Most people who look for books use Google to find what they want. Others go straight to Amazon to search for the book titles or descriptions they need.
Either way, the search engines decide which books to show depending on what the readers type in the search bar. So if you want your book to be easily discovered, you need to take advantage of SEO on Amazon. Let's find out how!
Using SEO on Amazon to Make Your Book More Discoverable
As an aspiring author, you should learn how to self-publish on Amazon successfully. There are many things you need to do to prepare for this. After writing your book, you need to market it properly to make sure it reaches your target audience.
The good news is, SEO will help you achieve this. Knowing how to use SEO to your advantage will make things a lot easier for you once you launch your book.
Optimize Your Book
Before you ever write your book, you must already think about optimizing it for when you put it on the market. Make sure to include the most important elements in your book.
That way, search engines will always pick it up whenever someone uses the right keywords. The elements to include and optimize in your book are:
When it comes to the title, be very careful when using keywords. You want to catch the reader's attention first and won't do this by using a title that contains too many keywords.
You need to find the right balance to create a catchy title with just the right number and type of keywords.
Having a subtitle for your book allows you to insert more keywords to make it easier for people to find. This is where you use the "right keywords" to boost the ranking of your book.
Just make sure to use the keywords organically to make the subtitle more appealing to anyone who reads it.
This part of your book will contain the description. It will give your readers a taste of what to expect in your book. This is another place for you to use a lot of keywords.
Craft this part strategically so your book will always pop up when your target audience searches for it.
In some cases, having reviews can also improve your book's ranking on Google and Amazon. But this only happens if the customers who leave reviews use the right keywords too. Still, having reviews is always helpful!
Take Advantage of Certain Amazon Features
By choosing to self-publish your book on Amazon, you need to learn everything you need to for your book (or books) to soar. For instance, you should try to unlock hidden kindle categories to find where your book truly fits in.
You should also create your own Author Central Account on Amazon. Don't worry, this is free! On this account, you can add your profile as an author, your bio, a photo (if you want people to know what you look like), and other important information.
Once your book has a sales page, your profile link will be featured on it. That way, the people who have read your book or are interested in purchasing your book can learn more about you. You can even go through the sales history of your book here!
Another helpful tip is to take part in Amazon's "Search Inside This Book" program. Here, the people interested in your book can preview some of the pages. This is an important feature that can give a person the "final push" to purchase your book.
For this, you must create your own Seller Account first. Then simply follow the instructions until you have submitted your book. Participating in this program can also help make your book more discoverable.
Stay Away From “Black Hat SEO”
When it comes to SEO on Amazon, there are also certain tactics that you should avoid simply because they aren't very ... ethical. Some of the most common black hat SEO tricks to avoid are Spam, keyword stuffing, and buying links.
Some even go as far as leaving negative reviews on the pages of their competitors to lower their rankings. These tactics are in violation of the Terms of Service of Amazon. Naturally, if you get caught doing these things, you will have to face the consequences.
Amazon will either suspend your account or close it permanently, lower your books' position on the search results, or even prevent your book from appearing on search results. Of course, you don't want any of these to happen.
Take Things Further
If you're not that familiar with SEO, you can always seek professional SEO-related services to help you out. You don't have to do everything on your own. Working together with a professional allows you to do everything you need to make the most of SEO. These things include:
- After publishing your book on Amazon, make sure to add it to the right category. Use the right keywords in your book and its product page on Amazon. This is known as indexing your book.
- Apart from using Amazon ads, advertise your books on various social media platforms such as Facebook. This will make it easier for your book to be noticed by your target audience.
- Create a website on the topic of your book then feature your book on that site. This tip is especially beneficial if you plan to write several books on the same topic. From there, you can expand your website too if you choose to write books on other topics. When you have a website of your own, you can even have guest postings where you add a link that will bring your site's visitors to the sales page of your book.
All of these things will help your target audience see you as an authority in your genre or topic. And when this happens, more people will want to buy your book!
Finally… Use the RIGHT Keywords
Keywords are the key to SEO.
This is something that you should understand if you want to own the market. Finding and using the right keywords for self-publishing will greatly help with your book's discoverability.
If you already have an idea for your book's topic, try to come up with as many as 15 keywords for that topic. Then you can use these keywords in the different parts of your book and anything else you will use to market your book.
Choosing the Right Keywords for Self-Publishing
These days, keywords are all the rage. They might seem like random words to most people, but when you string them together correctly, keywords can be extremely powerful.
Simply put, keywords are the words that people use when they are searching for something online—like a book or an eBook, for example. This means that if you want your book to be discovered over and over again, you need to choose and use the right keywords. Here are some tips for you to do this:
Do Your Research
Finding the right keywords isn't as simple as writing down words related to your topic. Although brainstorming keywords is part of the process, you need to do some research too. You can do this in several ways:
- Use keyword research tools to come up with the best keywords for your topic. Some of the best ones are Amazon Keyword Tool, Google Keyword Planner, ahrefs, and MerchantWords. These tools will make finding the words you need much easier.
- You can also use Google and Amazon's search bars. When you type a word in the search bars (the most relevant word for your topic), you will already see a list of suggestions. You can use these as your keywords.
- Going through your competitors' sales pages can also help you find good keywords. Simply search for [the title of] your book and see the first results that come up. Click on those and write down the keywords they used. Go through the first few search results to see which words they have in common.
These are the most effective ways to find what you need while researching. And if you're planning to write another book, finding the keywords for it will be much easier.
Use Keywords That SELL
SEO self-publishing is very important if you want your book to sell. After coming up with a list of potential keywords, the next step is to check if those keywords will help sell your book.
Go to Amazon and search the first set of keywords you have written down. Click on the first 2 to 3 books that appear in the results. Click on each book's Amazon Best Seller Rank. Copy the rank and paste it on the Amazon Sales Rank Calculator to see the estimated sales of the book.
If you see that the books you have clicked on aren't selling well, it means that the keywords aren't searched for often or people who have searched those keywords didn't end up buying the books.
Either way, if the set of keywords don't point to books that make money, you can cross it out. This is why you should come up with a list of several keywords (up to 15!) as you won't be using all of them.
While this step will take some time and effort too, it's still very important as it will help you narrow down your keyword options.
Focus on Targeted Keyword Strings
Now that you have crossed out the keywords that won't sell your book, it's time to focus on what's really important. The best keywords for self-publishing are often targeted phrases or keyword strings.
To help you understand this, let's use an example. Let's say your book is about "Tips for Traveling on a Budget." If someone types "traveling on a budget" in the search bar, your book will definitely turn up as one of the top search results compared to when someone simply types "budget travels."
The term "budget travels" is a general term that people commonly search for. But they could be looking for the best destinations for budget travels, best hotels for budget travels, affordable activities for budget travels, and so on.
With such a vague term, your book will easily get lost in the competition. But when you use a targeted keyword string or phrase like "traveling on a budget," the people who will search for this term will definitely be looking for what your book has to offer.
In other words, choosing specific, targeted keywords will make your book more discoverable. So go through your list again and refine it further by choosing which of those keywords will appeal to your target audience.
Once you have decided on the best and most competitive keywords for your niche, you can include those keywords in your outline before writing. If you plan to hire a ghostwriter to collaborate with you, make sure to share those keywords too.
Learn More About the Competition
At this point, you would already have a pretty awesome list of keywords to use for your book. Now, it's time to learn more about the competition. Go to Amazon once again and type each of your targeted keyword phrases in the search bar.
Click on the first 2 to 3 books that appear in the results and this time, take a closer look at each of those books. Look at the covers of the books, check the number of reviews they have, and explore all other aspects of the books.
This step will help you learn more about what you need to do to come up with something better than the competition. Now that you know what you will be up against, you need to find a way to make your book stand out so that people will choose your book over all others.
Know What to Avoid
When it comes to keywords, there are also things you must avoid when self-publishing on Amazon. These are the things that you shouldn't include in your keywords so you don't end up violating any policies and put all of your efforts to waste.
Some of the things that shouldn't be part of your keywords are:
- Common misspellings or variants of pluralization, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
- Claims that are subjective or statements that are only true temporarily.
- Any information that appears anywhere else in the metadata of your book.
- Information that is also found in the majority of books (or items) in the same category.
Basically, you want to avoid anything that will promote, advertise, misrepresent, or mislead people. Try to find the right keywords that are honest and specific while still being common enough for people to search for them.
How to Use Keywords for Self-Publishing on Amazon?
As you can see, keywords are very important if you plan to self-publish your book. After you have chosen your keywords, you should also know how to use them correctly. Some of the best methods include:
- Use keywords [organically] in your title and the headings of your book, especially in Heading 1. These are the tags that will help your book get a high ranking.
- Use keywords in the metadata of your book. Having a killer SEO meta description makes it easier for publishing sites to place your book in the appropriate category.
- Use keywords on the content of your website. That way, your target audience will always find your book, whether on Amazon or on your site, which should have a link to your book's sales page too.
- Use keywords when adding internal and external links on your site too. These usually appear in articles and blog posts on your website.
By choosing the best keywords and using them appropriately, your target audience will easily find your book and discover that it is exactly what they need.
In Summary: Get Your Book Out There Now!
Now that you understand SEO better, you should also know how to use it to make your book more discoverable. Writing your book is just the beginning. You need to work hard to make sure that your book sells too.
All that is left for you to do is apply all of the tips, tricks, and strategies you have learned in this article. With this knowledge, you can get your book out there now!
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