When you publish a book on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you need to select Kindle keywords.
But guessing or using any seven words that come to your mind at the time is one of the biggest mistakes many new self-publishing authors make.
If you publish your book without doing your keyword research first, you are making it difficult for people to find your book on Amazon.
If you want your book to show in Amazon search results on the Kindle Store, you must research your search terms BEFORE you publish your book.
What is an Amazon or Kindle keyword?
An Amazon or Kindle keyword is a search phrase that can be up to 50 characters long.
Contrary to what you might think, a good keyword is not one word. It is a keyword phrase that consists of words that people search for on Amazon.
When it comes to book marketing, it is one of the most powerful tools you can use to help you sell books.
You need to know what people type into Amazon when they use the search bar.
Then you can add targeted keyword phrases to your Kindle ebook or paperback to attract more potential book buyers.
If you don’t find and use well-researched Amazon keywords, your book will rarely, if ever, appear in customer searches.
But without finding ranking search keywords and making the right selection for your two genre categories, you will reduce your chances of selling your book.
How to research and select Kindle keywords
You can do basic research by using the Amazon search bar.
When you type in any words, you will see a list of up to ten Amazon suggested search terms.
All you need to do is think about words that relate to the story or theme of your book.
Here are some quick examples of how it works. You can select the Kindle Store or Books in the search bar to refine your results.
When I started to type the word, werewolf, the search bar delivered ten related terms. As you can see, I didn’t even have to finish typing the word.
To get more suggestions, I added the word, and.
The list immediately updates with a new list of ten suggestions to use as keyword phrases.
Search for any words that you think relate to your book. Then start making a list of the best suggestions.
Use an Excel sheet to list your potential Kindle keywords and group them by your single word search term.
You can use this technique for fiction and nonfiction books.
If you have already published your book, and you didn’t research your keywords, you can fix it.
All you need to do is find seven new phrases. Then replace the words you used when you published your book.
Within 24 hours, your new keywords will start working for your book in Amazon search.
Using this technique is better than guessing, or worse, using single-word keywords.
But there is a restriction of only ten suggestions at a time. There is also no information about how popular each suggestion is with Amazon readers.
If you want to dig deeper into what is popular with Amazon customers, you will need to use specialized software for the job.
How to find profitable keywords
The only way to find unlimited data is to use software that gives you access to the entire Amazon database for books and ebooks.
The most popular tool for self-publishing authors to select Kindle keywords is Publisher Rocket.
You can perform unlimited searches for not only keywords but also for categories and competitive titles.
You can even search for keywords for Amazon Ads if you use them.
I’ll use the same seed words I used in the Amazon search above so you can see the extra data in Publisher Rocket.
I have cropped the results because it was a very long list.
But you can see that for each suggestion, there is data for the number of monthly searches, sales earnings, and how many competitors there are for each phrase.
As I did with my Amazon search, adding the extra word and changes the results.
In the example above, werewolf and shifter mysteries looks like a good possibility.
For my last seed word, escaping, it appears to be a very bad choice, with only escaping peril looking like a reasonable choice.
When you do a keyword search in Publisher Rocket, you can select books or ebooks, as well as English or German.
In the latest version of the software, you can also refine your search and select Kindle keywords for Amazon US or Amazon UK customers.
When you see all the data you can access, you can understand why you need to select high-performing and profitable keywords for your book.
If you took a few wild guesses when you published your book, it’s unlikely that readers will find your book in the Kindle Store.
Make your book more discoverable
The only way to sell books on Amazon or any other online book retailer is to get your book where readers can discover it.
When you have the right software, you can do your research for better keywords and categories.
You can also look at how and why competitive books in your genre are selling.
But it’s not only on Amazon where it is effective.
Keep a list of the best categories and keywords for your book. Then you can use the same selections if you publish with Smashwords, Draft2Digital, or Google Play.
There are millions of Kindle ebooks in the Kindle Store, with hundreds of new books appearing every day.
When you publish your book, don’t make your decision about your keywords and categories at that time.
Without doing your research first, you will have little chance of selling many copies of your book.
There are simply too many ebooks and so much competition to expect that miracles will happen.
If you do nothing else, at least use the Amazon search bar to do your basic research before you head off to publish your book.
But of course, you will stand a better chance if you use software that gives you access to much more data.
If you published your book recently without doing your research, it’s not too late to try and recover.
Go to your publishing dashboard and check the keywords you used.
Take note of them, and use them to start your research again. Then you can update your book with more useful keywords.
It’s never too late, but it is always better to get every aspect of your book’s metadata right well before you think about publishing your new book.