Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Writers Should Care About SEO

In a previous post, I provided SEO Tips for Writers, but I don't think I've ever really discussed why writers should care about SEO.

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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Eliza Tilton said...

I used to write SEO articles on Elance a few years ago. I COMPLETELY forgot about SEO >< I think I need a refresher.

Rebecca said...

Good points! I think some bloggers/writers believe SEO is dead, but it's still alive and kicking. There are plenty of tools to use to find keywords/phrases such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool and others. SEO is still alive -- use it whenever you can.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

As long as people search, I'm pretty sure SEO will be alive (in some form).

Sheree Young said...

I can attest to this having a blog with a Poet of the Week feature. Some poets are really difficult to find and if I can't get to them they lose out on the chance for 15k viewers to see them and free publicity! I admit to needing to learn more about SEO myself having only started all this 2 months ago! I will take a look at these books! If you were to recommend only one would it be the first one?

Thank you, former Poet of the Week and congratulations on precious Hannah! For anyone that wants to check out my blog it is at

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I don't think you can go wrong with any of them, but yes, the hour a day one helps break it down into manageable chunks.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I've been doing this for almost a year. It's slow going, but I see a small increase in traffic. I'm impatient by nature, but a small increase looks good at this stage.

Anonymous said...

Very true. I think part of it is, people just don't understand how simple most seo services actually are. The general population (writer's included) thinks it's some complicated formula and technical operation that you need an IT degree to perform. For the most part, if you can log on to facebook and write a blog then you are more than capable of doing your own seo.

Anonymous said...

Good seo is like having your own publicist for free. It's free promotion on a small scale, but it can go a long way to getting your work found. And that's definitely worth the effort isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. SEO is important for any kind of business that wants to have a great online presence and reputation. If you're not an seo expert yourself, it's obviously super important to do some research on your potential seo consultants before you decide what company to go with in order to avoid being screwed over by bad seo practices like the ones you mentioned. Paying close attention to what they promise you is definitely key here. Thanks for sharing!

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