by Lisa Norman
Search engine optimization (SEO) is making your website attractive to the search engine spiders. When they like you, they crawl all over your website and seize upon the tasty morsels of your content to share with their millions of curious customers.
We want to keep those spiders happy and engaged! But SEO doesn't have to be a mysterious topic.
Content — even weak content — is going to perform better than no content at all.
A blank page won't rank.
Don't let the word "content" throw you. As an author, your native language is words. Content just means words on the page.
I see authors get caught up in trends and thoughts that their blog needs to look like everyone else's. Here's the good news: your blog should be as unique as your writing.
My other posts have been pointing out the trends in digital reading. Online reading is on the rise. Blog posts, social media posts, short stories — all of this is attracting our time-challenged readers to entertainment that they can skim and enjoy.
You have a unique style. Some authors will write beautiful prose in their books, but their blogs are boring. Why? They've mentally decided that a blog must be a certain type of thing. That MUST is where we see problems slipping in. There is no MUST for blogging.
(You may see posts with trends and suggestions for industry leaders. Remember: if you write fiction, you're in the business of entertainment, not in the world of business. Many of those guides will not apply to you.)
When authors are marketing — and any online activity is marketing — it is important that they have fun, or at least tie into their passions. If your latest blog post is boring you, take a break and find the fun.
EAT is a fancy term used by SEO specialists. It stands for: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. When SEO gurus talk about EAT, they're talking about the quality and credibility of your website. The higher your EAT rank, the more likely you are to rank in search engine results.
Like many other things in life, there isn't a magic button to tell you what your EAT score is. But you'll know it when you see it.
You're reading WITS right now. WITS has a high EAT rank!
Let's break it down:
How much first-hand or life experience do you bring to the content? As the author of your story, you have more experience with that world than anyone. But you also have experience as an author in the world. Drawing on that real-life experience is powerful.
How much does this author know about their topic? For nonfiction, we show this through credentials. In fiction, we show it in our understanding of our story world.
In school, we proved we had done our research by citing credible sources. But who is more authoritative when talking about your story world than you, the actual author?
We build up trust with our readers by being accurate, honest, and transparent.
A broken website breaks trust. Asking for too much information from visitors breaks trust. It is much easier to break trust than to build it.
It is easy to see these factors in a nonfiction website like WITS. But what about in a fiction website?
These terms take on slightly different connotations for fiction authors. You are absolutely THE most authoritative source on your characters, their backstory, and even the underlying themes of your books.
Do your readers trust you? Are they connected to you and to your story? When they come to your website, are you giving them an entertaining experience?
Here are a few examples of fiction websites where authors are going deep into their story expertise:
Yes, most of those are World Anvil, because that's where I've been hanging out lately. But don't miss Brandon Sanderson's brilliant website with his online library and sample chapters. This works for traditional and indie authors.
These are mostly science fiction and fantasy websites, but the same techniques apply to any genre.
Does this give you ideas for a fresh approach to your author website? Please share any questions or ideas down in the comments!
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Lisa Norman's passion has been writing since she could hold a pencil. While that is a cliché, she is unique in that she wrote her first novel on gum wrappers. As a young woman, she learned to program and discovered she has a talent for helping people and computers learn to work together and play nice. When she's not playing with her daughter, writing, or designing for the web, you can find her wandering the local beaches.
Lisa writes as Deleyna Marr and is the owner of Deleyna's Dynamic Designs, a web development company focused on helping writers, and Heart Ally Books, LLC, an indie publishing firm. She teaches for Lawson Writer's Academy.
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