Kindle Keyword Strategy For Nonfiction Authors

While fiction keywords can be a little harder to pin down (it is possible, see here), nonfiction books have always been the area where keywords can really excel in helping you gain sales and increase your book ranking.

You see, shoppers type what they are looking for into Amazon in the hopes that a solution to their problem will be in the results. The terms these people use should therefore become the basis of what you put into your book’s title, subtitle, and your 7 Kindle Keywords.

So, how do we find these phrases that people are typing into Amazon?

To answer that, keep reading. I’ll show you how to find keywords that people actually use, that make money, and won’t get drowned out by the competition.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. How to research the words people use for nonfiction
  2. How to select keywords for you nonfiction book that will sell more
  3. Examples of successful keywords in a nonfiction niche

P.S. I’ve been a consultant to many NYT bestselling authors and major publishing companies. And Amazon even promoted my work to their readers, as you can see below. Stay with me, and I can help you achieve the results you’re looking for.

validation from Amazon
Bonus: Do you want your book to rank #1 for a given keyword? I’ve got a free ebook that you can download with a collection of time-tested tips and strategies. Check it out!

How to Find Nonfiction Keywords That Shoppers Really Use

Where fiction keywords have to rely on identifying settings, protagonists, plot themes, etc., nonfiction keywords are easy. 

For nonfiction, all you have to do is uncover the problems that people are having, the solutions, find words that will amplify those solutions, and identify your demographics.

So how do we find all of these? Read on for my step-by-step process.

Note: There’s a tool that will save you a lot of time and result in more accurate keywords overall, but I will also teach you the manual ways to do everything listed here. Just know that there are easier ways to do this.

Step 1: Brainstorm The Four Types of Nonfiction Keyword Categories

The first step in researching your keywords is to start with a brainstorming session. And with nonfiction, you probably have a good idea of some keywords to start with, but there are four different categories that you should consider when brainstorming your ideas.

Four Nonfiction Keyword Categories:

  • Pain Points
  • Desired Results
  • Emotional Amplifiers
  • Demographics

Let’s tackle these one by one:

Pain Points

Point points are one of the most important keywords to identify. They help you target the problems people have that motivate them to search for a book to help with those problems.

People don’t buy nonfiction just because they want to learn. They do so because something caused them to feel that they were lacking in some area, and wanted to find a solution.

So by first identifying the problem, you already can have a number of keywords right there. See here for some examples on these book covers:

nonfiction keywords the present a problem

ACTION: Come up with a list of problems that describe what you target audience might face. Then think of ways to describe those problems to expand you list of potential keywords.

Desired Results

Second only to pain points in importance, the solution is going to be one of your biggest selling points. If you’ve got a problem, people aren’t searching to know more about that problem. They are searching for something to fix that problem.

See here a few examples of proposed solutions to different problems in the titles of these books.

nonfiction keywords that present a solution in the book cover

ACTION: Brainstorm a list of potential solutions to the problems you identified earlier. What are some different ways that people might search for those solutions. Write everything down in a list.

Emotional Amplifiers

Emotional Amplifiers are words that will create immediacy, specificity, or enhances the solutions talked above in the last section. 

These are keyword phrases that don’t necessarily stand on their own, so researching them can be different. But it’s good to come up with a solid list of emotional amplifiers that could apply to your problem and solution. We’ll look at which ones work best, later.

See here for a few examples of what these amplifiers look like in a book cover.

nonfiction keywords that present emotional amplifiers in the book cover

ACTION: Brainstorm a list of emotional amplifiers that apply to your pain points and solutions. 


Lastly, one of my favorite categories of keywords to brainstorm are demographics. You might have a problem and solution that are so big that almost everyone has them, but if you target a specific demographic with a solution specifically geared toward them, you are much more likely to find success.

For example, weight loss is a huge topic and you have almost no chance of ranking for that keyword. But weight loss for women over 60 is a completely different story. Now, your target market is considerably smaller, and now that you’ve niched down, you’ve got a much better chance of actually coming up in a search.

See here for some examples of books that niche down by demographic:

Nonfiction keywords that present the demographic in the book cover

ACTION: Come up with a list of demographics that could be relevant to your nonfiction book idea. 

Step 2: Find the Right Combination of Phrases

You’ve come up with a list of potential keywords and topics to research. However, one or two-word keywords is often going to be too broad. You want to take your list (in all four categories above) and start mixing and matching them until you find some that reach a good niche.

In short, you want phrases that aren’t too broad (and the competition is too high), as well as phrases that people actually search for regularly.

To do this, I have used Publisher Rocket. It’s the only tool that will tell you the following:

  • The words or phrases people actually type into Amazon
  • How many people type in those phrases
  • How much money the top books that rank for those phrases make
  • How much competition you’re facing
example of nonfiction keywords in Publisher Rocket

As you can see in the above screenshot, Publisher Rocket will take your suggestions (the ones you created in Step 1) and create a whole list of new keyword combinations that you can use in your book title, subtitle, description, and your seven Kindle keywords. 

Additionally, it color-codes the estimated searches and competition scores, so you have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. This isn’t just based on the number, but a ton of complicated data that analyzes the health of the keyword.

some keywords have lower search volume but are still labelled green because of the quality of the search term.

As you can see, you might have one keyword with a yellow search volume, even if the number if higher than one with a green color. 

In short, Rocket does all the analysis for you, saving your time and money, and therefore helping you sell more books.

Is there a free version? No, but Publisher Rocket does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you’re welcome to give it a try and if it doesn’t work for you, you’ll get your money back. No questions asked.

See Lowest Price Here

So what does it look like to put these keywords together with Publisher Rocket? Let’s dive into some examples using the health niche.

Examples of Nonfiction Keyword Research Results

Now that you have an idea of how to find legitimate nonfiction keywords and keyword phrases, let’s dive into some examples of how to do this effectively.

Pain Point Examples

examples of data from nonfiction keywords of problems
Data collected using Publisher Rocket

As you can see from this example, there are two broad keywords here that stand out the most: Craving, which has the same competition score as Overweight, but more searches per month, and Diabetes Type 2, which has low competition and a high number of searches.

Note: you’re not going to get really low competition for any of these broad keywords, so you use what you get.

Solutions Examples

examples of data from nonfiction keywords of solutions
Data collected using Publisher Rocket

Now we start getting into slightly more specific keywords with the solutions. In these examples, the two best are Cravings Cookbook and Diabetes Meal Plan. Both have lower competition scores and high searches per month. 

And even though Energy Diet also has low competition, the number of searches per month is below 100. However, the average monthly earnings for the top books for Energy Diet is still very high, so this one might be a good option as well.

Emotional Amplifier Examples

examples of data from nonfiction keywords of emotional amplifyers
Data collected using Publisher Rocket

Now it gets a little tricky, because emotional amplifiers are not necessarily words that readers will type in on their own. They’re usually accompanied by a problem or solution keyword. So you will need to start going through your list and pairing up the amplifiers with your other keywords. 

However, you can still get a sense of how well these phrases perform overall in relation to each other, which might give you a good idea of which could be the better addendum to your pain point or solution keywords. In this example, “In one week” and “Fast” seem like the best options.

Demographic Examples

examples of data from nonfiction keywords of demographics
Data collected using Publisher Rocket

Like the emotional amplifiers, demographics aren’t necessarily words that readers are searching for on their own. You wouldn’t type in “for women” without another keyword to qualify it. Instead, you will want to begin adding the demographic keywords to the ends of your pain point or solutions keywords to see if you have a good match.

That said, we can get an idea of the power each one has by comparing the data for each one. In this case that would be “For college students” and “Toddlers”, though “For Women” has a very strong searches per month and average monthly earnings, even though the competition is higher.

Why You Should Niche Down

As you can see from the above examples, it’s important to niche down if you want any chance of finding your readers.

Now you might be wondering if niching down will result in fewer searches. The answer is, yes, it does. However, the more you niche, the less competition you have, and the higher your conversion rate is likely to be. So even if your niche low number of searches per month, it can still be a great keyword to have if it addresses the pain point, the solution, and has a specific amplifier and demographic attached.

Here’s another example of some numbers created with Publisher Rocket.

Choose Right Kindle Keyword
Data collected using Publisher Rocket

As you can see, the more niche the terms, the fewer searches occurred, but the competition score got better!

The Math to Nonfiction Sales

So why does the competition score adn the average searches per month matter?

Well, according to the data, the books that rank in the top 3 space for a given keyword are clicked on by 48% of the people who type in that keyword.

If you rank #4, only 8% click on it.

clicks amazon based on ranks

So basically, you want your book to be in the top three places. If there is less competition, you have a much higher likelihood of ranking for those two three positions.

Here’s an example:

Assume that 1,000 readers search for a given keyword phrase, one where your book ranks #1.

That means that 27%, or 270 of those shoppers will click on your book.

But if you rank #5, only 7% or 70 people will click on your book.

270 vs 70, that’s a big difference.

So find the keywords that you can rank #1 for, and you’re on your way to steady sales.

What Nonfiction Keywords Will You Choose?

It’s important to note that keywords are not a guarantee of sales. You need multiple ducks in a row to become a bestseller, such as a good cover, a good blurb, not to mention a quality book.

But keywords can easily give you the exposure you need to sell those books, especially for nonfiction.

So take the time to do the research, even before you start writing. Find those keyword opportunities that will launch your book to the #1 spot for those keywords, and turn your book into a bestseller.

And be sure to look at Publisher Rocket, which will save you hours of time and will give you informed data on your keywords. If you have the data, you can be assured that your keywords will work.

More Keywords and Categories:

If you're interested in more articles like this one, check out our hubs for how to choose the best keywords and categories, as well as our overview of Publisher Rocket.

Sell more books on Amazon

Free Download

Amazon Kindle Rankings E-Book

Learn how to rank your Kindle book #1 on Amazon with our collection of time-tested tips and tricks.