Make your book discoverable with a metadata-rich website

Readers use search engines to find your book so you need to talk nice to search engines before you can talk nice to readers. How do you do that? With tags, keywords, and other SEO techniques. This is called metadata.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is super important to your website.

SEO = keywords + phrases = Book Discoverability

SEO is your most reliable book marketing partner

It sounds weird, but search engines are your best book marketing partners. So use keywords so the search engines can deliver reliable, continuous passive marketing for your book. That's just how it is these days. Readers can find you simply by entering words that describe your book into a search engine.

Metadata is everywhere: in your website, in the ISBN record for your book, in the online book retailer sites, in your social media sites, even in the documents, audio and video files you upload to the web.

You control all the metadata for your book, your website, and your social media sites. You can change it at any time to reflect what people are talking about, what's in the news, an event, anniversary, a holiday. Revisit your web page and book metadata often to make it relevant to now.

Where does Metadata live on your website?

Let’s take a peek at metadata in its raw form, that is, the HTML code on a web page, where it sits between the <HEAD> tags. You can look at the metadata for any website by viewing the source code using the toolbar of your web browser.

For example, in the Google Chrome browser use your tool bar to find View > Developer > Source Code.

If you don’t see any meta tags, the author of the web page hasn't used any. That's unfortunate for them, because they’re missing a great marketing opportunity.

You don't need to know how to code in HTML to use metadata. Website apps all have super-friendly forms where you simply type in the words you want to use to describe your page. Then they do the rest.

Here is an example of good meta tagging from my CarlaKing.com adventure travel writing website. Note the three meta nametags: Title, Description, and Keywords below, between the <HEAD> tags. What you’re looking at is HTML code for websites. Again, your website app will do this for you. You only need to fill in the blanks.

metadata title head keyword tags

What do all these keywords mean?

I'll describe each of the tags here:

Description: Carla King is a motorcycle adventure travel writer. 
This is just another keyword field that search engines look at when they're trying to return good results to readers. It's a short, friendly sentence that appears under the page title in search engine results. This should be compelling enough that users will click on it.

Keywords: adventure travel, motorcycles, books. I should add "woman, female, author, solo."
These key words and phrases help readers find me if they enter terms that are not already in my title or description tags. This tag is for a string of key words or phrases separated by commas, that Iyou think people might type in when they’re looking for a book like yours.

Title: A travel writers writings, readings, gear, wheels, and recommendations. 
This is what appears at the top of the page when you look at my website. If you don’t use this tag, the web browser may simply display your page title as “Home.” Again, not something that search engines will see and a missed marketing opportunity.

Create keywords by using your imagination

You’ll notice in the example above that I’ve tried to imagine the key words that readers will use to find my books. I can change my metadata anytime using my user accounts in the various online stores and distribution companies like IngramSpark, Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Draft2Digital and others.

Blog strategically to attract readers to your book

What the use of a blog? Well... readers will find your books there, too. You can use your blog strategically to create interest in your books.

 I've used brand names of popular motorcycles as well as countries that people may be interested in finding out more about, or even about particular modifications I've made to my motorcycles.

For example:

 Types of motorcycles

  • Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Single
  • Harley-Davidson Pan American
  • Moto Guzzi California Cruiser
  • Kawasaki KLR 650 Dual-Sport
  • KTM 450 EXC Customized Off-Road

Destination names

  • American Southwest, USA
  • Tamil Nadu, South India
  • Sardenia, Italy
  • Morocco, North Africa
  • Senegal, West Africa
  • Baja, Mexico
  • Adriatic Sea

 Products and modifications

  • Rekluse clutch
  • Scotts Steering Stabilizer
  • Baja Designs Lighting
  • Mosko Moto Luggage
  • KTM Engine Guard
  • SW Motech Tail Bag

See what I mean?

I didn't even mention women's solo travel, women and motorcycling, packing lists, touring tips, and all the other obvious topics people look to me for.

I can blog strategically to feature each one of these topics and attract all kinds of motorcycle and travel enthusiasts to my website who will be interested in my book, just by getting more specific to their interests and needs. 

Buy Yoast

By the way, I pay for a product called Yoast for WordPress sites that I strongly recommend you use as well. Go sign up for their newsletter to learn a ton about SEO and metadata. Get the Yoast SEO Premium program and plugin for $89/year with access to their SEO academy. This is marketing and it's a bargain!

Have fun and experiment!

I experiment with keywords all the time to try for better results, so don’t be surprised if, when you look at my site, they’ve changed by the time you read this blog post. Always experiment with your keywords and tweak them to make sure you’re reaching your audience. This is how conversations start, and conversations = marketing. 

Have fun!

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Carla King

Carla King is a travel and technology writer turned author and self-publishing expert. She started self-publishing in 1995 and founded the Self-Pub Boot Camp series of educational books, workshops, and online courses in 2010. She runs the self-publishing and technology track at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a series of online courses at www.selfpubbootcampcourses.com.