The Journey to a Bestseller: Increase Your Chances of Being Seen on Amazon {Keywords & Categories}(series #21)

Hello! Good Sunday afternoon! I didn’t have a chance to write this week, but I promise next week’s post will be about the WIP. What I did work on this week was marketing my existing books by updating my keyword phrases and categories on Amazon. Why is that important? Amazon’s almighty algorithm A9 (or A10, I guess) only knows where to put you and advertise you based on these items. They are all about customers getting what they want shown to them.

When you publish on KDP, you are allowed to choose seven keyword phrases and two categories. Did you know that you can actually have up to ten categories? It is not cheating, it is part of Amazon’s rules. They have videos on how to do it. Really, you just email Amazon and ask for them to list you in the following categories…

But why does it take so much work just to figure out what keywords and categories to choose? Because some keywords are searched for a lot, and some not. Some of those keywords have a big group of authors using them, and some do not.

How can you tell the difference? That’s the question. It does take a lot of work and involves a small investment.

First, let’s talk about why these are so important and what they do. First, categories. Your category, as I said before, gives Amazon a group to put you in for your rank. And once you figure out what categories you want, all it takes is an email to Amazon to be listed. But what if you have a publisher? Aha. If you belong to a small publisher, there is a big chance that you are being published through KDP, as well. In that case, your publisher is filling in this information for you. I think every book listed on Amazon goes through a similar process. I don’t know your publisher, but I don’t personally know any publisher that puts as much work into finding the RIGHT categories for your book as you would.

SO, when you’re done with this post, and you do the work, give the list to your publisher and ask them to email Amazon. They will probably be happy that you’ve done the work, and that it will help you sell more copies. How is that? When you are in the right categories, your rank will improve. Customers look at the first page the most.

I do it too. You’re only looking for a book you want right now. You start at the beginning of the list, and once you find the first book you want, you buy it and stop looking. If it’s on the first page, you never make it to the second. So, if you can change your ranking to be listed in the top 50, which are on the first page, you up your chances of being seen by a huge percentage.

According to Amazon’s own data*:

  • 70 percent of Amazon customers never click past the first page of search results.
  • 35 percent of Amazon shoppers click on the first product featured on a search page.
  • The first three items displayed in search results account for 64 percent of clicks.
  • 81 percent of clicks are on brands on the first page of search results.

*This from an article I read here.

Keywords and keyword phrases are very important, and I will use myself as an example. My book is a young adult fantasy romance. Well, it’s science fantasy, so a lot of the sci-fi keywords work, too. Keywords are the words people use when they search for a book on Amazon. Some keywords are widely searched, and they have a big number of books that show up for that keyword. Other keyword phrases (a phrase can be from one to several words long) are not widely searched, yet have a high number of books competing for those searches. The last group of keywords are highly searched for, but don’t have many books competing. Those are the phrases you want. *Make sure they apply to your book, though.

For example (it can be a very small change), the phrase “YA fantasy romance” is highly searched, but has even more books in it than monthly searches. But the phrase “ya fantasy romance kindle unlimited” has a lower number of books showing up for it than the amount of searches it appears in. That means there’s a greater chance of you being seen if you list that keyword phrase.

This is the way I understand it. The way to find what search phrases there are, is to:

1. Click on the three dot tab at the top right corner of your PC. (I don’t know MAC) There is a drop down menu that gives you the option to open a new incognito window. Click this. Now you are “unknown” to sites. Amazon will not recognize you or change itself to show your preferences.

2. Type a word into Amazon’s search box. Make it relate to your book. Try to think of what terms people might use to look for your type of book. When you get one word in, Amazon will complete your phrase with a highly searched phrase. This is how you know what your keyword phrases are.

3. Make a list. Mine were things like, “dystopian kindle unlimited,” “strong female heroines,” “YA college romance,” “mystery youth.” The phrases need to be specific and with the exact spelling.

4. Determine which phrases are the most highly searched, and least competitive.

5. Now go to your book’s details on KDP, or email your publisher, and have them insert the key phrases into your detail page. That’s it. Now every time someone searches THAT particular keyword, your book will show up.

As far as categories go, it’s the same thing. In eBooks, If you enter the category, “Teen & young adult> Literature & fiction> Social & family issues> girls & women;” to reach #1 in that category, you’d have to sell 192 books, and in order to reach #10, you’d have to sell 26. BUT, if you listed it in “Teen & young adult> social issues> Girls & women,” to reach #1 you’d need to sell 20 books and to be #10, you’d only need to sell 8. Do you see what I mean? It’s the same category; “Girls & women,” but in one category you’d have to sell at least 26 books to be a bestseller, and in the other, only 8. You might be able to do that with a really good ad campaign and be a bestseller by next weekend.

Have I convinced you of the importance of choosing your keywords and categories carefully? Good. You are probably chomping at the bit to know HOW DO I FIND OUT WHICH ONES ARE BETTER? Yes, yes. I am becoming an affiliate for the product, so when I get my link, which may come with a discount, come back and click here. There is a product called Publisher Rocket, put out by Dave Chesson. It will tell you what keyword phrases are searched for and the amount of searches for that phrase per month. It also tells you how many books appear for that phrase, and gives you a number between 1-100 with the amount of competitiveness for each phrase. That part confused me, though. This is where I might be wrong, but if a phrase is highly searched and under booked, to me, that’s a good category, if they are making sales. And it tells you that, too.

The same program has something called a “competition analyzer” and a “category search” where you can see how many books you need to sell to reach number ten and number one in each category. It is fabulous. And still a lot of work to do it right. Once I had all the keywords down, I had to choose the most profitable ones, and then the seven best phrases out of that, to add to KDP.

With the categories, I chose all the ones that fit in both the book and eBook categories, then narrowed it down to the ebook categories where I had to sell 20 or fewer books to hit #10, then chose from that list, the ten best categories. I looked to see if Amazon listed BISAC categories for any of those, and chose them on the book’s detail page. Then emailed Amazon with the other eight categories. Like I mentioned earlier, it DOES matter what path you take to get to that final category.

Isn’t that knowledge worth $100? If it earns you sales, it is. And with the right categories and keywords, you will move up in the food chain. Several of my categories need only ONE sale to reach number ten. My plan is to first make sure all the categories are in place and settled. (Sometimes it takes Amazon’s bots a few tries to get it right.) Then, I will run some ads and see if I can reach the top ten in several categories. I will not have ad money until after Christmas, but we’ll see. If you want to contribute, you are always welcome to join the experiment and push it forward with a donation to Paypal. Hey, it’s worth a shot. Maybe a rich great-uncle will come out of the woodwork and help me. LOL!

The Publisher Rocket is $97 and has a 30-day money back guarantee. I can guarantee, if you are an author, you will use this. I had it for most of a year until I finally learned how to use it. Nobody told me what I told you today. It’s privileged information, apparently. And it does even more that I haven’t fully taken advantage of yet. It is an investment in time and money, but this is one worth saving for.

Because of your listed keywords and categories, you have the opportunity to greatly increase your chances of being seen on Amazon, and being seen leads to being purchased if you have a good cover and description. So, if you desire to improve your ranking on Amazon, follow the instructions above and if you need help, let me know. As I learn more, I’ll include more. I hope you learned something today you didn’t know. So go beef up your book’s details and shoot up the ranks! (Hopefully!)

As always, keep writing!


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