By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
There’s an adage that states potential customers must see a marketing message seven times before deciding to purchase a product.
I’m someone who has to hear about a promo technique seven times before finally deciding to experiment with it.
Except in the case of Amazon keywords. I’ve read likely a couple of dozen blog posts on Amazon keywords. Only now have I finally scraped up enough time to work on it.
Amazon, of course, is a search engine. There’s metadata involved, there’s SEO involved. We need to make our books visible to potential readers.
When I originally chose my keywords, I went with terms I thought readers may be looking for. My keywords were like this: mystery, cozy mystery, women sleuths, etc.
And sure, readers are looking for these terms. The only problem is that there was absolutely nothing unique about them. I wasn’t giving the books a boost with these keyword choices. My books are already listed in the mystery and cozy categories, so I’m basically wasting these keywords. I’m hardly the only author putting mystery down as a keyword. Thousands of other writers are doing the same thing.
What I wanted to do was to narrow the field and actually make my books show up on pages that cozy readers are searching for. I took my old keywords and started plugging them into the Amazon search bar to see what came up for results. (This technique is mentioned by Joanna Penn , Penny Sansevieri , and the folks at Standout Books, among others.)
For instance, I typed cozy mystery into the search bar and then went through the alphabet. Cozy mystery a (and viewed what, if anything, came up with the auto-complete). Then cozy mystery b…and so on. I discovered, and this shouldn’t be a huge surprise, that apparently quite a few cozy mystery readers were searching for cozy mysteries with cats. A look at the books on that page showed that many of the books were ranked highly on Amazon, which means they were selling, obviously.
And I thought: well, heck, I have a cat in my Myrtle Clover mysteries. Pasha is a feral cat who occasionally obtains sidekick status during Myrtle’s exploits. She’s not soft or cuddly or cute. But she’s a feline! And my titles weren’t showing up for that search.
I looked at the page and sure enough, plenty of the cozy mysteries on that Amazon page appeared to be doing well.
I logged onto my KDP dashboard, changed keywords for various titles to cozy mysteries with cats and hit publish.
As I’m writing this post, I see that I have a title listed on the second search page, two on the fourth, and one on the fifth.
So, although cozy mysteries is now becoming more crowded field, I’m standing out in a narrow field with a refined search. I’m more visible.
What’s more, I’ve seen an increase in sales resulting from this technique.
Another popular search was cozy mysteries kindle free. So I applied that to my permafree title. Another was cozy mystery new releases. So that keyword went onto the book that came out early this month.
We can change keywords at any time. If we don’t see good results, we can revisit what we’re doing. Obviously, the best way to sell books is to have a professional product: nice cover, good cover copy, plenty of (fair) reviews, and more titles than fewer. But if something as small as tweaking metadata can help…and this didn’t take me but a few minutes…then I’m all for it.
I’ve also seen popular keywords added as subtitles to both fiction and nonfiction books.
A word of caution that we definitely don’t want to keyword stuff (adding our keywords to our title, subtitle, and book description to an excessive degree…where it appears very forced) or else that could potentially lead to Amazon wanting to pull the title. We wouldn’t want to violate their Terms of Service.
How did you choose your keywords? Have you ever done a keyword search on Amazon?Use smarter keywords for visibility on Amazon: Click To Tweet