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SEO Keywords for Book Reviews: What Do You Use?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those things we as bloggers all know we should use. It can be a critical source of traffic for your blog, and a determining factor of your success is what SEO keyword you choose for your post. However, I find I have a lot of trouble deciding what to do about SEO keywords for book reviews. There are several options that have positives and negatives, and I would love to hear what everyone ends up using!

Only Book Title

So the one that I use most often is only the book title. It is the easiest to use frequently in your post and seems to be logically what most people would search for. The problem arises when (1) the title is very common for a different meaning (for example Bane by Trish Milburn with the new Batman movie out), (2) the title has a lot of stop words and so Google ignores half the title, or (3) the book isn’t very well-known so people probably wouldn’t be searching for it by name anyway.

Book Title and Author’s Name

The second most obvious SEO keyword for book reviews seems to be the title and the author’s name, since this solves the problem of a common alternative meaning for the title. I worry about this option, though, because until I became a book blogger, I never remembered the names of authors. Even for books I loved, I would only ever search for the title alone, and I worry that my potential readers would run into the same problem.

Some Central Aspect or the Genre

I was lucky enough to attend a seminar by an SEO expert from YEAH Local and it opened my mind to another option, to forget the title all together and use some central theme of the book and/or the book’s genre as your SEO keyword. Does anyone do this? I would be interested in hearing about how successful this is. It seems to me that this approach would aim at a completely different type of search audience than the preceding two approaches, and perhaps that makes it better?

I am continuing to struggle with picking the most useful SEO keywords for my book reviews and this post is honestly a call for help. I have read all sorts of articles on how to implement SEO for blogging, but book reviews seem to be a different animal all together. The SEO keyword that seems most applicable for book reviews is also the one most difficult to rank on, and I just don’t know any good alternatives. Do you as a book blogger even try to rank on your book reviews?

Please comment and help my hurting brain!

Anya from About The Story -A

SEO Keywords for Book Reviews

© 2012 – 2017, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. It’s about relevancy. What is somebody searching for in a review? First of all, one of the key search words is going to be “review”, right? I think the best title would be (Title of book) + (by author) + “a book review”. The title of the book comes first because it is the most relevant part of the topic title. The author follows on naturally due to convention AND it narrows the search term (title of book) down from a billion results for people looking for drain covers, to a few hundred results (you hope) for ‘”The Drain Cover, by S. S. Dragonwings”‘ and obviously ‘”The Drain Cover”, by S. S. Dragonwings – a Book Review’ has got to be doing the job, right?

    Reinforce this by mentioning the title of the book at least once within your review – the author too maybe. Now think about what somebody else might be searching for about the book. Perhaps the protagonist’s name? Write at least 600 words, or Google might think that you’ve not had much to say on the subject.

    But come on, this is only the beginning of the process. The author of the review (not the book) has to become a reliable source for book reviews. Google needs to recognise this; you should let Google know that you’ve written this review. Search for “Google Authorship” on Google to find out what I mean. Once Google decides that you know what you are talking about, then it will automatically rank your future book reviews higher if you follow the conventions mentioned above.

    Best of luck with it.

  2. Book Wookie says:

    There’s going to be too much competition using keywords that are the book’s title or the author’s name. For example, if I take my latest book review (Taken by Erin Bowman), I won’t be able to use just the title as the keyword. It’s far too short. Searching for Taken by Erin Bowman returns over 5 million results. So keywords by title and by author are out.

    Honestly, I really don’t have the answer. I’m trying to find long tail keywords by genre, but it’s very difficult to find keywords that don’t already have a lot of competition. It’s driving me crazy actually! LOL. I spend so much time trying to find some good keywords and seem to always come up empty. Will keep trying!

    • Excellent point, and probably why I’m still having trouble getting any hits :( Let me know if you come across the secret solution ;-)

  3. I use the Yoast SEO plugin too… very handy and reminds me to make sure my title and things are SEO-friendly. I usually just use the author’s name as the keyword since, as you said, book titles are often words with other meanings. I have had quite a few hits from author name searches so I suppose it’s working, although it’s a bit hard to measure success, isn’t it? :-/

    • Oo! I hadn’t thought of just the author’s name… In my review for this week it certainly is what would make the most sense…. Thanks for the tip Angelya! But yes, it is very hard to measure success (side note, I’m so tired, I tried to spell measure as messure…. doh!), though the few number of hits I get from Google definitely makes me want to try something else for a bit.

  4. Frankly, I never thought about SEO for reviews, but I will now. I try to use the author’s name, book title, something about their blog, when I write a blog post or have a guest blogger.

    • Really? I put the most SEO effort into my reviews since I figure random people are much more likely to stumble onto my blog by searching for a review for a random book than for any of the other posts that I write :) Previously what were the posts you worried about SEO the most over?

      Interesting, you try to incorporate stuff about the author’s blog? I’m still so scared of most authors that I don’t got and look for their blogs, haha.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  5. I name all of my posts using the title of the book and the author, and then try to mention each in the opening paragraph at least once. Other than that I’m lazy. Admittedly I should be paying more attention to SEO, but I’d rather have the review flow naturally.

    • I completely agree with the flow naturally thing, which is why using the title and author name seems too clunky, since it’s easy to say the book name a few times in the post, but not really with the author’s name…. Do you use an SEO plugin like Yoast to help you or just do the good practices on your own? I think Yoast made me start thinking more about keywords since I want that pretty green circle darn it! lol ;-)


      • I use, so I try to keep to good practices on my own. I’ve got one or two posts that have been weirdly popular with search engines, and I have no idea why.

        • Yup, the yoast plug in was one of the major motivators for me to switch to self hosted since then I didn’t have to worry that I was doing it wrong… I had that happen once though where a review I wrote for a fairly old and unknown book got like 50 hits from google all of a sudden because it was momentarily third ranked or something, ha… Sadly that didn’t continue :(

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