5 Steps to Amazon Search Engine Optimization

How do people search for books? Maybe you used to go to your local Borders (remember them?) and spend hours looking through the shelves hoping they had the next book in your favorite author’s series. And if they didn’t? Well, they would order it and three days later you’d come back to the bookstore and pick it up.

For many readers, this is something they haven’t done in awhile.

Today, readers often sit on the couch, in their pajamas, and think, “What do I want to read today?” Then they go to Amazon, search it, buy it (or download it if they really need it right then), and it appears on their doorstep in 24 hours with Amazon prime.

Amazon completely altered the way books get sold, and as an author, you may be wondering, “Well, what do I do so that people can find me when they search on Amazon?” And you would be asking a very important question.

Amazon search engine optimization (SEO) is often done incorrectly, forgotten, or, if you’re traditionally published, handled by someone else altogether. But even if you have someone else handling your Amazon SEO, it’s important to understand a few things about it just so you understand what’s happening. Here are 5 quick tips to making your book stand out on Amazon:

  1. It’s not Google SEO. Google functions differently from Amazon in what they are looking for when they promote entries. I’m not going to go into all the details here, but the important thing to take from this is that you shouldn’t do all the same things you would if you are optimizing for Google.
  2. Keywords are, you guessed it, key. You should make sure your keywords are accurate to your book, and you should search them before you decide to use them to make sure that Amazon thinks those keywords mean the same thing you do.
  3. Make sure your metadata (title/author/ISBN/page count/etc.) is complete!
  4. Take the time to look at different categories and figure out where your book actually fits. Genres tend to be very specific, and just because you think your book is a “cozy mystery” doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best category to put it in.
  5. And most importantly, make sure that your friends/family/anyone buying the book on Amazon reviews it! Of course, this is easier said than done (and most authors understand how important reviews are), but it’s important to know that Amazon cares more about verified reviews (where the same Amazon account that buys the book also reviews it) than other types of reviews and will promote your book accordingly.

So next time someone sits down in their pajamas to find their next book, they’ll see your title waiting for them and think, “Wow this looks interesting; I can’t wait to read it!”