One way to sell books is to ensure that the content you are creating is appearing in the relevant search results of potential readers. Optimizing the way your content appears in searches is called Search-engine optimization (SEO).

To maximize your exposure you must understand keywords and content, and how they interact with each other in order to gain top search engine results. 

The first step is to define the key motivations of your target audience. SEO is all about how your target readership is using the online landscape. In 2021, this could be in numerous ways. It is no longer just people searching Google on PCs and search is transforming as new methods, such as people search by voice on devices such as smart TVs, become popular. 

As a book marketer, you have to take these new and alternative search methods into account when designing your SEO strategy.
 

Google Trends

Google Trends (https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US) can be used by book marketers to ensure they stay relevant. Use Google Trends to understand which words and phrases are being searched for more commonly.

Trends
 
Credit: https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/enlightened-google-trends-keyword-research/
 
Use Google Trends to realize what your readers really want.
 
What are they searching for right now?
 
Do the trends suggest a gap in the market for problems to address?
 
The search trend graphs can be refined to show specific search terms according to time periods and geographic locations. Use this to assist your book marketing decisions.
 
Historical trend data may assist in pinpointing key behavioral shifts in your target readership.  
 
  • Does the search data differ seasonally?
  • Does search alter around the time of key campaigns (yours or competitors)?
  • Does search increase/decrease over time? Is the search term on an upwards or downwards trend?
 
Use geographical trend data to pinpoint locations that show less/more interest in your genre/books. Readers from alternative geographic areas should be treated differently and contact with different marketing techniques. Use google Trends to find out positive search activity in locations you weren’t already aware of.

Google Trends
 
Credit: https://ahrefs.com/blog/how-to-use-google-trends-for-keyword-research/
 
Combined search terms to suggest important reader behavior patterns. Readers will search with word combinations that relate to each other. Although all combined searches may not be relevant in every case, it is a good place to analyze for search trends.

Once a book marketer understands the keywords which allow them to build a specific marketing campaign for the desired audience, they must apply this knowledge to their online channels.
 

Search Engine Marketing

 Online marketing is different from other types of marketing, it is much more personalized and precise. To successfully market on a search engine you must have a good Google ‘quality score’.


Quality Score
 
Credit: https://kparser.com/adwords-quality-score/
 
Google quality score is marked out of 10, 1 the lowest with 10 the highest. Google provides a score, that estimates a website quality in terms of providing content users want and including relevant keywords your audience is searching for.
 
As well as Google quality score, as a book marketer, you should be aware of your domain authority. Developed by SEO company MOZ, domain authority is a search engine ranking score that predicts a website’s ability to rank in search engine results pages (SERP).
 
Domain authority ranges from 1-100, typically 60+ is considered excellent, with 50-59 very good. Anything below 50 is considered poor. Check your domain authority here (https://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority).

Domain Authority
 
Credit: https://medium.com/@AlexanderTenzin/everything-you-need-to-know-about-domain-authority-2-0-6d1f09ca668 
 
Credibility is also important to writers when enhancing SEO. Credibility is often determined by the websites that link to you, the relative size and reputation of those sites, and many other factors.
 

Encouraging Engagement

 Engagement and click rates are what builds your website’s authority and reach.
 
Link-bait, also known as click-bait, is content with catchy titles curated to gain attention or encourage websites to link to your own. Encouraging link building between websites will quickly boost your google quality score.
 
Click-baiting can get people talking and gain audiences that you would never have otherwise seen. A good piece of click-baiting content also has the ability to go viral.
 
Although, be careful not to overdo it. Make sure your title is still representative of the content you are providing. Bounce rates (when people click on your website and then quickly exit) can harm your quality score as much as the added engagement.
 
Clickbait can come in many shapes and sizes:
 
  • Infographics.
  • Blog Posts.
  • Downloadable resources.
  • Videos.
  • Audio.
  • Ebooks.
  • Interactive Content.
 
Click-Through-Rates (CTR) can increase dramatically with the combination of keywords and clickbait, due to increased impressions and grabbing a user’s attention through catchy titles. 

Higher CTR leads to an increased SERP rating on Google, as the search engine sees you as more relevant and important.
 
Another way writers can increase their Google Quality Score is through landing pages filled with keywords and relevant terms. Consider the placement of your keywords, spread them throughout your document, but avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ (https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/03/21/dangers-of-keyword-stuffing).
 
If your landing page is well structured, user-friendly, organized, and contains useful information, it will fly up search engine rankings. You may also want to consider optimizing your page for a mobile-friendly experience. This is what the Google AI is looking for when trying to rank your web pages.
 
Search engines reward websites with rich historical data, increasing their overall quality score. SEO is often deemed as a long-term strategy, with the fruits of the labor becoming more apparent the further you delve into it.
 
When creating your web page, you should always have keywords at the back of your mind. Keywords have a huge impact on SEO, Google accesses how relevant your website is to the user in terms of phrases and keywords.
 
Use Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/) so you can pinpoint the perfect keywords, in order to optimize your website’s search engine results.
 

Final Thoughts

Google is constantly changing and altering to make search results as relevant and appropriate to users as possible. Several times a year they make key changes, known as ‘core-updates’, which often majorly change the way book marketers produce content.
 
Google BERT 2019 is an example of a ‘core-update’, a breakthrough allowing search engines to process words in relation to one another, rather than just one-by-one in order. This update altered the SEO world but also allowed further understanding of the intent behind search queries.

It is tempting to try and ‘game’ the Google AI by creating content designed to match what Google is currently looking to list. However, you must remember that even though Google is always changing their AI but they are always sticking to one key idea - they want to rank high-quality content that is relevant to the search term. This means that though it is tempting to try and game the system, creating great content will always be the best long-term strategy. 
 
In summary, Google Trends is a powerful tool in which can be used to analyze current behavior and develop further marketing strategies. When it comes to SEO, your website’s authority and the score is essential to be seen online. If you create poor quality, misleading content, your whole website will suffer and be seen less by potential readers.