How To Choose the Right Kindle Keywords


Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying a kindle keyword can play an important role in Amazon ebook sales. Selecting the right set of Kindle keywords can open up new markets and your book’s reach in the marketplace.

They can be pivotal in increasing your Amazon product page views and driving other search traffic to your Amazon sales page. They assist algorithms in finding your book and indexing your information.

Simply put, they are important and should be understood and even harnessed.

To help you truly grasp this crazy strategy, increase your ebook sales, and make more money as an author, continue reading. This is the most comprehensive article on this subject written anywhere, to date.

We will cover both types of keywords – which even most “gurus” are confused about – their importance, and how to use them to drive traffic to your ebook sales page. And as a bonus, I will let you in on my [up until now] top-secret strategic process that has helped me take my Kindle publishing to the next level.

And as a bonus, I will let you in on my [up until now] top-secret strategic process that has helped me take my Kindle publishing to the next level and a little something I’m putting together to bottle it all up for you.

In this Article, You Will Learn

  • The difference between “Amazon Keywords” and “SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Keywords”
  • 2 methods for finding more money-making Keywords
  • Where to place your Keywords so as to increase your rankings and exposure
  • The Kindle software that does everything we’ll discuss in a couple of clicks
Bonus: Want to increase your Book’s rankings in Amazon? Download my personal guide on increasing your books rankings and discoverability on Amazon so you get more sales continuously!

Do Kindle Keywords Work?

But before we get into that, I know there are going to be self-publishers out there that will disagree with me and say its either A: a waste of time or B: cheating the system.

I disagree and here is proof:

This first picture is of my sales of two of my Keyword specific books.  Each one sells for $9.99.  Can you see that steady stream of sales?  If you are wondering, they are well received by the readers but they have that steady stream of traffic mainly because of my keywords.

Kindlepreneur Kindle Keyword Results My buddy, Alex Barker of the 66 Day Experiment Podcast – which is totally awesome, noticed that the sales of his ebook had become stagnant.

After coming to me for a little keyword help, we got him in front of a new market and generated some sales.  He was so thankful, he bought me an Amazon gift card…that and coffee are my two favorite things!  Total score!

How kindle keywords can help sell more ebooksNow, I will tell you, I too have had failures with Amazon keywords, where I thought something was prime and they never panned out.  So, this isn’t one of those MAGIC bullets you hear about – “So easy a Caveman can do it!”

But I hope you’ll agree with me that Keywords should be investigated, and in this article, I’ll show you how I do it.

The Ethics to Keywords Use

Now, before scrolling furiously to the bottom of this article to shoot off some nasty hate mail (although I do love productive comments), let me clarify my beliefs on appropriate keyword usage and temper expectations.

Keywords are important, but:

  • Never change the intent or purpose of your book, just to satisfy keyword searches.
  • Never intentionally smear your Amazon product page with keywords so as to rank better for that kindle keyword.
  • Never attempt to rank for terms that don’t directly relate to your book.
  • Successful ebook sales depend on more than just kindle Keywords, so this isn’t a magic bullet.

These types of tactics listed above are sleazy and ultimately ruin the experience of the customer. Your customer’s satisfaction should be your top priority; it affects your paychecks in the long run. Your reputation will always catch up with you. Make it a good one!

Happy customers = repeat sales = more money in your pocket!

So, use this information responsibly.

But to completely snub this simple tactic is like the Fellowship of the Ring not using the eagles to fly to Mordor…they still got there, but only after a ridiculously long period of serious struggles and some bumps along the way.Kindle-Keyword-selection-process-is-easy

What are Keywords?

Most experienced self-publishers know or have heard about keywords. They are target words or phrases that you want your ebook or book to rank for in search engine results, like Amazon’s.

So, let’s say you’ve written a science fiction novel entitled “Galactic War Lords.” You might want your book to show up in the results for search phrases like “space war,” “space opera,” or “military sci-fi,” instead of just showing up for the search phrase “Galactic War Lords.”

If your book only shows up in an Amazon search when people type in your exact title, your potential traffic will be devastatingly limited – in an organic sense of the meaning.

So, to expand your potential traffic on Amazon, you’ll first need to know what words or phrases get a lot of traffic – and more importantly – which of those high-traffic words/phrases have less competition.

Stick with me here because we are just getting started.

Amazon Keywords versus SEO Keywords: What’s the difference?

When dealing with Amazon, there are two different sets of keywords that you should be strategically choosing: Amazon Keywords and SEO Keywords. Let me explain.

Amazon Keywords

Amazon Keywords are the 7 keywords that Amazon asks you for when you go to upload your book.

7 Amazon Keyword Selection screenThe 7 Amazon keywords you select when you publish your book helps Amazon’s algorithm know where your book should initially show up in their results.

Amazon Keywords can also be key (nice one, huh?) in unlocking certain categories for your ebook and should be used in this capacity if you find a stellar category to pursue.

However, an Amazon Keyword is not as powerful as many self-publishers think.

Most people don’t realize that an Amazon Keyword is an Amazon-internal phrase. In other words, other search engines like Google and Yahoo can’t even see your Amazon Keyword.

Furthermore, your Kindle Keyword’s relevance to Amazon QUICKLY dissipates a meager three months after you initially publish your book.

Don’t believe me? Check out your Kindle sales page’s source code by using the following instructions when you are on your sales page.Meta-Tags-for-Amazon-Kindle-Rankings

As you go through your page’s HTML, you’ll notice that there is NO section showing the Amazon Keywords. They aren’t “meta tags” like many savvy gurus think – don’t worry, this is all advanced gobbledegook for the naysayers that need proof….you CAN just take my word for it when I say that Amazon Keywords have no value to other search engines and move on 😉 .

Another problem with Amazon Keywords is that they are restricted by rules. Here is a complete list of Amazon Keyword No-No’s – these are Amazon’s rules, not mine:

Do not include these things in your Amazon Keywords:

  • Any information that is covered somewhere else in your book such as title, category, etc.
  • Any claim about its quality like “best” or “top”
  • Statements that are temporary like “on sale”, “new”, or “limited offer”
  • Common information about all books like “book” “ebook” “kindle”
  • Misspellings so as to game the system, unless it is a translation issue like “Mao Zedong” and “Mao Tse-tung” (PS: We have a great article that talks about translations and how to increase your international book sales through this)
  • Variations of words or spacing
  • Anything that is misleading

Amazon Keywords are useful, but they shouldn’t be the only keyword strategy you use.

SEO Keywords

SEO Keywords are much more universal. Strategic SEO Keyword usage not only helps Amazon’s search engine algorithm place your books in the right search results, it also helps other search engines, like Google and Yahoo, find your product page.

This is vital, because it will drive more outside traffic to your book’s sales page! Don’t restrict yourself to only Amazon traffic!

These SEO Keywords are not officially selected and listed like the Amazon Keywords. Instead, once you have identified some great SEO Keywords, you will use them strategically throughout your sales page.

Places you can insert your SEO Keywords are:

If you would like to know more about where and how to optimize your sales page with these SEO Keywords, download my free ebook.

It details the specific things you can do to increase your Amazon rankings.

For the remainder of this article, unless I specifically say “Amazon Keywords” I’m talking about SEO Keywords. I will be diligent in differentiating these two.

How to Select Your 7 Amazon Keywords

When selecting my 7 Amazon Keywords, the first one or two will be chosen to grant me a specific category. After that, my Amazon Keywords and my SEO Keywords are usually the same…sort of.

This is where I get strategic.

According to Amazon’s rules (listed above), I can’t select an Amazon Keyword that is also in my title or anywhere else on my book’s sales page.

So, instead, for my Amazon Keywords, I select words or phrases that are synonymous with what the SEO Keyword will be.


Let’s say you were to write a book called, “Practice Tests for the PSAT.”

In doing your keyword research, you would find “practice test” to be a prime (target) keyword. However, because “practice test” is in the title, and Amazon forbids you from using it as one of your Amazon Keywords, you could instead choose a synonymous word/phrase like “Pretest,” “Example Test Questions,” or “Practice Exam.”

And believe me, when you see our next discussion, you’ll find out that lots of people use these phrases instead of just the obvious one of “practice test”.

So to recap: My first two Amazon Keywords are usually geared towards a specialized secret category – as explained in the linked article to the left – and the rest of my 7 Kindle Keywords are synonymous to my SEO Keywords (which we will talk about next), but don’t violate Amazon’s rules.

Now that you understand how to select your Amazon Keywords, let’s talk about the real driving force behind keyword success: the SEO Keyword selection process.

The Fine Art to SEO Keyword Selection On Amazon

Look, everyone would love to have their Science Fiction book rank #1 on Amazon for the term, “Science Fiction.” That would almost be instant success, right?

However, that is almost always unattainable.

The art and science to keyword selection is finding the perfect combination of High Demand and Low Competition.

And you don’t find this by going after keywords as broad in meaning or as short-phrased as “Science Fiction.”   Instead, you need to look for the “long tail” keywords.

Long tail keywords are actually long phrases. An example of a long tail keyword would be “Science Fiction Military Space War.”

Now, here is where it gets tricky. The longer your long tail keyword is, the less competition you will have. But, on the flip side of the coin, you will also have less traffic to go after. In other words, fewer potential customers are looking for that keyword.In other words, fewer potential customers are looking for that keyword.

In other words, fewer potential customers are looking for that keyword.

Now do you see what a fine balancing act this is?

The more niche your keyword is, the fewer customers it will get…but the more attainable it will be to get that #1 ranking.

So, to help you find that perfect balance of High Demand and Low Competition, I have created the following guide. You are going to learn exactly how to find the right long tail keywords for your Kindle ebook.

How to Select an Ideal Target SEO Keyword for Kindle

There are two ways to do this:

A. Free (but Slow and not as effective)
B. Cheap (but Fast and really effective)

I’m sure you know which method I use.

But it hasn’t always been this way! When I first started, I used the free method because, well hey, an author’s gotta eat, right?

Free Kindle Keyword Selection Process: Amazon’s Autofill Function

Wouldn’t it be nice if Amazon would tell you which keywords are popular on their site?

Well, it turns out they do…although unintentionally.

For this free method, we’re going to use Amazon’s own search box to get what we need.

Step 1: Use Amazon Search to Find Potential Keywords

Amazon created a function in their search box that guesses what you are going to type into it based on the popularity of particular terms – the autofill function.Results for an Amazon Ranking search

So, if you were to start typing in the word “star,” Amazon would immediately pre-populate the search box with words Amazon believes you will type in next, based on previous customers’ searches and your own.

The trick is to start by typing in the broad term(s) that you think pertain to your book and wait to see what else Amazon adds to that word or term. Instantly, your simple keyword is transformed into some very valuable long tail keywords. See where we are going with this?

IMPORTANT NOTE: One thing I want to add in here is that for the suggestion box, Amazon uses two major things: historic searches of other people, and yours.  They track your previous history of amazon searches using your account AND any cookies stored on your computer.  Therefore, if you want to get better results that aren’t tainted with your previous search history, make sure to log out of your Amazon Account AND go incognito mode on Chrome or the equivalent on other internet browsers.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s try it!

First, start by selecting “Kindle Store” as the Amazon category. You want to know what is popular in your industry.

Yes, you could just search “all” Amazon departments and hope to find terms other Kindle authors haven’t used, but in my many years of experience, I have never found it to be fruitful…just a large time-suck.

Once you have “Kindle Store” selected, start typing in words or phrases that pertains to your ebook.

Type slowly. You want to give Amazon an opportunity to pre-generate a list of potential keywords for you.

A good strategy is to add each letter of the alphabet, just one at a time after your broad keyword term, and see what comes up.

For example, say we are still on the sci-fi hunt like the example above. You would start by typing in the following:

“Science Fiction a”…then, “Science Fiction b”…then, “Science Fiction c”…

and so on…

You would do this with every letter in the alphabet – even ‘z’ – and look to see how Amazon completes your search phrase. You’d be surprised what Amazon will come up with!

Once finished with “Science Fiction…” repeat the process with other pertinent terms and keep finding potential keywords to use. For example:

Space a
Space b
Space c


As you go, keep a written list of possible long tail keywords that you think would pertain to your book. Are you starting to see how powerful this strategy is?

This list of long tail keywords you generate with nothing more than the Amazon search box can help you in a couple of ways:

  • It tells you what’s popular and gets traffic
  • It gives you ideas for longer tail keywords to research

This will probably help you generate a very large list of potential keyword phrases, but just because Amazon suggests a keyword, doesn’t mean it’s a good keyword. Remember from the beginning of our conversation: the best keyword is one that has traffic but doesnt have too much competition.

Now it’s time to tackle the competition part.

Here we are going to look at how you can take this keyword list and figure out which keyword combinations are goldmines, and which are too competitive and not worth your time.

Step 2: Check to See How Competitive those Keywords Are

Now that you have your list of potential long tail keyword phrases, you need to check three things:

  1. How many books rank for that keyword?
  2. How strong are the books on the front page?
  3. How much interest is there in the books…not just on Amazon – are they making money?

1. How Many Books Rank for that Keyword

Why go after a keyword that has too much competition? Or a keyword for which the competition is just too strong?

It really doesn’t do you much good if your book doesn’t have a chance of making it on the first page of the search results.

In a buyer’s mind, if a book doesn’t make the first page, it probably isn’t worth his or her time. Getting on the first page is key!  Getting to the top of the search result, even more important.

As you can see from the chart below, the higher your book ranks for something, the higher chance you have that a customer will click on your book:

Clicks on Amazon based on Ranks

Rank #1, and on average you can expect around 27% of all people who type in that Kindle Keyword to click on your book.  Rank #2 and you’ll get half of that.

As you can see, being able to beat the competition is SUPER important.

So, to see how many books are ranking for a keyword and thus the number of competitors, first type that particular keyword phrase into Amazon’s search box and press enter.

Now, look at the left corner like the picture below shows.Amazon search Results for Keywords exampleThis shows you how many ebooks are listed on Amazon that are ranking for that keyword.

There isn’t really a magic number to look for, but understand that keywords with less competition are usually easier to beats and if the number is too high, then perhaps try to niche down some more in your keyword selection.

The most important aspect is whether or not the books on the first page are beatable. 

2. How strong are the books on the first page and are they making money?

Your ultimate goal should be to show up on the first page.

Well, if all the books on the first page are selling like hotcakes, then you probably won’t show up on the first page of that keyword’s results.

But on the other hand, if none of them are making any sales, then that keyword might not be a profitable one either.

Again, make sure to check out my free ebook to learn more about what really effects Amazon Kindle Rankings!

So, to figure out if the books on that search’s first page are weak enough to compete against but strong enough to generate the volume of traffic worth your time (aka makes money), use the following criteria:

  1. It should have fewer than 4 ebooks with an Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR) less than of <10,000
  2. It should have fewer than 7 ebooks with the keyword in their title and or subtitle
  3. It should have fewer than 2 with Best Seller marks
  4. At least 2 ebooks should have an ABSR <100,000 – shows there are decent sales

If the results match those criteria, then the keyword survives the cut and moves on to the next step. If not, then scratch it off your list and try the next one.

Step 3: Check Outside Sources for Keyword Competition

Once you have this large list of potential keywords that have minimal Amazon competition but seem to make some money, we need to figure out if they really are worth going after and what other search engines have to say about them.

So far we have only focused on Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t tell us the exact amount of traffic that each competitive keyword has (unless you use this self-publishing software).

Sure, Amazon’s autofill function will tell us that “Big red wolf” is more popular than “Big blue wolf.” But it doesn’t tell us how many people type that keyword phrase into the search box. As far as we know, it could only be 5 people a year…and that is clearly not worth our time.

Therefore, we need to turn to another source: Google.

Thankfully, Google and other websites track this information and share it with us. Score!

Now, many so-called gurus recommend using Google’s tool, Keyword Planner.  Keyword Planner is fine enough in telling you the number of searches per month, but its competitive score is WAY TOO vague for my liking.

For this reason, I DO NOT recommend using this tool as exclusively as other may suggest.

Instead, I like to use the free version of KWFinder. This little bad boy will tell you the following:KWFinder for Amazon SEO

  1. How many people type in that word per month in Google
  2. Other potential keyword suggestions
  3. Level of competition for that keyword in a 1-100 scale (with 1 being easiest to rank for).

Using this tool, I will then plug in each of the potential keywords still remaining on my list.

Using KWFinder, I now have an analytical understanding of the level of interest in the word and how hard it will be to rank for it.

For the level of competition, you want to look at the metric labeled “SEO.” Like I said above, it is a 1-100 scale, with 1 being the easiest.Galactic Warlord Kindle Rankings

Personally, I like to see a competitiveness factor of 20-25 or less.

Just a heads up, but the free version of KWFinder allows you to do only 5x keyword searches a day.  So use them wisely or else you’ll need to pay for a subscription.

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat

If you’ve followed the above steps carefully, you should have reduced your large list of phrases into a much smaller, more strategic list of very popular, traffic-generating, easy-to-compete-for keywords that make money.

Sometimes, you may find that your results weren’t strong enough or the criteria for success weren’t met. If that is the case, then rinse and repeat.

Yep, I know, that sounds crazy, but like I said above, when I used this free technique it would sometimes take me days to finally find the right set of keywords.

Be diligent. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary.

The Faster and Better Way to Find KDP Keywords

Obviously, the above steps are quite tedious and back when I did it, it could take forever to get it all together.

That’s why my team and I created KDP Rocket.  This self-publishing software does exactly what we just talked about:

  • Gives you keyword suggestions using both Amazon’s search and Google
  • Tells you how many people per month type the keyword into Google
  • Tells you how many people per month type the keyword into Amazon (SUPER new feature)
  • Gives a score from 1-99 telling you how competitive a kindle keyword is
  • Tells you how much money other books are making
  • Gives you key data so as to beat those books and rank better

Here’s a sneak peak of its book idea search function.

Best of all, is that in works on both MAC and PC!

KDP Rocket has been seen on Forbes, Entrepeneur and more.  Increase your keyword research efficiency and effectiveness for ONLY $97 one time fee. Soon, we will be making it a subscription. So lock in your lifetime access now!
Get It Now!


Keywords are important. In order to make your book stand out from the crowd, you must learn how to strategically choose them and ethically harness their power.

There’s a difference between Amazon Keywords and SEO Keywords. I’ve shown you how to choose and use them both to increase your ebook sales.

The right keyword combinations can open up new markets for you. Strategic keyword selection will drive more viewers to your book. You can use keywords to gain more viewers and ultimately, make more sales.

Find the right keywords one of two ways: either use my free methods, or pay once for KDP Rocket and have all the dirty work done for you. With KDP Rocket, you will have instant access to loads of incredibly valuable information at your fingertips.

Whichever method you use though, just use this information ethically, and you will enjoy the rewards.

BONUS: Don’t foget to download my free guide to increasing your kindle rankings.  Just click below to download and start getting your book infront of more customers.



  • Dave Chesson

    I have learned the hard way that comments don’t always work…haha.. testing testing 1, 2, 3.

  • *hate comment*
    I really don’t think keywords are any good. Take “personal mission statement” for example. My book ranks at Kindle at #1 or #2 ever since publishing. KW Finder says 9,900 searches a month. I sell 1-2 copies a day and it is not a $9.99 book.

    Another book, another keyword: “persistence”, 60,500 searches, about 5 sales a day.
    IMHO, they are not worth chasing.

    • First off, congrats on being able to write a ever green book that brings in $90 – $180 a month, every month. I am sure there are a lot of authors out there that would see that as a victory. And how long did it take you to write that book? But now, you enjoy that passive income, right? Awesome.

      So, how do you think you got those 1-2 copies a day? Is it because you send that traffic to your book? Or is it because the Amazon algorithm sends that traffic? So, what I see is that your keyword “personal mission statement” was easy to rank for, and thus got you to rank #1 in Amazon. In turn, that keyword drove enough traffic to your ebook page to create 1-2 sales per day….and thus brings you $90-$180 a month in passive income. Sounds like keywords worked for you….just not in the uber awesome way you were hoping for.

      Keyword research isn’t perfect, but using the steps above prior to writing the book, you would have seen that your book would have been profitable…which it was. Again, congrats!

      • Dave, you are making a classic mistake assuming that all the trafic to my book goes from keyword research.

        What about word of mouth referals? What about bestseller listings? What about “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section?
        I honestly doubt that even 30% of Amazon traffic comes from keywords.
        And your income math needs some improvement. Amazon’s cut is not my income.

      • Agree. That would be dreamy. I’d love to have one sale a day let alone 5. Totally inspired here, thanks!

  • Awesome post! One of the biggest mistakes I made when first starting out with publishing on Kindle was ignoring keywords. I’ve gotten better at them and have seen more success because of it but I’m still not where I want to be. I’ve always just focused on targeting keywords for Amazon’s search engine and never really focused on the actual search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. It’s something I’ve been wanting to learn more about because I definitely see the value in getting your Amazon books to rank high for Google searches. One thing you mention which I’ve actually seen opposite results on was including the title of your book as one of the 7 keywords. You mention it at some points as if it’s breaking an Amazon rule to do this, I never knew this if it is. I’d be curious to know more about you reasonings for excluding it from part of the 7 keywords. When I first started publishing I did not include the book title as part of the 7 keywords because I didn’t think I needed to but someone recommended that I try it and when I went back and put my book title as a keyword I saw an increase in sales. There are a lot of other variables involved in this which may have been the actual reason for the sales increase so I’m definitely curious to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Hey Dave – great name btw, the list of no-no’s that I refer to in the post are actually Amazon’s rules. They say you can’t have a Amazon Keyword that is in your title. Here is the reference link: Whether or not it helps? I believe it will help to rank your book faster for that term…but not better.

  • Ariel Sanders

    I love Kindle Samurai!

    • Awesome sauce Ariel! It totally does the trick, but I really think there are ways that it could be improved.

  • Hi Dave, thanks for sharing the benefits of Kindle Samurai. I need clarification: at the end of the video it says put your best keyword from the 7 we posted on the KDP page also in the title. Isn’t this exactly what Amazon says DON’T do? Also, wouldn’t we already have our books completed and titled before going to the KDP submission page or is this tool suggesting that we determine our keywords before creating our book’s title.

    • The best time to do keyword research is before you start writing. It will help to validate your ideas and ensure there is a market for it…a market that isn’t over crowded that is. With regards to the video, that one isn’t mine. So, go with what I wrote 😉 The only thing that Amazon requires is that you don’t use your title as one of the 7 keywords. Hope that helps.

  • stvwrd

    Let’s say you find a keyword that meets all the criteria above (suggested by the Amazon auto-suggest tool with “Kindle store” selected; actually zero existing books for it on Amazon, 2,400 monthly searches on Google, and after the top three google rankings, every page is a “0” on competitiveness), and the kw is something like “widget fanatic.” How would amazon treat naming the book something like this?: “Polishing your widget; fanatics’s guide to doing it right.”

  • stvwrd

    “Furthermore your Amazon Keyword’s relevance to Amazon QUICKLY dissipates a meager three months after you initially publish your book.”

    Does this mean that keywords are completely irrelevant when publishing a major update to a book? I hope not… I knew absolutely nothing about KW research and SEO when I first published and would love to put some of this into practice.

    • The 7 “Kindle Keywords” that you initially select will lose their strength in A9’s eyes after about 3 months. However, I have heard (but don’t have personal data on this so take it for what it’s worth) that people have changed some of the 7 Kindle Keywords and seems increases in sales. Again, I can’t prove that and don’t have a case study for it.

      • stvwrd

        Well, I’m about to go through it, so I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve followed your steps and found some great Kindle keywords as well as a title tweak that *should* get me on the front page of Amazon search results regularly, and even a hidden category to shoot for that’s related to the topic but I didn’t know existed. All thanks to your blog. Seriously, I owe you big time.

        • That is awesome buddy! And if its the book I am thinking about, then its pretty cool to hear that since I read it a couple of years ago. Go figure!

  • stvwrd

    Argh! Went to purchase Kindle Samurai and it’s not available on Mac…. I did already go through the whole step by step process that you outlined, so hopefully the KWs that process produced are good enough.

  • Vicky

    The kwfinder tool is absolutely superb. I am testing this tool for finding the title of my next book. Initially I had thought of another title, but I was convinced to try your kwfinder strategy, and changed the title hoping that it will rank in the 1st page of google as well. Question: Would a “two word” keyword, with 1.900 searches per month, a comp. level of 25, and a couple of “0-10” competitors in the 1st google page, be considered as opportunity? Given that the topic seems to be profitable in Amazon? Should I also promote heavily the permalink of the book in order to help my google ranking in the first page? Thanks!!

    • stvwrd

      I’m no expert, but I’m finding the length, for one, doesn’t really matter. If you discover that every month 2,000 people are searching for “How to change my own tire with a pocket knife and duct tape,” and only 100 people are searching for “pocket knife duct tape tire change” every month, then you target the first one (and thank God, because good luck making ‘pocketknife duct tape tire change’ sound natural in body text).

      That’s only a partial answer to your question, but that’s the part I *think* I’ve figured out.

      • Vicky

        Yes, exactly, that confirms my thinking. When I started publishing, I used to spend only a couple of hours in keyword research. Now I realize it is a process that could take me at least 2-3 days for each book!! Thanks 🙂

  • stvwrd

    What’re your thoughts on writing multiple books within a single niche in terms of KW selection and category? Target the exact same categories and kws, or mix it up?

    • Well, I’m a big fan of buidling series inside of a niche…or making your own competition if you find that your book in that niche is doing well….remember, high traffic…low competition. Can’t help to write more books in the area so it looks like there is more competition and you are making more with it. Also, when building upon your series, you have more chance to regain a previous buyer and build upon previous success.

  • C T Mitchell

    I have Kindle Damurai and I’m still tanking in the rankings. Are you suggesting to put powerful keywords into the title, sub title and description AND add another 7 keywords into the internal keyword section?

    • A lot of that depends. It depends on the competition of the keyword. It depends on how aligned your book is with it. However, if there is perfect keyword for your book, and there is a some competition for it, then the more you use it (e.g. Title, one of 7 kindle keywords, subtitle, description) the better chance the A7 Amazon algorithm will pick your book up for that particular keyword and rank you better. once it decides you should rank better, then ti comes down to your conversions. If no one will buy your book, but they are buying books below you in the rankings for a keyword, then those books will overtake you eventually. But if you continue to make sales when people type in the Keyword, then you’ll rise to the top and stay there….which means more traffic and more sales.

  • Quick question. Can this still be effective if you already have a book title? How effective is this for fiction? I’m almost convinced to buy. It seems more geared to non-fiction. Thanks.

    • Hey Tam, while it helps if your title has a keyword in it, I wouldn’t change my title to reflect that…unless it works and is natural – especially for fiction. For Fiction, I actually have a post that will come out in a couple of weeks that talks about particular keyword strategies for fiction authors. As for the software, you might want to wait until comes out. I’m super excited about that little guy.

      • So, DON’T buy Kindle Samurai, yet? Tell me more about KindleRocket. Also, did I read correctly that you can re-do your key words? I totally did the keyword thing all wrong when I put my ghost story collection on Amazon. So how long for KindleRocket?

  • .Trade Ideen.

    Thanks for the great insights dave. Was able to take away lots of valuable information!
    One thing i cant get my head around: when using kindle samurai, it just takes keyword searches on google into account, right? Why would i wanna use the best Google KW for my book on amazon? I can’t see that people are searching the same way on amazon than they do on google. I mean, if a KW gets a lot of volume on google it doesnt necessarily mean that this is a well searched KW on amazon as well, is it?

    Hope this makes sense and would like to hear your opinion on that.


    • Although Samurai has the “G Searches” it doesn’t work because the creator of Samurai doesn’t update the software…if yours does work, then let me know.

      However, supplementing your Samurai info with Google Searches is a good idea. The problem with Amazon is that they don’t tell you how many searches a particular word gets, however, another powerful search engine does: Google. Although Google and Amazon are different, knowing things like 120 people a month more use the word “validation” instead of “test” when talking about ideas, gives you a leg up. If they would use “Validate Ideas” more on Google, then they probably use “Validate Ideas” over “Test Ideas” in Amazon as well. Using Google information you can get an idea of what words people naturally use when conducting a search on a platform…or an idea of words to include. Is it perfect? No, but its good info to consider.

  • Very interesting article and I get the software and is great! Thanks!

  • AHHH. SUCH A HELPFUL POST. I found killer keywords after using your criteria.

    IE: I went from thinking of using:

    online writing 31241 searches


    content marketing made easy 16 searches
    …and more!!

    The only sadness. I cannot buy Kindle Samurai. WHY WHY don’t they work for Mac!!


    Eating up everything you blog about, Dave! You’re the MAN! Let’s connect soon and have you on my Twitter chat and podcast talking about your expertise. I have your email, after my book comes out this Fri let’s chat! 🙂

    • Yeah, about that Mac issue…I’ve got a solution coming out. Me and my team are creating something that will be even better, stronger and faster….and will definitely work on both Mac and PC. It’s Hopefully it’ll launch (literally?) in June…fingers crossed.

      Thank you so much for the kind words…seriously made my day reading that. And definitely sounds good about connecting! Hit me up any time.

  • sad it is not on mac!!

    • Dont’ worry Khalid, I’m coming up with a solution very soon. I too am a Mac guy…heck I used to work for them and I completely agree. I placed it on my partitioned hard drive using Parallels but can’t stand that I even have that on my computer. Check out

  • Wilson

    Does the software works with other non-kindle products? For example, tshirts?

  • Aditya Sawdekar

    Hi Dave,

    Just bought KD Suite for Keyword Research to start writing my next book. Could you please tell me if Kindle Samurai is good or KD Suite?

    • I actually prefer right now…but that one won’t be out for a couple more weeks 😉 In truth though, I haven’t tried KD Suite so I can’t say.

  • Daniele Mariotto

    Do you suggest to watch what keyword are best and then create a kindle based on the keyword topic?

    • Yup. I’m a big fan of book idea validation. Unless you have a large readership or following, you’ll need Amazon discoverability to help get your book to more people. The way to do that is to look for keywords that people are typing into Amazon that gets traffic but isn’t too competitive. In a couple of weeks I’ll have a couple more article that go in depth and my software will launch that will do all of the above, work on both PC and Mac AND tell you how many people per month on Amazon type that search term/keyword into Amazon.

  • Micah Brooks

    Dave, this post is epic! Thank you for your help! I do have a question for you. I know you said that KWFinder is free. Maybe it has changed since you posted, however, it is only free for five searches/day. Am I missing something or have they perhaps shifted what they give away for free?

    Thank you again for your great content! Just heard you on Authority Self Publishing Podcast. There was a ton of useful information there! Everyone should listen to that one!

    • Hey Micah, thanks! Sorry about the confusion, I’ll make sure to edit the post, but my intentions were that KWFinder’s 5x per day would be sufficient for checks. Bit the truth is, my software, coming out later this month will do everything listed above, even what KWfinder does…but it will be a one time fee.

      • Micah Brooks

        Thanks Dave! I am looking forward to seeing more about KDPRocket. I signed up on the list for information several days ago. Thanks again!

  • Jorge Chaple

    Hi Dave,

    You mention KDPRocket will provide Amazon search volume (i.e. how many people search for a keyword in Amazon). Considering Amazon does not provide this data, how are you coming up with it? Of course, the exact formula is your IP but I would like to know the expected reliability of this value. Is it calculated based on Google search volume and Amazon ranking of the top results for the keyword?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Jorge, our calculations uses the ABSR as an indication of popularity, the location of the product for that term (known Click through rates depending on where it ranks), and expected data that was found in some literary journals about buying on Amazon and other metrics. We also incorporate a little Google factor in there because there ARE things that people type into Amazon, but don’t get a result or the results they are looking for.

      So, our calculation uses popularity of products, popularity of search terms on other platforms (so as to account for untapped potential markets) and statistical data from people smarter than me. I hope that helps?

  • Your article is good but your blog font is bad, please change your blog font

  • Lizzie Chantree

    A really interesting and informative article. I will post your link as a resource on tomorrow as I have just posted today. I was going to write a blog about keywords, but you have pretty much covered the whole topic here! I think this is very useful to new authors who are still working out which keywords work best. I am trying to learn as much as I can about it and I already use some of the methods you talk about, such as keywords in titles, subtitles and on photos. You’re KDP Rocket software sounds like it could be really useful!
    Even though this article was written a while ago, a lot of the points are still very useful for people starting out.

    • Awesome Lizzie, and glad it helps. I’m a very numbers oriented person and I like the idea of knowing what potential market exists. Another way of looking at Keywords is as book marketing research. As a matter of fact, I like to tell authors that they should do their keyword research before they start writing their book…when done this way, you can call it “Book idea validation.” Because if you do the keyword research and see that there is no market on Amazon looking for or buying that type of book, then you know that you can’t depend on Amazon to sell your book for you. You’ll need to create a book marketing plan that doesn’t rely on Amazon in order to succeed. You can read more about this shift here:

      • Lizzie Chantree

        Thanks Dave. I’ll take a look.

  • Kristopher Grows

    What does KDP Rocket take as input? Does it measure the quality of user decided keywords only, or can it generate likely keywords for the less commercially inspired user?

    • KDP Rocket uses Amazon’s own information to help you know the success rate of the keywords like how much people are making, how competitive the keyword is and how popular that keyword is in searches. It also lets you know of other keywords that people are using in Amazon and Google that are close to your original Keyword.

  • Heather Walsh

    Hi Dave,

    Yes, I’ve been a lurker for a couple months, but finally thought: I need to thank this man! So, here I am, saying thank you! I also had a quick question about Kindle Keywords. When you’re looking to show up on the first page, should it be in the first general page or specific book to our own category? For example, Amazon suggests Suspicious Deaths: 96 Kindle eBooks >Romance: 4, >Mystery & Suspense: 2. (I didn’t use this one, just an example). So, 96 books is hard, but the rest easy. Or does that not matter?

    • Hi Heather – aw thanks! As it pertains to this article and kindle keywords, showing up on the first page is the page of results. As in, if someone types something into Amazon, having your book show up on that first page is what you’re striving for. So, imagine that if 1,000 people per month type into Amazon “how to paint” and your book shows up at the top of the first page, then that means every month 1,000 people will see your book at the top…and statistically speaking, buy it – that will happen every month. Yay!

      Now, with regards to the category string that you provided in the comment, that’s about having a better Amazon Best Seller Rank than the other books in that category, so that you can become the #1 bestseller in that category. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money, as I show in this article: . If you’re looking for the best category to choose, then I’d recommend this article:

      I hope that helps! If not, then hit reply and I’ll give it another stab

      • Heather Walsh

        Yes, that helps a lot! Thank you so much! And just so you know, “how to paint” has 591 titles!

  • Dave … Thank you for such an information rich article. It taught me how bad my own keywords were. As a matter of fact, it proved that most of my keywords either sucked or were part of the big no-no list. The part about unlocking and using a couple of the “hidden categories” was especially useful. I had no idea. I do have a couple of questions though.

    To me the use of long-tail keywords makes perfect sense. It was a kind of “DUH” moment for me (I’ve had many of those since starting this writing adventure). Anyway … if the long-tail key words are so effective, why does Amazon only recommend single words to be used as keywords?

    And … You state that the keywords become less effective after about three months of publishing your book. Why would Amazon do that? And since Amazon allows authors to experiment and update/change their keywords at anytime and since each change requires an author to essentially re-publish their work, would each update reset the 3-month clock?

    Okay … maybe that’s more like three questions.


    • Hi Kirk, glad to help. Honestly, not sure why they recommend only 1 word keywords. But there’s no denying how a targeted keyword really helps to ensure you show up for that particular one.

      As for the less effective, I should probably update and add more to the article on that. What happens is that Amazon likes to keep their book lists fresh – they give a little bit more love to newer books. So, after publishing, Amazon gives you the benefit of the doubt and boosts you a little bit more. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will drop in rankings just because your time is up. In truth, if your book gets the most conversions for that ranking (proof that customers like your book being there) then you’ll stay at the top.

      As for changing them, that’s up to you. It’s not exactly re-publishing every time you change something n the KDP dashboard, so I wouldn’t look at it like that. More like you’re updating your information.

      • Thank you, good sir. Your website is a great service.

        • Awesome to hear and thank you!

          • Alia Khan

            So am i understanding it correctly that one can’t use any word that is in your title as one of your keywords? For example, book title: Turtle training – a keyword can’t be: How to train a turtle? – as it has the word turtle in it? I currently use a word in my title in all 7 of my keyword phrases – amazon hasn’t disallowed it but does this mean amazon is just ignoring my keywords? Thanks

          • Hi Alia, no it isn’t like that. It’s about direct match. As in, if your title is “Turtle Training” then your keywords, according to Amazon, shouldn’t be “Turtle Training.” But you can do “Training a Turtle” “How to train a Turtle” etc…

          • Alia Khan

            Ah, ok thanks for clarifying this 🙂

  • Tad Wojnicki

    Dave, this article (book chapter, maybe?) is a virtual treasure throve of likely in-house secrets,,, It shows how much you dig the topic and cherish sharing it. I first “met” you on Alinka Rutkowska’s website, and got very impressed. Don’t lock it up, not yet!

    • Hi Tad! Awesome to hear and thanks for making my day. Lock it up? No way 😀

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