. But I won’t be repeating in every paragraph. The writer in me just won’t let me do it.

    Great tips. Thanks.
    Annette recently posted..Book Review: Katana, by Cole GibsenMy Profile

    • I do it, but honestly, it’s helped me rank higher and people still read and comment on my posts regardless of the annoying writing. I think you just have to find a medium that makes you happy, ya know? Where you have the keyword density, but also don’t get annoying, I guess.

  2. Wow, these are great tips and things that everyone should be doing. You have learned a lot in a year April!
    Pam recently posted..Apocalypse Imminent: Veronica RossiMy Profile

  3. SO SO helpful April. I’m so appreciative that you took the time to do this because I know what SEO is, but I’m really clueless about how I can do it better on my site. I can’t use all of these things on free wordpress, but I can certainly do more. THANK YOU!! :-)
    Amy @ Tripping Over Books recently posted..Tripping Over MarchMy Profile

  4. Very informative post. I feel like I’m really laidback about SEO, but now I will have this in the back of my mind. Thanks for the information. I do do some things right (I like to link to other reviews and I do link to my reviews of other books in a series), but there’s a lot of things I do not do.

  5. First, April, let me say THANK YOU for this awesome post. Seriously. I picked up some really great things here. My favorite, that I’ve been playing with for at least the last 30 minutes, is the Yeast plug-in. SO awesome. We had been using All-in-One SEO, but I like the way it runs through a checklist because sometimes typing in all the SEO information becomes so automated for me. You’re incredibly generous to have put this together. :)
    Magan @ Rather Be Reading recently posted..Book Report: The Probability of Miracles by Wendy WunderMy Profile

  6. Most of this went over my head XD But, I think I will start linking reviews because it’s something I’ve been considering for awhile.
    Meghan recently posted..[discussion] XVI and Truth by Julia KarrMy Profile

  7. Love this! As someone who has worked a lot with SEO professionally, it’s good to see you spreading the LOVE. It does make a difference!!!
    Anna recently posted..The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas ReviewMy Profile

  8. Awesome post! This is so helpful! I have one (possibly dumb) question…what do you mean by alt-image tags?
    Kat (No Page Left Behind) recently posted..Foodie February Giveaway!My Profile

  9. As someone who does SEO for work (and doesn’t always use her skills for her blog because she’s laaaazy), I have to say this is a fabulous guide for SEO newbies! Good differentiation between unique and page views. That drives me nuts…but you already know my feelings on that :P
    Jamie recently posted..Books That I’d Give A Theme Song To – Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  10. I use Google Analytics and I love it for the most part, but I hate how many search terms it hides. At one point, it hid over 50% of the terms, citing “not provided.” Bullshit.

    I just started using Adwords, and I really enjoy it; I think it’s funny how nearly everything I check is low competition. I’d hate to be competing with something for high competition!

    I’m off to check Google Webmaster. Sounds like a great tool.
    Melanie recently posted..I Sympathize With VilliansMy Profile

    • That’s weird that your Google Analytics does that. That rarely happens with mine.
      However, adwords is pretty fun to use, I agree it’s much easier to rank with low competitions.

  11. bookmarking this forever.
    Lisa recently posted..Review: Kiss of Life (Generation Dead #2)My Profile

  12. A lot of this makes not-a-lot of sense to me, so I’ll have to bookmark this and do some research. I do read Problogger and find that it has been helpful. My biggest problem is that I can read this post but I just have no idea what you are saying. I LOVE that you did this, though, because even though I’m on blogger I’m sure I can use some of it and it gives me a starting point for research on all of these terms and stuff. Google will be sick and tired of me after awhile, lol.

    Thanks, April, for this. I need all the help I can get for my little bitty baby blog that I love so much.
    Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) recently posted..My Thoughts On: Torn by Amanda HockingMy Profile

    • I think it will make more sense over time, like I wouldn’t expect to understand everything in one night or after reading one post. Definitely do research. Knowledge is power, yo. :-)

  13. I will be bookmarking this post now! Thank you for taking the time to explain this stuff – so helpful!
    Amused recently posted..Winners of February Review Book Giveaway!My Profile

  14. So…I don’t have time to go through all of this now, but I want to say “Thank you” for posting this. I think I might save it to look over during bloggiesta.
    Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives recently posted..Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeverMy Profile

  15. Thanks for this helpful starting point, April!! As a newbie WP transfer, I’m still learning about all this, so I appreciate when a fellow blogger breaks it down for me. :)
    Jess @ Gone with the Words recently posted..TGIF! Follow Friday {53}My Profile

  16. This is such an excellent post! Thank you for all the tips. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back here to check out everything again. I link to my old posts and put up links to other blogs whenever I post a review but I think that’s about it. I’m pretty clueless when it comes to SEO so I think this is really helpful.
    Chachic recently posted..Bloggiesta is Back!My Profile

  17. Gosh you are a wealth of information! I’ll be bookmarking this post for reference to get my SEO in gear. I know there’s more SEO I can do with even wp.com. I’m going to check out Problogger and Copyblogger too. You are awesome for linking to other blog reviews- thanks for the good karma and tips.
    Lucy recently posted..Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith ZeitlinMy Profile

  18. Thank you so much for this post!! It’s very helpful! :) I haven’t really delved into SEO yet, but after this post I feel like I have a fighting chance in sorting out all the information floating around the internet about it!
    Daisy recently posted..Review of Under the Moon by Natalie J. DamschroderMy Profile

  19. I’ve always been interested in SEO because it’s sort of related to my job, plus because it deals with content! Thanks for all the plug-in suggestions — I’ve been looking for WP plugins to fix my blog’s SEO. :)
    Tina recently posted..SmittenMy Profile

  20. Hi April!

    Google Analytics actually can be made to show real time visits (more or less), although I wish it would show which real time visits were being made to which post! If you change the date range to the current day, and click on “visits,” you can then get it to display hourly visits by clicking the clock in the “graph by” section.
    Charlotte recently posted..Gender bias, my blog, and sci fi/fantasy books for kidsMy Profile

  21. This post is AMAZINGGGGG.
    Tara @ Hobbitsies recently posted..Illuminate by Aimee AgrestiMy Profile

  22. Great post April! I think a lot of bloggers will find tons of helpful tips to help SEO their blog.
    Tara recently posted..In My Mailbox (60)My Profile

  23. I haven’t even gone through the entire post yet and I am already so grateful for this. I’ve always wanted to improve my SEO but I need an SEO for dummies course. lol. I’m just going through Google Webmaster tools now and trying to make sense of it. I *think* I need to create a site map and am looking at the plugins for doing that. lol. I wish I could just get a list of “here’s what your blog is missing”. :)

  24. I know I’m late to the party, but I have a question: if I also post reviews on a site like Goodreads, does that count as duplicate content? When I first started blogging, I assumed it did. But then I read somewhere that it doesn’t. Can you clarify?
    Joss Arden recently posted..The Story Behind Island of the Blue DolphinsMy Profile

    • I think it’s different when you post on goodreads than when you post the same thing on two blogs. Like, I post my full reviews on goodreads and my blog and that has yet to affect my SEO rankings.

      • Hi April
        Thanks for the post! This duplicate content issue was one of my main concerns. I’m glad to hear that it’s different, but am curious how you know whether it affects your SEO rankings? Thanks!

  25. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    Wow. I must say you know a thousand times (a million times?) more than I do about these things!

    Buona fortuna!

    I’m Bloggista-ing all weekend! I love to have old and new blogging friends stop by and say hello!

  26. Thank you for this post very much! I have a question though. I would love to use a SEO plugin, but I use a wordpress.com blog and they don’t have plugins as far as I can tell. Any ideas on where to look for a tool that I can use for my blog posts? Or a theme for my blog that has a built in tool?

    Thank you again!
    Anya
    Anya recently posted..Fair Game by Patricia BriggsMy Profile

  27. Great tips! :) The one thing you might want to change:

    “However, you can’t see your real-time current day visits on Google analytics.”

    You actually can see real-time stats in Google analytics. It’s in beta, but works pretty great. Just navigate to home > Real-Time (beta) on the left. The overview will give you real time updates and show you who’s on your site right this second! Pretty neat.

  28. I completely agree with the use of AIO SEO and Yoast plugins. They are the best plugins out there for wordpress. They both make it incredibly easy to optimize your posts and put all the schema / micro data in the posts to make sure the rich snippets show in the search engines. I think if you’re not using them on your site you’re doing yourself and injustice in terms of SEO.

  29. Alejandra Quetzalli says:

    Hello there! Was running through this post and saw you gave some pretty good advice in it. On that note, I would suggest you read blogs like Moz.com and Searchengineland.com, as well as looking up the latest Google algorithm update Hummingbird. Keywords are a little past their due date and search engines are forcing us to catch up with the times. As a simple example, Matt Cuts from Google recently went so far as to say that it is better to have NO meta description, than to risk writing duplicate content in it. He rarely –if ever– writes metas up. ( I’m actually an SEO specialist at Cobalt Automotive Marketing, so I’m prob slightly obsessive over OSR data. >_< )

    At any rate…after lecturing you to tears…I was wondering if you have experience starting a website hosted on wordpress.org. I've only used wordpress.com before, and the list of instructions on http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page gave me quite a headache. lol (I'm an SEO chick, not a Dreamweaver enthusiast!) Would you happen to have any experience in this department, or know someone who does?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, much appreciated! ;)
    Alejandra Quetzalli recently posted..“I never knew what hunger meant before…”My Profile

Trackbacks

  1. [...] audience than your fellow bloggers. Bloggiesta!So You Want To Get Noticed By Search Engines1. Read This Post2. Go to one of your older posts or book reviews. One that needs pizazz.3. Open up google ad words [...]

  2. [...] some new SEO  (Much thanks to April @ Good Books and Good Wine with her Get Noticed and SEO posts!) (See what I did there? [...]

  3. [...] Learn a bit about SEO and try to incorporate it a bit more. [Thanks to April at Good Books & Good Wine.] [...]

  4. [...] and why should you care? More info here. What made me think in the first place was April’s article – apparently, if your blog’s HTML coding is bad, your site will be down ranked. Well, I [...]

  5. [...] SEO For Book Bloggers – from April @ Good Books and Good Wine  : SEO is something that has been tough for me to [...]

  6. [...] 8. Analytics, Stats & SEO  – With all the hard work you put into your blog it is natural that you want to see your blog traffic grow. Consistency is key – just keep at it and write engaging, meaningful blog posts and honest book reviews. There are also sites such as Google Webmaster Tools you can use to analyze your blog and most popular search queries, keywords and links. You may also want to use a stat counter on your site such as sitemeter to look at traffic patterns. I’m no expert on the SEO stuff, so be sure to read April @ Good Books & Good Wine’s informative post on SEO for Book bloggers. [...]

  7. [...] and why should you care? More info here. What made me think in the first place was this article – apparently, if your blog’s HTML coding is bad, your site will be down ranked. Well, I [...]

  8. [...] but it’s purposeful. ProBlogger was recommended by April of Good Books & Good Wine in her SEO post with tips for bloggers. I subscribed to it after I read through some of the posts and read their daily posts in my Google [...]

  9. [...] such as Google. What exactly is “Search Engine Optimisation” and why should you care? More info here. What made me think in the first place was April’s article – apparently, if your blog’s HTML [...]

  10. Ex Libris says:

    [...] more info about SEO, April from Good Books and Good Wine has had some excellent posts about it. (Here and Here).  I also found this article explaining more about [...]

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