Book SEO | for Authors and Self-Publishers
Book Keywords – Book SEO
Each book retail location has a different format for uploading and selling your book. I focus on Kindle in this post, but you can apply the concepts to any book retailer. You get to choose seven keywords for your book’s KDP page. How your book gets found has a lot to do with the keywords you choose. Sounds simple, right? But, as soon as you start typing them in, questions start to pop up:
- Can a keyword be a phrase? (Yes, but not optimal)
- Do I separate my keywords with a comma? (Yes)
- Should words in my title also be in my keywords? (No)
- What about using common misspellings and plurals? (No)
Short Keywords vs Long Keywords – Book SEO
It’s a common mistake to use long-winded phrases packed with keywords instead of single keywords since Amazon allows for phrases. However, more weight is given to a single keyword. For example, a search for ‘zombie’ will rank your book much higher if you use a single keyword ‘zombie’ rather than a keyword phrase, ‘post-apocalyptic dystopian world with a zombie virus survival tactics.’
First Place is the Winner – Book SEO
Amazon weighs your keywords in order. The last keyword is the least effective and the first has the highest priority. For example, if you are writing a book about sleeping at work your book will rank better among other competing books if common searches like “sleeping at work” have keywords in order sleep, work, and not work, sleep. Write out your keywords in priority of the words that come first in common searches.
There needs to be a logical flow to your keywords. They need to be in an order of priority that people would be naturally searching in. In another example, the keywords science, fiction would rank higher than fiction, science for someone searching “science fiction.”
Seller Rank and Book Keywords
Seller Rank measures how far up the list your book makes it for a set of keyword searches within set categories (genres). If your book is about space aliens, when someone searches for space aliens, you want your book to rank well to show up in the list the prospect gets. Rank is based mainly on metadata like title/subtitle and keywords, as well as sales and reviews.
Ideas for Book Keywords
Things to include in your keywords are plot, theme or setting, like romance or western. If people searching for your books are looking for a specific theme, be sure to add them to your list of seven.
Roles and types of characters. If your book is about a heroine, you’ll want to add the word heroine or phrase strong female lead. People search for books with types of roles. If your book is about a kid with two dads or a single mom, then add that to your keywords (if it’s not included in your title or subtitle).
Add the tone of the story. Is it a comedy or dark? People search books by the overall tone sometimes rather than category.
Avoid any information found in other parts of your metadata, such as title, category, publisher, and author. That information is already added to searches. Doing it again does not help ranking. If it’s a book titled How to CareFor Puppies, don’t add any of those words to your keywords. It won’t hurt your ranking directly, but repeats get ignored and take the place of a keywordthat could have helped.
Skip the Subjective Book Keywords
Amazon ignores subjective keywords. If you have a lot of competition in your category, a common search readers will do is “the best.” For example, they may search for “the best diet book.” Adding “the best” to your keywords would help to rank for that specific search on most search engines. This is not the case on Amazon. It’s better to add subjective keywords to title or subtitle.
Also on the list of words that Amazon ignores are temporary type words, such as “new” or “available for a short time.” They want keywords that will be true from now until the end of time. They don’t want to turn Kindle into a gimmick with deals and offers.
Amazon recognizes common misspellings. If you get your book edited make sure to run the keywords and other metadata by the editor.If you are looking for a book on “potatoe soup” you will get the listings for “potato soup.” You don’t need to purposely add common misspellings into your keywords to rank for those misspellings.
Any capital letters and other punctuation gets ignored.
Amazon recognizes the plural of any word in your keyword list. No need to type zombie and zombies. The second word is ignored since it’s the plural of the first. Also, if you are typing a word like 2AM it will be recognized as both 2 AM and 2AM. It’s the same with storage type words like 10Gig, 10gigs, 10GB, 10 gb. Those are all the same word to Amazon.
Book SEO – Honest Book Keywords
Don’t use anything misleading. A common thing on search engines to get ranking is to use competitors’ names.When people search for “Joe’s Plumbing,” Frank the plumber would add “Joe’sPlumbing” to his keywords to get hits on people searching for a competitor.Don’t add the names of similar books or authors to your keywords. This isagainst Amazon’s Terms of Service (for keywords). It works but is against TOS.A better place to enter this type of data is in your book description where youcan describe your book as “The next Harry Potter!” Or, “If you’re a fan of thefollowing authors . . . you will love this book!”
Your seven keywords are ranked better as single words. You can use short phrases but Amazon puts single keywords as a higher priority. Phrases are only relevant when people type the exact wording for them. So, for example, a phrase entered as “How to lose 10 pounds in a week” won’t help you if they type, “How to lose 10 pounds in a month.” It’s best to use single words unless you are sure that exact phrase and nothing different will be searched for commonly.
Book SEO – Skip Major Search Engine Keyword providers Google
Using a service like Google’s Keyword tool can help you get ideas on what’s popular however note that most people aren’t searching for books on Google. Google’s keyword tool can help you generate ideas on what’s popular but terms will differ when searching for books directly on Amazon. Amazon does have an autofill feature to help you type out what you’re saying. Start typing out your keywords in the Amazon search bar to find popular additions.
The following was content posted courtesy of Alex Foster and his free books on writing series.