When publishing books on Amazon, you are given the opportunity to include keywords or keyword phrases (7 to be exact).
Keywords are the extra juice your book can use to drive readers your way, as sometimes the title is not enough (or not at all) of an indication to your books subject matter, so keywords are important to ensure the Amazon search engine finds your book when people are punching in relevant words in the search bar.
Here is a list of 3 things to consider when choosing your keywords for your book:
- Don’t waste your keywords – Amazon is a search engine. All the metadata available for your book is what makes your book discoverable, but adding the same metadata twice is only wasting the valuable keystrokes you are given. The metadata taken is the author and other contributors; the title; the subtitle; keywords and categories. Therefore, no need to include the title and author in the keywords you have been allocated – use words that will help build relevance for readers so Amazon know to show your book when readers use the search bar.
- Superjuicing your keywords to increase your categories – have you ever gone looking through Amazon for the categories your book would fit into, be very pleased with yourself to find some very neat and specific categories – then be in a state of utter befuddlement when those categories are just not there to choose in the backend when uploading your book? David Gaughran calls these phantom categories in his fantabulous book ‘Let’s Get Visible’ – and they are the key to opening up more categories for your book. The categories can be found on the kdp page here https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A200PDGPEIQX41 and they show the extra categories available on the Amazon store, and provide you with the keywords to include if you would like to appear in that category.
- Don’t think Google, it’s not Google – people go to Google to find answers to questions, like, ‘How do I herd cats?’, or ‘Do single women find athlete’s foot an endearing feature?’. In the Amazon ecosystem, it’s important to think of your keywords in a different context – it’s not the same as targeted SEO for Google. People generally go to the Amazon bookstore with a more specific purpose. They are looking for an answer to their problem, or inspiration to get them to the next step, or some material to zone out with on their next holiday. They are going there ready to make a purchase on an item they are willing to invest time into, since reading takes time. They are a more qualified lead than garden-variety Googlers looking for free advice delivered to them in ‘wiki’ speak. Gearing keywords towards the intention of the reader will allow your book to be found by so many more readers, than if you had adopted a Google SEO approach to your keywords.
Beyond Amazon, some bookstores will allow more than 7 keywords so be sure to use them if given the chance. Here is a quick rundown of the keyword allowance on other platforms:
Createspace Keywords: 5 phrases, 25 character limit per phrase
Kindle Keywords, 7 phrases, 25 character limit per phrase
Lulu Keywords: no limit on phrases, 3 word limit per phrase
Smashwords: as of July 2014, Smashwords have now limited their tags to 10