SCARY SEO and Mystical Metadata

I’m circling back to Mystical Metadata because I am, at the core, a masochist. But I am also a pragmatist, and I feel as though I must face my fears. I addressed metadata, but not necessarily in terms that are familiar (or not so familiar). In this day and age of the internet and overwhelming information, how can we be found in the mass of noise out there? And when I say “out there” I mean on the World Wide Web (www).

Metadata helps us get found. Having the right words associated with our book, our website, our anything, is critical to strangers far and wide who might be interested in what we write. Because metadata words are so key, so fundamental, so important, they are often referred to as KEYWORDS.

Ah, now that’s a term you have likely heard before. Ever done a “keyword search”? Ever been on Amazon and plugged in a few words near that magnifying glass? Ever looked for a “friend” from college on the internet? When you plug in that “friend’s” name, those are keywords, and the search goes out using those words to find best matches. Plugging in ‘BOB SMITH’ may get you several million hits. Plugging in ‘Robert Horatio Smith, Two Dot MT’ will likely narrow down the search-significantly. The search engine that looks for the matches are applications like Google (the most popular) and Bing.

Putting in keywords that are highly searched, and also closely related to your book topic, increases the likelihood of the right people coming to your page. It optimizes the search so that people find what they are looking for. This is where the term SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION comes in. You know search engines—Google & Bing—and you know optimization is making it the best or most effective possible. So selecting the right metadata words and phrases (the right keywords) will help make the search engines find your work.

I remember when I first heard about SEO, it seemed like someone was speaking Greek. I wish someone had explained SEO to me the way I just did—breaking it into the parts.

It’s not so scary, but it can be difficult to find the right keywords. Sometimes I get stuck on a line of thought, and all the keywords are the same or similar. It helps having other people brainstorm with you when you are coming up with keywords. They have a different perspective, and sometimes come at it from a different angle.

The experts, like the Jane Friedman, Kate Tilton, Amy Collins’ of the world, will tell you to change up your keywords over time. You will learn what words work and what words don’t. There are apps for that—Google AdWords is one. Words that aren’t working are those keywords that you have listed, but no one searches on. Keywords that do work are the ones that get hits. You want to increase hits so you want more words similar to the keywords that are getting hits. A hit is when someone puts in your keywords in that magnifying glass field and your book comes up in the search.

So SEO isn’t so SCARY and metadata isn’t so magical, now is it?

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