Monday, September 23, 2013

Using Keywords to Make Your Kindle Book Easier for Readers to Find

Amazon's store is also a search engine. It makes sense then to practice good SEO like you would for your own website or blog and this includes the best possible use of keywords in the book's description.

In the most recent issue of the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter, Amazon has provided some excellent suggestions on how to provide the best possible book description using keywords. The first suggestions provided include the best practices listed below.

Best practices with keywords:
  • Combine keywords in the most logical order: Customers will search for military science fiction but not for fiction science military.
  • Use up to seven keywords or short phrases. Separate them with commas, and keep an eye on the character limit in the text field.
  • Experiment. Before you publish, search for your book's title and keywords on Amazon. If you get irrelevant results, or results you dislike, consider making some changes—your book will ultimately appear among similar results. When you search, look at the suggestions that appear in the Search field drop down.
  • Think like your customer. Think about how you would search for your book if you were a customer, and ask others to suggest keywords they'd search on.
More suggestions for good keyword use include specific use and types of keywords:

Useful keyword types
  • ● Setting (Colonial America)
  • ● Character types (single dad, veteran)
  • ● Character roles (strong female lead)
  • ● Plot themes (coming of age, forgiveness)
  • ● Story tone (dystopian, feel-good)
Amazon even provided suggestions of what NOT to include in keywords:

  • ● Information covered elsewhere in your book's metadata—title, contributor(s),  category, etc.
  • ● Subjective claims about quality (e.g. "best")
  • ● Statements that are only temporarily true ("new," "on sale," "available now")
  • ● Information common to most  items in the category ("book")
  • ● Common misspellings
  • ● Variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (both "80GB" and "80 GB", "computer" and "computers", etc.). The only exception is for words translated in more than one way, like "Mao Zedong" and "Mao Tse-tung," or "Hanukkah" and "Chanukah."
  • ● Anything misrepresentative, such as the name of an author that is not associated with your book. This type of information can create a confusing customer experience and Kindle Direct Publishing has a zero tolerance policy for metadata that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead.
Don't use quotation marks in search terms: Single words work better than phrases—and specific words work better than general words. If you enter "complex suspenseful whodunit," only people who type all of those words will find your book. You'll get better results if you enter this: complex suspenseful whodunit. Customers can search on any of those words and find your book.

Other metadata tips
● Customers are more likely to skim past long titles (over 60 characters).
● Focus your book's description on the book's content
● Your keywords can capture useful, relevant information that won't fit in your title and description (setting, character, plot, theme, etc.)
● You can change keywords and descriptions as often as you like
● If your book is available in different formats (physical, audio) keep your keywords and description consistent across formats

All of this information is helpful and making me take a look at all of my book descriptions.  I am glad I took the time to read all of this month's newsletter from KDP!