7 Kindle Keywords: Use All 50 Characters or Not?
The success of any published book is directly connected to using proper metadata. In order to boost rankings on Amazon or other retail bookstores, it all narrows down to keyword usage.
As an example, Amazon provides seven boxes for keywords. However, not all distribution companies are the same, it varies. In these seven boxes, we can use up to fifty characters, which allows us to enter a target phrase, or fill the box to include as many phrases as possible.
Some book marketing gurus urge authors to use as many characters as possible, while others believe you should only enter a target phrase. The conflicting advice leaves authors scratching their heads, wondering how to approach their keywords.
The article below provides data collected through experimentation of the most optimal way to fill your seven keywords. By using this technique, you will not only increase how many times your book is shown, but also increase the book’s rankings in Amazon based on the target keywords.
Below is an image of the 7 Kindle keyword boxes, in case you’re unfamiliar with them:
Amazon Results Page: When someone types a phrase into Amazon’s search box, the search engine displays a list of products. These are called the Search Results. If your book shows up on this page immediately, it is listed on the first page of search results. As you click through the pages, it is called the second-page search results, etc.
Indexing for a Keyword: Book marketing; indexing for a keyword Amazon lists for that keyword phrase. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the first page; it simply means Amazon acknowledges the book should be listed for that search phrase. If Amazon has listed 11,041 books for that search result, and your books are now ‘indexed’ for that keyword.
Ranking for a Keyword: The rankings for that phrase or keyword are the number at which the product shows up. So, say for example, someone types in “War Mage” and your book is the 7th book shown on the search results, then you have a ranking of 7. If you rank 100, that means the shopper must search many pages to show your book. Rankings are necessary to improve results, thereby sales.
Below are some common questions that arise when discussing keywords.
- Does filling in all 50 characters index your book for more keywords?
The data says without a doubt most definitely. By using more words or phrases filling the boxes, the more a book is indexed. Which leads us to our next observation…
- Does amazon rearrange the words and index for them or just use the exact phrase you type in?
As it turns out, Amazon uses variations of the words you enter. Therefore, if you typed in Dragon War Mage into one of the 7 keyword boxes, the indexing would include War Dragon Mage, Mage Dragon, War Mage, Mage, and all other versions of the phrase.
According to Amazon, “We do not recommend using quotation marks around your phrase, or else you will only show up for that exact phrase and nothing else.”
In Boolean search criteria, “if you ever want to only be shown an exact phrase, put quotations around it. You can do this on Google the next time you only want to see results based on exactly what you type, and no subsets of it. Looks like Amazon’s search engine (and thus their indexing) works the same way.”
However, it is important to note Amazon only indexed the books for terms they deemed legitimate — terms that would produce results if you typed into Amazon. So, if one of the combinations of the phrase is something Amazon doesn’t acknowledge or show books for, they won’t start ranking the book. Apparently, they are smarter than that. Also, of an important note, Amazon automatically includes pluralization’s of the word.
- If I have the same keyword more than once, does that help or hurt?
It is best to avoid using the same keyword, or one that shows up elsewhere in the metadata. As an example, (title, contributor, etc).
- So, does it hurt us if we do repeat words? Will this be something Amazon penalizes us for?
Amazon does not penalize for reusing a keyword in the title, subtitle, or elsewhere. However, in doing so, you diminish the books ranking and waste word usage. Neither option improved ranking.
Nevertheless, if one is War Mage, and the other is Fantasy Mage. Do not remove the word Mage merely because you used it already in your title or another keyword box.
- Does targeting a specific phrase help with rankings?
According to Amazon, “The degree of text match plays a major part in rankings.”
The information provides clear evidence of how important it is to fill the boxes with targeted phrases. Not to mention, particular keywords can help increase rankings on Amazon search results. However, while Amazon rearranges the words, indexing them automatically, the way they are arranged can have a stronger effect than simply a random combination.
- Do I put my keyword in the title and subtitle or keyword box?
Amazon results show an increase of 37% in rankings by using keywords in the title or subtitle, compared to only one of the phrase keyword boxes. It makes sense, since the title should depict the contents of the book. However, do not stuff the keyword boxes. It only shows that those two spots have a larger effect on rankings than your 7 keyword boxes.
Anomalies To Be Aware
In this experiment, there were two anomalies worth mentioning. The first…. inconsistency showed on a particular keyword that was extremely risqué. It could be because Amazon does not allow such word usage, so stick to something tamer. Including erotic, or erotica.
On the second book anomaly, deals with keyword stuffing by attempting to get better results using words that do not pertain to the books contents. Considering this information, stick to phrases that pertain to the book genre. It’s apparent Amazon algorithms are keyed into the book contents. Again, metadata is everything when it comes to being found on the internet. Stay diligent, however, while having more keywords is important, some phrases will lower those ranking scores.
The process of choosing proper keywords may seem time-consuming, tedious work. However, without ranking high in search engine results, your efforts are pointless. Use the following steps to improve results.
Step 1: Find 1-3 keyword specific phrases relevant to the book content
The keywords should be the perfect descriptive phrase that targets what readers would type in Amazon when searching for your book.
Examples: How to lose weight fast, Gaslamp supernatural romance, Evernote for authors, military sci-fi space marines. They read like real terms, and truly fit your book.
- Have shoppers been looking for them: The boxes should be filled with phrases people actually use the search books on Amazon. Don’t waste your boxes on something shoppers do not use to search.
If you find 1-3 phrases that fit these three characteristics, then absolutely use a specific box for each.
Step 2: Fill in with niche specific terms and phrases
It would be best to fill in as much of the 50 characters as possible with words or phrases that fit your type of book.
These would be broad terms that fit the niche or genre, but aren’t as important because the odds of someone typing them into Amazon searching for the exact type of book are small.
Below are some examples:
- Your character or their role
- The Setting and Time of the story
- The Catalyst that kickstarts your story
- Your genre or the flavor of your genre (steamy romance vs wholesome love vs erotica, etc)
- Synonyms of the above
- The pain points of your target reader
- The success your reader hopes to gain from your book
- The type of reader or their demographic
- Descriptive words
- Synonyms of the above
By following these steps for each, there should be no problem coming up with multiple 50-character boxes, and should help increase your book’s indexing on Amazon.
As you can imagine, more words in the boxes will index better on Amazon. But simultaneously, can weaken rankings for those terms, since their power will be diluted.
Authors should use a combination of two tactics to find target specific words or phrases that best fit the book. But, reserve certain keyword boxes to include other terms or phrases not included.
If you get stuck, please send us an email. Writers Publishing House offers affordable optimization packages to improve book sales. firstname.lastname@example.org