At Barnes&Noble, Waterstones or local indie bookstores, customers can browse in categories where book covers, titles and blurbs help them to discover great books. Finding books at online retailers readers have to type phrases and keywords into the search bar in order to have the right books – the reason for author in selecting relevant keywords.
Keywords for Title or Sub-Title
Marketers state that 80% of the effectiveness of ads depend on your headline. The same is true for book titles. Especially for non-fiction books, your book’s title is most important for search results and must be well-related to search terms. Not easy for fiction books… If your title is “Annabel’s Secret”, a short sub-title, such as “A Victorian Era Mystery” will help with keywords to make it easier being found by readers.
Create a List of Words and Phrases
Imagine what customers type into the search bar to find what they want to read – not your name or book title. More important are subjects in your book, such as “business writing” or “historic romance” or “finding academic jobs” for example. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) explains it: “Along with factors like sales history and Amazon Best Seller Rank, relevant keywords can boost your placement in search results on Amazon.com.”
Test Your Keywords at Amazon
Type them into the search bar slowly, one letter at a time and watch as prompts appear with words, you might be looking for in the search field. The most popular searches will be on top of the list.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner
Amazon’s search bar gives no data how often a term is searched, it’s wise to check these and similar ones with Google and see if one word or phrase is more popular than the other.
By testing similar terms at Google, you will find the numbers of each search term.
Categories with Keyword Requirements
The following genres are designed to be linked with keyword suggestions that will help to rank books in certain categories. Amazon writes: “In order to list your title in certain sub-categories, you’ll need to add Search Keywords in addition to the categories you choose for your title. Click a category in this list to see the keyword requirements.”
Examples from Amazon for each of these categories can be found here:
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Teen & Young Adult
- Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
- Comics & Graphic Novels
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows (only) SEVEN keyword choices Use short phrases, two to three words long, mixed with single words, such as “publishing,” “pets” or “airplanes.” Combine them with phrases like “children’s bedtime stories” and “glider flying” for example. Imagine you are a reader searching by subjects for a book. Never use words or phrases, such as “best”, “latest”, “most important”, “new,” “on sale,” “available now” “fiction” “novel” “book” or your author name or the category or title of the book.
Keep the Title Short
The book’s description should be related to the book’s content and keywords to the setting, character, theme and plot of the book. Always use description consistent across all your book formats, for your e-book, print and audio-book.
A Word of Caution
Amazon states: “Selecting a category for your book is a lot like deciding where your book should be shelved in a library. KDP uses BISAC Subject Codes, an industry standard system, to help determine where your book should show up for browsing and searching customers.”
However, the “browsing path” that Amazon generates from your choice is not always the same as the BISAC category you chose – and even more confusing: the browsing categories for books and e-books are NOT identical! Author Louise Locke describes in her blog how she could find the right category for her book on Amazon, only because as an independent author she was able to – which is rarely the case when going with a trade publisher.
As book discovery moves more and more to digital databases and online searches, your book’s success will also rely on the right keywords, phrases and the best category.
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