The Real Truth About SEO for Authors

“I’m an author, I don’t need to worry about SEO.”

Don’t worry. I used to think the same thing.

But if you’re writing online for anything more than a hobby, you do need to worry about SEO, authors included.

In case you don’t already know, SEO stands for search engine optimization. You know how Google has an answer for all our questions? Well, if you’re searching for an answer that a lot of other people are looking for as well, then chances are excellent the link you see at the top was written by someone who knows their SEO.

Whatever you’re writing, you probably want people to find you. This means you need to be using the same language that they are. Think of it as picking up the dialect of your ideal client or reader. Because you’re a writer, you might be thinking that altering your language to fit SEO is a bad thing.

Again, I was once there and I was wrong.

Blending SEO naturally into your copy is like building specific roads that will help lead your ideal reader directly to you.

Good news is, SEO is a lot simpler than you might imagine.

The purpose of optimizing your copy for search is to help Google (or other search engines) determine which sites are most suited to searcher needs. Search engines do this through a combination of analyzing the keywords in your copy, the title tags on the page, the organization of your internal linking and, most importantly, what others think of you (the quantity and quality of your incoming links).

For a more thorough explanation, read the SEO series on Copyblogger. If you’re not already subscribed to their free updates, you should be. You might not think of yourself as a copywriter, but if you’re trying to get known online, the time you spend reading their posts Monday through Friday might be the best 10 minutes you spend each day.

Because you are a writer, you already have an advantage over most people, even if you didn’t know what SEO meant until the top of this page. You’re a natural when it comes to language. You know how to articulate yourself well. SEO isn’t about stuffing a bunch of keywords into your copy, or gaming the system in any way. Google wants to please their searchers. As time passes, semantics will continue increase in importance. Again, you as a writer have a clear advantage.

With a little bit of help, you can easily express yourself in a way that pleases both Google and all extra visitors that find you with their help.

The better news is, if you’re an online writer using WordPress and either Thesis, Headway or the any theme with the SEO All in One Plugin, then there’s a brand new tool that just made your life a LOT easier. It’s called Scribe, and it is nothing short of remarkable. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks.

Scribe analyzes your copy. Then, a few seconds later it gives you a report along with a percentage grade for your copy. The report tells you what the search engines will think you’re writing about, then it suggests tweaks to improve your page based on SEO best practices.

It gets better.

I’ve been writing SEO copy for a while now, and scored a perfect 100% on every one of the first 10 pages I analyzed. Yet Scribe still helped me improve my copy by giving me keyword suggestions and a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Using Scribe is like having a hand to hold, helping you tweak your copy to SEO perfection.

There is a free version of Scribe as well as a paid one. The free version will allow you to analyze up to 5 pages each month. You can find out more here.

If you are making a living with your words, I cannot recommend this plugin enough. And if you don’t have a compatible WordPress theme, I can’t say enough nice things about Thesis. David and I have built a lot of sites over the last year and between its SEO friendly architecture, ease of customization (without having to code), and now Scribe, it could be the best $97 you could spend online.

If you have any specific questions about Scribe, I’m happy to answer them either by email or in the comments.

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5 responses to The Real Truth About SEO for Authors

  1. Mark Keating

    Sean:

    The testimonials from you and Naomi were what made me pry open my wallet for Scribe. I already knew a lot about SEO, but Scribe just makes it so much easier to make sure all the ducks are in a row. I hope Brian is being nice to you 😉

    Mark

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