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Keywords

Switch Blayde

Crumbly mentioned choosing the right keywords in another thread (for people to find your novel).

So, how do you choose the right keywords? What's the trick?

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Two main areas for the key words:

1. In the title - a title with words that make it easy to find without a lot of clutter is very useful.

2. In the meta data of an e-pub, html page, and most other electronic format stories is a section called keywords or description where you enter words you feel relate to the story and help people to find it via a search engine - they scan theses fields and use them to order the responses. Some systems call this same area tags or something similar.

My story Same Sex Marriage Debacle has the keywords of: same sex marriage, gay marriage, politics, religion, theology. My story Will to Survive has the keywords: time travel, western, science fiction, ernest bywater.

The idea is to use words that help the search engines to find your story and then to either use them in the title, if that's appropriate, or in the keyword, tag, description area of the e-document you're creating. Not sure what Amazon is like, but when I upload a new story to Lulu I have to enter keywords into the section so named and they show on the marketing page for the story because they also help the potential buyers to know a bit more about the story. It may help you to think about as being akin to the story codes SoL uses, because they're keywords of a type used by SoL.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

I was referring to Amazon keywords.

Mine are:

blackmail, revenge, vigilante cop, submissive woman wife adultery, murder mystery fiction, sexual repression sexual liberation, woman learns to enjoy sex

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


blackmail, revenge, vigilante cop, submissive woman wife adultery, murder mystery fiction, sexual repression sexual liberation, woman learns to enjoy sex


The important thing to remember with the keywords is they regard everything between the commas as a single data string. You have vigilante cop as a single string, the system should not match that with vigilante by itself or with cop by itself, but look for both together. So if I run a search on vigilante your story won't show, nor will it show if I run a search on cop but will show if I run a search on vigilante cop.

Now, if you had the list with a comma between vigilante and cop it would show on all three search lists with a higher hit on the last list because it gets a double hit.

If I were you, I'd split the system up more by putting another comma where I'm putting a '/' in this list to make it easier for people to find:

blackmail, revenge, vigilante/ cop, submissive woman/ wife adultery, murder/ mystery/ fiction, sexual repression/ sexual liberation,

not sure what to do with the last item in your list.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


The important thing to remember with the keywords is they regard everything between the commas as a single data string.


Not Amazon. It's my understanding they look for every word independently.

And Amazon allows for only 7 things between commas.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Not Amazon. It's my understanding they look for every word independently.


I'd double check that if I were you, because every search program I know of uses Comma Separation to identify the data strings and all between two commas is a seen as a single data string (the computer equivalent of a single word).

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Not Amazon. It's my understanding they look for every word independently.


Just found this, and it implies what Amazon uses for internal searches is not used by external search engines.

https://www.semrush.com/blog/amazon-seo-tactics-because-amazon-is-a-search-engine-too/

quote

5. Amazon 'Special' Keywords

When you go to upload your product, Amazon will ask you for seven keywords. These aren't exactly what you think they are.

These keywords are only internal to Amazon. They are not meta tags, nor will they show up in a page's HTML - meaning Google/Yahoo/Bing can't see them. However, they can become important in helping you to select a particular category in order to have your product placed.

For some strange reason, when you go to upload your product on Amazon, they only offer a certain amount of categories to include your product. Therefore, if you find a category that you want your product to be a part of, but it isn't initially offered when you upload it, you'll need to do the following:

1. Find two relevant categories initially offered and select those for the time being

2. Then take the name of the category that you want to be listed under and use that as one of your Amazon Keywords

3. If after a week or two, or you just want to speed up the process, contact Amazon and inform them that you want to be included in that category

Pretty simple right? But don't neglect this step. Choosing the right category can open your product to a whole new market and get you the coveted "Best Seller" tag.


end quote

edit to add: it would seem this is not for searching but simply for internal Amazon ratings to establish the display order. Thus nothing to do with the normal search engine keywords at all.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Well, if you go to the book category on Amazon and type in vigilante cop revenge my novel shows up as the 11th in the list.

If you add submissive to the keywords, it's the first (out of only 2).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Well, if you go to the book category on Amazon and type in vigilante cop revenge my novel shows up as the 11th in the list.


Put vigilante cop revenge in a normal search engine and you don't see your book at all as a single data string search; and as three data strings it's not in the first hundred hits (I gave up at that point) - none of what shows on the Amazon page shows in both Google searches. Thus, what you're talking about here is not a keyword as generally used by the information technology community, but as a book category as used by Amazon only. In which case most of what CW was talking about before on keywords is not relevant to the usage at Amazon.

Most people I know would be making search in general search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo etc. instead of limiting it to a category search on Amazon. If you wish advice on how to better the Amazon specific usage, you need to talk to Amazon or the people I gave you that link to earlier.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Put vigilante cop revenge in a normal search engine and you don't see your book at all as a single data string search;


That's because the keywords are internal to Amazon for their search. They're not included as metadata for search engines like Google to use.

An Amazon customer would use Amazon's search engine, not Google.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Most people I know would be making search in general search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo etc. instead of limiting it to a category search on Amazon.


I am an amazon customer. I own a Kindle. I have never used any of the big generic search engines to look for books on amazon. I use Amazon's search function for that.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

An Amazon customer would use Amazon's search engine, not Google.


As long as you're happy limiting yourself to existing Amazon customers only, more power to you.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


I own a Kindle. I have never used any of the big generic search engines to look for books on Amazon.


Which simply means you don't find anything that can play on a Kindle and isn't sold via Amazon, and thus miss out on other stories you may enjoy. Not all people have a Kindle, and not all Kindle owners use only Amazon for their reading.

I only have a few very select titles available through Amazon, all are what I class as Community Help books and are free. I did have one paid for book available through Amazon, but cancelled that when they started seriously dicking around with the price without telling me about it. With the one I sold I got next to nothing from it in royalties once Amazon took their cut and so called costs, then they cut the price by more than my royalty, so I withdrew it. Since the freebies are royalty free they don't make any money off them and many people are enjoying them. Whoops, I'm digressing too much. Where I was headed when I started this paragraph is: I get a lot of emails from people who buy my e-pubs from Lulu and watch them on their Kindle device, so I know they can be watched on a Kindle, but a search for most of my stories on Amazon will come up empty, and the same is true of a lot of other authors.

edit to correct typo.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Please don't change this thread to "I hate Amazon." It's geared to those who use Amazon and it's capabilities.

Keywords within the Amazon system are important. At least I think they are. And they aren't like the metadata keywords I'm familiar with other search engines use.

So I was hoping for some tips on how to define Amazon keywords.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Please don't change this thread to "I hate Amazon." It's geared to those who use Amazon and it's capabilities.


Switch, I wasn't trying to shift it to a hate anyone thread. You asked about keywords I answered about keywords as used by the IT industry and the world in general. Then it turns out you want to ask about an Amazon specific usage that's different to the general usage but not mentioned until a few posts into the thread. At that point I simply pointed out that it is a specific usage that only works within Amazon and won't help you outside of the Amazon website and suggested you talk to Amazon about their usage.

About then Dominions Son said he only checks the Amazon site for books, and I mentioned he could be missing out on good books by not using a more general search engine as well, and pointed out why I, like many others, don't put all their stuff on Amazon. As I said before, if you're happy there, more power to you.

edit to add: It wasn't until I was researching more information for you (to which I gave you a link on the Amazon usage) I found out Amazon had their own variant definition and usage not aligned with the rest of the IT world, or accessible by general search engines.

fhjohnauthor

@Switch Blayde

Crumbly mentioned choosing the right keywords in another thread (for people to find your novel).

So, how do you choose the right keywords? What's the trick?


While not all of the advice in this thread is bad, I don't believe it will lead to an increase in your sales which is what you are looking for (I think).

If you are really interested in maximizing your keyword usage and taking full advantage of keywords, I recommend two things to help you. I attribute these sources for about 60% of my sales, which adds up to nearly a grand per month in additional sales. (distributed among close to forty titles).

The first is a book called Supercharge Your Kindle Sales by Nick Stephensen. The second is a software product called Kindle Samarai. I don't remember how much either of these products costs, but neither of them are very expensive. I believe the book was only a few dollars and Kindle Samarai was less than fifty. Together, the book will teach pretty much everything you need to know about keywords and the software program will make choosing your keywords ten times faster and easier. If I remember correctly, the book does teach a method for choosing keywords that is just as effective as using Kindle Samarai, but it is very time consuming. It usually takes hours to research the 7 keywords that Amazon allows. Kindle Samarai does exactly the same thing, but can be done in less than a half hour.

I highly recommend the book at a minimum even if you don't use Amazon (even though it is geared for Amazon), because it does teach an effective method for choosing keywords that really work. By looking at some of the examples authors have used in this thread, I can tell that (and I mean no offense here), these authors do not have a very good understanding of how to choose effective keywords.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor


these authors do not have a very good understanding of how to choose effective keywords.


The reason for creating the thread.

Thanks for the references.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Switch Blayde

No problem. I hope it helps you.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Which simply means you don't find anything that can play on a Kindle and isn't sold via Amazon, and thus miss out on other stories you may enjoy.


Maybe true, but it also means I don't have to wade through a lot of stuff that isn't usable on my kindle such as e-books formatted for Barns & Noble's Nook e-reader.

The volume of e-books that won't work on the kindle is far larger then the small amount of kindle works available for sale (a opposed to free material like SOL) off of Amazon's web site..

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I think we're talking different things here. When I mentioned keywords, I was referring to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords so readers can find your books more easily. Don't confuse that with the SEO codes.

Although Ernest is correct, that you can embed meta data keywords in an epub document, that information never goes anywhere afterwards. Normally, you have to explicitly list search terms when you publish a book. As far as I know, every Indie publishing source features the use of SEO keywords (and like all SEO terms, they're best modified for each separate search engine, including books and websites), though they differ in their use (some offer fewer, put limit the number of characters).

Ernest once said that he repeated his name or book title in the SEO field, but a search will always turn those up by default. For my newest story (published today), "The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye", I listed: "alien invasion fiction", "dysfunctional government", "arizona fiction", "hard science fiction", and "science fiction aliens".

Each of those keywords can be searched on using any source (Google, Amazon, B&N, etc.), and they also can use any portion. A search for "aliens" will hit a return, as will "Arizona". Instead of just blindly listing random words, you need to search phrases on a book site (I use Amazon) and see which results produce the best results. You want ones that hit around the 3,000 hits mark. Anything above and you'll be lost in the crowd, anything (much) less means not many people will stumble across your work.

Switch, your keywords are better, but they need to be better focused. You can combine many of those, get the same results and add more keywords (partial hits are identical to full hits). "vigilante cop revenge" works, as it combines useful search terms, but "woman learns to enjoy sex" isn't, because no one is going to search for books using such terms (I'd use "sexual awakening" instead.)

Some which many people overlook are "strong female lead", "empowered woman", "character development" (since many people search for that and there isn't a genre dedicated to it). The key is to guess how a strange might search for a new book and hit yours completely by accident, and then fine tune your choices to ensure they hit the maximum amount of responses.

Ernest, I'm sorry, but you simply have no understanding of SEO keywords! However, if you don't there are tons of books, tools and research groups who'll either teach you or do the search for you. Most people learn about it as they try to get more hits on their website (since those are affected by search results as well).

On the other hand, your link (about Amazon's keywords) makes sense, but the main point there is that book keywords aren't preloaded as general search terms. You've got to undertake that process yourself, unfortunately, that will only direct curious purchasers to YOUR SITE, and not the sales sites your using (i.e. Amazon, Lulu or Createspace).

I'm also not sure whether the other Indie-pub sites feature the search terms on the wider search terms. Hopefully, if they do such searches would produce sales, if they don't, your only choice is to post your own, directing them to your individual author site (which is unlikely to actually sell the book).

fhjohnauthor, thanks for the links. That expresses more than I can on my own.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

(I'd use "sexual awakening" instead.)


That's the title of the book so wouldn't it be redundant to put as a keyword? Like I wouldn't use a keyword of "erotica" since that's the genre.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

That's the title of the book so wouldn't it be redundant to put as a keyword? Like I wouldn't use a keyword of "erotica" since that's the genre.

Good point, scratch that suggestion.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I was thinking about what Crumbly said about the commonality of his title "Stranded" (which is, btw, why my story originally called "Stranded" was posted on SOL as "New Society, New Rules").

Anyway, my novel's title is also common. It's actually a medical term or something. So I played with a few searches using my title and something else. In the book category, I searched on:

"sexual awakening" = 3,844 hits.
"sexual awakening fiction" = 375 hits.
"sexual awakening submissive" = 42 hits.
"sexual awakening fiction submissive" = 33 hits.

Wow, adding "fiction" made a huge difference. I guess that's a keeper keyword and probably one someone would search on.

I honestly don't know if Amazon customers search like SOL readers do (e.g., story codes). I guess that's why I started this thread.

I asked my wife, who's a big reader and big Amazon customer. She searches on keywords for non-fiction books only (e.g., leadership). But for fiction, she chooses them based on the best seller list or recommendations.

So I wonder how many Amazon customers looking for a novel actually do searches on keywords.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

So I wonder how many Amazon customers looking for a novel actually do searches on keywords.


I have.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

So I wonder how many Amazon customers looking for a novel actually do searches on keywords.

On the advice of someone on the old forum, I added the keywords "PAW" (Post-Apacalytpic World) and "TEOTWAWKI" (The End Of The World As We Know It) to my "Great Death" series. I didn't get a lot of additional purchasers, but it drew in an entirely new prepper crowd.

You'll also find that everything is a romance now (82,000 hits when I researched it 3 years ago), so "romantic tragedy" (1,878) or "romantic fiction" might be better choices.

"strong female character" generates 4,023 hits, while "strong female lead" generates 1,559.

For my mystery, "dysfunctional lesbian" only got 51 hits (worthless), "dysfunctional detection" only went up to 78. "Dysfunctional family" went overboard (15,000) and was wildly inaccurate. Instead I used "lesbian detective books" (1,300).

By the way, I'll type something like "hard science fiction" to separate sci-fi from the more general fantasy stories.

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