Cracking the Code: Choosing the Right Keywords to Skyrocket Your Amazon KDP Sales in 2023
The world of self-publishing on Amazon has exploded in recent years. With Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), anyone can publish an eBook on Amazon and make it available to millions of readers. But with over 5 million eBooks now published on Amazon, the competition is fierce. One of the most important factors in making your eBook stand out and get discovered by readers is optimizing it with the right keywords.
The Importance of Keywords for Amazon KDP Sales
Keywords are the terms and phrases that readers use when searching for books on Amazon. If your book targets keywords that readers are actively searching for, it's much more likely to show up in results and lead to sales. That's because Amazon's search algorithm is keyword-driven. It matches the keywords in a reader's search to keywords in book titles, descriptions, and metadata.
The bestselling books on Amazon have cracked the keyword code. Their authors have carefully researched and targeted keywords that have high search volume (the number of people searching for them) and low competition (few other books targeting them). Mastering keywords is essential if you want your book to actually sell amidst the sea of competition.
Understanding How Amazon's Search Algorithm Works
Amazon uses an A9 search algorithm to connect readers with books. When a reader searches on Amazon, the algorithm scans its database of book information and returns the listings that are the closest match based on two key criteria:
- Relevance: How closely a book's metadata matches the reader's search terms
- Popularity: How well a book is selling, its reviews, and other “sales-rank” factors
Amazon's algorithm gives more weight to keywords that appear in a book's title and subtitle than the description. The goal is to quickly return the most relevant books to the searcher.
You can optimize your Amazon KDP book to show up higher in searches by using keywords readers are most likely to search for. Include these exact-match keywords in your title, subtitle, descriptions, and metadata to catch the algorithm's attention.
Conducting Keyword Research for Your Amazon KDP Book
Choosing profitable keywords to target with your book requires researching which terms have high commercial intent. These are keywords shoppers use when they are ready to make a purchase. Here are some tips for researching Amazon KDP keywords:
- Use Kindle's autocomplete and “Customers who bought this also bought” sections to find related keywords.
- Use Amazon's Category and Keyword Bestseller lists to see top search terms.
- Use keyword research tools like Kindlepreneur's KDP Rocket, Publisher Rocket, or K-lytics to find long-tail keywords with low competition.
- Analyze competitor books' keywords, Amazon categories, and bestseller rank.
- Leverage Google's autocomplete and search volumes for keyword ideas.
- Use Facebook's advertising platform to find related keyword ideas.
The best keywords will be highly relevant long-tail phrases with hundreds or thousands of monthly searches and low competition from other books. This data can be found through keyword research tools.
Choosing the Right Keywords for Your KDP Book
Once you've compiled a big list of possible keyword options through research, you'll need to narrow it down to the very best ones to focus on. Here are some factors to help you choose winners:
- Search volume: Prioritize keywords with the highest exact match search volumes. This indicates more demand.
- Competition: Check how many other books are targeting a keyword. Aim for \<100 competing books for the best chance of ranking high.
- Relevance: Make sure keywords accurately describe your book's topic, title, and what it delivers to readers.
- Commercial intent: Choose keywords readers would use when ready to purchase, not just researching.
- Length: Long-tail keywords (3-7+ words) are easier to rank for than short broad terms.
Optimizing Your Book Title and Subtitle
Your Amazon KDP book's title and subtitle are prime real estate for keywords. Here are tips for optimization:
- Put your most important keyword(s) right up front in the title.
- Include multiple keywords in the subtitle separated by punctuation or the | symbol.
- Make the phrasing conversational using words readers would actually search for.
- Keep it below ~60 characters total so the full title is visible in search results.
For example, a title structure like this targets multiple keyword opportunities:
[Main Keyword] | [Keyword] and [Keyword]: A Guide for [Keyword]
Optimizing Your Book Description for Keywords
Your book description gives you 100-4000 characters to convince readers your book is the right solution. Optimize it with keywords using these tips:
- Research Amazon book descriptions in your niche to see what language and keywords competitors are using.
- Include your main keywords in the first 1-2 sentences since that shows up in search results. But avoid awkward over-optimization.
- Use related long-tail keywords and synonyms throughout the rest of the description where it flows naturally.
- Check your description in Amazon's online previewer tool to ensure your most important keywords appear in the search snippet.
Using Keywords in Your Book's Metadata
In addition to the book title and description fields, there are other metadata fields you should optimize with keywords:
- Categories – Choose up to 9 accurate book categories that readers browse and search within. Use specific niches only if they apply.
- Kindle Keywords – Include all your main keyword targets in this metadata field of up to 7 keywords, separated by commas.
- Publisher Keywords – Add extended long-tail versions of your 7 Kindle Keywords here for further optimization.
Monitoring and Adjusting Your Keyword Strategy
Once your book is published, the work isn't done. You still need to monitor your book's keyword performance and sales metrics to see what's working and then adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Use KDP Rocket or other tools to track your Amazon search rankings for target keywords. See which ones your book ranks highly for.
- Pay attention to any keywords that are driving lots of sales or downloads. Double down on those winners.
- If some keywords aren't performing, replace them with better options or improve your content to target those terms.
- Review your keywords every 90 days or so and refresh them to keep up with changing reader search behavior.
The Right Tools and Resources for KDP Keyword Research
Keyword research takes time and effort. But free and paid tools are available to help streamline the process:
- KDP Rocket – Top paid tool specifically for optimizing Kindle keywords
- Publisher Rocket – Keyword research for Amazon books
- K-Lytrics – Database of Amazon keywords and categories
- Kindlepreneur – Free instructional guides and training
- Facebook Ads Library – Free keyword research method
- Amazon Autocomplete – Discover related keywords readers are searching
- Google Keyword Planner – Free keyword data like search volumes
Never forget that real readers searching Amazon determine whether your keywords bring you success. With the right research and optimization strategy, you can crack Amazon's algorithm and maximize discoverability so those readers find your book.
Choosing the right keywords is crucial for Amazon KDP publishing success, but it can be challenging with constantly changing reader behavior. Following an informed keyword research and optimization process allows any author to:
- Identify high-potential keywords people are searching on Amazon
- Strategically integrate keywords into their book title, description, and metadata
- Monitor performance and adjust keywords to maximize sales
With keyword optimization best practices, KDP authors can cut through the clutter and achieve sustainable success selling more books in 2023 and beyond. Mastering this process is like cracking the code that unlocks the full sales potential of the world's largest bookstore.