My Keywords Aren’t Working and How to Fix that!


If your book isn’t selling as well as you’d like, it might be time to take a look at the keywords you’re using.

There are three main reasons your keyword might not be working for you:

  • You’ve selected keywords no one types into Amazon
  • You don’t rank for those keywords
  • You don’t belong there

What keywords people search for in Amazon

Let’s look at the first one a bit closer: You’ve selected keywords no one types into Amazon.

When you go to publish a book, you may think of words your ideal reader would type into Amazon to search for a book like yours. The problem is that the market sometimes doesn’t think that way, and the truth is, we need to do our research in order to figure out what people are typing into Amazon and, more importantly, how many people type those keywords in Amazon.

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As many of you know, I’ve created a tool called Publisher Rocket that will help you get that information. It will tell you what people are typing into Amazon, and how many of them are doing so.

Ranking is important for keyword searches

The second reason is all where you are on the Amazon charts: You don’t rank for those keywords.

Statistically speaking, you can expect 27 percent of the people who type that keyword in to click on your book if you rank No. 1. However, if you’re further down on the list, that percentage quickly drops.

You may be using a keyword you know is being typed in, but because you’re not ranking in the top five, you’re not getting any sales benefit from it.

List in the appropriate place

The third reason your keywords might not be working for you is: You don’t belong there.

This is a cold, hard truth for some, but this isn’t me being mean. When Amazon shoppers type in that keyword and select your book and buy it, that indicates to Amazon that the keyword is applicable to your book.

Amazon likes that because they make more money.

But when the wrong keyword is chosen, shoppers might skip over your book because it doesn’t fit what they’re looking for.

How to Fix Your Keywords

There are three ways you can fix your keywords:

  • Change them
  • Improve your rankings
  • Change your cover and/or book description to fit the market idea

If you publish your book and you’re not seeing the kind of sales you want, change your keywords by going into Amazon KDP and changing just one of your seven and monitor how it goes.

Do not change them all at once, though. You’ll want to change one thing at a time and track the sales of your book to see which words work better than others. You may even see a surge in sales because you’ve changed it to something Amazon could show it for.

The second way is to make sure people are actually typing those keywords in to find your book so you can improve your rankings. If you’re looking at your seven keywords and you’re going through Amazon and you can’t even find your book, the market isn’t finding your book either.

One way to improve your ranking is if you know somebody is going to go buy your book or wants to buy it, instead of sending them a link, ask them to go to Amazon, type in your keyword and find your book that way to purchase. This isn’t hacking the system, by the way; it’s giving you an opportunity to been shown to the market.

If your book cannot be found using the keyword, though, it means Amazon has decided not to rank your book, which goes hand-in-hand with the third tip. Your book's description is indexed by Amazon and it’s used by Amazon to determine where products are placed.

Your keyword is an understanding to the true need of your market. How are they describing their pain point? How are they describing the type of book they love to read? This doesn’t mean changing the content of the book, itself, but better representing the content on the cover and in the description.

Relating the ideal reader of your book in either the cover or description can help your book target those shoppers. One client of mine, K. M. Weiland has a book coming out that’s set in the 1800s and, through keyword research, we found that using pictures of gas lamps on her cover and as one of her keywords somehow works in her favor to let readers know the time period in which her story takes place.


Above all else, make sure your cover title and description truly represents your book and the market and the keywords they’re using when they find your book.

Resources Referred to in this Episode:

“Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books."
- Kindle Direct Publishing

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4 thoughts on “My Keywords Aren’t Working and How to Fix that!

  1. Kim Leane

    Just listened to this podcast. My question is: on Amazon, it mentioned not to bother picking keywords that are in the title because it ‘s already going to use the title to decide to place you ¦ it mentioned that would just be redundant. What do you think that ‘s true? For example, if your title is How To Write A Speech, should you use that phrase as one of your keywords?

    1. Dave Chesson

      I would use it at a keyword and I would also use the synonyms for “speech” and “write”. Hope that helps.

  2. Eric Z

    This Podcast is GOLD Dave!
    I want to be on your “revive a dead book” podcast!

    1. Dave Chesson

      Awesome and sounds good. Hit me up in messenger

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