Search engine tips for books
A blog (short for weblog) is a content creation tool you can use to make it appear as if you are constantly adding new content to your storefront. When you add entries to your blog, you are doing many things, both from a search engine point of view, but also from a potential customer point of view.
Search Engine Magic - The Little <tag> that could.
So how did these Lulu books make it to the top of Google, the most popular search engine in the world? Well, search engines do something called a "deep crawl" about once a month. This is a fascinating process that indexes and weighs the importance, or "page rank," of every page on the web. More importantly, one of the phrases that gets indexed is the words that are included in the tag called "title," which exists on mostly all web pages. If you haven't noticed, when you publish your book on Lulu we put the title of your book in the "title" tag. Search engines really love this tag. So, when Google's deep crawl comes by Lulu, George Farrier's book would look like this: <code><title>Power Wagons in the Desert by George Farrier (Book) in Books > Travel > Middle East: Lulu.
By putting the name of the book in the "title" tag this way, you'll see "Power Wagons in the Desert by George Farrier (Book) in Books > Travel > Middle East : Lulu" appear at the very top left of the Lulu page featuring his book. But more importantly, the book name is listed where the search engines will really pay attention to it. That's great for you and your book. We've seen that other publishing or retail sites list their own name in this space- amazon.com, bn.com, iuniverse.com, all put their name in the highly valued "title" tag area first. Doing this might drive up search engine rankings for Amazon.com, but it doesn't help get any particular book ranked highly in the search engines. Lulu does it differently. At Lulu, the name of your book is always listed with the "title" tag, because that's what the search engines will weigh most heavily. Clicking the link will take buyers to Lulu anyway, so we both win!
Wow. We've just improved your search engine ranking and you didn't have to do a thing but publish through Lulu. This does imply, however, that you should take some care in choosing the title for your book.
So how do you choose a good title? Unless you're the beneficiary of a $2M promotions campaign for your latest book, you need to take great care when choosing a name for it. Tom Clancy doesn't have to worry if "Red Storm Rising" will find buyers, so that obscure title is fine for his book. You, on the other hand, need to think a bit harder about your title. A few well-selected words in the title of your book can make all the difference in the world in regards to the right people finding it on the search engines.
"How To Start A Wedding Planning Business" by Cho Phillips and Sherri Wilkolaski is a great example of choosing the right title for your audience. The word "wedding" is everywhere on the internet. Trying to compete with everyone listed on Google using only the word "wedding" won't work, so you have to sit back and think of who you are trying to reach. It could have been named "A Wedding Planning Tutorial," but obviously the word "start" and "business" are better words that fit well with this market demographic. Anyone can tell from the title that this is a book for learning the wedding planning business, and an interested entrepreneur typing "wedding planning business" into Google would see this book first. Even typing "start wedding business" or "start wedding planning" does the same thing. Want another example? Look at "Building Custom PHP Extensions" by Blake Schwendiman. It's ranked quite high, even though there's millions of search listings in the subject of PHP programming. He could have easily called it "All About PHP" or "Great PHP Extensions", but the title he chose hits the mark.
Naming fiction is more difficult, of course. One strong suggestion - if it's a short story, put "short story" in the title. If it's a romantic thriller, put "romantic thriller" in the title. Be more specific if you can. In your book title choose words that users searching the internet for works such as yours might use. If you follow this rule, you'll be ahead of 90% of the other authors. Try it on one book and see what happens. Having the right title for your book, and letting Lulu's technology do it's magic with the search engines is a great first step in getting your book pushed up the search engine rankings. Now take a break, get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (or pop a top on a cool one) and let's talk about how you can get even more search engine visibility through Lulu