Building Your Web Presence for Authors: Your Website is Too Small

No matter how many pages your website has, it’s too small. Ours has around 100 pages and it’s way too small. Sound Crazy? Let me explain.

As we discussed in yesterday’s post , you can really only optimize for one or two key words or phrases per page. This has been the best practice for a while but a late 2010 change in Google’s search algorithm made it a necessity. If you try to optimize for too many phrases per page, you’ve optimized for none of them.

This puts you in quite a bind. How do you choose? You don’t, you cheat. There is a phrase in statistics which smart internet marketers know well, it’s called the long tail.

SEO Long Tail Graph
On the left are the terms EVERYONE fights over because they are the most popular. Terms like “Kindle books” “eBooks” etc. Those are such popular terms that having a high ranking in them can be worth a ton of money and whenever money is there to be made, there is no shortage of competition. 80% of total eBook related searches will boil down to a few terms which are fiercely contested. Does that mean you shouldn’t waste your time going for them? NO! Absolutely go for them. An extremely small piece of a huge pie can still help you out.

The reason I showed you the graph though is so you can see that sweet, sweet long tail. The dumpster diving of the SEO world. As people tack on more words to their search queries, the results get more limited. 368,000 people type “eBooks” into Google each month. You know how many people type in “science fiction eBooks”? 480. There are literally thousands of terms out there like this. They are way too small to be noticed by the big boys on the block fighting for terms, which leaves them ripe for the likes of us to swoop in and capitalize.

You may be saying “So what, the numbers are so small who cares if you get them”. Once again, look how LONG the tail is. Let’s say you write science fiction books and you make a page on your site which is optimized for the term “science fiction eBooks”. Since you did a good job optimizing and there isn’t much competition, you make it to the middle of page one on Google results for that term. Let’s say each month that page brings in 20 visitors. That may not seem like a big deal, and by itself it isn’t. but remember, the tail is long and there are thousands of terms just like that one.

If every week you found a term, made a page and forgot about it, what would that get you in a year? Let’s be conservative and say each page brings in 5 new visitors a month. If you made 52 of them in a year, that’s 260 new visitors to your site each month from your efforts. Depending on how much traffic you currently get those numbers may excite you, or they may make you yawn. But now, in my best tv salesman voice, “WAIT! there’s more!!”. Think about what type of traffic those pages are going to bring in. You know what people who type in science fiction eBooks are looking for? Science fiction eBooks! If they go to Google and end up landing on the page you made (We call them landing pages for that very reason) and you’re offering them sci fi eBooks, there’s an extremely good chance their going to want your book. That is the goal right? You don’t want a ton of visitors, you want a ton of readers.

I made a page yesterday targeting people looking for free young adult romance novels. Did you see it? I’m sure you didn’t. It was a post just like this one, except I checked a tiny box at the bottom telling my site not to put it on the front page. If I post it to the front page every time I make one of these things, the site would look like a cluttered mess. Let me be 100% clear though, while you probably don’t want these landing pages to play prominent roles in your sites design and user experience, make sure that there is a way to get from your home page to them via links. Why? Because if you don’t care enough to link to your own page, neither will Google, if they even find it. Google has a rough time finding “orphaned” pages.

One caveat for the landing page/long tail strategy is one I can’t help you with, time. Is it worth your time to do this? Only you know. We have a pretty good division of labor here. Lizzy writes, and I worry about things like this. If you’re an author and a one person operation, you have to seriously weigh the results of anything you do other then writing itself. If you have no books to sale, none of this really matters.

Even if you’re not going to employ the strategies we’ve talked about here, they are worth keeping in the back of your head because they influence decisions about how you create your blog or your website.

4 thoughts on “Building Your Web Presence for Authors: Your Website is Too Small

  1. just to clarify about linking pages.. say on my home page i have a drop down menu it says books then drops down sci fi then romance etc so you click that then on each page i have several books each with their own page is that considered linking or do you mean every single page has to be linked to the homepage?

  2. In my opinion, both ways are fine.

    Some people say every important page on your site should be linked to every other important page. Some people say one way hierarchy design is optimal for passing authority from one page to another and it may well be.

    As long as you have no orphan pages, have a good sitemap and make sure anything really important has a link on your main page you’re good to go. I use the every page auto link right now beacuse it’s automatic. If in the future I think it’s worth the time to redesign the site with a firm structure I absolutely will.

  3. Hi Matt – I found by Google – “create a free landing page” or something like that – it works. Not sure about checking the small box to make sure your page does not go in the Nav bar? Is that in all WP post areas? Thanks!


    • Hi Kent!

      The option to “skip front page” is not a standard in WordPress but rather it’s a WordPress plugin called “Post Filters”. It’s 100% free, installs in about two seconds and all it does is add a little check box at the bottom of your post options that if you click it your post never appears on the main page.

      Landing pages are worth playing around with. One I made a few weeks ago is bringing about 20 people a day to the site. It adds up quick!

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