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What are Keywords?
Keywords are words and phrases that can be added to a book’s metadata to improve its searchability on Amazon. They are not visible on the product page but they allow publishers to submit more information about the book than is already in the description or title. To make your book easier to find you need to supply keywords that accurately represent the book’s content as well as match terms that your customers are already searching for.
Keywords are important because alongside customer reviews and sales history - which are outside of the publishers control - they are one of the main ways to rank higher on Amazon.
How do I choose the right ones?
Keywords for fiction should include the setting of the book; the character types or roles; plot themes and its style and tone. For non-fiction they should describe the problem the book is helping to solve as well as the target audience.
The best way to generate keywords is to think like a reader - what search terms would they use to find your book? A grandparent might be searching for a book on dinosaurs for a 4-6 year old. A teenage girl might be looking for the book by her favourite YouTuber. You can look at online reviews such as those on Goodreads to see how readers talk about books.
What are the do’s and don’ts of keywords?
- Research the market - you can find out what readers are already searching for by typing into the Amazon search bar. If you enter 'paleo' in the books category the drop down menu suggests 'paleo cookbook uk'; 'paleo recipe book' and 'paleo diet.
- Be specific - you should be as specific as possible without going too niche. Broader search terms increase your competition and make it less likely your book will rank.
- Be accurate - saying your book is a bestseller when it’s not is a big no no. Amazon will penalise this.
- Use a logical order - people are more likely to search for the phrase 'children’s activity book' than 'activity book children’s'
- Limit the length - if you are using more than 20 keywords each one should be justifiable. Make sure you remove stop words like 'a', 'an', 'and', 'by', 'for', 'of', 'the' and 'with'.
- Refer to more popular authors or your competitor’s products to try to game the system
- Use subjective claims such as 'best novel this year' or 'best thriller ever'
- Use terms that could apply to nearly every product in that category e.g. 'book'
- Duplicate information already on the page such as in the product description or the title
- Include temporary or time limited statements like 'new' or 'available now'
Finally, monitor the performance of your keywords. If certain keywords are not driving traffic to your products or converting into sales then update and adjust as necessary.
For more reading on keywords and discoverability check out this BIC Bite on the topic.