There’s a few ways to improve your book sales on any platform. One of them is to simply get more eyes on the book’s sales page. Today, we’re going to share a tip with you that will help with that. After discovering this trick back in 2014, here’s what happened to two of my books immediately afterwards:
This was achieved simply by updating a single field on each book in my KDP backend. You know that little “keywords” field in Amazon? The one that says optional right beside it? It’s probably not that important, right?
For a new author, that ONE field is probably the most important in getting their book in front of the right people. The Amazon search engine relies on it. Sure, if you’re a big name author and people are searching for your books by title, you’re not going to have any problems. But if you’re a little guy, you want to take advantage of what the search engine industry calls long tail keywords. The problem is, you’re probably doing something like this:
romance, ebook, small town, firefighter, librarian, happy ending, love
No nono nonono!! Those are all short tail keywords! If your keywords look like that, you need help. Luckily, we’re here to do just that! Here’s what you did wrong:
That’s actually ONE keyword to an experienced author. They’d be using something like this:
a romance ebook between a firefighter and librarian who fall in love in a small town with a happy ending
Notice how it’s a big long string? Now your book is going to appear in some very specific searches. That’s great because there will be less competition and you’ll appear closer to the top!
But, I lied a little to demonstrate my point. That last string is not what an experienced author would actually be using. They’d be more likely to use something like this as their first keyword:
romance firefighter librarian fall love small town happy ending
So why did we omit the connecting words? Easy. Amazon automatically removes them from any user search, so they’re unnecessary to include in your keywords. Go ahead, try it. Search for firefighter librarian and then search for firefighter and librarian. Now look at the number of results for each. They’re the same, right? That means “and” is not a useful keyword to include.
Let’s do another example. Let’s say your next book is about vegetarian cooking. Normally, you might be inclined to have keywords like this:
vegetarian, cookbook, recipes
The problem here is you’re not being specific enough. If someone searches for vegetarian, they’re going to get results for why they should become a vegetarian, how to become a vegetarian, and many more things that might not be closely related to your cookbook.
To solve that problem, let’s think a little more widespread. What type of problems does your cookbook solve? What might someone be searching for in order to find a solution to those problems? How about vegetarian chili? Maybe they’re not sure how to spell it and actually searched for vegetarian chilli. Either way, those are two search results you’d like to come out on top for, right? Consider using something like this as a keyword:
Vegetarian cookbook chilli chili recipes
Now you have your first keyword! Follow the same process to get the remaining six because you absolutely want to have all seven filled in. The more search results you show up in, the more books you’re going to sell!
That’s enough examples for now. Let’s dive a little deeper.
Avoiding Amazon restricted words and other no-nos
1. Amazon doesn’t want you to use certain words anywhere in your keywords field. Their list of restricted words is changing all the time, but things like kindle, unlimited, and amazon are frowned upon. If you use them, expect to get a nasty email giving you 5 days to fix all books or risk having them removed from sale.
2. Don’t use other book or author names. Yes, I’ve tried it and they don’t work as well as you’d think. You might snag a few sales but ultimately those people searching for a specific author or book want that author or book. Worse yet, when those books lose popularity your keywords become useless.
You have 7×50 characters. Use them.
There’s 7 keywords areas and each of them can contain up to 50 characters. If you’re not using every last character, you’re missing out on possible long tail searches.
Don’t duplicate keywords.
It’s unnecessary and doesn’t gain you any bonus points. Don’t reuse a word that you’ve already used in another keyword.
Avoid connecting words.
Amazon automatically removes a lot of common words from user searches. Things like in, a, with, book, and many more are unnecessary in your keyword strings. If you want to see if a word is ignored by Amazon search, simply go perform a couple specific searches of your own (for example, your author name). One that has the keyword, and one that doesn’t. If the number of results are the same, don’t use that word as a keyword for your books.
Use words that describe your book or words that someone who would like your book might be searching for. If you want an example, check out the vegetarian cookbook example above.
Research what readers are already searching for.
The best way to get your book found is to write about what people already want to read. Booksprout has a handy keyword tool to help you discover and optimize your keywords for Amazon. It automatically drops down suggestions based on what you’ve already typed in and what is commonly searched for. For example if you start typing in vegetarian, you’re presented with a few suggestions such as vegetarian cookbook, or vegetarian slow cooker. Those would be great to include in your keywords!
That’s it for now! We hope these keyword secrets will take your publishing game to the next level. When I implemented all of these tips I literally saw my Amazon sales triple the next day and it was enough to have me living on the income!