When asked about the key details that help to sell more books, book marketing experts will always mention the book cover and the description. While they're crucial in converting a curious book seeker into a buyer, they don't touch on how readers find your books in the first place. Before a customer can make a decision about your books she has to find them in the huge virtual bookstore that makes up Amazon. In almost every instance, she'll do that using Amazon's search engine, and that's where keywords come in.
How Amazon Search Works
When someone searches for a book on Amazon, the results they see are based on two things: books' sales history, and how well the metadata on those books matches the words used in the search. In order to improve your book's visibility, you can find the keywords used in the listings of similar, more popular books and use it in your listing. When readers do a search for the bestselling books in your genre, your books will show up on the same page. And as we all know, the more eyes that fall on your book, the more books you'll sell.
Amazon Keyword Search
Amazon has turned the search engine and its results into a finely tuned science. They know how their shoppers behave and they've used this knowledge in their sales algorithm. About 70 percent of all searches on Amazon are long-tail keywords, and these keyword strings are the primary driver for your book showing up in the search results page. Using these keywords in your listing will give your book higher visibility, wherever you put them. You'll use them in the designated spaces in your book's listing, but also as part of your book's description and possibly even your book's title or other metadata. Every time you include a keyword string in your listing, you're giving that book a better chance at appearing in multiple search results.
How to Use Keywords
It's important that you include keywords in the right way so that Amazon approves of the content of your book listing. When you include a keyword string, write it like a reader would when searching for your book. Use "military science-fiction" instead of "science fiction military." When using the keyword boxes on your book listing, narrow your list down to seven phrases. Some of the keyword phrases that help, but aren't as well-known, are settings, such as "Civil War Virginia," characters such as "Iraq War veteran," or character roles like "female detective." Avoid using tie-ins with other authors, like saying your books are "for fans of Hugh Howey," using phrases like "best-selling," "free," or time sensitive phrases like "now on sale."
All of Amazon is driven by keywords, and a complete study of how they're used and the power of proper placement can increase your book sales by a significant percentage. Using a product like our soon to be launched keyword optimization solution can catapult sales across your entire catalog, raising your author ranking by hundreds or thousands of points.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!