SEO tips for book authors

It's all about getting found!

Contribute to your book's success, long before it's published. By following a few tips when thinking about your book’s title, its back cover description and unique selling points, you can make sure that potential readers are able to find your finished book.

What do you do when you are searching for information? You probably type a few words into a search engine, such as Bing, Google, Yahoo and others. Apart from paid ads, you are likely to find information at the top of the results list that was optimized for search engine algorithms. 

That’s what we want for your book! Make sure it’s getting found and ranked among the top results.

The most important rule of thumb for writing is: Write for your audience. But remember that today all website content is crawled and indexed by search engines.

You are the content expert. We take care of the technology. 

Search engines rank websites according to a complex algorithm: Over 200 factors can determine the order in which the search results are displayed. That’s why we are constantly optimizing our websites to help search engines crawl and index to make your content as easy to find as possible. 

Here’s how you can help:

Provide keywords for your book: Tips for your keyword research

Create a total of 5-15 relevant keywords that reflect the content of your book and the way readers will search for it. 

You can use so-called keyword tools, but the easiest way is to check e.g. Google’s suggestions and related searches when you start typing your keywords. These six questions will help you determine the users’ search intentions.

  1. How would I search for the title?
  2. What kind of result do users expect when searching for these keywords?
  3. Would my title be a useful addition to the existing search results?
  4. Are there synonyms or other phrases I should use?
  5. In which categories/disciplines would you expect to find the title?
  6. Are there any questions a user could ask that the title answers?

Define a main keyword and integrate it meaningfully into your book title, the USPs, the meta-description and the information text, but avoid excessive use of the keyword. (Pure sequences of words are unpleasant for users to read and are "punished" by lower search engine rankings.)
Define additional keywords (relevant general, more specific search phrases, synonyms, variations and abbreviations). 

Checklist for your book title

Your title (and subtitle) should ...

  • ideally be no longer than 60 characters and be descriptive so that users know immediately what it is all about. 
  • not be too creative or poetic
  • answer any questions users may have instead of raising new ones  
  • pick up the main keyword or the main keyword phrase
  • not be formulated too generally. One-word titles or very generic titles run the risk of drowning in the mass of search results
  • be as unique as possible.

Five tips for creating the USPs

You will help optimize the publisher’s marketing efforts by providing a few unique selling points (USPs). Answer the question: Why should I read/buy this book? 

  1. Write 3-5 short and concise USPs per book.
  2. Keep them between 60 and 120 characters each. 
  3. Use only one idea per USP. 
  4. Remember: The USPs should emphasize the benefits for readers, answer questions instead of asking them, and be formulated as actively as possible. 
  5. Does your title solve a problem? Then make that clear.

Write a meta-description

Consider the meta-description as a kind of preview of your book’s homepage. 

The meta-description is an HTML tag and its content is usually displayed under the blue clickable link on a search engine’s results list. 

  • Do not use quotation marks, as search engines will cut off all descriptions that follow the quotation marks.
  • Include the media so that users know it is a book, manual, or reference work.
  • Repeating the book title is allowed / recommended.
  • Make sure that your meta-description is between 110 and 155 characters long. 

Steps to a useful information text/back cover text

Write an advertising text that offers more than just a summary. 

  1. Formulate a first sentence that encourages further reading and contains the most important purchase incentive. It is not necessary to describe the topic or field again. 
  2. Don't be unnecessarily modest. Name the advantages of the book directly instead of just hinting at them. 
  3. Explain the question your book addresses, but don’t provide the solution – just offer a teaser. 
  4. Pay attention to the natural use of the appropriate keywords and avoid at all costs turning the text into a mere list of keywords.

Studies have shown that users have different reading habits in print and on a screen. Instead of reading the content of websites word for word, they scan the text for the relevant information only. This means:

  • Use lists and enumerations in the appropriate places
  • Write a description with a length of 200 to 300 words and split the text into several paragraphs.
  • Include keyword phrases within the text in the form of questions and answers. 

Last but not least: Your biography

We recommend following these five tips when writing your author biography. 

  1. A good reputation counts: Make it clear why you are an expert on the subject. 
  2. If necessary, refer to your previous publications in a similar area. 
  3. Be sure to write different biographies when publishing in different subject areas. 
  4. Limit yourself to the essentials. It is not necessary to reproduce your complete CV. 
  5. With an interesting detail from your non-scientific life you can loosen up the biography and make yourself more accessible to the readers.