Xulon’s Book Search Optimization / Metadata Service: Explained

Filed in Ask the Editor by on November 26, 2014 1 Comment

Book Search Optimization, MetadataOut of all the services that Xulon Press’s editorial department offers, there is no guessing which one is the most complicated to our authors. In fact, the average person probably doesn’t know what “metadata” or “search optimization” means. It probably sounds like a few technical terms that only a Google engineer could possibly understand, right? Wrong. It’s actually a pretty simple concept, if explained in layman’s terms and not technical terms.

Xulon Press offers, for an additional fee, a “Book Search Optimization” service or what is sometimes referred to as a “metadata” service. Most people these days get a lot of what they’re looking for by searching for it on the internet. Where do they search for it? In a search engine. Usually Google. So, in order for your book to show up in search results for certain topics (to which your book pertains), it needs to contain keywords that people are searching for regarding this topic. This is where the metadata comes in: it is essentially a block of words or phrases that are likely words that people will be typing into Google.

Now, what is important for authors to understand is the metadata is not meant for a human to read it. What the metadata looks like to you, as a human reader or author, might as well be in another language fit for a search engine to read. (This language is pretty basic and omits unnecessary words.) This is not something that people will use to be informed about your book like the back cover copy will, for instance (another one of Xulon Press’s editorial services). This is meant for a search engine to read and thus place your book’s listing (on Amazon or iBooks or Barnes & Noble) as close to the top of those Google search results as possible.

The more keywords the metadata contains that is actually relevant to the search, the higher the ranking on the list of results. (Though there is some additional back-end, Google-engineer type of magic happening that further determines a result’s ranking, but for the sake of this blog post, we’re sticking to the metadata.) So, let’s demonstrate what you as an author can expect to see in a metadata block for a book. A popular and well-known book that we can use as an example is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If this book were assigned to me to write the metadata, this is what a small portion of the metadata would look like:

Love languages. Five love languages. Five love languages book. Five love languages Gary Chapman. Gary Chapman. Gary Chapman love languages. Gary Chapman author. What are the five love languages? What is my love languages? Love language book. Discovering your love language. Communicating your love language. What are love languages?

Get the gist? These are all keywords or phrases that someone could potentially be typing into Google. From there, your book is sent to the distributor, the block of metadata is added to the book’s description within the distributor. Therefore, when these key words are present within the metadata, Google reads them and then, your book pops up on the search results list in a matter of nanoseconds.

Notice, too, that these are keywords and phrases that are written in that “special language” that omits unnecessary words and phrases. Words such as “she”, “he”, and most adjectives are not vital to have in the metadata because those are probably not words that people are typing into search engines.

Questions? I’d be happy to answer them in the comments below.

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About the Author ()

Taylor Graham comes to Xulon’s editorial team with over five years of experience writing, editing, and proofreading. Prior to joining Xulon, she worked as a freelance writer and editor, a copywriter for NBC Universal, and an advertising rater for Google. She is most passionate about the written word, the great state of California, and the Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program.

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  1. Great information for old guys like me who are just beginning to embrace this whole web marketing concept. Tx BO

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