How To Choose the Right Kindle Keywords and Reach More Readers

Whether you’re a famous author or this is your first book, Kindle Keywords are an important part of any book marketing strategy.

Kindle keywords allow your book to be discovered by hungry shoppers on the world's largest book market, Amazon, even while you sleep.

They help make it so that your book gets discovered without having to do major marketing. Plain and simple, they are important.

So, if you have an incredible book, but don’t know how to get it in front of the right readers, then THIS is the article for you.

Extra: There is a tool that will help you do all of this more efficiently, but in this article I'll show you how to do it manually.
In this article, you will learn:
  1. What exactly are Kindle Keywords
  2. How they help both fiction and nonfiction authors
  3. How to find profitable kindle keywords
  4. Kindle keyword tools that will help
  5. How to increase your book rankings and increase your sales

What Are Kindle Keywords & How Do They Sell Books?

Kindle Keywords are the words a shopper types into Amazon when looking for a book or Kindle ebook, and thus, they are the words we want our book to show up for when someone types it in.

Why? Because readers search for what they want to buy, and the top 3-4 results have the strongest chance of selling, as we'll see below.

So basically, if your book shows up when a reader searches for a book, there's a good chance that they will buy it, and you will make money.

Don't believe me? Well what I'm about to show you is not only effective, but Amazon itself promoted it. It works, these tactics will help you sell more books.

Now that we know what Kindle keywords are and how they are important, let's get to it.

How To Find Profitable KDP Keywords

Before we get into the exact step-by-step process I use to find profitable kindle keywords, let’s talk about what makes a profitable kindle keyword in the first place.

In order to be worth your time, a Kindle Keyword should be a phrase or word that:

  1. Shoppers actually type into Amazon
  2. Shoppers will actually pay money for
  3. The competition isn’t too hard

Now that we know what makes a good kindle keyword phrase or word, let’s attack each one of those three steps.

Step 1: Find the Most Searched Amazon Book Keywords

In order for our book to be found by shoppers, we need to know what terms shoppers type into Amazon – otherwise, our target keywords will be useless. Luckily, 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 from other shoppers typing things into it – the autofill function.

How to Do it Manually

To get those search terms, there are a couple of steps you should take:

  1. Ensure you are using Incognito mode on your browser so that your previous information doesn't affect what Amazon shows you. If you aren't familiar with this, or how to do it, then check out this video.
  2. Select “Kindle Store” or “Books” as the Amazon category. You want to know what is popular in your industry and not be shown products or terms other than book terms.
  3. Start typing in a word, and look to see what Amazon immediately pre-populates in the search box.
  4. Once you've found a phrase that you're interested in, add each letter of the alphabet at the end of your word/phrase, and see what comes up.

An example of Step 4 is:

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

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

However, before you're done, make sure that none of the phrases you have is something that violates Amazon's Keyword requirements (it's under the “Keywords to Avoid” section). Just because Amazon suggested it, doesn't mean you can target it.

How to Do it with Publisher Rocket

Now, the above steps don’t tell you how popular they are; they only tell you that people type this into Amazon. If you’d like to know how many people type those words into Amazon, you’d need a tool like Publisher Rocket. Publisher Rocket will not only list all those keywords for you, it will also tell you how many people type it into Amazon – thus giving you better information.

screenshot of Publisher Rocket showing the search volume for a keyword

See Rocket in Action!

Not only does it give you the search volume data, but it's also colorcoded so you know what is a good amount of search traffic.

This is not just a color assigned to specific numbers. It also uses historical data and an intricate analysis system to decide if that keyword is more likely to end with a sale. So while you might see a yellow keyword even if the search volume is higher than a green keyword, you know it's still a better match to go with the green.

Use Publisher Rocket's Category Keywords Tool to Start

If you're using Publisher Rocket, you also have access to a cool feature under the categories section. Once there, you can search through various categories, find the categories that best suit your book, then look at the keywords that it suggests.

Select Keywords from Categories

This not only helps you find seed keywords that you can plug into the keyword tool to find more, but it also helps your book rank for the appropriate category.

That's why I recommend that at least 1-2 of your 7 keywords should be category-inspired, meaning they should be keywords that confirm to Amazon that your book should be in that category.

Step 2: Find Kindle Keywords That Shoppers Will Actually Pay For

Shoppers may type in the above words, but that doesn’t mean they’ll find what they are looking for or decide to purchase. There are some terms out there that might get a LOT of searches but just don’t get sales. That’s why this step is important.

How to Do it Manually

To find out if a kindle keyword is making money, first, do a search for that keyword in Amazon. Then click on the top three books that show up for that search.

Next, go to their Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR), copy, and paste it into my Kindle Calculator. This calculator will convert the ABSR of a book or kindle into estimated sales that day.

If the three books ranking at the top of Amazon don’t make any money, or less than other keyword options of yours, you now know one of two things:

  1. Not many people search for that keyword – thus, low sales
  2. People who do search for that keyword didn’t find what they were looking for and didn’t buy.

Now, go through your list, repeat, and see which of your keywords are not only getting searched, but also making sales.

The right kindle keywords can make or break your book sales. Choose wisely with these steps, my friends #SelfPubClick To Tweet

How to Do it with Publisher Rocket

If you want to do this properly, you should analyze not just the top three results on your search, but all of the high-ranking books for each of your keywords. If you're doing this manually, it can take up to an hour per keyword to do this well.

To save you time when doing this, Publisher Rocket will show you the Average Monthly Earnings for all of these top-selling books, which shows you one convenient number for every keyword without you having to research anything.

screenshot of publisher rocket showing the average monthly earnings for each keyword
Check it Out!

Alrighty then…now that we know which keywords get searched and help to sell books, let’s look at the level of competition and see if we can get our foot in the door.

Step 3: Check the Kindle Keyword Competition

If we can’t get our book to show up for a keyword, or show up at the top of the results, then that keyword won’t help us.

Don’t believe me, check this out:

The above is a chart showing what percentage of shoppers click on the books that rank #1-14 in search results. So, if 1,000 people type into Amazon “How to write a book” per month, then statistically speaking, 270 will click on the book that shows up at the top, but only 60 will click on a book that shows up #6.

As you can see, we NEED to beat the top ranking books (1-5) in order to benefit from the Amazon Kindle keyword shoppers. Otherwise, your keyword won’t help you.

How to Do it Manually

So, to help you with this step, here are some things you should consider when looking at the top 10 books that show up for those results.

  • Book Covers: A great looking book cover design is super important. If the book cover design stinks, but that book is making sales, then GREAT! Verify that you can create a cover better than what is there.
  • Titles and Subtitles: Is the keyword in the title or subtitle? Does it make sense? If so, then know the author is targeting this term strongly.
  • Book Reviews: How many book reviews do they have? Are they recent or super old? Are they verified or unverified? What rating do they have? Having better and more reviews than your competitors is a sure-fire way to beat the competition.
  • Book Description: Book descriptions are more important than people think. It’s what makes shoppers click to buy. Is their book description well written, or are they structuring their book description so it looks presentable, like my free Book Description HTML tool will help you do?
  • Age: Newer books usually still have a lot of Amazon love, and are usually doing big marketing pushes. So, their numbers and popularity are a little inflated. However, if the book you’re competing against is years old and still crushing it on the market, then beware!
  • Author’s Popularity: If the author is super famous or has a large following and email list, then they are really competitive. Look at their website, the number of reviews, and the overall rank of their books to get an idea of their popularity.

After looking at the level of competition, you should have some terms/phrases that not only get searched and bring in money, but they won’t be too competitive for you to use and get in front of a buyer’s market. – Congrats!

How to Do it with Publisher Rocket

If you're not sure how to figure this out how competitive something is based on the above, or it seems like too much work, Publisher Rocket will actually do all of that for you. It looks at the information, and gives each keywords a score from 1-100 on how hard it would be for your book to rank for that term.

screenshot of publisher rocket showing the competition score
Try it For Yourself

Like the search volume column, it's color-coded to give you an idea of what a good competition score is, with green being the best.

Basically, when you find those keywords that are green for search volume and competition, you've likely found a keyword that will sell books.

This is vital information if you want to understand your competition for a keyword. Get it right, and there will be no stopping your book from ranking well for that keyword. I highly recommend you check it out.

Kindle Keyword Results for Fiction and NonFiction

If you've done the steps above, you should start to have:

  • A list of keywords
  • An idea of how many people per month search for that keyword
  • An understanding of how much books are making for those keywords
  • An understanding of how competitive they are

Let's see what that would look like using a fiction and nonfiction example:

Keyword Example for Fiction:

Data was collected using Publisher Rocket

In the example above, I showed how just niching down in genre can really help. Looking at the numbers we can see that something like Space Marines has a lot more opportunity than something like Sci Fi Military and still gets decent searches per month.

As a new author, targeting Space marines would be much better than going for Science Fiction or even Sci Fi military. And the numbers help us with this.

But fiction keywords don't have to be genre terms. We can target settings, events, moods, etc. As an example, let's just look at the difference of types of Wizards and how this plays on the market:

Data was collected using Publisher Rocket

As you can see, just the choice of type of wizard affects our ability to be discovered, as well as our potential share of the market. Now, think about what it would be like just guessing at this instead of looking at the numbers.

That's why this is SO important in our book marketing research. More so if you're using this information before you start writing.

If you want to dive deeper into fiction keywords, check out this article here.

Keyword Examples for NonFiction:

Let's take a look at a Nonfiction example:

Data was collected using Publisher Rocket

As you can see, a broad term like Parenting is extremely hard. However, there is a lot of promise in targeting “toddlers” or even “ADHD.” Of if you're someone like me, who has a strong-willed child, that might be a good one too.

For more on nonfiction keywords, see this expanded post.

Need Help with Your Keywords?

Take my full featured video course on how to select the best keywords and categories for your book.

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The Best Tool For Finding Profitable Keywords

Obviously, the above steps are quite tedious. That's why my team and I created Publisher Rocket, formerly known as KDP Rocket. This self-publishing software does exactly what we just talked about:

Along with helping you to find keywords, it will also:

  • Help you find the best categories for your book to be a bestseller
  • Create profitable Amazon Ads effectively and efficiently saving you time
  • Help see what your potential competitors are doing and what's working
  • And more
Publisher Rocket has been seen on Forbes, Entrepreneur, and more. Increase your keyword research efficiency and effectiveness for a one-time fee of ONLY $199. Soon, we will be making it a subscription. So lock in your lifetime access now!
Get the Lowest Price Here!

I’ve Got Kindle Keywords, Now What?

The above were steps to research and find profitable keywords, so now what?

Well, it’s time to convince Amazon KDP that your book should show up for those keywords when someone types them into Amazon. In the search engine world, we call this “getting indexed.”

Here are 3 ways to convince Amazon your book should show up for those keywords:

1. Your 7 Kindle Keywords : In your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) dashboard, Amazon will ask you to give them 7 kindle keywords where you can fill each to over fifty characters each (that's fifty different letters and spaces total). Go ahead and put your well-chosen keywords here. To dig deeper into this subject, check out this article.

2. Your Book Title or Subtitle: Having the Amazon keyword phrase in your title or subtitle is a great indication that your book is about that. I’m not saying you should just ‘stuff’ a bunch of words in there…no no. But remember that Kindle Keywords are the words your target shopper uses when looking for their next book. I’ve got more on titles here.

3. Your Book Description: The same goes for your book description. There is debate, as to whether or not Amazon checks for Keywords in the description, but I am of the belief that they do, since their algorithm A9 used to say it on their homepage. However, like I said in #2 above, keywords are the words your customer used to describe what they wanted and a good book description should convince them this IS the book they want. If Amazon continues to see that when people type in a specific keyword, they buy your book, Amazon will wise up and realize, you’re the best product for that keyword.

To Sell More Books, Kindle Keywords should be a FIRST thought...not an AFTERthought. #BookMarketClick To Tweet

Doing the above three steps, you should ‘show up’ for the keyword if a shopper types it in. But like you can see on the rankings chart above, if you aren’t ranking #1-5, then you’re not getting much out of that keyword. Even more so, the book that ranks #1 gets 2x more shoppers than the book that ranks #2.

So, how do you convince Amazon to rank your book #1 for that keyword so that your book benefits from all this research?

Well, that’s a completely different subject. Luckily, I have a full free pdf that shows you exactly how to do exactly that, legitimately.


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. (Check out Kindlepreneur's 70 Book Marketing Tips!)

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 Publisher Rocket and have all the dirty work done for you. With Publisher Rocket, you will have instant access to loads of incredibly valuable information at your fingertips.

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

BONUS: Don't forget to download my free guide to increasing your kindle rankings. Just click below to download and start getting your book in front of more customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Important is Choosing the Right Keyword for Your Book Launch?

Choosing the right keyword for your book launch on Amazon is very important. Amazon has what I call the “Amazon Popularity Effect”, which is that books with higher sales and conversions gain increased visibility through a greater number of keywords.

This means that when a book sells well, Amazon's algorithm responds by associating the book with more keywords and improving its ranking for those keywords.

Consequently, selecting the most effective keywords, combined with good book launch strategies like spreading out promotions and ad cost to maintain consistent sales, can result in a much wider net of keywords to rank for.

Additionally, Amazon does give preferential treatment to newer books, so having the right keywords up front just maximizes your discoverability. You can read more about this here.

How Much Do Free Downloads Affect the ABSR?

Sometimes authors will set their book for free, in order to get more downloads. However, we've noticed that Amazon has significantly reduced the positive effects of using free downloads to increase ABSR ranking.

What this means, is that while getting free downloads might boost your ABSR for a paid book (once you free promotion ends), the effect is significantly reduced, compared to what it would have been had you have the same number of purchases as you did free downloads.

Should My Keywords Be Broad or Niche?

Recently, Amazon's algorithm has increasingly favored longer-tail keywords instead of broad keywords.

What this means, is that you should be more specific with your keywords: think “epic elf adventure” instead of “fantasy”.

To know what makes a good keyword, use a tool like Publisher Rocket to find keyword terms that might have fewer searches per month, but a more specific keyword. For example:

shows that a more specific keyword, even if it has fewer search queries, is still a better keyword

Even though that long-tail keyword has fewer searches, we analyze the historical and competitive history of the keyword and mark them as green if they're more likely to make a sale.

Will Keywords Get You Into Specific Categories?

Yes, picking the right keywords will help ensure you are selected for, or stay in, certain categories.

You see, even though Amazon lets you choose up to 3 categories yourself, they reserve the right to remove you from those categories, or place you in others.

What this means, is that you have to keep your book relevant. And one of the ways you do that is with your keywords.

For instance, if you selected keywords that did not match your selected categories at all, Amazon might remove you from those categories.

So if you want to be in a specific category, make sure you have keywords that match those categories and make sense for your book.

More Keywords and Categories:

If you're interested in more articles like this one, we've got a whole hub of content related to finding the right keywords and categories for your book. Check these out!

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74 thoughts on “How To Choose the Right Kindle Keywords and Reach More Readers

  1. Thorsten Nesch

    just fyi free KWfinder is down to 2 a day

    1. Dave Chesson

      Seriously? Ah…that’s not as cool anymore. 🙁 Used to be a perfect amount for the non-seo’ers out there. 🙁

  2. Sakura

    “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.”
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The eagles are NOT a taxi service! They are a highly intelligent species that have free will and their own form of government! Not only that, but do you think Sauron would have hesitated to shoot them all down the moment they were spotted in the sky? The purpose of the Fellowship of the Ring and the linchpin of the entire strategy decided on in Rivendell was to destroy the Ring in a mission of secrecy!

    1. Dave Chesson

      haha…fair enough.

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