You'll hear people talk about choosing keywords for Google and Bing, but you'll rarely hear people talk about the importance of how to choose keywords for Amazon KDP.
But as an author, the keywords you choose in Amazon are more important than Google and Bing. Why? Because that's where the buyers are at. People go to Google and Bing to find information, but they go to Amazon to buy.
In this article, I'll break down:
- What are Amazon KDP Keywords?
- How many can I choose / use?
- Why do I need keywords for my book?
- Can I use different keywords for my Kindle vs. paperback vs. hardback vs. audiobook vs. Amazon ads?
- How do I find keywords for my book?
- Best Amazon keyword research tools
- How to find the best keywords that sell more books
- What are negative keywords in Amazon?
- How long should keyword research take?
- Can someone set up my Amazon keywords for me?
What are Amazon KDP Keywords?
Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) keywords are words or phrases authors use to help readers find their books on Amazon. They help Amazon's search algorithm identify and categorize books based on relevancy and topic. Basically, these keywords make books discoverable.
Keywords are the terms readers use to search for books. Your job as the author is to find the best ones for your book.
How many keywords can I choose / use for Amazon KDP?
Authors and publishers can choose up to seven keywords or phrases when publishing their book. It's important to choose keywords that accurately reflect the book's content and keywords that readers are likely to use when searching for books in the same genre or subject area.
Within each of the seven keyword boxes, you are allowed up to 50 characters.
Should you use all 50 characters? Within reason, and with good sense, yes.
For a more in depth look at this, check out Dave Chesson's interesting experiment. He concluded that readers should use as many characters in their seven keyword boxes as possible.
Why do I need keywords for my book?
The more effectively you use your keywords, the more likely your book shows up in the search results. Of course, the more eyeballs you get on your book, the more likely you are to attract potential readers. The more potential readers, the more buyers. The more buyers, the more royalties. And we all want to make more money as authors, right?
Basically, you're trying to put yourself in the mind of your ideal reader / Amazon shopper. They're looking for a book on [insert topic]. Your book happens to be about that topic, or it has a couple chapters on that topic. Boom! You choose those keywords and use them for your book.
Can I use different keywords for my Kindle vs. paperback vs. hardback vs. audiobook vs. Amazon ads?
Yes, you can. In fact, I encourage you to use different ones for each format. It will make your book more discoverable.
How do I find keywords for my book?
With any research nowadays, you have two options: you can do it manually, or you can use a software tool.
Personally, I recommend both. Manually go into Amazon, use the search bar, and look up keywords that you think someone might use to find your book. Take note of what you see. What books come up? Which authors are featured? Who is running ads on those topics? How hard does it look to rank — are you going up against James Clear's Atomic Habits with 78,296 reviews, or a random person with only 2 reviews?
After you do some manual searching, then use a tool like Publisher Rocket. This will really help you get a larger picture of the different keywords available to you.
Honestly, everything about your book should be done with keywords in mind. The title, subtitle, book description, back cover copy, and any other sales copy you write should have keywords in mind. Don't stuff it. Don't overdo it. But within reason, utilize the keywords in more places than just the 7 boxes in the backend of KDP.
Best Amazon keyword research tools
Are there tools to help me find my Amazon keywords? Of course!
As mentioned earlier, one of the best and most basic places to start is simply test the search bar in Amazon directly. This shows you what a potential reader will see, immediately.
But to understand the data behind those keywords, we recommend Publisher Rocket for authors. They are two of the very best for Amazon KDP keyword research. User-friendly, affordable, and just enough features for the average author.
If you want to go down a notch, there are free Chrome extensions, like Also Boughts Downloader by Kindle Trend, Instant Data Scraper, KDSPY or KDROI, but they aren't quite as robust.
If you want to go up a notch, there are other keyword research tools that exist, including Helium 10, SEM Rush, Ahrefs, Moz, and more. But for you as an author, it's important to note, some of these advanced tools are more geared toward Google and Bing search, plus they can be more expensive.
How to find the best keywords that sell more books
Sometimes you'll find keywords that seem fitting for your book, but they aren't necessarily good for sales.
Use the filters in Publisher Rocket. See what the top 5 books in your categories are doing for keywords, then see if you can use a medium or long tail version of that keyword.
Likewise, you can use a Chrome extension tool as I mentioned above. These can scrape the data of Amazon to help you find the most applicable, bestselling keywords for your book.
These are advanced techniques, especially if you struggle with tech, but they are well worth the effort for career authors and people looking to maximize their book's performance.
What are negative keywords in Amazon?
You can't set up negative keywords in KDP on your book listing. But, you can set up negative keywords on your Amazon Ads.
When you use negative keywords, you prevent your ads from being displayed to audiences that are unlikely to be interested in your book. Why does this matter? Because it improves the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. You aren't wasting money advertising to the wrong keywords.
If you're writing a book for paleo diets, you probably want to include keywords like best diets, easy diets, etc. But you'd want to exclude “vegan” because paleo includes meat, eggs, etc. and someone looking for a vegan diet isn't going to want your book.
How long should keyword research take?
It depends on how deep you want to go.
At a minimum, I recommend taking at least one hour to research keywords prior to publishing your book. If you take an hour to research, you'll be miles ahead of the average self-published (and traditionally published) authors.
But if you really want to ensure the best chance of success for your book, I recommend taking a couple hours before you ever start writing your book. Then, a few months later, before you upload your book for publication, take another couple hours to hone it in even more, now that you have a finished manuscript.
If you're writing a series or writing to market, you need to take at least a day to research your keywords and categories on Amazon. Why? Because you're about to invest 100s of hours into writing, $1000s of dollars into editing, and you don't want it to be a waste.
Can someone set up my Amazon Keywords for me?
Finding your keywords can be a lot of work. At selfpublishing.com, we help authors like you set up your Amazon keywords, as well as your categories. In fact, we take care of the entire uploading process to get your book on KDP. Book a call with our team to find out more.
Find the keyword research tool that works for you. Or, let our team handle the tough work for you.