Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Marketing for Nitwits: SEO

Diary of a Book Marketing Novice: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Last week, I came up with a bunch of keyword phrases that will surely lure Google users to my site, boost my Web traffic enough to impress agents and publishers, and land me a six-figure book deal that will lead to groupies, People magazine cover stories, and stints in rehab.

But identifying the right keyword phrases is only step one in the SEO process. The words don't do any good if they just sit in your spreadsheet. You have to add them to your Web site so Google can find them.

Here is my step-by-step process for adding keywords to this blog.

1) Open yet another book on Internet book marketing, read section on SEO that discusses Meta tags and includes lengthy discourse on HTML. Close book and go outside to look for a cigarette butt that isn't smoked too far down. Smoke it. Little kids across the street watch with great interest.

2) Back at desk, search blog's Help section for info on Meta Tags. Find an article from 2009 that claims Google doesn't care about Meta tags stuffed with keywords. That makes two of us.

I abandon Meta tag exercise and move on to section on "Title tags."  Another discussion of HTML. Close book and search fridge for beer. Find a half bottle of wine that smells like old gym socks. Drink it.

Note: Title tags are the words that appear at very tippy-top of browser window and identify the Web page you're viewing.

3) Back at desk, search Google for: "How do I edit title tags in Blogger." Find an article on how to alter your title tag so Google will like you better. The article recommends copying some code into the bowels of Blogger. The instructions make no sense. I follow them.

Now the titles of my Blogger articles appear before the blog name. For example, the title text for this article now reads:

"Book Marketing for Nitwits: SEO | The Loneliest Planet by Randy Ross"

instead of

"The Loneliest Planet by Randy Ross | Book Marketing for Nitwits: SEO."

Is this idiotic? Yes. Do you want to risk making Google unhappy? Didn't think so.

Note: Though all the cool kids use WordPress for their blogs and Web sites, I use Blogger because it is supposed to be easier. I'm pretty happy with it. Also, Google owns Blogger -- you must get some SEO bonus points for being a good customer. (Too see this in action, click the title at the top of this page "Book Marketing for Nitwits: SEO")

4)  Wine kicks in, Title tags section of book now makes sense. These tags are derived from the actual title of my blog posts. I go into most popular posts in my blog and stuff article titles with keywords. Now, have a writer's blog that reads like it was written by non-native English speaker. Change titles back to originals.

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