How to Find Profitable Amazon Ad Keywords

Unsure which keywords you should target for your book's Amazon advertisements?

Struggling to find the recommended 200-300 keywords for your campaigns and build them out further so that you get real growth and profitable returns?

Want to avoid the common mistakes authors make when getting started with advertising on Amazon?

Not to worry. We will cover how to overcome all of those obstacles right here.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The most common mistakes authors make with Amazon ads and how you can avoid them
  • A key difference between KDP and Amazon ads keyword rules
  • Which keywords in your niche are the most profitable
  • How to find hundreds of keywords specifically for your book
  • The two types of keywords you must have for your campaigns

If you you're not sure what Amazon Ads are, or how to get started, then be sure to check out my full free video course on Amazon ads.

And with that, let's begin.

4 Common Advertising Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here are the top four mistakes authors make with their advertisement keywords that you can easily avoid:

1. Authors Choose Keywords that No One is Searching For

If you target words that no one ever types into Amazon or if you target books that no one ever sees, then there will be no opportunity for Amazon to show your ad. This leads to zero impressions and zero sales. That’s why it’s important to ensure you have keywords that shoppers actually use.

2. Authors Choose Keywords that are Too Competitive

However, selecting something too competitive will cause problems as well. If you choose a term that thousands of people type into Amazon every day, you’ll be competing with hundreds of big time publishers, self-publishers, and even merchandisers for that term. This will either make your Cost Per Click SUPER high or your ad will never show up.

3. Authors Don’t Choose Enough Keywords

Aim for at least 200 to 300 keywords per campaign. Selecting only a few perfectly fit keywords likely won’t get you enough impressions to make the campaign profitable or get seen. Like many others, you might discover that some of your most profitable keywords end up being something you never thought was directly correlated to your book.  This is usually where the gold is.

4. Authors Confuse KDP and Amazon Ad Keyword Rules

While KDP prohibits other book titles and author names as Kindle keywords, the Ads rules are different. In fact, targeting other book titles and authors is not only allowed in Amazon Ads, but it is a wise and recommended tactic.

4 Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Book Ads on Amazon...Don't Make These! #SelfPubClick To Tweet

How to Find Profitable Advertisement Keywords for Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Product Ads show up when someone types in a search term on Amazon, clicks search, and the resulting books are displayed. These are still the best form of ads on Amazon and give most authors the best return on investment (ROI).

Therefore, keywords for Sponsored Ads need to be words that people actually would type into the search box. These include two different types of keywords:

  1. Descriptive phrases – words that people use to describe the book or what they are looking for
  2. Related book titles and authors – names of books and authors that are related to your book

There are specific steps you can take to find valuable keywords for each of these categories. You will probably want to get an Excel sheet ready to organize your keyword results.

I will warn you… it is a time-intensive project if you do all the keyword research manually. However, it can be done in about two minutes if you have Publisher Rocket. I’ll show you below using Publisher Rocket’s brand AMS Search Feature.

The steps below show you exactly what to look for and how to find the perfect advertisement keywords for your Amazon book advertisements.

Finding Descriptive Phrase Keywords

Descriptive phrases could be a description of the shopper’s pain point or how they would describe a book when they don’t already have a specific book in mind. For example:

Nonfiction: back pain, lower back pain, acute back pain, relieve back pain fast
Fiction: sci-fi military, epic space battle, space marines

Your goal is to create a list of words that your target market would type into Amazon if they were looking for your type of book. Got your spreadsheet ready? Here we go!

Step 1. List any terms that come to mind that would describe your book.

Start a list of the most common and basic terms that describe your book topic and genre. Think of common phrases people use to describe your genre, the themes and topics in your book, and what your book offers its readers (information, entertainment, etc.).

Step 2. Type those words or phrases into Amazon and see what else Amazon suggests

Tip: Make sure to use Google Chrome’s “Incognito Mode” so Amazon doesn’t use your account’s information or previous searches when showing you suggestions. You don’t want to taint our results with your own information, but instead get the raw information from Amazon.


Extra Tip: Select “Kindle Store” in Amazon before you search, so the suggestions will be more book-focused.
Start typing the phrases you listed in step 1, and Amazon will present you with suggestions based on real customer searches. If any are a good fit for your book, write them down.

kindle store keyword search

Then type one of your terms followed by an “A” and see what Amazon suggests. Erase the “A” and type a “B,” and so on through the alphabet. Write down those keywords Amazon suggests that match your book topic well. This makes sure you find even the most specific terms to use in your ads.

Step 3. Use synonyms and misspellings.

Another strategy to generate more keywords is to use synonyms and common misspellings of the terms already on your list.
A good benchmark is to have at least 50 keywords on your list at this point. If you don’t, repeat these 3 steps and see what else you can come up with.

Next, you’ll start adding keywords related to similar book titles and authors.

After you have at least 50 descriptive phrase keywords, you're ready to move onto other book titles and authors. These are the keywords people type in when they have a particular author or book in mind.

Step 1. Use Keyword Search Results

Type your best descriptive terms into Amazon and click search. Amazon presents a list of books. Add each book title, series name, and author name(s) to your list of keywords.

Step 2: Use “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”

Click on the books you think best represent your book. Copy the titles, series names, and author names of the books that appear in the “Customers who bought this item also bought” section.

customers who bought this item

Step 3: Use Top Books in the Category

Next, click on the pertinent categories of those books to see the top 20 books in that category. Add these book titles, series names, and author names to your list. You can even click on the next page and copy the information for the books that rank 21-40 to find more keywords.

top 3 books in category

Step 4: Use “Hot New Releases”

To the right of the top books in each category are the “Hot New Releases” for that category. Click on this and copy the title, series names, and author names of the top 20 books here. These are usually a keyword gold mine because they are new, they don’t have much competition in AMS yet, and they are in the middle of their big launch period. This equals a high number of impressions and low competition.

hot new releasesStep 5: Repeat

Repeat steps 2-4 for all other pertinent books from step 1.
At this point, you should have at least 200 target keywords on your list.

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Want to Save Time? This Will Do All That Work For You

Now that may sound like a lot of copying and pasting, with extra steps.  But, they're very important to helping authors actually get their book in front of readers.

So, to help authors be able to automate the above steps, Publisher Rocket, a software that I designed, has a feature that will do ALL that work for you in three easy steps. A simple AMS Keyword Search will find those descriptive keywords and Amazon suggestions for you, AND it will go through each result and category to gather that book information for you as well. With just one click, you can export all the keywords to an Excel sheet. Watch and be amazed:

It’s seriously as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1. In Publisher Rocket, click “AMS Keywords Search,”

Step 2. Type a phrase that describes your book, then click “Go Get ‘Em Rocket.”

Publisher Rocket will find all the Amazon suggestions, all the book information from the results, AND the top books in the categories. Once that list is complete…

Step 3. Click “Export” and all the data will be placed in an Excel sheet for you.

That’s it!

Finding Amazon Ad Keywords Can Be As Easy As 1-2-3! Find out how...#BookMarketingClick To Tweet

If you are selling or planning to sell books on Amazon, this new AMS Search Feature on Publisher Rocket alone will pay for itself many times over with the hundreds of targeted keywords it can find for you, not to mention the massive amount of time it will save you. You can create your Amazon book advertisement campaigns fast then get back to the fun part–writing!

And for more on Publisher Rocket, check out Samantha Howard's review on NerdyBookGirl! She takes you step-by-step on how to use this awesome program!

Advanced Steps to Find Even More Keywords

The above steps can really help get your campaigns going.  However, after working on my own projects, as well as others, I've learned that there some extra steps that have really helped to produce extra return.

GoodReads Book Lists

Go to GoodReads and type in the names of some of the popular books related to your book. After selecting a book, scroll down until you see “Lists with this Book,” then click “More Lists with this Book.” This will show you lists of books based on some kind of theme that users created. Look for lists that REALLY speak to your target audience and use any new book titles and author names from this list for your ads keywords.

You can also use popular cultural events to help your campaigns. For example, during political elections, there is a list of new keywords on people’s minds. See if you can make any of these relevant to your book.

Book Awards

Popular book awards for your genre is another thing to consider when building your keyword list. Many readers love finding that next “award winning” book. So the Hugo and Nebula Awards are perfect keyword targets for Sci-Fi Military writers. Look into the awards that exist in your genre or niche.

You can also look for popular movie titles in your genre–especially new and upcoming ones. Here is a great example: Wendy Van De Poll, a self-published author who writes about dog loss grief, used the movie title A Dog’s Purpose as one of her ads keywords when the movie came out. This innovative thinking to find a popular search term with little competItion led to a very profitable campaign for Wendy.

my dog is dying book

Yasiv Relative Books

Yasiv is a free website that will show you what books it thinks are relative to a particular book.  Here's how it works:

  1. Type in a target book
  2. Yasiv tells you all books it thinks are connected to it based on sales and other factors

These books can be great keywords for your ads keyword list, as well as give you ideas of other books to investigate and focus on in your campaigns as well as your sales copy.



By having the knowledge to create a massive list of popular and profitable keywords for your ads campaign, you are now far ahead of most authors. All it takes is implementing the steps here to get your campaigns running, so you can watch your Kindle book sales climb.

Remember, you will want to find 200-300 keywords to start, both descriptive terms as well as similar book titles and author names. These keywords are critical to your book advertisement success. And to get this job done right, THE absolute best tool to find Ads Keywords is Publisher Rocket.

Want even more information about optimizing your campaigns to sell more books on Amazon? Sign up for my completely FREE, full course Amazon Book Ads for Books before it’s gone.

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20 thoughts on “How to Find Profitable Amazon Ad Keywords

  1. Augustine Campana

    Hi Dave,
    I have taken your Art of Categories and Art of Keywords courses plus many of your free offerings and I’m still not clear about this —
    Do we want to use the 7 Kindle keywords in our list of custom keywords for an ad campaign? It seems this might be a waste of $$.
    Thanks for helping.

    1. Dave Chesson

      I still do because with the ads, you’ll for sure be at the top. Plus I think (Stressing ‘think’) that it helps to show Amazon sales conversions for those keywords which helps in rankings. I don’t have enough data to say for sure, but even if that isn’t the case, I still personally do that.

  2. Dave Ives

    Thanks for the informative article Dave. I took your AMS marketing course and I’m using KDPRocket and it’s working … many impressions, a good amount of clicks and finally some book sales. AMS is dynamite in that you only pay for clicks; book sales are keeping pace with click costs so far …

  3. Robin Glassey

    I’ve tried twice now to sign up for the free course and I haven’t gotten the confirmation email (I’ve checked the spam box).

    1. Dave Chesson

      Not sure what to tell you. I don’t have access to your sign in information. The only thing I can add is to try a different email.

      1. Robin Glassey

        I’m all set now. There was a long delay in cyber space. I’ve also purchased KDP Rocket and have started on my key words. Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to getting my amazon ads working smoothly and profitably.

  4. Rachel Smith

    Just a note – this is only applicable to ebooks, not print books…

    1. Dave Chesson

      Yes and no. As of now, you can’t setup an AMS campaign for just a book. However, by setting up the campaign for your ebook, you are also selling your book as well. The ad drives people to your ebook page, and they can choose any of the other versions of your book like paperback, hard cover, audible, etc.

  5. Carol Tice

    Love that this is getting added to KDP Rocket, Dave! But my question is — how does have 200-300 keywords help me? I can’t stuff those ALL into ONE ad, right? Do I need to generate hundreds of slightly different ads or something? Sorry if this is obvious to everyone else…

    1. Dave Chesson

      Thanks. With regards to your question, the short answer is yes, you can. And it’s not stuffing. What you do, is tell Amazon that you’re interested in showing your book ad any time someone types in those particular words are are looking at those books. The reason why you want the large number is because you’ll be amazed at how many it will usually take before Amazon gives traction and it’s kind of crazy what brings about sales. If you’d like to see it in action and how I put it all together, grouping ad copy by shopper mentality, I show all in my free course:

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