From Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader:
No two author websites look the same, but they all share a few common characteristics. Generally, author websites have to fill four needs.
I would describe author sites as a type of business websites (you do want visitors to buy your books, after all). As such, an author site needs to tell visitors:
- what an author has written,
- who the author is,
- how to contact the author, and
- what the author is writing next.
Before you launch your author site, here’s a quick checklist to make sure you have all the parts you need.
- Author bio – Have you posted a bio on your site, and does it include a photo?
- Books – Have you set up a listing page for each of your books? With cover images? And do you have a directory page for your books? What about a series summary?
- Mailing list – Do you have a sign up form for your mailing list? Do you offer a freebie to anyone who signs up?
Link to the rest at The Digital Reader
PG says the rest of Nate’s suggestions for an author’s website are well worth applying if you don’t include those features on your website.
One item he mentioned – search engine optimization (SEO) – woke PG’s little gray cells from their morning somnolence.
PG has been using Google since the site first opened. He remembers when it looked like this:
PG continues to use Google, almost daily, to find all manner of important and inconsequential information.
Not long after Google began to overtake Yahoo (remember them?) as the go-to place to find things on the internet, people started trying to show up higher in Google’s search results and SEO was born. PG was having fun with Google SEO 15 years ago when he was running marketing and sales for a start-up tech company.
However, re: SEO, PG doesn’t remember the last time he searched for a book using Google. His first, second and third impulse in such situations is to use Amazon to find books. For PG, the Zon is a much richer and more informative place to locate reading material plus there’s not a lot of extraneous information when he’s in the books section.
PG decided to find out a little about Amazon SEO and discovered, yes, it’s a thing.
Amazon has a page talking about how sellers (not just indie authors) can optimize their listings for searching and browsing. KDP listings are somewhat different than Amazon’s general product listings. However, here are a few things they mention:
Search is the primary way that customers use to locate products on Amazon. Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the information (title, description, etc.) you provide for a product. Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.
. . . .
Information provided in the product description and bullet points is searchable by customers. The product description and bullet points help customers learn key details about your product. These sections should include product-related information in a clear and concise manner. Amazon will remove your page/listings with long product descriptions.
. . . .
Amazon provides sellers with an opportunity to add hidden keywords for a product. These keywords should only include generic words that enhance the discoverability of your product. For example, if you are selling headphones, your hidden keywords may contain synonyms such as “earphones” and “earbuds.” Hidden keywords are not required fields.
Here are some best practices for providing hidden keywords:
- Don’t include product identifiers such as brand names, product names, compatible product names, ASINs, UPC codes, etc.
- Don’t provide inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information such as the wrong product category, the wrong gender, out-of-context words, etc.
- Don’t provide excessively long content. Respect the limits that are set for different fields.
- When entering several words as a search term, put them in the most logical order. A customer is more likely to search for big stuffed teddy bears than for teddy stuffed bears.
- Use a single space to separate keywords. No commas, semicolons, carets are required.
- Don’t include statements that are only temporarily true, e.g., “new,” “on sale,” “available now.”
- Don’t include subjective claims such as amazing, good quality. etc., as most customers don’t use subjective terms in their queries.
- Don’t include common misspellings of the product name. Amazon’s search engine compensates for common customer misspellings and also offers corrective suggestions.
- Don’t provide variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (“80GB” and “80 GB,” “computer” and “computers,” etc.). Our search engine automatically includes different case forms, word forms, and spelling variants for searching.
- Don’t include terms that are abusive or offensive in nature.
- Abbreviations, alternate names, topic (for books, etc.), and key character (for books, movies, etc.) could be included as keywords.
Link to the rest at Optimizing Listings for Search and Browse.
If you search for Amazon SEO on Amazon, you’ll find books on the subject.
PG would be interested in hearing about/receiving links for authors who have tried SEO techniques for their book listings on Amazon.