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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to Use the Best Search Keywords With Kindle Books to Increase Visibility With Buyers

by Lorilyn Roberts

How do you determine what are the Best Search Keywords to use when you upload your Kindle book to Kindle Direct Publishing? If you are like me, you will think about what your book is about and start with that mindset. I chose “redemption” as one of my Search Keywords for my book The Donkey and the King. While it’s true my book is about redemption, is a mother really going to enter that Search Keyword to look for a book for her four-year-old son? As an author, I was describing what my book was about, Christian redemption, but a parent or prospective buyer will be thinking in terms of his son or daughter – entertainment, bedtime story, Bible story, or something along those lines.

Another Search Keyword I had entered was “fantasy.” While The Donkey and the King is a fantasy book, there are also 50,396 other fantasy books on Kindle. Before I changed my Search Keywords, my children’s picture book for four to eight-year-olds had about as much chance of appearing on the first page of a fantasy search as I have of being the next President of the United States.  Besides, is a father going to enter the word “fantasy” on Amazon to search for a good Christian book for his five-year-old daughter?

As you can see, I wasn’t thinking like a buyer. I was thinking like an author. When you choose which Search Keywords, think as if you are a buyer –who is your audience? What do they read?

I eventually entered these Search Keywords for The Donkey and the King: Christian picture books, books for children, children's fantasy books, children's story books, children's Bible stories, children's classics, favorite children's books.

Note that it doesn’t have to be just one word. You can enter several words as a phrase which counts as a single Search Keyword.

A couple of days later, I did a search with these words to see if my book came up in searches. In “favorite children’s books,” The Donkey and the King came up as number 25 of 151 books – on the second page, which is not bad. Still, I have a bit of work to do. You along with thousands of other authors are vying for the top spots, and there can only be fifteen on the first page. This is just one peg in the broader scheme of Amazon marketing, but it’s important to give detail to every step in the process. Focusing on the nuances can make a difference when it comes to the bigger picture.

Where does one go on Amazon to enter these magical Search Keywords when publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP Select? As of January 2013, to publish your ebook on Kindle, the first thing you must do is upload your manuscript to the Kindle Direct Publishing Platform at If you haven’t set up an account yet, you will need to do that first. Amazon will prompt you.

Assuming you have set up your account, you will be taken to the Dashboard page. At the top of the page, you will see Bookshelf, Reports, Community, and KDP Select. Below that you will see two options: Actions and Add New Title.  Let’s assume for this discussion, you have already added your book and you want to check and see how you entered your seven Search Keywords.

Select the desired book, choose Actions at the top, and click on the down arrow beside it. Then click on Edit Book Details. Scroll down to number three. You will see Options, Add Categories, and underneath that Search Keywords. Here is where you insert your seven Search Keywords for your book. Remember, Search Keywords can also be a phrase—not just one word.

Amazon will use these Search Keywords to help people find your book when a potential buyer enters a Search Keyword from the Amazon Home Page. I know this sounds rather elementary, but I was surprised when I snooped around Amazon looking at search phrases and then compared them with what Search Keywords I had used with my books. The disparity between what I thought were good Search Keywords and how Amazon used them was rather embarrassing.

With another one of my books, Children of Dreams, when I originally uploaded it on Amazon, the book was buried so deep in “adoption” as a Search Keyword on the Amazon Home Page I could never pull it up. I later wished I had added a Subtitle to help with search engine optimization; i.e., Two Adoption Stories In One. Less time would have passed for my book about adoption to be found in searches. Two years later, however, Children of Dreams is coming up on page four, number 53 out of 2,311 books. The ranking varies from day to day. I have seen Children of Dreams higher recently, but even if you have made mistakes along the way, all is not lost. Many other factors influence where a book appears in an Amazon Search Keyword with buyers. However, if you aren’t particular about what words you put in the Search Keyword box after uploading your Kindle book, your climb out of the abyss of undiscoverability will take longer.

While entering the Best Search Keywords won’t guarantee success in marketing your book overnight, you can be assured that readers will stand a better chance of finding your book out of the millions on Amazon, and small steps like this will ensure hope for giant leaps in your overall marketing endeavors.


  1. An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject here on your web page.
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  3. First, I am glad I was able to buy you breakfast -- I definitely would have included a Starbucks latte if I had been with you.

    As far as compatibility problems, I quit using Windows Explorer except as a backup web browser and switched to Google Chrome. Recently I did have some issues, but I believe they were on blogger's end and not mine because the issue was with three different browsers, and I even tried accessing this site with another computer.

    I have found usually Blogger will eventually fix the issue if I am patient. I think what happens is they do an update, then something else gets screwed up, and then they have to fix it, but I am just guessing.

    I am glad you found this article helpful. It will eventually be included in an update to my book, How to Launch a Best-Selling Christian Book, which is available on Amazon in print and Kindle copy.

    One thing for sure: Nothing ever stays the same with Amazon, but as of today, this is the way to use search words on Amazon.

  4. mmm"Think like a buyer". Thanks for sharing Lorilyn,

  5. Excellent Post. I am finding that entering viable keywords for my Christian novel is quite a daunting task. I'm going to experiment a bit and take your advise by 'thinking like a buyer/reader' (it's funny how easily we overlook that- kind of a no-brainer) :-)