7 Kindle Keywords: Use All 50 Characters or Not?


Wouldn't you love to increase how many times your book is shown on Amazon?  To boost your book’s rankings so it shows up sooner and more often in searches?

Most self-publishers know that when it comes to showing up for certain searches, the keywords you choose play an important role.  But after that, things start to get complicated.

Amazon presents us with seven boxes in which we can enter our desired target kindle keywords.  In each box, we can use up to 50 characters, which allows us to either put in a particular target phrase we want to rank for, or fill up the box to include as many phrases as possible.

Some book marketing gurus argue that you should use up as many of the available characters as possible, while others believe you should only enter in a target phrase.  This conflicting advice has left lots of authors scratching their heads, wondering how to actually approach their kindle keywords.

Well, in this article, I’m going to use data we gained from experimentation to provide the most optimal way to fill in your seven kindle keywords.  This will give you the best strategy going forward and answer some other questions we tackled through this experiment.  By using this technique, you will not only increase how many times your book is shown, but also increase your book’s rankings in Amazon for your target keywords.

In this article, you will learn

  • How to select the best keywords for your book
  • How to fill in your keywords in KDP
  • Mistakes that might be killing your keyword strategy

Below I will detail my data approach and the experiment we conducted to get the information, but if you’d like to just skip that and get straight to the part that talks about what the findings show and what you should do, then click here.

What are the 7 Kindle Keyword Boxes?

Before we dive into how to approach your keywords, let’s first look at what those 7 Kindle keyword boxes are, incase you're unfamiliar with them:

Each author is allowed to input their target keywords into 7 boxes. Each box allows for a maximum of 50 characters.

This has left authors wondering:

“Should I fill in all 50 characters per box, or should I only target one particular phrase regardless of whether I have filled in all 50 characters or not?”

In other words… Is it better to be more targeted or more broad with your keywords?

Here at Kindlepreneur, we built out an experiment to find the answer to this question. I'll explain how that worked in just a moment.

Terminology for this article

Before we go further, it might be useful to first define some of the terminology I will use throughout this article:

Keyword boxes: These are the seven kindle keyword boxes where you get to choose the keywords you want your book to show up for.  You can find these seven boxes in your Kindle Direct Publishing account when you are either editing an existing book, or uploading and publishing a new book.

Amazon Search Result Page: When someone types in a phrase into Amazon's search box, Amazon then presents them with a list of products.  These are called the Amazon Search Results. If your book shows up on this page immediately, then we say that it is listed on the first page of search results.  If, however, you need to click to see the next set of results, then we call this the second page of search results, and so on.  Google SEO'ers will shorten/abbreviate this phrase and call it the “SERPs” for Search Engine Results Page, and I've seen some book marketers use this phrase as well when talking about Amazon.  When I personally have a high level conversation with a publishing company or another marketer, I too call them SERPs.

Indexing for a Keyword: For the purposes of book marketing, indexing for a keyword is when you convince Amazon to list your book for that keyword phrase.  It doesn't necessarily mean you show up on the first page of the Amazon search results, it just means Amazon acknowledges your book should be listed for that search phrase and you will therefore show up somewhere in the search results for that keyword.  If Amazon has listed 11,041 books for that search result, and you are now ‘indexed' for that keyword, then there will be 11,042 books listed in total for that search result.

Ranking for a Keyword: In a previous definition, we discussed that the Amazon Search Results is a listing of products shown after a customer does a search.  The rankings for that phrase or keyword the customer typed in is the number at which the product shows up.  So, say for example someone types in “War Mage” and your book is the 7th book shown on the search results, then you have a ranking of 7 for that keyword phrase.  If you rank #100 however, that means the shopper would need to go through many search results pages in order to see your book as the 100th book listed for that keyword.  Rankings are very important because, as you can see from the below graph, the book that ranks #1 for a keyword gets the most clicks by a huge margin.

The Experiment with Kindle Keywords

To do this experiment, I needed two things:

  • Volunteers willing to submit their current keywords and be willing to change their keywords
  • To build a specialized crawler to find keywords and whether books are indexed for it and where they rank

For the volunteers, I emailed the Kindlepreneur email list and got an AMAZING response. In the end I choose 120 books with 82 being fiction and 38 being nonfiction. Each author submitted the current keywords they have listed in the 7 boxes. We marked whether or not the author had used the strategy of filling in as many of the characters as possible or was specific with their keyword phrase choices — or some combination of the two.

I then utilized a special crawler that the Publisher Rocket development team created just for this experiment. It was pretty expensive to construct and operate, but….

The crawler was designed to rapidly go through thousands of genre and topic specific keywords, Amazon suggested keywords, keywords in their title and subtitle, and the listed keywords that fit our 120 volunteer books. Then it would index whether or not it found any of the volunteer books and at what rank (up to 300 since that is a far as we could financially go).

We then ran the crawler for days to ensure that over 100,000+ keyword possibilities were checked.

Once we had our data, we then had the volunteers change their data depending on whether or not they used the full box strategy or the specific strategy. Afterwards, we ran the crawler again and marked the changes in results.  We even went further to check if there was a decay of rankings or not over time.

For the Statistician Friends Out There: I know, I know…120 books is not perfect for generating statistical proof and the standard deviation and sample size are not ideal.  However, I'd request that you keep in mind the results were pretty sound to allow for such conclusions, and it was all we could afford to run considering this was a very expensive experiment.

So, with that said, here are our findings…

6 Questions Answered By the Experiment

Here are some of the questions we were able to answer thanks to the experiment results:

1. Does Filling In All 50 Characters Index Your Book For More Keywords?

Based on our findings, the answer is clearly yes.  We found that the more words or phrases you entered in the Kindle box, so as to fill in as much of the 50 characters as possible, the more your book was indexed for.  Which leads us to our next observation…

2. Does Amazon Rearrange the Words and Index for them or just use the exact phrase you type in?

It turns out that Amazon does use all variations of the words you enter as you can see from the diagram above.  Therefore, if you typed in “Dragon War Mage” into one of the 7 keyword boxes, you would also be indexed for War Dragon Mage, Mage Dragon, War Mage, Mage, and all other versions of the phrase.  This is a major reason why our graph above shows an almost exponential increase in words indexed as you move to the right.

This makes a lot of sense since Amazon specifically tells people to not put quotation marks around your phrase, or else you will only show up for that exact phrase and nothing else.  In boolean search criteria, if you ever want to only be shown an exact phrase, put quotations around it.  You can do this on Google the next time you only want to see results based on exactly what you type, and no subsets of it. Looks like Amazon's search engine (and thus their indexing) works the same way.

However, it is important to note that Amazon only indexed the books for terms they deemed legitimate — terms that would actually produce results if you typed into Amazon.  So, if one of the combinations of the phrase is something that Amazon doesn't acknowledge or show books for, they won't start ranking you for it either just because you had it listed.  Apparently they are smarter than that.

Also of important note, Amazon includes pluralizations of the word automatically and so we found that you also indexed for the pluralizations of most of the phrases as well.

3. If I have the Same Keyword More than Once, Does that Help or Hurt?

Amazon makes it clear that you should avoid reusing the same keyword that shows up elsewhere in your book's metadata (title, contributor, etc).  If you were to click the link above your 7 kindle boxes that says “how do I choose keywords” (see above image of the keyword boxes to find the link), you'll see this popup:

So, does it hurt us if we do repeat words? Will this be something Amazon penalizes us for?

The answer to both is no.  From our findings, authors did not get penalized for reusing a keyword that is in the title, subtitle or elsewhere.  They also didn't get penalized if they had the same keyword in different boxes. But we also found that it didn't help either.  Having the same keyword in the title and in different boxes didn't mean you got better rankings.

BUT, I wouldn't avoid using the same keyword in another box if it fits in a specific phrase you have.  Say for example you have two phrases that you want to target for your book. Thanks to your research using Publisher Rocket, you know there are specific Amazon searches per month for both and low competition.  One is War Mage, and the other is Fantasy Mage.  I wouldn't remove the word “Mage” from one of them just because you used it already in your title or in another keyword box. In the next question, you'll find out why.

4. Does Targeting a Specific Phrase Help With Rankings?

Amazon specifically says that the degree of text match plays a major part in rankings. This is our first indication that the more specific you are in the 7 keyword boxes, the more likely you are to rank for those target phrases.

Our experiment also showed the same.  We found that the more specific you were for a particular keyword phrase in the keyword box, the higher you'd initially rank for that phrase in Amazon search results on average.  So, while Amazon does rearrange the words and index them for you, the way you put them into the box has a stronger affect than a random combination of them.

In the graph above, you can see a 300 dashed line.  That's because in our experiment, our special crawler would only check the rankings up to #300. It was a very costly process and to go above that number would have cost us a LOT more time and money.  Sorry for the limitation, but looking at the data, I think we have enough to make a more solid decision here.

5. Is it Better to Put My Keyword in the Title and Subtitle, or the Keyword Box?

The short answer is yes, it is better to put your keyword in the title or subtitle.  We saw an increase of 37% in rankings when someone had the phrase in the title or subtitle, compared to if it was just one of the phrases in a keyword box.  This makes sense considering what is in the title or subtitle is a better indication of what the book focuses on.  However, this is NOT a recommendation to keyword stuff.  It only shows that those two spots have a larger effect on rankings than your 7 keyword boxes.

6. One Last Thing: Two Anomalies that I Think Tell Us Something

We had two anomalies that I think require bringing up.  Both could tell us something, however, I caution making it a fact since both only happened once and do not constitute a statistical proof.

The first is that, while all the other books indexed for most combinations of their keywords in the 7 boxes, one particular book did not.  My guess on why is that when I looked at the individual keywords, they were…how should I put this…extremely (and I mean extremely) risqué.  I have a feeling that Amazon just didn't allow for such words to have results and this caused such phrases to not index.

The second book also didn't index for ANY of its target keywords.  However, when I looked at the specific book, and the keywords listed, it was obvious that these keywords were not the right keywords for the book.  When I contacted the author, they realized they entered the wrong phrase into Amazon because they were uploading a bunch of books and copied the wrong phrase for the wrong book….whoops.

But I think this is a VERY valuable lesson: Amazon knew from the other information about the book (metadata) that those keywords did NOT belong to that book and therefore didn't index that book for those terms.  I believe this means Amazon doesn't just blindly take what you enter here, and list you. Instead, it looks at everything else and, based on that data, decides if you really are a book that should show up for these things.  I'd like to experiment with this is the future to have more statistical proof, but I think it's a fair assumption based on logic and results from this one particular case.

So, what should authors do about this considering that more words do get your book indexed more, but more specific phrases get better rankings?

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So, Here is What Authors Should Do

It’s apparent that when you have more keyword phrases in the box, you rank for more things, but you also have a lower rank for those phrases.

Step 1: Find 1-3 keyword specific phrases

These 1-3 keyword phrases need to be:

Very relevant to your book: Think of them as the perfect descriptive phrase your target reader would type into Amazon when searching for your book.

Examples: How to lose weight fast, Gaslamp supernatural romance, Evernote for authors, military scifi space marines. They read like real terms, and truly fit your book.

Have shoppers looking for them: Since we’ll be burning a couple of our seven boxes for these phrases, they NEED to actually have people searching for them. This is where Publisher Rocket’s Amazon Searches Per Month number is SUPER important. Don’t waste your boxes on something that has no shoppers searching for it.

Not overly competitive: On Publisher Rocket, the competition score is a number from 1-100 which tells you how hard it would be to rank for that keyword. In essence, if you’re using one keyword box for that term or phrase, you might want to ensure you can actually rank for it and thus benefit from it.

Check out Rocket Here

If you find 1-3 phrases that exude these three characteristics, then I'd absolutely recommend using a specific box for each.  

Step 2: For the rest, fill in with niche specific terms and phrases

In this case, I believe that for the rest of your boxes, it would be best to fill in as much of the 50 characters as possible with words or phrases that fit your type of book.

These would be broad terms that fit your niche or genre but aren’t as important because the chances that someone would type them into Amazon and you’d be the exact type of book they are looking for would be small.

Here are some things to help you figure out how to generate those words.

For Fiction create a list of words that Describe:

  1. Your character or their role
  2. The Setting and Time of the story
  3. The Catalyst that kickstarts your story
  4. Your genre or the flavor of your genre (steamy romance vs wholesome love vs erotica, etc)
  5. Synonyms of the above

For Nonfiction create a list of words that Describe:

  1. The pain points of your target reader
  2. The success your reader hopes to gain from your book
  3. The type of reader or their demographic
  4. Descriptive words
  5. Synonyms of the above

If you follow these steps for each, you should not have a problem at all coming up with multiple 50 character boxes and should help to increase your book's indexing on Amazon.


As you can see, the more words you put into the boxes, the more you will index for on Amazon. But, at the same time, you’ll weaken your overall rankings for those terms since their power will be diluted.

Through this experiment, we now see that authors should use a combination of the two tactics where they target specific words or phrases that best fit their book, but also reserve certain keyword boxes for including the other terms and phrases not included.  This will give you the most optimal rankings and indexing so you can get your book found by readers.

Of Important Note: The crawler I discussed in the experiment was something I was hoping to employ for Rocket users, where we could help authors see how many words and phrases they index for and what their rankings are. However, even after months of madness, I could never get the operations to be cheap enough to make it a viable option. Sorry guys…we tried and will keep trying.  As Rocket users are accustomed to, I'm always working to add to Rocket and make it better and better…but sometimes we have test flights that just don't make the light of day.



  1. KG on June 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you Dave for such a comprehensive analysis. Finally a scientific, evidence based study unlike the guesses of publishing “gurus”. All my questions were answered either by you or in the comments. One confirmation though, it is a simple one. Are the first 3 boxes counted as the first 3 boxes in the column of 4 boxes to the left, or does Amazon count left to right?

    • Dave Chesson on June 25, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      Awesome – yeah, that’s exactly why I built the experiment for that. So…many…ideas from people. Figured it was time to have data to backup a hypothesis. As for the boxes, I just meant 3 of the 7, not a specific 3.

  2. Mike on June 19, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Dave, thanks for all you do to help authors. Should I use different keywords for my ebook versus my print book, e.g., 14 unique keywords or should I use the same 7 for each?

    I am wondering if I can get more leverage using different keywords for the two different versions?

    Using Publisher Rocket, it’s interesting that for Kindle books I see a particular keyword ranks high, but for the same exact keyword for printed books, it doesn’t rank.

  3. David on June 11, 2020 at 7:15 am

    Hey Dave, thanks for the content, here and YT. Much appreciated.

    If I had a dinosaur non-fiction book, would it be considered keyword stuffing if i had something like this for the word “dinosaur”?:
    Box 1: dinosaur keeping
    Box 2: dinosaur vaccinations
    Box 3: baby dinosaur
    Box 4: Dinosaur childrens book
    Box 5: Dinosaur feeding


    • Dave Chesson on June 11, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      No, I personally don’t see it as such and from the experiment, I don’t see it hurting either.

  4. sarah on June 5, 2020 at 11:24 am

    I want to ask you, can we put commas (,) in fields 7 to increase the number of words

    • Dave Chesson on June 5, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      No, we found that doesn’t help and in some cases actually hurt – plus amazon has a warning saying not to.

  5. Samy on May 24, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Excellent Article Dave just perfect 😉

    • Dave Chesson on May 25, 2020 at 11:47 am


  6. Mike on May 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Wow! This article explained EVERY question I had. Thank you very much.

  7. Bracha Loren on May 11, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I just published my book but when I search the title in Amazon, it doesn’t show. I need to search by my name to find the book. Should I change one of my keyword boxes to the title of my book?

    • Dave Chesson on May 14, 2020 at 1:18 am

      I wouldn’t think so. Sometimes it just takes time for it to settle. The more sales you end up making will help too.

  8. elvio on May 5, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Great article, and thank you to put written version, my english isn’t so good to understand anything from video 🙂
    i bought rocket, great software

    • Dave Chesson on May 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      Awesome and glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Gabe Beyers on May 4, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    I have a question regarding the 10 categories and the 7 keyword boxes. I’ve emailed Amazon and had my books placed in 10 appropriate categories like horror > vampire (vampire is also in the title).
    Do you suggest that I leave the words of the categories I’m already in, like horror and vampire, out of the 7 boxes, that is if they don’t fit in any of the 3 perfect phrases?

    • Dave Chesson on May 5, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      I’d still keep them in the boxes only because like this article shows, Amazon will use the combination of the words to find things to index you for. I can’t say they do that with combining keywords and categories though.

  10. Zou Dev on April 30, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Merci Dave

    • Dave Chesson on May 2, 2020 at 11:50 am

      De rien!

  11. Benedict Brown on April 30, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for this. I’m on it now for a preorder and I see that Amazon guidelines say not to put programs like “Kindle Unlimited” as keywords. Is this a new rule that they’ve changed since you did this experiment and could it get my keywords rejected?


    • Dave Chesson on May 2, 2020 at 11:52 am

      That’s correct. in the article there is a link to all the do’s and don’ts by amazon. One of which is you can’t use trademarked terms like Kindle, Amazon, etc.

  12. Max on April 25, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Nothing is left to chance… big Dave!
    Just one question: the comma.
    Okay, in the sentences we choose, the comma is not necessary, but is it necessary for the fields in which we insert the individual kws? So in the field I’ll insert like: coloring, crayons, pastime, play, etc.?

    • Dave Chesson on April 25, 2020 at 10:04 pm

      No. And it’s best you not put in the comma or any other things like that – amazon even recommends that you don’t.

  13. Keith on February 19, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Dave,Great stuff as usual. Two questions:1) If I can fit two phrases in one box, is that acceptable? For example ˜great
    travel books ‘ and ˜popular hiking adventures ‘. I realise there ‘s a character limit
    but if they fit, would that work?2) Second, using individual words as keywords, I seem to remember that we
    used to have to separate these with commas, is this still the case or can we
    leave them out?Love your site!Thanks – Keith

    • Dave Chesson on February 21, 2020 at 11:13 am

      1) Yes – so long as It is under 50 characters
      2) No, never use quatations or commas – even Amazon says not to

      • Keith on February 21, 2020 at 11:23 am

        Got it. Many thanks Dave.

  14. alina lechner on February 14, 2020 at 5:42 am

    Great article, Dave! I have a question. For the keyword phrases, in order to be recognised as a phrase and not single words should be used quotation marks?

    • Dave Chesson on February 14, 2020 at 5:44 am

      Thanks. As for your question, no. You should never use those – Amazon even states somewhere (cannot remember where) not to. This is because in their coding, using quotation marks tells them that you only want to be shown for that exact phrase and nothing else. This will severely limit your indexing and thus your discoverability.

    • Dave Chesson on February 21, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Never use quotation marks. Even Amazon warns of this – it will cause them to only use that exact word and nothing else.

  15. Ryan Jett on February 5, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Dave, this is one of the most valuable articles on Amazon publishing I’ve read in years, bravo!
    I would also be interested in more info on keyword indexing split between keyword boxes as another commenter mentions but also if there are varying weights applied of importance to the order of the boxes. I’ve heard from somewhere that the first 3 keyword boxes are most important or are weighted more heavily by the almighty algorithm. Another interesting test, perhaps. Anyhow…thanks again, this is super helpful!

  16. Deanna Wood on February 3, 2020 at 2:42 am

    Thanks Dave – this is so helpful. Quick question – if you find something with a lower competitive score (under 60) what would you consider an acceptable number of monthly searches to go along with that?

    • Dave Chesson on February 5, 2020 at 1:27 am

      Depends on how perfectly fitting that that keyword is for you. Remember, you get 7 boxes.

  17. Logan Fox on January 6, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve always wondered how to use my 7 amazon keywords, and now I have scientific data for my strategy. Love your blog, and love the fact that you’d spend time and resources to put this together for indies. Hopping over to KDP Rocket now to plan 😉

    • Dave Chesson on January 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

      Awesome and glad you liked it 🙂

  18. Alberto Tenti on January 4, 2020 at 1:13 am

    sometimes i can see a certain search volume in KDP rocket, let`s say 1000 searches, but if i go on amazon searchbar …..the kword doesn’t shows up, neither the autocomplete suggestion for the long tail….what does it mean ??

    • Dave Chesson on January 5, 2020 at 2:13 pm

      Rocket goes beyond what Amazon shows customers and does a bunch of different tasks to pull even more from them. We’re not sure why they choose to show some and not all or some over others.

      • Alberto Tenti on January 5, 2020 at 11:00 pm

        …you r saying that not all keywords are displayed on amazon autocomplete search bar?

        • Alberto Tenti on January 5, 2020 at 11:02 pm

          but you can be sure there are more keywords even they are not there? that would explaine why if i digit a certain kword not appearing on autocomplete, it will shows a number of results as competitors anyway

          • Dave Chesson on January 6, 2020 at 9:14 pm

            Correct – there are a LOT more than Amazon shows in Autocomplete.

          • Alberto Tenti on January 7, 2020 at 1:52 am

            allrighty …thank you so much 🙂 .bless

          • Alberto Tenti on January 7, 2020 at 1:55 am

            keep up the good work

  19. Alberto Tenti on January 4, 2020 at 1:10 am

    ….what the publishing world would be without you ? …thank you so much

    • Dave Chesson on January 5, 2020 at 2:13 pm


  20. Jan Pascal on December 19, 2019 at 8:33 am

    My question is how is the algo working? Can I use verbs instead of a noun. For example:
    identify – identification
    register – registry
    observe – observationOr do I need to write the noun to get searched for ?

  21. Jim Rossi on December 17, 2019 at 4:04 am

    Thanks, Dave. Useful in the practice of author-entrepreneurship.

  22. Pawel Lapinski on November 29, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    “The short answer is yes, it is better to put your keyword in the title or subtitle. We saw an increase of 37% in rankings when someone had the phrase in the title or subtitle, compared to if it was just one of the phrases in a keyword box”so shouldn’t we then put 3 best long tail keywords in the title and/or subtitle? and then another 3 in the boxes? and remaining boxes keyword stuffed?

  23. Pawel Lapinski on November 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Hi, the only thing that is missing for me is what do we put in the title and subtitle since we used best 3 keywords that are bringing best traffic and has lowest competition for the boxes. Can we put these 3 keywords in the title or subtitle and also description and 3 boxes or thats too much? Or we should just put 3 best keywords in the boxes and description? Or just in the 3 boxes. Thanks!

  24. Alex Myachkin on November 17, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Great job Dave, I think for your next experiment you should ask us to make dotation

    • Dave Chesson on November 20, 2019 at 2:30 am

      Haha…well, It is all good. Just happy to have put a final pin in it 🙂

  25. Karen Ferreira on November 16, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Great article and so well researched. Thanks for saving many of us loads of hours and failures 🙂

    • Dave Chesson on November 20, 2019 at 2:29 am

      No problem and glad to have helped!

  26. Charles Morris on November 3, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you Dave! You were true to your word about answering our emails. All the questions I had about keywords have been answered alone with re-booting my book. Thank you for allowing us to gain from your research and expense, a rarity in our world of greed and the “It is all about me” mentality. Your podcasts have been a serious learning curve for me, ouch, my head hurts. Thank you again.

    • Dave Chesson on November 20, 2019 at 2:24 am

      Awesome and always glad to have helped!

  27. Tony Smyth on October 30, 2019 at 3:51 am

    Very helpful . Thanks very much. One point : whats this under non-fiction “The pain points of your target reader” Urrrrr …. Gain points, Main points?

    • Dave Chesson on November 2, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Pain points is a sales copy term meaning that, think about what pains your nonfiction shopper that has now moved them to take action and find a book that will help them learn/solve/accomplish whatever it is that they seek.

  28. Connie Wesala on October 28, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Great help. I’ve been at a loss for four years (just published 4th novel). Can you “dilute” less by possibly using about half of those word/phrases? ha Or does that make no sense at all?

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Nope…That is correct!

  29. Cathryn Cade on October 27, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Dave, Thank you! Your work adds amazing tools to the indie author arsenal.

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Awe, thanks Cathryn!

  30. Elle Chadwick on October 26, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for this very insightful post. I have a question that I’ve seen contrary answers to and would love to know your take. Commas between keywords or phrases in the keyword box. Yea or nay?

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      ABSOLUTELY NO! Amazon even says do NOT use commas in between. The reason you might see conflicting information on that, is because the ones that say to use Commas are old content or people who are using old thoughts. About 2 years ago, Amazon used to only have 1 block to fill in, instead of 7 blocks. In that one block, they would tell people to write in seven keyword phrases, and separate them with a comma. Now, they specifically say to not put a comma in the blocks.

  31. Loretta Tollefson on October 26, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I have a question about the “Average Monthly Earnings” box. Is this amount for each competitor or for the entire category?

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      The Average Monthly Earnings is the average amount of money the top books that rank for that keyword are making.

  32. Janet Butler Male on October 25, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Wow! Impressive. Thanks! You have solved a great mystery, Sherlock Chesson.

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Awesome and glad to have helped!

  33. Jowana99 on October 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Dave, so we should use most relevant phrases in first 3 boxes and then keywords related to our book in rest of the 4 boxes. Now my question is in those first 3 boxes there will be lot of repetition. For example my book is on “keto diet for women” so if I search amazon then I find top 3 most relevant phrases would beketo diet for women
    keto diet for women over 50
    keto diet for women bookHere you can see all 3 top relevant phrases has similar 4 words that are keto diet for women. So what do you suggest then:A: Put these 3 phrases in first 3 boxes
    B: By combining all 3 phrases we get this “keto diet for women over 50 book” . By putting these keywords in box 1 we are covering every single words from all the phrases.I personally prefer B as amazon suggests not to repeat but from your experiment you suggest to put relevant phrases in first few boxes so there must be Repetition OF MULTIPLE WORDS EVERY TIME.My English is not good but I hope I have made my points understandable. Thanks for your amazing experiment.

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      Use only one: Keto diet for women over 50Because you the exact phrase “Keto Diet for Women” in there. And adding book is a waste since Amazon knows its a book and I’m pretty sure they do not allow for book in the 7 keywords.

  34. Natalia Stepanova on October 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Thank you Dave! Super helpful as usual!

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Awesome and glad to have helped 🙂

  35. Kevin Davey on October 22, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Dave – Loyal Rocket user here… I had question, about combining terms, but I see it answered elsewhere in comments. Great job!

    • Dave Chesson on October 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Oh, awesome! And glad you like Rocket. We’ve got some new features and additions coming soon (all of which will be free upgrades) 🙂

  36. James Truett on October 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Extraordinarily valuable information! Thanks for your always great posts, Dave!

    • Dave Chesson on October 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks and glad you liked it!

  37. Perry Morris on October 14, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    This is super useful. Great idea to research this and thanks for the thorough review. This is really helpful and I’m plan to implement ASAP. I guess I need to buy Rocket now. 🙂

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      No problem, glad to help. Sounds like a great plan!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks and glad you liked it!

  38. Celia Kyle on October 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you Dave! This was super helpful!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Awesome and glad you liked it!

  39. Eric Z on October 14, 2019 at 8:13 am

    RICH! Thanks Dave for this awesome experiment plus results!
    Very good take-aways and eye-openers.

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Thansk man!

  40. Scott Allan on October 14, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Fantastic post, Dave! It makes me realize the level of importance those boxes really are and best strategies for maximizing on keywords. Will start implementing this approach myself and pass on the lessons in coaching. Thanks!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Awesome and glad you liked it.

  41. Charles Veley on October 13, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Dave, thanks so much for this valuable information!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Absolutely and glad you liked it!

  42. J. R. Tomlin on October 12, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Exactly what is ‘too competitive’? And do I not use keywords because they are competitive even if they suit my novel?

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:18 am

      That is up to you and your background. If you have a large email list or are a very popular writer, then that will be different than if this was your first book. But generally speaking, a competition score of 60 or less usually means it it targetable without too much extra effort needed.

      • J. R. Tomlin on October 14, 2019 at 3:35 pm


  43. Tim Swezey on October 12, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Some of the best advice l’ve read for KDP.

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Awesome !

  44. wendygoerl on October 12, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Hmm, I find this enlightening…and disturbing. I’ve had plenty of experience in searches of my own where putting an exact phrase (in many different search engines, Amazon included ) in quotes–does NOTHING. Doesn’t give me the exact phrase I asked for, doesn’t refrain from using variations of a word (return “bell” when you said “bells”), doesn’t even refrain from substituting what it thinks are similar words (“bed” when you specifically said “gurney”).And that book that did not index because Amazon did not think they matched the book–That is scary. Sure, in this case Amazon was right, but what if it was wrong? How would you know? And what could yo do about it? (Again, speaking as someone gets 0% matches to her search criteria more often than anyone should, because the engine thinks It is “helping” by comparing it to what umpteen other people appeared to have wanted when they used those words.)

  45. Janice Brewster Weiser on October 12, 2019 at 2:25 am

    Thank you! Do you think this strategy will work for both ebooks and print books? Thanks for this and for Publisher Rocket. It is an awesome tool! Cheers!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Absolutely – tested for both in this one.

  46. JT Buckley on October 12, 2019 at 1:50 am

    Thanks Dave, again you provide us with the best in real data and research.

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Awe, thanks!

  47. CherylP on October 12, 2019 at 12:06 am

    I’ve been waiting to see the results of your experiment. This is great information. Thank you so much for doing this!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Glad you liked it – it took a LOT of time and effort, but soooo worth it.

  48. Dave Ives on October 11, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Excellent article full of concrete info I can apply to my book marketing. Thanks.

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Thanks and glad you liked it!

  49. Adele Niles on October 11, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Dave,Any idea how long it took to get indexed for new keywords and you saw a change in ranking? Was it days or weeks?How did you test and how can we test?

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Usually about 24 hours

  50. TJ Logan on October 11, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for this data. As a debut author, I can use all the insights available to ensure my books are going to be seen on Amazon.Acquiring Rocket is my next step!

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:21 am


    • Jim Rossi on December 19, 2019 at 3:56 am

      TJ Logan, the software is definitely worthwhile on its own (I pinch pennies sometimes to a fault) & I consider Dave`s research & blogs as part of the entire package.

  51. Andrew Jackson on October 11, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Another awesome insight into this amazing thrill ride of a hopeful career. Thanks, Dave. As always, your information is both useful and easy to digest. Will definitely re-tinker with the keywords and see where it leads.

    • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Thanks awesome to hear and thank you!

  52. richard h on October 11, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks Dave! This research is such a great service to the community. I want to make sure I understand the proper way to fill out all 50 characters. So let`s say I have these 4 phrases: realistic fiction, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, modern fiction. I could combine them into one 46-character long string (realistic contemporary literary modern fiction), put it into a single blank, and to Amazon, I’m indexed for every combination of those 5 words? Do I have that right?

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Yup – or so the data showed us would be the case.

      • Jim Rossi on December 17, 2019 at 4:26 am

        Thanks again, Richard & Dave for explaining this. I look forward to putting this into practice, especially now that I have sales and reviews at my back…

  53. Thibaut Meurisse on October 11, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Excellent! Thanks Dave.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Absolutely and glad you liked it.

  54. E. Christopher Clark on October 11, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Great stuff. One question: how does this impact “Categories with keyword requirements”? That is, if I stuff a bunch of keywords into my boxes and not just “family life,” can/will I still show up under “Literary Fiction Themes/Family Life”?

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      It doesn’t. There are some categories that require a keyword for Amazon to naturally decided to put you in that category. However, just by asking them to add you to a category (see my article on how to get added to 10 categories) they will do it automatically even if it is a category that requires a Keyword. Basically, if you follow my category addition process, you do not need to burn a keyword to get added to that category 🙂

  55. ReadSpeeder on October 11, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you. As always, real usable information. Besides using Publisher Rocket for publishing keywords, I’ve also used it for AMS keywords, and then taken the most productive AMS keywords and used them as publishing keywords.One question which may be slightly off-subject here though, is about the clicks vs product ranking chart included above: If position 1 & 2 get 27% and 12% of clicks, are these positions actually the ADS that typically show above the search results? If so, maybe it would still be worthwhile to continue paying for my ads even if my book shows up again in the search results because the ads would be getting 39% of the clicks while the #1 “search” result would only get 9%! Curious because I’ve never seen this question addressed.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      Nice and absolutely. As for your question, absolutely. I still advertise to the phrases I naturally rank #1 for anyway because of that exact point you bring up.

      • J. R. Tomlin on October 12, 2019 at 7:09 pm

        Dave, off topic, but are you ever going to add the ability to exclude on your AMS search? If I search for Scottish historical fiction series I come up with hundreds of romances and no I do not want them clicking because it is a waste of money. But it would take hours for me to go through and remove all of them.

        • Dave Chesson on October 14, 2019 at 10:19 am

          Already did….about half a year ago. There is the filters and there is the exclude buttons to the left. Be sure to check out the tutorials to learn more about those.

          • J. R. Tomlin on October 14, 2019 at 3:34 pm

            Thanks. Good to know. I looked just before I posted that and must have missed them. I’ll check the tutorial.

  56. Emma Baird on October 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks, Dave. This is great to know… As Val said, something to add to the ever-increasing ‘to-do’ list!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      haha…yup and glad you liked it.

  57. Matt Ralph on October 11, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    So Dave, what you ‘re basically saying is to use 3 out of the 7 boxes to write specific set keyword phrases, such as œchildren ‘s picture book if it is a highly searched term that isn ‘t too competitive. And then the other 4 boxes, just keyword stuff with other words that relate to your book, and don’t repeat any words used anywhere else?Thanks for this by the way – such an interesting article! Love Publisher Rocket and use it all the time!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      In essence, yes. That seems to be the most optimal way to get the best bang on your keyword strategy 🙂

  58. Sarah Jean Waldock on October 11, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    thanks, Dave, i am now experimenting with one fiction and one non-fiction book to see what happens. the non-fiction had been #12 in its category, and today is at#19 so I am hoping it might wander back up the ratings a bit, and maybe fulfill a couple more

  59. Dianna Winget on October 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you, Dave. Very informative. I think I ‘m pretty much doing everything this article suggests. One question I ‘ve never quite gotten an answer to though. When it comes to keywords which is more important overall, number of searches each month or competition? For example, if one keyword has 1000 searches and a comp rating of 80, but another has 250 searches and a comp rating of 55, which should I pick? It seems to happen often and I ‘m never sure. Thanks!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Number of searches per month – That is the power of whether or not a keyword actually helps. The competition score only indicates how much you need to do to get up there. If it is a perfect fitting keyword, and your book belongs in that result, then 80,50, whatever..I’ll take it and work to help increase its rankings for it.

  60. Loretta Tollefson on October 11, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This was extremely helpful. Now to redo all the keywords for all our books….. Wow, thanks for the project, Dave! lol

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Awesome and glad you liked it!

  61. Michal on October 11, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    You know, I love you, right?
    You did all the heavy lifting and delivered the results on a silver plate. Bless you, Dave.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Haha…thanks buddy. cannot wait to see you in Nashville soon 🙂 First round of coffee on me.

  62. Noah Marshall on October 11, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Tremendously helpful. Thank you for taking this on and for clearly delineating the results, Dave.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks Noah 🙂

  63. Steve LeBel on October 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Excellent information. Thank you for sharing.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Absolutely and glad you liked it.

  64. Kevin Davey on October 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Wow Dave, this is really helpful stuff! Thanks for providing it!!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks Kevin 🙂

  65. Jim Molinelli on October 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you Dave! This insight is so valuable for planning, or for updating keywords! Those 7 boxes were a total mystery, but now we have some sound data by which to make a few informed decisions. Bravo!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks Jim and that really means a lot to hear. Glad to have helped!

  66. SciFi_Fantasy Girl on October 11, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Excellent article – thanks for putting up the $$ to run this experiment and for sharing the results. Much appreciated! I second the question below for “if ‘war’ was in box 1 and ‘dragon’ in box 2…” so count this as a vote toward that should you run another experiment:-)

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:07 pm

      Yeah, I wish I had thought of that during the experiment….next time for sure!

  67. Alisha Klapheke on October 11, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Great info! Thanks for all your hard work. I need to get back into using my rocket stuff. I suppose I need an update… 🙂

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:07 pm

      Awesome and glad you liked it 🙂

  68. Charl Durand on October 11, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks Dave, this is a huge help and clears up a lot of confusion.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      Awesome and glad to have helped – you and me both. Wanted to definitively figure it out.

  69. Juniper Williams on October 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    So in filling in the boxes, do I need to separate words/phrases with commas? Or do I have no punctuation at all?? Great article !!

    • Cherise Kelley on October 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      Do not use any punctuation at all

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      What Cherise said. Also, Amazon even says do NOT put ” quotation marks or else you’ll make it that only if the person types in that EXACT phrase will it even index. So, no punctuation 🙂

  70. Kathy Carmichael on October 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you for the valuable and helpful information!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks Kathy and glad you liked it.

  71. Cliff Farris on October 11, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Even though I was too late to have my keywords included, your insights give me excellent direction. I see that I inadvertently used many of your findings.Many thanks for actually conducting experiments. You beat any number of anecdotes, ideas, intuitions, and just plain guesses.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks Cliff and glad you liked it. That was exactly my goal 🙂

  72. Alfaruk Aliraqi on October 11, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Very informative ARTICLE. it is so important to understand SEO And keywords to know the right way to deal with AMAZON KDP.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Awesome and glad you liked it. 🙂

  73. JM on October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Wow and thank you! My take away question is based upon your findings that Amazon will use all possible combinations of your keywords in a box (fantasy war mage dragon). What if these words were spread between different boxes? In other words if “war” was in box 1 and “dragon” in box 2, would the book still rank for “dragon war” and any other combinations of those two words? Thank you and this is why I use Kindlepreneur!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Sadly, I totally did not think about that and thus did not test for it. Someone else brought that up on my team at the end of testing, and I was sooo bummed I hadn’t thought of that. However, that is something I’ll do later in a future test because that is a GREAT question.

      • JM on October 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm

        While it wouldn ‘t be statistically helpful, this seems like something any of us could test/play around with.I have adopted the idea that keywords are bait and there are two kinds of fish you are attempting to catch.One fish is the searching potential customer. This isn ‘t a huge fish, but it is big enough for a dinner.The other fish is Amazon ‘s algorithm. This is a school of fish. If you can create enough keyword related sales to get Amazon to add its bait to your hook, then you can catch a year ‘s worth of dinner…or more.

  74. Keith Sylvester on October 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together. Great article!

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks Keith and glad you liked it!

  75. ValMcBeath on October 11, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Dave. This is really useful. Something that came to mind when reading this was the impact the 2 categories have on the overall indexing and ranking. For example: Do they have a greater impact than the keywords? Could they determine how relevant the 7 keywords are (and be a reason Amazon may ignore some KWs. I appreciate you’ve probably not delved into this, but maybe something for the future?

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      I found a couple of points where Amazon specifically says it affects your indexing and from what I see, I think it definitely does. However, I do not think it directly affects rankings as much but more or less helps Amazon to ensure you ‘should’ show up for certain keywords – see the second part of #6 – I think that is where Cats come in to play more.

      • ValMcBeath on October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

        Great thanks. Something else to add to my to do lit next week!

        • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

          Haha…and do not forget, you can get your book listed for 10 categories total 🙂

          • ValMcBeath on October 11, 2019 at 12:53 pm

            Yes, I do that already, but I have only been using the specific phrases in the KW boxes, so I need to go back and see how I can use up the 50 characters / box without duplicating. Good job I’ve got Rocket!

  76. D.K. Wall on October 11, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Excellent article and very helpful data. Thanks, Dave.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks and glad you liked it – and now on to a well deserved cup of coffee 🙂

  77. Michael Taggart on October 11, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    This is very good to know! Thanks for doing all the hard work.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks and glad you liked it – I took me over a month of full time work to produce but glad to seal it with definitive guidance 🙂

  78. David Rothwell on October 11, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Brilliant, many thanks Dave.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks and glad you liked it David!

  79. Amanda Roberts on October 11, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    This is so useful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Dave Chesson on October 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Awesome and no problem!

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.


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