How to Use Your Website Metadata to Sell Books
What is it the kids are saying these days? “That’s so meta!” What does that even mean?
The prefix meta is a way of indicating something that is self-referential, meaning it makes reference to itself. Think of it as a sign telling people to take notice of a No Littering sign or a green t-shirt with the words “This is My Favorite Green T-shirt” printed on the front.
In the book world metadata comes up in discussions often. It’s a hot topic because metadata is used for book distribution so online retailers know how to display your book. Some examples of book metadata include:
- Book Title
- Short Description
- Long Description
- Author Bio
Book metadata doesn’t end there. An important part of improving your book discoverability is matching your book’s metadata to that of your website’s metadata. This way, when search engines preform a crawl of your website they find relevant information tied to your books.
Website metadata includes three basic meta tags:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
Every webpage in the history of the world wide web should have these three essential pieces of information. Meat tags are contained within the code (HTML) of your website and can only be seen by search engines.
How to Write Meta Tags
You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winning author or a mainstay of publishing to write decent meta tags. The best tips are to:
- And then tweak again
You should have an idea of what your books are about. So put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
- What terms and phrases are they most likely to plug into Google when looking for a book like yours?
- Search for books similar to yours and see what phrases they include in their descriptions.
- Using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEOMoz Keyword Navigator will help you find those keywords.
Think of every potential aspect of your book and all the different segments it may appeal to and go from there.
What to Do With Meta Tags
Once you have built a strong catalog of keywords that will improve your book’s discoverability, it’s time to add them to your meta description and meta title (if possible). These are the first places search engines will look for additional information about your page or website.
Although search engines use other factors that go into a search engine algorithm, your meta description and meta title are some of the most important parts of the SEO puzzle. They can go a long way in improving your ranking for specific keywords or phrases applicable to your book.
The key is to keep evolving your meta tags. Keep them fresh so they are always relevant. More relevancy = more impressions = more sales. Now go out there and get meta!