How To Choose the Right Kindle Keywords
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 you get sales and get 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 make it so that Amazon shows your book to the right readers, then THIS is the article for you.
In This Article, You Will Learn:
- What exactly are Kindle Keywords
- How they help both fiction and nonfiction authors
- How to find profitable kindle keywords
- Kindle keyword tools that will help
- How to increase your book rankings and increase your sales
How Do Kindle Keywords Work To Sell Books?
When people shop for their next book on Amazon, they generally go to the search bar at the top of Amazon and describe the type of book they are looking for and hit search.
Amazon uses those words that the customer typed in, and other things that we’ll discuss in this article, in order to decide which books should be shown to the customer.
The phrase or word the customer types in is what we, as authors, should consider as “keywords.”
Keywords, or more specifically, Kindle Keywords when talking about Amazon books, are the words a shopper uses when looking for a book, and thus, they are the words we want our book to show up for when someone types it in.
But before we get into how to find profitable kindle keywords, I know there are going to be self-publishers out there that will disagree with me and say it’s either A: a waste of time or B: cheating the system.
However, so long as Amazon shoppers type something into Amazon’s search bar when looking for their next book, understanding keywords, and being smart with them, should always be a part of your marketing plan.
Plus, they work! And here’s some proof:
The first picture is of my steady consistent sales back in 2015. The one below that is the same book 2 years later. Still steady and consistent.
How did that happen?
It’s because Amazon happily keeps showing my book at the top of searches for my targeted keywords.
And here’s another example where someone changed their keywords and saw an uptick (btw you can totally change your keywords at any time and we’ll talk more about that later)
My buddy, Alex Barker of the The Happy PharmD noticed that the sales of his ebook had become stagnant.
After doing the steps discussed here, he got his book in front of a new market and generated more sales. Not bad for only changing his kindle keywords a little.
And for those fiction writers that don’t think keywords work, I’ve found genre-specific examples to prove how keywords work for fiction authors too and here’s a podcast interview I did with TS Paul, who not only discusses how much they helped him, but he gives his exact process for doing it too!
Now, while there are a lot of success stories out there about keywords, this isn’t one of those MAGIC bullets. They help to get discovered, but as you’ll see in this article, there is so much more to it than just picking magic words and waiting.
And I’ll show you how.
Related Podcast Episode
How To Find Profitable Kindle 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:
- Shoppers actually type into Amazon
- Shoppers will actually pay money for
- 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 Kindle Keywords People Actually Type into Amazon
It’s true that Amazon doesn’t directly tell us this.
However, there are two methods we can use in order to have a good idea of what people are actually doing:
- Amazon auto suggestions
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.
Google and tools like KWFinder.com are great for giving us more information about searches on the internet. It’s not specifically about Amazon’s searches, but it still is a good way to discover new search terms we might not have thought of.
So, let’s start with Amazon.
Amazon Search Terms
First, we want to start by going into incognito mode. This will make sure that the information Amazon presents us is not based on our information. Amazon likes to track what we do, click and buy. And they use this information in order to show us things.
But when doing this keyword research, we don’t want that to happen. We want to know what the rest of the market is doing and see their raw results. If you’d like to learn more about incognito mode and how to use it, click here.
Next, start by selecting “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.
Once you have “Kindle Store” or “Books” selected, start typing in words or phrases that pertain 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 at the end of your word/phrase, and see what comes up. For example, say we are still on the sci-fi hunt like the picture 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 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!
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?
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 KDP Rocket.
Okay, so that should get us a pretty good list of words. But let’s go one step further and look at Google’s information as well.
Plus, you can do a couple of searches for free each day.
Type in a word/phrase into the keyword tool and see what it presents. Go through the list and write down any that you think might be good for your book. Once you have a list of Google words, go back to Amazon and type those words in to see what Amazon suggests. If nothing is shown, then it means that while good on Google, it doesn’t translate over to Amazon 🙁
So, let’s recap the above with nice little bite-sized steps:
- Use incognito mode when browsing
- Select “Kindle Store” or “Books” for search categories
- Using Amazon’s Suggestion feature, start broad and use the added a-z method to find more keywords and write them down.
- Once you have an initial list, repeat step 3 on certain words in your list and niche down further
- Go to KWFinder.com or Google Keyword Planner and do searches to see if there are any Google terms that are applicable as well
- If you find a term from Google that might be a good fit, repeat steps 2 and 3 for that term.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to dive deeper into that list of words and see if they are phrases that shoppers will actually pay money for.
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.
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.
Now, 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:
- Not many people search for that keyword – thus, low sales
- 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
Here’s a recap of each of those steps:
- Select “Kindle Store” or “Books” for search categories
- Conduct an Amazon search for one of your keywords
- Select the book at the top of the results
- Find it’s Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR) and copy it
- Go to the Kindlepreneur Calculator, and paste it in
- Write down on your list how many books the book has sold that day
- Repeat steps 4-6 for the books that showed up 2nd and 3rd in the results
Alrighty then…now that we know which keywords get searched and help to sell books, let’s take a 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 kindle keyword shoppers. Otherwise, your keyword won’t help you.
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? If so, then know the author is targeting this term strongly. Also, does the book title or subtitle make sense? Here are two articles to help you craft a bestseller book title, and a subtitle that converts.
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 get the sale over the competition. Here’s a great tactic to help you increase your reviews legitimately.
Book Description: Book descriptions are more important than people think. It’s what makes shoppers click to buy. It’s that last-ditch act of convincing shoppers they need to buy the book. So, 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. First, go to their Amazon Author Page and check their author rank. You can also do a Google search for their name, and look at the website (use this) to figure out if they are getting people to their website, look at their social media and see if they have a huge following, and just get a general feel for how much this author is invested in the subject matter.
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!
Kindle Keyword Results for Fiction and NonFiction
If you’ve done the steps above, you should start to have:
- list of keywords
- how many people per month search for that keyword
- An understanding of how much books are making for those keywords
- how competitive they are
Let’s see what that would look like using a fiction and nonfiction example:
Keyword Example for Fiction:
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 Scifi 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. Here is an article showing you more about finding fiction keywords, but as an example, let’s just look at the difference of types of Wizards and how this plays on the market:
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 guesing at this instead of looking at the numbers.
That’s why this is SO important in our book marketing research.
Keyword Examples for NonFiction:
Let’s take a look at a Nonfiction example:
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.
The Best Tool For Finding Profitable Keywords
Obviously, the above steps are quite tedious and back when I did it, it could take forever to get my keyword information altogether.
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 essential data so as to beat those books and rank better
Here’s a sneak peak of its book idea search function.
I’ve Got Kindle Keywords, Now What?
The above were steps to researching and finding profitable keywords, so now what?
Well, it’s time to convince Amazon 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 KDP dashboard, Amazon will ask you to give them 7 kindle keywords. Go ahead and put your well-chosen keywords here. I highly recommend that you don’t stuff a bunch of keywords into this area – regardless of what others recommend. Amazon is a lot more competitive than it used to be, and I personally think that you shouldn’t dilute the strength of your keyword push by throwing other words in there. You did some great research – stick by that.
2. Your Book Title or Subtitle
Having the 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. A great way to get a customer’s attention is to use their own words. So, keywords can be great for helping you improve your sales copy 😉
3. Your Book Description
The same goes for your book description. I’m honestly not sure if Amazon checks the words in your description to use that as a factor for indexing. 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.
Kindle Keyword Rules To Abide By
While Kindle keywords can be extremely useful, they are restricted by some Amazon rules. Here is a complete list of Amazon Keyword No-Nos – 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
So, if any of your potential keywords aren’t in line with the above, remove them.
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, 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.
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.