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Nov. 25, 2021

“What Do I Need to Know About Keywords & Meta Data?”

“What Do I Need to Know About Keywords & Meta Data?”

EP012. Join best-selling author and coach, Lanette Pottle, each week to get your burning self-publishing questions answered. In this week’s episode, she shares research tools and other information to help you craft metadata for your book that's...

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Hey, hey my soon-to-be-published author friend! Welcome to episode twelve. Today we’re going to talk about some things you’ll need to know as you get close to the final stages of pre-publication planning for your book. 

As the author of your creation,  you’ve already carefully crafted the message inside the cover. Now, as the publisher of your work, you will need to create metadata -- the words used to describe your book to potential readers. 

It sounds straightforward enough but there is actually research and strategy involved to optimize your choices. Your metadata will include obvious things like your title and ISBN number but - when done well - it will also contain keywords and phrases that act like breadcrumbs to help search engines determine which readers to bring to your book. Strong metadata helps you get found in the endless sea of books available in the marketplace. 

One free tool you can use to help you in researching relevant keywords is the Google Keyword Planner. This virtual playground is geared towards helping you identify the actual terms or keywords people are using when they search for your topic. It takes the guesswork out of things. It’s important to keep in mind that just because we prefer one term over another when crafting metadata you want to use the keywords that your potential readers are using.

For instance, I’m not fond of the term ‘time management' because I feel like it’s a band-aid fix that doesn’t address the root cause of why people feel like they don’t have enough time BUT when I write about topics related to time, I know, because of research,  that readers are generally searching for answers related to better managing their time vs say, managing their decisions. 

I don’t want to take you down a rabbit hole here - I just use this as one example of why you want to be in your potential readers' heads and use their terms NOT yours when choosing keywords and phrases for your metadata. I like to think of it as meeting readers where they are at. 

Another opportunity for research is using Amazon and searching for high-ranking books on topics similar to yours. What are words you see showing up repeatedly or common themes you notice in their descriptions?

The research process is more time-consuming than hard but do yourself a favor -- Capture what you are finding in spreadsheet form so you can easily refer back to it again and again. Trust me, it will come in handy in the future! 

The trickiest part of this whole process Is figuring out how you use the keywords and phrases in all the pieces of your metadata. The goal is for your writing to have a natural flow and be meaningful AND to do it in a way that incorporates the terms that people are typing into their favorite search engine. The good news is you’ll get lots of practice with this as you’re writing everything from your long and short book descriptions to creating your author profiles on sites like Amazon and Goodreads…. More on that in a future episode.

For now, let’s shift our attention to this week’s challenge: Spend an hour or more focused on keyword research for your soon-to-be-published book.