Quite simply put – Amazon Kindle SEO is the process of using keywords to have your book rank higher in Amazon search results than other books. And chances are, if you’ve put the blood, sweat and tears into writing a book…you’re going to want readers to find and buy it!
Luckily for you, there are a number of ways to (ethically) manipulate Amazon Kindle’s search engine results in order to get your shining star of a book to crawl up to the top of its search results.
If you have a general idea of what SEO is, the first question you’ll probably have is “How is Amazon Kindle SEO different than regular Amazon SEO or Google SEO?” And it’s a completely valid question. Wouldn’t they all just use the same SEO principles?
Well, not exactly.
In fact, Amazon has its own top secret search engine algorithm. Not much is known about how the system works, but one aspect seems to have been proven true. Similarly to how Google ranks results based on how relevant they are to your inquiry, Amazon tends to rank results based on what they believe the user will buy.
In a nutshell, Amazon ultimately wants to optimize its sales. As one should!
Let’s get down to the difference between the regular Amazon store and the Amazon Kindle store. The two differ in how their pages are laid out, as well as which information you can include on a specific page in order to help sell your book.
The first step in optimizing your content Amazon Kindle’s search engine is to gather relevant keywords.
There are a multitude of keyword search tools at your disposal in today’s digital age, but you’ll only need two to get the job done in this case.
Step 1: Come up with 15-20 keywords that best describe your book and/or its main topic.
Step 2: Input these words or phrases into Google’s Keyword Planner
Step 3: Gather the top 5 to 10 keywords that receive the most traction based on your search and add them to a new list
Step 4: Make a new, separate list that features this new list of keywords.
Step 5: Type your new keywords into Amazon.com’s search bar and take note of other auto populated keywords that come up and are relevant to your book. For example, if you type in “decorating”, what comes up right after that? Amazon.com will likely show you “Decorating tips” or “Decorating ideas”.
Step 6: Write down these auto populated keywords in a third list
Step 7: Combine the auto populated keywords with the proven best-performing keywords you found in Google’s Keywords Planner.
And there you have it! You’re now equipped with the simple tools you need to start helping your book rank better in Amazon Kindle’s search results. In order to delve into the process, let’s take a look at Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.com’s “S.T.A.R.S” framework.
The acronym stands for Subtitle, Title, About, Reviews and Sales Conversion – five areas of Amazon Kindle that you can (to varying degrees) manipulate to boost your book’s search engine ranking.
There’s a key reason why Subtitle comes before Title in Chesson’s sequence. While it might initially seem counterintuitive, it actually makes a lot of sense. Your subtitle field on Amazon Kindle provides a greater opportunity to insert relevant keywords, while you’re more limited when it comes to a title.
Let’s say you’re publishing the interior decorating book we mentioned above. Here’s your chance to boost your ranking with a subtitle packed with keywords like “A design industry veteran’s DIY decorating tips and tricks to creating gorgeous interiors with any budget”.
Ideally, when it comes to choosing a subtitle – you want to ask yourself if you can incorporate your main keywords in an organic way, while also attracting your ideal readers.
Your title can’t be oversaturated with keywords: it would come off as far too obvious. It needs to first draw in a reader’s attention and make them want to buy the book! It is also the only element of the S.T.A.R.S process that is visually represented by a photo (your book cover). Do as much as you can to integrate keywords into your title naturally while making sure that it aligns with your marketing direction.
The About section stands for your book’s description on Amazon Kindle. Think of it similarly to a blog post. In order to get that post to rank in Google, you’ll need to saturate it with well-researched, relevant keywords – which you’ve already done. Consider incorporating long tail keywords in your About section too, which refer to two to four word groupings that perform well together on search engines. You can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find these.
Don’t underestimate the power of HTML tags either! Inserting bold words, italics, headers and preformatted text into your book’s About section has been proven to help improve its search rankings.
While it hasn’t been directly proven whether or not reviews directly impact your book’s search engine ranking on Amazon Kindle, it is widely believed that they contribute to the process. However – it’s a little trickier than a reader simply leaving a review. What it seems to boil down to is whether a customer has included a high-performing keyword (or several) in their reviews.
From another perspective, multiple positive reviews evidently have a better effect on your SEO ranking versus negative ones. You can’t influence this section of the S.T.A.R.S process too much, but you can do your best to encourage your readers to leave reviews by producing valuable and engaging content!
Once you’ve sorted out your book’s title, subtitle, about section and reviews, the most important factor in making sure it actually ranks is the one aspect you have little to no control over: the sales it brings in. The bottom line is that it requires real life, paying customers to positively bolster your rankings.
That being said – all hope is not lost! There are number of effective marketing tactics you can put into place to make sure that you start moving copies off of Amazon Kindle’s figurative shelves.
Step 1: Make sure your audience can find your page. Link to it from your personal website, social platforms and EDMs if you’re sending any (if you’re not – you should be). Create a book landing page if you don’t have one.
Step 2: Sign up to speak at live events, attend industry events and promote yourself, search for partners to help promote your book (see our post on how partnerships be of benefit to you here).
Step 3: Pay for Facebook ads targeting your audience based on demographics.
Hoping to learn more about marketing your book on Amazon? Head over to Self Publishing School’s blog post – Kindle Advertising 101.
So there you have it – our detailed breakdown for how to help your book rank better on Amazon Kindle, adapted from Tom Morkes’ Kindle SEO guide.
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