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SEO: How Small Changes Drive More Clicks

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about maximizing your Google search rankings

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is exactly what it sounds like: ways to make your content more discoverable (optimized) for search engines (Google). Once you get the hang of keywords and phrases, and with the right tools, making your website content SEO-ready becomes second nature.

SEO: The Basics

When we talk about Search Engine Optimization, what we’re really talking about are web pages, blogs, photos, anything that might come up on a web search. Google, the behemoth search engine most people use, has a set of rules that they use to rank and file search results (much like we discussed a few weeks ago with the Amazon Algorithm). That’s why when you search for the same term in Google and, say, Bing, you’ll come up with somewhat different results.

SEO helps users find your content organically, instead of through social media or paid adsWe want to utilize SEO when we want new users to discover our content outside of our existing reach. Basically: instead of tweeting a link to your blog or paying for an ad, a user finds your content organically. (Ideally, they would then take some purchasing action.) Ranking high in Google also helps maximize your advertising budget. After all, if a user hears your name on the local news, they’ll probably go to Google to find out more, right?

For the purposes of this blog, we’re breaking the SEO discussion for authors into two areas. First, we’re talking about the basic, static author webpage content. Then, we’ll dive into how to make individual blog posts stand out.

The number one thing to remember about SEO is that it’s based on quality content and keywords. You can have a super keyword-dense blog post, but if it’s unreadable or unhelpful, it won’t rank. Likewise, if the keyword or topic is obscure, you can be sure not to find a large audience.

Author Website SEO

For your website, the idea is that you and your content should be the very first thing that pops up when a user searches for your author name. You don’t want users searching for you and getting sidetracked on a different website! For authors with unique names (like our alter-ego, S. Usher Evans) this relatively easy. For authors with a bit more common of a name, this can be a little difficult.

Good SEO is based on quality content, unique keywords, and frequently updated information.To make sure your author content is as findable as possible, make use of Google’s webmaster tools. These tools will help make sure your website is showing up as it should on Google’s search results. You can also see which queries are leading people to your site, check to make sure there are no crawling errors, and more. Another great way to make sure your stuff shows up is to utilize Google Plus when you post. It should come as no surprise that Google wants you to use their proprietary social network.

Blog SEO

When it comes to individual blog posts, the goal isn’t necessarily to be number one, but to make it onto the first page of Google. For this (also applicable to above), we use keywords. Keywords are exactly that – a phrase or term used to describe the general content for the page. When a user searches for that keyword, they will happen upon your page.

Obviously, not every blog post is going to have a golden keyword that brings in thousands site visitors. For blog posts like this one, which are intended to educate and share information, a keyword is easy. For blog posts about books, like when our alter-ego writes promotional blogs about her books or when she’s writing a more personal essay, it’s more about the content.

Yoast SEO offers a great WordPress plugin that tracks SEO as you type. It catches things like sentence length, keyword density, and even if the keyword is found in the URL of the blog post itself. We find it to be maddeningly addicting to get all greens.

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Best WordPress Plugins for Authors

Our best Wordpress plugins for authors

Last week, we talked a little bit about author websites, and what you should put on them. This week, we’re going to spend a little bit of time in the “back-end;” that is, the stuff that you put on your website to make it pretty. This post will primarily focus on WordPress self-hosted websites and the plug-ins that we love. As always, if you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!

What is a Plug-In?

See our best wordpress plugins for authors, ready-to-use bits of code that add functionalityWhen we talk about WordPress, we’re talking about, not (don’t know the difference? Check this out). WordPress itself is a highly customizable solution that can be modified through code. But for those of us who don’t have the time/energy to come up with our own customizations, an army of developers have come to the rescue with a plug-in for literally anything you could possibly want.

In a nutshell:

A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress.

Source: WP Beginner

Here are some examples of plug-ins that we use here at SGR-P:

  • Yoast SEO: Helps us manage our search engine optimization on pages, posts, and more.
  • Downloads: Manages our review copies so we can deliver them to our army of reviewers
  • WooCommerce: Supports the eCommerce part of SGR-P with integration to Paypal
  • MetaSlider: Adds that pretty slider on the front page of the website

We also have plug-ins to speed up load time, replace images after they’ve been uploaded, and to add a custom profile photo to our SGR-P presence. So you, see, there really is a plug-in for everyone

Best Plugins for Authors

We’ve compiled our favorite plug-ins for authors below. This isn’t necessarily an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start. Like most plugins, these are free to use.

Yoast SEO

Our best WordPress plugins for authors include book management and SEO helpWe mentioned this one above–and yes, we heavily utilize it on both and Search Engine Optimization is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” In other words, if someone searches for something, the likelihood they’ll end up on your page vs someone else.

Yoast is a great tool to help make sure the words on the page (and associated images, headers, and links) help move your stuff higher on Google’s search results. They give you two scores: how easy-to-read your content is and your SEO score. The more green you have, the better you are!

Why is this helpful to authors: Because you want your content to be at the forefront of every Google search of your name.

MooBerry Book Manager

This is a lesser-known plugin, but it’s still one of our favorites. This plugin creates a new “content type” on your website (called “books”) where you can add everything about a particular book: series, links to every bookstore imaginable, links to download for free, places for editorial reviews, etc. It’s super easy-to-use and the organization works great.


This is a plugin that integrates with your Mailchimp newsletter which makes it easy to get signups on your website. Email marketing is something we’ll cover in a future blog post, but suffice to say, it’s another tool in your marketing arsenal. Having an easy-to-use sign up form on your website is crucial, and this plug-in makes it simple.

Word of caution: We’d recommend not having a pop-up newsletter subscriber box on your website. While it might get you some subscribers, you’ll lose more in people leaving your page because they ignored you.

Monster Insights

If you’re like us and you like keeping track of your site visitors and other analytics, then using Google Analytics is probably already in your arsenal. We like the ease of the Monster Insights plugin to add the tracking number, monitor activity, and more.


So we’re cheating a little on this one. The CoSchedule plugin is free, but the service itself is not (and it’s pretty pricey). However, it’s one of the better tools we’ve come across to schedule and manage a whole lot of content across a whole lot of different social media.

For busy authors with a lot of stuff to promote, the tool is a lifesaver. You can set up templates for recurring activities (such as promoting blog posts) and the auto-scheduling and calendar tools help you visualize your messaging in real time. We use it for both SGR-P and S. Usher Evans blogs, for event promotion (like our Twitter chats), book blitzes, and more.

Do you have a favorite plugin? Tell us in the comments!

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