One of our users recently wrote in with a question about SEO, which basically boiled down to this: How does Google find my website? Moreover, how does Google find my website if the website is created by a third party (like Writer’s Residence) and I don’t have control over the website’s metadata?
SEO is something that every writer should think about (though few writers do) because it’s an important step in optimising your website for marketing purposes. The bottom line is: You want people to find you. Search engines are how people find things. Thus, you want people to find you when they search for (1) your name or (2) keywords associated with the things you write about.
Below I’ve explained (1) how we address this issue, and (2) what writers can do themselves to improve their SEO. I’ve also included links to relevant sections of SEOMoz’s The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, a really useful primer that’s miraculously not boring as sin.
What we do in the back-end
Here’s what we do to help search engines find our users’ webpages:
- We use ‘title’ tags (the stuff you see in the title bar of your web browser) based on the name you supply on your account
- We use ‘h1′ tags to describe the main heading of your web page, again based on your name, and one of the first things Google looks at when deciding on a website’s page rank in search results.
- When you create your website, we “tell” Google you exist so that it indexes your web page from the get-go and makes you immediately findable in search results.
What writers can do to improve their SEO
The most important thing for searchability is CONTENT, and this is something you [should] have complete control over, no matter who creates your website. To that end, there’s loads you can do, but here are a few ways to get started that are most important and easiest to implement:
- Invest in your own domain name, and pick a domain name that relates to the keyword you want people to find you on (usually your own name, e.g. monicashaw.com).
- Decide which keywords are most important to your business and use them throughout the content of your website.
- Link to external and internal pages within your content.
- Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc) to create external links to your content
- Use Google Analytics to track your stats; adjust and adapt your keywords as you learn how and why people find your website. (And yes, Writer’s Residence does have a facility for integrating Google analytics from the Settings page)
Finally, you might find this SEO checklist handy: The Social Media Marketer’s SEO Checklist.