How to Write Effective Links to Your Book on the Internet

links

links How to Write Effective Links to Your Book on the InternetWhen you are writing content for your website or for another website and are able to add links, how well do you use these links? Your two goals are to (1) increase the number of people who will click on the link; (2) improve the odds of people online who are searching for your topic of information to locate you easily.

When I talk about search engine optimization, authors often get a look on their face that says “This is way over my head and not something I am interested in.” But search engine optimization can be a full-time job for a staff of 100 and large corporation or you can simply learn a few tips to improve your ability to be found on the Internet where as of December 2009 there were about 234 million web pages.

One of the simplest ways for an author to improve the odds of people finding his or her content (meaning an author’s book, article, topic of interest, speakers information, etc.) is by effectively using anchor text.

WHAT IS ANCHOR TEXT?

“Anchor text” is defined as a keyword or a keyword phrase that you write when you are linking from any website to your own or when you are linking from one webpage in your site to another webpage. Search engines use anchor text to decide the subject and relevance of a web page. Their “spiders” can see what you are linking to and they like to see that you have done some “homework” and have typed out the words to a good resource link and then linked to it.

EXAMPLE OF POORLY USED ANCHOR TEXT

Let’s say you write an article for a well known blog and you are given a “resource box” at the end where you are allowed to have a couple of sentences with your biography.

You may be tempted to write something like this:

Sandra Dee Smith is an author and speaker who talks about such topics as how to improve your hair and makeup so that you look 10 years younger than you really are. She has a new book out called “Look Good And Feel Young” that can be purchased at Amazon or click here for her website.

Now, this is a poorly written biography, but we won’t go into that right now. Instead, we are going to look at where the links are.

Let’s do a search on Google and see how many people are linked to the word “click here.” I got 6,890,000,000 results. Despite how tempting it can be, never, ever, use the words “click here” and link it to your source.

[Yes, I am guilty of this and you will find in my past writing I have done this.]

But it removes all of your opportunity immediately for people to find YOU and your content.

The word “Amazon” has 1,580,000,000 people linking to its web site.

So, would “her web site” or “her website” have been a decent option? Nope! For the term “her web site” – Google has 1,590,000,000 results. And for “her website [no space] 970,000,000.

Imagine being a vendor and having a table at  trade show to sell your book and you get there and find out there are 970,000,000 other people with tables that want to sell books to the attendees. Kind of disheartening, isn’t it?

Are you beginning to see why you would not want to use those terms in your links?

EXAMPLE OF WELL USED ANCHOR TEXT

Here is a much improved biography as far as links are concerned:

Sandra Dee Smith will take 10 years off your looks with tips from her new book, “Look Good And Feel Young.” [This link should go where the author wants people to buy the book--either Amazon or her personal website, etc.] As an author and speaker she can help you improve your hair and makeup so you look great and feel younger in just days. Get 20 free beauty tips you can use today at her website Inner Beauty Plus Extensions.

See the difference? The search engine also believe that you are more legitimate resource if the keywords in your anchor text actually do somewhat match the word you’re linking to.

Let’s break this down. . .

Sandra Dee’s website is Inner Beauty Plus Extensions and her website address is www.innerbeautyplusextensions.com

This is good!

Her book is called “Look Good And Feel Young.”

At first she had this for sale on her website and the address was:

www.innerbeautyplusextensions.com/item354.htm

This is not necessarily a bad thing, but:

  • she may get tired of writing out that URL address many times
  • if she decides to tell people exactly where to find the book on her website, they are not going to remember this address
  • when she is on the radio promoting her book no one will remember it, especially if they are in their car
  • search engines will rank it less high if someone searches these terms than those who have more descriptive URLs

TIP: When you are selling a specific book that is yours you should always try to buy the URL that is the title for that book. If it is not available you may want to try to buy the www.titleofbookBOOK.com . It will not only help you in search engine rankings, but it will prevent someone else from buying it in the future who may have a different reputation then you want to have associated with you and your book.


HOW TO IMPROVE THIS BOOK’S ANCHOR TEXT

So Sandra Dee buys the URL lookgoodandfeelyoung.com for about $10 a year and then has it “forwarded” to the address www.innerbeautyplusextensions.com/item354.htm . (Check with your web site hosting company to discover how to do this. Some charge a small fee but for many it is free to forward an address.)

Now, whenever she writes the title of her book “Look Good And Feel Young” she will link it to www.lookgoodandfeelyoung.com

IN CONCLUSION

Every day as you are writing articles, commenting on other websites, using a signature in your email, or posting your biography, you have the opportunity to add perhaps one or two links. Choose the phrase that is most descriptive of where you are actually linking to but also keep keywords in mind that are descriptive and interesting to the person you wish to have actually click on the link and visit your website.

This is an easy step that you will come to do automatically in just a few days of practice. For example, when you write about your book on your webpage or in any place online, many people are tempted to write something like this:

You can read more about my book on my webpage by clicking here.

This sentence should be rewritten as:

You can read more about my book, “How to Train Your Dog in Three Days” on my webpage, Dog Training Tips and Tricks. I also recommend my free report on “The First Three Steps in Training Your New Puppy.”

And by using a tool such as a Firefox plug-in called MyWords you can come up with a variety of short phrases like this that you can say and then just randomly pick one to insert where necessary.

 How to Write Effective Links to Your Book on the Internet

How Important Are Titles in Our Content Online?

newspaper-titles-so-important

newspaper titles so important How Important Are Titles in Our Content Online?When I was the editor of a magazine, I received a wide range of articles with titles that were very undescriptive, depressing, and even unsettling. It is expected that every editor will change titles of material and one of the keys to becoming a welcomed writer at any magazine is to send in submissions with titles that could actually be used.

In fact, as the editor of a magazine, in my guidelines are described them of our needs as “Look at the cover of Good Housekeeping and study the titles. Then write articles that reflect these topics in addition to adding on the terms chronic illness and Christian faith. This will help you understand the type of articles we are looking for.”

I recently tried to explain to a couple of writers who contribute to one of my websites that I was occasionally updating titles of the content. This was for a few different reasons:

1. The title is the most descriptive part of the message and if it is not appealing or interesting people will not click on it, and therefore it never even have the opportunity to be read.

2. Many of the titles of articles people were submitting were the same or very similar. For example, if 3 people send you articles with titles like, “Getting Through The Baby Blues”; “Dealing With The Baby Blues” and “Coping With The Baby Blues” –even if all of the articles are different in conquering the challenge of baby blues– will your readers know this? No. They will think you are just reposting the same content and updating the title (as many publishers do read books that they re-release with new titles)

3. On the Internet everything comes down to best describing your content so that it can be found by those who are searching for it. Rather than having a title that says “Waiting to Adopt” one should have the title of the blog posts be “Getting Past The Discouraging Moments Of Waiting to Adopt from China.” This is of course, assuming that the blog post is actually about getting past the discouraging moments while waiting to adopt from China.

I recently read in an article, “5 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content” by a nonprofit organization, “Titles are the very first things people read in their email subject line, RSS reader and Twitter or Facebook feed. You could argue that this is the single most important part of any content you produce because without a great title people won’t click (and the all mighty click is what you’re after, right?).”

And Copy Blogger writes in “How to Write Magnetic Headlines”

“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.” They have an excellent 11-part series that gives some specific guidance that will increase your ability to write better headlines in just hours.

I have also found that by focusing on a quality title I am forced to be more specific in my writing and that it sometimes takes me in a new direction and creates a topic that I had not previously planned on writing about. There are times when I have a title and I start writing the article and soon it turns into three or four different articles.

Some publishing houses now go to the extent to buy Google Ad words. They create 2 to 5 different ads and have the title of each ad be a possible title of one book that they are going to publish. In just a few hours or perhaps a couple of weeks, a publisher can do inexpensive research and find out which title is the best possible one to use on the book.

I was taught as a speaker many years ago from Florence Littauer at CLASS that the best way to find not only what is trending but also how to write great headlines is to pause at the grocery store checkout line and examine those “magazines” that we are often too embarrassed to buy even if we find the headline enticing. There is a reason that everything from the National Enquirer to People magazine sell each week even when the content itself is poorly written or even false. It’s those titles!

I would love to hear your comments about how you have improved your writing of titles for blog posts, or perhaps how you chose the title of your book.

 How Important Are Titles in Our Content Online?

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