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Indie Authors—Do You SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a mouthful of a term which boils down to a method for attracting the right audience to your content. Today, we’ll be talking about how to grow your blog’s popularity. You want to not only increase visibility, but also your credibility as a content creator. When you need to make an online purchase, you look at the reviews on the product, right? The more positive reviews and views, the likelier you are to “buy into” what the seller is peddling. The same is true with social media influencers and their view count. The more activity on their page, the more “in the know” they seem. But how do you garner those views and that credibility? With a vast sea of other content, it’s easy to feel like you’re screaming into the void. So how do you go about getting noticed?

Know Your Demographic

The key to a great SEO is to know your audience. Narrow your demographic to certain individuals. This may include their likes, dislikes, age, gender, job, etc. For the purposes of this article, let’s say your ideal target audience is readers with limited time to read, thus they have an interest in using audiobooks. This is a far more specific demographic than simply people that read your genre.

Keywords are your Friend

Once you identify the people you want your content to reach, run a search for terms that reflect that audience. Some terms will shock you, which is why research is important. Utilize every search engine including Amazon and social media. These keywords are not just the genre titles of your works, but also semi-related terms that can lead traffic back to your blogs.

Use word clouds—a visual cluster of related words— to make connections you’d never consider otherwise. You can even look at hashtags from other social media accounts to identify these keywords.

Google Analytics

If you have a well-trafficked website already, use your own Google Analytics from that website to your advantage. What do people that visit your site spend the most time and money on? Who are they? Are you reaching a demographic you hadn’t anticipated? Are your audio book listeners selling to college students as well as parents?

Stick to Relevant Topics

Make sure your blog stays the course and doesn’t veer off the path. If your blog is dedicated to helping readers find alternative ways to read, such as bite-sized serials, audio books or e-books, you don’t want to start talking about which new horror movie impressed you this year. Stay on topic, and your audience will stay engaged.

Title your blogs to attract an audience.

“Tips for Alternative Ways to Read” is a blah title and does nothing to find your target audience. Instead, try “10 Tips for ID’ing Alternative Ways to Read for the Mom Juggling a Toddler and a Full-Time Job.” This harkens back to using keywords to their full extent. You want a title that pops and doesn’t blend into all the other content flooding the internet.

Short, but Sweet

Humans have short attention spans these days. We scroll through TikTok because each of the videos are short, but entertaining or informative. Keep your blogs digestible like nuggets of wisdom that can be consumed in an Uber ride or on their lunch break. Get to the point and “jump to the recipe” instead of reminiscing about your day.

Finding Your “Brand”

Through it all, be unique and let your personality shine. Research what others are reading and either respond to it or write about it. It’s important not to plagiarize others' ideas, however. There is only one you, and this is your “brand” in a way. Frame your blogs in your own words and no one else’s. The authenticity and sincerity in your content will be something your target audience responds to and thanks you for.

Wrapping it Up

Remember that Search Engine Optimization doesn’t take effect overnight. To borrow a football idiom from Ohio State coach, Woody Hayes, your approach should be the “three yards and a cloud of dust” strategy. In other words, don’t worry about making an enormous impact right out of the gate. Commit yourself to

the grueling grind until your days and weeks and months of work finally snowball and you find yourself with a sizeable audience. It may be slow going, but if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing the right way.

Until next time, happy writing.

J. V. Hilliard

Photo courtesy of google . com images

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