When you self-publish a new book, selecting Amazon search keywords is a critical part of the process.
But don’t make the mistake of choosing your keywords at the last minute or when you are in the process of publishing your book.
You need to take your time, research, and prepare your list of seven keywords well in advance.
When you select well, you will give your new book the best chance of being discovered by Amazon book buyers.
What are Amazon search keywords for books?
Many new self-publishing authors make a big error in thinking that keywords are one word.
It is not the case. Selecting single words will not help your book appear high in search results.
Another mistake is using the genre or category.
If you list your book under the history category, using history as a keyword is a waste of one of your keywords.
Amazon keywords are short phrases up to a maximum of 50 characters.
It is better to think of these as search queries rather than keywords.
You want to find phrases that book buyers use when looking for a new book to buy.
For example, the single keyword, history , returns over 50,000 results.
But the query, history as they saw it , returns only 24 results.
That means it is a far less competitive keyword, and a book stands a greater chance of selling to an interested book buyer.
How to find keywords for your book
You have two ways to find short phrases for your Amazon search keywords.
Let’s start with Amazon.
The Amazon search bar is the quickest, easiest and free way to do your research.
Start by entering a word, and then add a letter of the alphabet; the results will change.
When you find a phrase that seems to have some potential for your book, click on the search term, and check the number of results.
If the result is lower than 500, the keyword phrase has low competition and can help your book discovery.
But if it returns a result of over 50,000, it is highly competitive and will be of little value for your book.
Continue your research as above until you find 10-15 possible keyword phrases.
Then choose the best seven to add to your book when you publish it.
The two drawbacks to this method are that you are limited to ten results in the search bar, and there is no information about how often Amazon buyers use the search term.
To get this information, you need to use specialized software.
A better way to find Amazon search keywords
No, it’s not free, but Publisher Rocket is the most popular tool for Amazon authors.
It gives you access to the Amazon database for books, Kindle ebooks, and Audible audiobooks. You can also search the US, UK, or DE databases.
When you do your keyword research, you get access to the number of competing books, average monthly earnings, monthly search results, and competitive score.
Here are a couple of examples.
I mentioned the keyword phrase, history as they saw it, earlier.
You can see from the screenshot above that it has a low competitive score, over 500 searches per month, and a low number of competing books.
But the earnings from the keyword are high at a little over $4,500.
For the search term, the secret history of the five eyes , the results are not as good.
Yes, it has a low competition score and only 380 competing books. But searches are less than 100 per month and very low average earnings.
I have cropped the images above. But unlike Amazon search, there is no restriction on the number of results with Publisher Rocket.
There was a long list of keyword possibilities for both of my searches.
Another bonus is that you can analyze competing books and use the program to find competitive categories.
One last benefit is that you can find different search terms for your print book and Kindle ebook.
Because these are two different Amazon databases, useful search terms can vary between versions.
Do longer keyword phrases perform better?
Yes, very much so when compared to using single words.
Amazon KDP help offers only a little guidance in this regard and says that you can use up to seven keywords or short phrases.
It is a bit misleading because it reads as if you can or should use single words.
The best search terms are always short phrases up to 50 characters long.
You don’t need to use the whole character count, but terms of around 20-30 characters are ideal.
Always remember that the aim of selecting the best search terms for your book is to attract the right type of book buyers.
In other words, people who have a genuine interest in the topics or theme of your book.
Never think that your book will sell to everyone. It won’t.
It will only have a chance of selling to a very small niche market.
Keywords for fiction and nonfiction
You might think it’s easier to find search keywords for nonfiction, such as self-help books, because the subject is specific and clear.
Yes, it is, but most search phrases for nonfiction are also highly competitive, especially for lifestyle, health, and sports books.
On the other hand, fiction usually uses themes as the basis for keywords.
In both cases, you must research well to find the best seven search terms for your book.
Never leave choosing your seven Amazon search keywords to the last minute.
It’s a recipe for disaster because you will miss out on one of the best ways to sell books on Amazon.
Give yourself plenty of time, and start your keyword research as early as possible.
You can use the free method I outlined above using the Amazon search bar.
But if your budget allows, using Publisher Rocket is a much better way to find profitable and low-competition keyword phrases.
Whichever method you choose, don’t be in a rush.
Start your research at least a couple of weeks, if not more, before you plan to publish your book on Amazon.
Then you can be confident that you are giving your new book its best chances of success.