Optimize your Amazon eBook exposure with the best keywords and categories!
Whatever it is that you want other people to find, to buy, it must have the right keywords. Search engines need these special, highlighted words, so that they can better understand what your offering is all about. They use this information to send the people who are searching for that particular keyword, forward to your product, site or service.
However, the problem is that keywords are competitive.
Millions of websites and products often compete for a single word. This causes the most common and obvious choices to be next to useless for most people. It can take millions of dollars of investments every year to make sure your product or service is the one that is at the top of the search results for common keywords. For most, this is unobtainable. So, it’s not as easy as picking a simple keyword and getting instant traffic and attention to what you are selling. You have to research and discover keywords that are not only popular enough to draw plenty of people, but also profitable enough to make sales and yet not too competitive, so that you don’t have to waste too much time or money on trying to come up on top.
There are tools to help you out!
You can do an in-depth analysis using FOUR different premium keyword research tools, three of which analyze Amazon traffic. If you want the most accurate results in the least amount of time/effort spent, you need to use all of them in conjunction.
- Kindle Samurai – analyzes top Amazon search results – price ~$27
- KindleSpy – analyzes bestsellers and author libraries – price ~$37
- Merchant Words – estimates Amazon keyword search popularity – price ~$30/month
- Long Tail Pro – premium general keyword research tool – price packages starting at ~$25/month
“Keywords are important, but you’re only going to rank for the keyword if you actually sell books. In other words, just adding a very popular keyphrase to your book doesn’t mean you’re going to rank automatically for that phrase. It has to outsell lots of other books with that keyword in order to do so. Even if 1000 people all click the link to your book, it doesn’t really matter if no one goes on to buy it. Amazon is a store: they want people to buy things. They don’t care if a book’s page is popular if no one’s buying the book.
So it’s a bit of a Catch-22. You can’t rank until you sell, and you can’t sell until you rank. That’s Amazon. The fewer books you sell, the further down in rank you’ll go, which is why the first three months a book goes live are so crucial because if you have a lot of no-sale days in that time, your visibility will go down day by day.
But keywords are an absolute must if you’re going to gain any traction. You still need offsite marketing for people to make it to your page. As always, you need a good book to convert all that marketing energy into sales.
When it comes down to it, the book’s the most important thing of all. Great keywords are nothing without a book worth buying.”
Please keep in mind that there are no guarantees with keyword research. Amazon is notoriously tight-lipped with its internal data and thus there is no way to know how many of your book’s sales come from well optimized keywords and how much originate from other sources.
Keywords can increase your book’s visibility, but it will be up to the Cover, Title, Blurb, Look Inside, Ratings and Review contents to make the final sale.
To get the most out of your keywords and categories, keep the following in mind:
Write a long Description
Author Marketing Expert Penny Sansevieri recommends:
You must have at least 500 words in your book description. Why? Because too little content won’t register well (if at all) with Amazon and Google won’t pick it up, either. I know we haven’t really discussed ranking on Google, but the book description does factor into that as well. You get up to 800 words, you can use all 800 if you want (it certainly can’t hurt), but 500 words is a minimum.
Another note about your primary keyword: it should appear 2 to 5 times for every 100 words in your book description. So, no keyword stuffing, certainly, but using the keywords in a way that will help ping Amazon’s algorithm and also get you some attention in Google, as well.
Follow the rules and guidelines set forth by Amazon
Do not include these things in keywords:
- Information covered elsewhere in your book’s metadata—title, contributor(s), category, etc.
- Subjective claims about quality (e.g. “best”)
- Statements that are only temporarily true (“new,” “on sale,” “available now”)
- Information common to most items in the category (“book”)
- Common misspellings
- Variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (both “80GB” and “80 GB”, “computer” and “computers”, etc.). The only exception is for words translated in more than one way, like “Mao Zedong” and “Mao Tse-tung,” or “Hanukkah” and “Chanukah.”
- Anything misrepresentative, such as the name of an author that is not associated with your book. This type of information can create a confusing customer experience and Kindle Direct Publishing has a zero tolerance policy for metadata that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead.
Make use of the tips provided by Amazon
Best practices with keywords:
Combine keywords in the most logical order: Customers will search for military science fiction but not for fiction science military.
Use up to seven keywords or short phrases. Separate them with commas, and keep an eye on the character limit in the text field.
Experiment. Before you publish, search for your book’s title and keywords on Amazon. If you get irrelevant results, or results you dislike, consider making some changes—your book will ultimately appear among similar results. When you search, look at the suggestions that appear in the Search field drop down.
Think like your customer. Think about how you would search for your book if you were a customer, and ask others to suggest keywords they’d search on.
Useful keyword types:
● Setting (Colonial America)
● Character types (single dad, veteran)
● Character roles (strong female lead)
● Plot themes (coming of age, forgiveness)
● Story tone (dystopian, feel-good)