Ding Dong: SEO is dead....or at least all those sneaky tricks are #amwritingKeyword optimization, SEO, is no longer an effective use of your time. It is something you should be spending seconds on, not minutes or hours. So what does this mean for your author website or blog? How does it help you sell books?

SEO hasn’t really been my focus for a long time. But, because it became the thing for people to obsess over in the early days of web marketing, anyone who knows just a litte bit about making websites still clings to it like a life preserver.

If you are still fixated on SEO it’s time to break your trance, and open your eyes to see what is really moving traffic these days.  It’s time to learn something fresh and new–time to move forward.

Today, traffic is moved by links. Links posted on other people’s pages pointing back to yours, links posted, and re-posted, on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Not only do more people click links provided by people they trust, than those provided by search engines, but even the search engines are using links to tell them what is relevant.

How do you get links?

You have to provide good content, something insightful, original, and thought-provoking enough that people want to share your link with others. When you think content, think quality over quantity. When you choose a subject, or subjects, to blog about make it one you know and love. Your passion about your topic will make your posts more interesting. Many authors struggle with finding a topic to blog about. Trust that anyone who enjoys reading your books will also likely have a few shared interests with you. Don’t ramble about endless topics though, pick one, or a small handful of related topics.

You also have to build a relationship with your audience. If you have a relationship with your audience they will be much more likely to click that sharing button. Relationship building can be simple, and takes only a small amount of your time when done right. Think back to the last time you had a positive experience at the grocery store check out. Did you and the sales person manage to build a mini relationship in those few moments?

Treat your website or blog like it’s a conversation–a two way communication. People enjoy feeling heard, or even just feeling the potential to be heard. Invite responses from people, respond to their comments. Make your website or blog about them, and for them. And don’t limit your conversation to just your website. Create a presence on some of the most popular social media sites.

The user experience is key, and not just in relationship building. What good is a website that gets traffic, if it does not “convert” to sales. When people read and enjoy an article on your website, do they move on to your Amazon page, do they buy your book? If not, is there something you can do about that? Maybe you can use one of your books as an example of something in your blog post and link to it?

Get creative, but be natural. Don’t swing from one topic, to the topic of your book for sale, abruptly or without a reason. Keep your website about your reader, and what is best for them, not you. Focus on them, but keep yourself in mind. Don’t make it obvious that you are trying to sell them something, but do make it easy for them to notice what you have–and why it would be good for them.

If you can’t find a way to work your book into your blog post, find a way to make it obvious and convenient, but not in the readers face. Try a book cover link to Amazon in the side bar, or a “Books” tab in your navigation. Make it obvious that you are a published author, and people will look for that “Books” link, if they have enjoyed reading your post.

Each and every author marketing a book will have a different solution to the puzzle of what to blog about, and how to build their website most effectively. If you are just starting out this can be intimidating. Luckily, there are no fatal mistakes. Old fashioned trial and error is a good guide. Also, build on the success of your predecessors. Take a look at the blogs and websites of authors. Which ones impress you? Did any prompt you to buy the author’s book?

If websites and blogging are not new to you, you must have enjoyed some little successes by now.  Have you ever had a blog post that was very popular, generated a lot of hits, shares, and comments? Take a closer look at that post. See if you can figure out the magic behind it.  If your website has generated books sales, make sure you have web statistics available, so you can figure out what page they were on when they clicked through to your link and made their purchase.

SEO is no longer the beginning and the end of web marketing for authors.  Don’t make the mistake of spending all your time on something obsolete. It’s time to start figuring out what moves your audience to read, share, and ultimately buy.