When it comes to listing and promoting your book on Amazon, there are two primary research tasks you should perform in order to get your book greater visibility across Amazon’s massive inventory of books. Following explains what you need to do.
1. Keyword research for Amazon ads.
If you plan to utilize Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising system, and I highly recommend that you do, you’ll need to develop a list of as many keywords as possible. The keywords you choose help Amazon determine when and where to serve up ads for your book. Ideally, you should create a list of at least 50 keywords for your ads, though more is even better because these will help your book appear in more places.
Start with Simple Search Terms
First, identify keywords potential readers would search on Amazon. Those keywords will include simple search terms. For example, if you’ve authored a memoir about living with diabetes, your keywords might include “diabetes memoir,” “how to manage diabetes,” and “diabetes guide.” To locate basic search terms, you’ll need to think like your reader. You can also use Neil Patel’s free Ubersuggest tool, which shows search demand and suggested keywords. This tool is targeted toward Google research, but it also provides great suggestions you can use for Amazon.
When I search UberSuggest for “diabetes book,” it returns additional keyword suggestions ranked by popularity including “diabetes cookbook,” “diabetes logbook,” and “diet for diabetes book.” If these search terms are popular on Google, you can bet they’re popular on Amazon too.
Locate Competing Titles and Authors
In addition to basic search terms, your keywords should include competing author names and book titles. This means carving out time to search Amazon for titles similar to yours, and then clicking through other titles in sections like “Customers who bought this item also bought” and “Sponsored products.” Make note of each book title and author name as these will become part of your keyword strategy for your Amazon Ads.
Also think about books beyond the obvious competitors. Someone seeking a book about diabetes might also be searching for sugar-free cookbooks, low carb diet books, and memoirs about health. Add those titles and authors to your list, too.
Power Tip: Search competing books using this free tool and it will show you all the categories each book is listed in: https://www.bklnk.com/categories5.php.
Remember, the point here is to identify as many keywords as possible so that your ads will appear frequently in relevant places across Amazon. Because Amazon provides detailed reporting information for ad performance, you can always remove keywords later if they aren’t performing well. You can also add more keywords as you locate them.
2. Category research for promotion purposes.
It’s a little-known secret that Amazon will actually list your book in up to ten categories, not just the two categories you suggest when you set up your book there. The benefit here is that your book can potentially be found while scrolling through other categories, and it can also rise to the top of certain categories, bringing it greater visibility.
Amazon has a LOT of sub-categories, so it’s worthwhile to spend a little time looking for the most appropriate categories for your book. To do this, once again look for competing book titles on Amazon and then scroll down to see what categories the books are listed in. Using the diabetes book example above, I searched through several diabetes books and found a variety of categories:
- Type 2 Diabetes Health
- American Diabetes Association Nutrition (yes, this is a category all its own!)
- Endocrinology and Metabolism
- General Diabetes Health
- Weight Loss Diets
- Diabetic and Sugar-Free Cooking
- Children’s Disease Books
- Children’s Illness
I also found diabetes-related books listed in general categories like “Memoir” and “Children’s Books.” While there’s nothing inherently wrong with being listed in these categories, keep in mind that there is massive competition in broad categories. This is why it’s important to also choose smaller sub-categories where you book has a better chance of rising to the top and standing out. For example, I found a memoir about a traveler with diabetes listed as #25 in Local Travel Guides.
The bottom line is that you should take time to locate up to ten relevant categories where your book can be listed. Then, contact Amazon and ask them to make the change. Here’s a simple email template you can use:
Re: <book title> and <ISBN>
Greetings, I discovered several competing titles listed in different categories from my book. Could you please add my book to the following categories?
<list up to ten Amazon categories here>
Thank you kindly for your assistance.
Note, the best way to get a quick response from Amazon support is to contact them through your Author Central account. KDP support tends to be extremely busy and slower to respond. Also, when you send your list, be sure it includes ALL the categories you want included. Don’t assume they’ll leave the book listed in its current categories.
With a bit of research, you can help boost your book’s visibility on Amazon.
Bonus Pro Tip:
After conducting all of this keyword research, be sure to incorporate many of the primary keyword phrases into the content of your book’s page on Amazon. This will help Amazon serve up your book naturally in search results.
Through your Author Central account, you can add content to your book’s page through several fields:
- Editorial reviews
- Product description (Usually book jacket/sales copy, but you can expand this description.)
- Note from the author
- From the inside flap
- From the back cover
- About the author
While you don’t want to overdo it and plaster your page with keywords in the copy, you do want to leverage relevant keyword terms to help Amazon—and readers—understand what your book is about.
Need help setting up Amazon Ads? Download our free report on Amazon Ads here.
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