Get Ranked for the Right Keywords

The trouble with self-publishing is none of us have enough friends and co-workers to buy all the books we need to sell so we can make a living as a writer. That means letting strangers know about your book. You know you’re doing this well when your book is in the top five or ten for a popular search term on Amazon.

Truth is, very few people click through to the second page of results when searching for something they’d like to read. That usually only happens when they’re hunting for a specific title, and chances are when that’s happening they’re not looking for yours.

That means your job is to make sure your book makes it into those “above the fold” spots. The  top ten is good. The top three is great. And there’s very little that feels better than landing the #1 spot, if even for one day.

So how do you get up there? It’s a process requiring three considerations:

  1. Know which terms are most relevant to your book.
  2. Know which terms people are using to search for books like yours.
  3. Know which terms have the highest purchase probability.

Once you know those things, then it’s time to make a Venn Diagram and choose your keywords wisely. More on that in a bit. First, we need to address each of these considerations one by one.

Which Keywords are Relevant to Your Book?

Start with a list of the words and phrases you know are relevant to your book. Brainstorm a word cloud based on the genre, action, protagonists, themes, setting, and similar considerations. You can also peek at best-sellers that are similar to your work, and authors you’re similar to, and see what keywords they rank high for.

Make a list of 10-20 initial potential keywords using this method.

Which Terms are People Using?

Let’s say you wrote the world’s best zombie-unicorn buddy adventure crime novel of all time. Chances are you’d be the best-selling zombie-unicorn buddy adventure crime novel author in the world, and that anybody who searched for that in Amazon would find your stuff pretty easily. So you set zombie-unicorn buddy adventure crime novel as your keyword and win, right?

Sorry. The trouble there is people aren’t searching for zombie-unicorn buddy adventure crime novels. They don’t know to do that, and aren’t going to think of that phrase on their own. Instead, you want to find out what people are searching for. Here’s how you do that: