Author SEO: Grow Your Book’s Online Presence

athor using an SEO tool

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In the Wild Wild West that is the modern Internet, standing out as an author involves having more than just a professional author website and book distribution. Optimizing your online presence for search engines (search engine optimization aka SEO) is crucial to ensuring your book is discoverable by interested readers.

In this highly digital age, we can do just about everything ourselves. When DIY-ing your career as an author, there are myriad options to getting your published works out into the world. Then the question of how you get your books noticed by readers comes into play — which is where an SEO strategy comes in.

Introduction to SEO for authors

SEO is the process of using relevant content, along with keywords and other factors, on your author website in order to be visible to search engines such as Google. Your title tag is one of the most important ranking factors, and it should incorporate a relevant keyword tied to a term searched often by Internet users. Online search engines use algorithms that scan the Internet for high-quality content relevant to the search queries of users, which is why the optimization of websites and sales pages is so critical. SEO is relevant on social media platforms, too.

Let’s say you’re publishing a fantasy book about dragons and magic. A well-executed SEO strategy on your website and social media platforms will give your book the opportunity to show up in search results for key phrases like “new fantasy novel about dragons.” Appearing on the first pages of search results invariably results in clicks, which turns into traffic on your platforms, and ideally, book sales.

Effective keyword research for your book

Keyword research is the most important thing when it comes to SEO. Doing strategic keyword research and then integrating those keywords into your title tag, meta description, website copy and social media posts and descriptions is one of the top actions you can do to make your book searchable and findable. Here are some steps and tools to help make your keyword research a breeze.

  1. Identify your book’s theme and genre. You likely know the general genre of your book, but do you know what subgenres it might fall under? Are there multiple phrases or topics by which your book can be distinguished? This is a very important piece in utilizing SEO. Get a real sense of the core ideas of your book, the themes, and any sub genres it might fall under, and have them handy.
  2. Get in your reader’s POV. Identifying your target audience is another key step in finding the right keywords. If you know your audience, you already know what they’re looking for. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and make a list of their interests and other books they may be reading.
  3. Utilize keyword research tools. If you know your genre and audience identity, you can start to use keyword research tools to explore potential keywords related to your book. An SEO tool like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Answer the Public will provide you with insights into related terms, search volume, and competition.
  4. Check out related authors’ platforms. Look into what keywords other authors in your genre are using and compare that to what you’ve found in your own research. This can help you identify some of the more common phrases or words associated with books in your genre.
  5. Do your own online search. Use Google, or another preferred search engine, and type in your keywords or phrases in the search box. Note what comes up in the results (search engine results pages, aka SERPs), including the Google Answer Box results. Google Answer Box results are those frequently asked questions you’ll see after the first or second search result, where you can click and a drop down will give you the answer.

Grow your author brand with eBooks

Optimizing your meta description

Your book’s meta description (aka metadata) is also key in optimizing your online platforms for SEO. You’ll want to be sure that it’s concise — ideally fewer than 160 characters — yet compelling. This is another case where you’ll want to incorporate relevant keywords, without overstuffing. Use two or three relevant keywords here.

Your book’s meta description should also showcase a few unique selling points (USPs) of your book. You can define your USPs by looking at what makes your book stand out in its genre — is it a captivating plot twist, a new world setting, or a unique characteristic of your main character?

Additionally, you’ll want to provide a clear call to action (CTA) in your meta description, encouraging potential readers to take the next step and buy your book. This should be pretty direct and compelling, something like, “click here to discover your next great book adventure” or “buy now and explore this heartfelt modern love story.” Give them the opportunity to take action right then and there.

Personalizing your author biography

Creating a well-crafted author page and biography can also help to significantly impact SEO for your book. This is yet another space where you can utilize keywords that are relevant to your genre, themes, etc.

Plus, you can also establish strong author authority by sharing your credentials and achievements here. What does this have to do with SEO? Search engines often prioritize credible sources along with user engagement. The more users that connect and engage with who you are as an author, the higher your chances are to increase your rank in the SERPs.

Supporting SEO with marketing campaigns

SEO is just one way to get your work seen online. Other marketing campaigns can include paid ads. BookBaby’s Ads for Authors program is one option — our experts will help you create an ad campaign that promotes your book to readers around the globe. We also services like book metadata optimization to ensure your book’s sales pages have the best searchable terms and keywords to help drive traffic your way.

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  1. Hello!

    Some interesting reading, especially for me since I am a brand new author.

    I need all the help i can get. My book is already listed on Amazon, but I am still learning.

    Where do i go from here? Need some good advice!


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