What is SEO?
SEO is short for search engine optimization. It's the process of making your web pages more findable in search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. (Click here to learn how to optimize your blog posts, web pages, etc., without getting overly technical.)
Why should writers care?
To many writers, SEO sounds like something that would only be of interest to businesses, online marketers and programmers. While those parties do often care about SEO, it's important for writers too, especially if they want to find a larger audience for their writing.
Beyond building an online platform, good SEO just makes it easier for people to learn more about writers if they see references to the authors, their articles, or their books.
Here's an example:
When I read an amazing poem in a literary journal, I'll usually flip to the back of the journal to learn more about the poet. Smart poets include their website or blog address in their bio notes. If there's no web location included in the bio note, I'll do a search online. If the poet does not have an optimized site or blog, it may not come up in the first page of results. This is problematic.
Why is bad SEO problematic?
When I can't find more information on a specific writer, I can't ask that writer to promote her writing through an interview or offer him an assignment in one of my Market Books. It's a lost opportunity at passive marketing and income.
Writers should always focus on their writing first, but that doesn't mean they should completely ignore ways to make it easy for them to find an audience. The beauty of good SEO is that a writer often doesn't have to work harder, just be a little more thoughtful about how they post content online.
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To learn more about SEO, check out these resources:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): An Hour a Day, by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin
- The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization (Theory in Practice), by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin, and Jessie Stricchiola
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Secrets, by Danny Dover and Erik Daffern
- Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies, by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza