If you want your website to show up when someone googles you (this is the issue I was most interested in, because there are many Kathy McCulloughs, and I show up far down the page), you need to do two things:
1. Have other sites link to you that search engines have indexed (in other words you can’t just link to yourself from Facebook or your blog). And when they link to you, they need to have key words in the link. In our case the key words would be our name. So if someone is writing about you, you don’t want them to say “click here” or click on JK Rowling’s “website.” You want them to say click on “JK Rowling’s” website (where the item in quotes is the link. In turn, do this for others – make sure to have the link to their website or blog be imbedded in their name.
(This can also apply to having your book title show up higher in the search ranks, if the title is a common word or phrase. In my case, there is a Canadian speed skater named Delaney Collins – who knew?)
According to the author, website designers often don’t know this. You used to be able to just put key words between the title tags in the html, but search engines no longer think this is relevant, because it’s not a good judgement of your importance as a site – whereas being linked to is.
As to author Bettina Restrepo’s question re: coming up in searches for author visits, you also want to have key words (“author visits”) in text throughout your site. Text stands out if it is in bold, italics or bullet point lists. Key words are also good to have in blog post headlines (of course, you’d have to write a post about author visits in this case – better: write several). This is why blog interviews that I and other authors have participated in are showing up in searches (a great thing!).