Why splitting search engine authority is a sales killer
Recently I encountered two different beginning authors who are publishing a book. In both cases they had created separate websites for each book. And it appears they were advised to do this by people claiming to be marketers.
Instead of advised, let’s call it ill-advised.
- Would a painter create a website for an individual painting?
- Would a sculptor create a website for an individual piece they sculpted?
- Would a singer create a website for an individual album they record?
The answer to all of these is a resounding NO!
Let’s explore this further.
- Has JK Rowling created a website for each of the seven Harry Potter books?
- Has John Maxwell created a website for each of the more than 70 books he has written?
- Has Rick Warren created a website for each of the best-selling books he has written?
The answer to all of these is again, NO!
If these successful authors, with million dollar marketing machines behind them, haven’t created websites for each individual book, why would an upstart author think they should? I can forgive an author for this transgression — as marketing probably isn’t their schtick, but not so much the marketing people who may be doing the advising.
Why it matters
What can we learn from these highly successful authors? Let’s take John Maxwell as an example. In 1998 his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership was published. Since that time it has sold over a million copies. John has written dozens of books since. None of them have their own website. But there is something they all have in common. Each book is listed on the author’s website.
Search Google for “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” Page one results will take you to the page on JohnMaxwell.com that specifically talks about this book. If someone is searching for information on this title but doesn’t know anything about the author, they land on the author’s website where they will find authoritative information about the book.
Now they have the opportunity to learn a vital piece of information — the author is still publishing books. And this is where the magic happens. If they liked the first book they read, there is a good chance they will like the latest book he has written. Maybe even buy it.
And let’s be practical. Books have a finite shelf life. Maintaining a website for an individual book is cumbersome. Let’s not even think about doing it for multiple books. Maintaining a website for an author with a page about each of their individual books? Priceless.
What can we learn from Apple?
I’m a fan of (almost) all things Apple. I have my iPhone 6S Plus, my Macbook Pro, my Thunderbolt display, my Airport, and my Apple TV. My first Apple product was an iPhone 4. All other products I learned about after having my first iPhone, visiting their stores, playing with the products, and talking with Apple fans and employees.
What if Apple took the same approach as these aspiring authors, and had a store in the mall that only sold iPhones? A store in another wing of the mall that only sold Macbooks? And a kiosk down in the food court selling Apple TV? If that were the case someone looking for an iPhone would not have an easy opportunity to play with a Macbook. Someone shopping for an iPad would not have the opportunity to learn how it can interface with Apple TV. There would be no opportunity for selling other Apple product and increasing their overall revenue.
Apple would never split their store traffic this way, and an author should never split their website traffic this way.
What about search engine visibility?
One of Google’s ranking factors is site authority. The number of people who visit a site, how much time they stay on the site, and what action they take while there are all factors that help Google determine what level of authority your site has.
If you are splitting your traffic between the author’s website, and websites about one or more of the author’s books, then you are splitting potential overall search engine authority as well. It would be better to have one site Google ranks as a 10, on the authority scale, than two sites that each rank as 5.
It’s about sales
It’s not just what Google thinks that makes this a bad idea. If an author has a potential of 10,000 readers of all his books, and only 2500 have heard about his first book, they are denied the opportunity of knowing about all the author’s other works if a search for information on the title finds a site that only tells them about that one book. Wasted opportunity.
No major author does it. Apple doesn’t do it. Neither should you.
Kinokuniya Book Store -Seattle International District by J Brew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.