WTF is SEO? | The Power of 12 Short Stories
If you spend any time on the internet you will have heard about SEO. It’s a term people throw about when talking about websites and search engines and you never thought you needed to do anything about it, but…if you are serious about your author platform it may be time to start thinking about it.
This is the fourth post in the Prompt to Publication | The Power of 12 Short Stories series. Read the first, second and third posts here. The Prompt to Publication series is about the Power of 12 Short Stories and how you can use it to build your author platform.
Note: I am not an SEO expert. This is a great beginner’s guide
Ok, so far you have:
- written the book and chosen a publication path.
- set up an author website. A tiny one is fine.
- written the bio, copy for the website, a blurb for the book and basically anything thing that is needed for marketing.
And yet, your work is not done. You have to start using and expanding all the elements of your online author platform. So far, these include:
- your website
- your Deadlines For Writers platform
- your social media platforms
- any other platform you will use to promote your books: virtual tours, online launches etc.
You can also, circumstances permitting, consider traditional book launches and tours. But the above list is a starting point for your online platforms and they require, at least, a basic knowledge of SEO, tags and keywords. Writing the book was the easy part, right?
By now you’re ready to run for the hills, right? You don’t need this. You already have a Facebook following. Why do you need a website and all that other mumbo jumbo? SEO-Smesh-E-O.
Well, simply put. You don’t own Facebook, or Instagram, or Tumblr or TikTok or Twitter. Nothing you post on the platform belongs to you either. You can’t place ads your Facebook page. Well, you can, but you have to pay. Business pages are limited and suppressed. It’s pay-to-play and it seems that, unless you are a conspiracy theorist or a Russian bot, you’ll be blocked.
You need your own space.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization(SEO). A search engine, like Google or Bing or Yahoo, needs to be told what your post and your site is about. Search engines have ‘crawlers’ that go looking for keywords. These keywords tell the crawlers what the post is about. The content is labelled and organised according to your keywords. The site is then indexed and ranked. Obviously, you want your site to rank well. You, as the writer of the post, must add keywords to the tags section on your blog. Your IT person(or you) must check the technical requirements of the site to make sure it adheres to the required standards.
Now, let’s assume everything is up and running. What happens next?
Search engines love new, good quality content and that you can do. Blogs posts, vlogs, memes, short stories, anecdotes, flash fiction, live reads. Post them all. (I’ll write posts specifically about content creation for fiction writers in the future.)
There are static pages on your blog, see the third post, but besides those, you should have a blog or a feed you can update with publishing news and other writing adventures. Your newsletter will also be part of this. Blogging does take time and is a lot of work. Even your word choice will influence SEO. Think about how you can make it easy for yourself. The other option is, of course, to spend a lot of money on advertising and promotion. You should work hard to understand how it works before you spend.
SEO on Deadlines For Writers
You may have noticed that the posts take a little longer to go up on deadline day. That is because I’ve started adding SEO to each post. Note: started. It’s taken three versions of this site, a few breakdowns and a lot of learning before I was ready to even think about SEO. Be kind to yourself. Take your time. Figure it out, one step at a time. Bookmark this page and come back when you are ready.
In the next post in this series, I am going to talk about the submission form on Deadlines For Writers. I’ll explain how it used for SEO and what I do on the backend of the site to improve our SEO. Each section of the form has a function.
Read the complete Beginner’s Guide to SEO. It’s fine if you don’t understand it all. Just start familiarising yourself with the ideas.