Author Topic: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords  (Read 93108 times)  

Online Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #175 on: January 05, 2015, 09:16:29 AM »
Intersting. I think it's v possible (probable?) that keywords in the description can lead to categories, but perhaps are not searchable. For instance, Burgton should bring up your book if the description is searchable, but it doesn't.

Heck, really? I never thought to try that. I suppose it makes sense to limit words, otherwise "the" "is" it" etc, would screw up relevancy.

Offline Someone

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #176 on: January 05, 2015, 09:21:08 AM »
Sweet Jan. Hopefully it will help your sales. I really think people search Hardy boys style. I could definitely see myself searching that if I was looking for books like yours. I'm trying to think of other stuff I could imagine searching.

Kelli
Yeah. We are putting together the stuff we are discovering on our last round. I'll let ya know. This subject isn't a publishing focus; it's just a "Rising tides lifts all boats and we found X out" kinda thing.



Keywords do matter some in the description but it seems to be that
1) density plays an issue, ie the blurb waters down keywords effect
2) the algo isn't as description sensitive to keywords as it to other places



One thing that really seems to matter is customer relevance, ie someone searches dogs and buys book X, the algo sees book X relevant to dogs.
Do you know get what I am trying to say?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 09:25:22 AM by Someone »

Online Lydniz

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #177 on: January 05, 2015, 09:23:09 AM »
I just searched for a specific phrase in my blurb. It comes up as the third result on page 1 if I put quotes around it.

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #178 on: January 05, 2015, 09:37:34 AM »
I just searched for a specific phrase in my blurb. It comes up as the third result on page 1 if I put quotes around it.
Are you sure that you don't also have the words in your keywords or title/subtitle? I've tested phrases from my blurbs numerous times and never gotten any results from searching.

One thing I've noticed is that having the words searched for in your title/subtitle apparently gives you a much higher rank in the search results than just having them in your keywords. This should be testable, and someone willing to a bit of research on it could probably even get a fair idea of the quantitative differences in having a search term only in the title/subtitle, only in the keywords, and having it in both.

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Offline Someone

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #179 on: January 05, 2015, 09:40:03 AM »
Title is HUGE

Online Lydniz

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #180 on: January 05, 2015, 09:44:55 AM »
Are you sure that you don't also have the words in your keywords or title/subtitle? I've tested phrases from my blurbs numerous times and never gotten any results from searching.

Absolutely certain. However, I've just tried it with a different phrase and a different book and it didn't work.

ETA: it's just occurred to me that the phrase might appear in a few of my reviews. I wonder if that makes a difference?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 10:27:47 AM by Lydniz »

Offline JessieCar

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #181 on: January 05, 2015, 02:48:27 PM »


I think this is likely the case.

Thank you for that, Cherise! I'd better log out to try my keyword search.

Sorry you got 1-starred, Someone. That sounds a rather pointless and spiteful act by [person unknown].
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Offline pauldude000

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #182 on: January 05, 2015, 03:17:22 PM »
Keyword stuffing is not a good idea, though it can work accidentally. The purpose of this post was to teach how to use keywords, and Evenstar did a good job with the understanding and knowledge base she has.

However, Amazon is pretty transparent about how search ranking works, and the keyword I shall use here is:

RELEVANCE

Amazon bases the search results based upon relevance towards the search term the customer uses, and this is nowhere a secret. Amazon scans the title, subtitle, description, and keyword list to make a master list of product keywords. The title and subtitles are the most important. Search results are based first upon title content, secondly the subtitle content, thirdly the product description content, and THEN LASTLY provided keywords.

I will use one of my books as an example. Title - "The Amazing Wood-Gas Camping Stove" : Subtitle - "A Simple DIY Project"

Now, someone types in this phrase:

"Book on how to make a camping stove"

THAT EXACT PHRASE IS THE MOST RELEVANT KEYWORD POSSIBLE! (Not screaming, it just cannot be emphasized enough.) It is first treated as a keyword, and then broken down into individual words as keywords.

My title and subtitle does not have that exact phrase, so it will rank lower than any other title or subtitle that does. However, it does contain two words out of the eight, and will be ranked accordingly. Another product that contains more keywords in the title and subtitle will rank higher in the search results. If that exact phrase is found in the description than it will rank higher than my book, since the exact phrase does not appear in the product description. However, my product description does contain most of those keywords, so it will adjusted in rank higher in this particular search than another book with less. A partial match of that exact phrase is to be found in my keywords (all but two of the words), so will be adjusted in search rank accordingly.

The highest possible rank placement comes where the exact phrase is to be found in title. Second highest rank placement is in the subtitle. Third highest rank placement is that exact phrase in the description. Fourth highest rank is that exact phrase in the keyword list. Fifth is highest amount of individual keywords in title, etc., etc., etc.

Most search phrases do not exactly match any title or subtitle exactly, so that search phrase NEEDS to be found in the description (your book just shot up in search ranking just knowing this.  :o ) Overusing the phrase is useless, and has been with many search engines for quite a long time. Having the phrase fifty times will not make your book any more relevant than a book using it once. Where is is placed can change the relevance, so having the phrase in the description is better than having it in the keyword list, and having it as a title or subtitle is the best. However, placing a search phrase as your title, in most cases, will make your book appear as if it was written by a third grader.

Keywords stuffing is generally a waste of time. Yes, it can garner the occasional oddball hit, but each stuffed keyword (batch of words used as a single keyword entry) is counted as one keyword phrase, which quickly becomes of fairly low relevance for any search phrase, simply due to the volume of mismatches within the keyword. It is seen as having some relevance, but not much.

Use the keywords to have key phrases or keywords NOT used in the title or description.

Evenstar is absolutely right in that use of a phrase will count higher than an individual word. Think search phrases for your type of book, pray that words are in your title or subtitle, but if not make sure that the phrases or words appear in your description, if at all practical without sacrificing quality. Work everything else into your granted seven keyword list on the publish page of KDP. If you need special keywords to get into a specific category, include those on the KDP publishing page.

PHEW! That was long winded.




 
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
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Offline jakedfw

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #183 on: January 05, 2015, 04:03:40 PM »
Quote
but each stuffed keyword ... is counted as one keyword phrase

Paul, did you read Someone's book. His/her research (and my own very slight research) directly contradicts what you wrote above.

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #184 on: January 05, 2015, 04:15:09 PM »
I'm sorry, but Amazon absolutely does not index the description/blurb for search. I've tested this 800 different ways. You can put anything you like in the description and search for it, but if it's not in your title/subtitle/keywords that book is not going to show up in the search. This is trivial to test and I wish people would quit saying it when it's obviously not true.

Some people say that Amazon weights words in the titles/subtitle/keyword fields higher if those words also appear in the description, but no one has ever provided any proof to back that up and I tend to call BS on that one. If they're going to that much trouble it's just easier to index the whole thing.

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Offline CoraBuhlert

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #185 on: January 05, 2015, 04:53:44 PM »
I just updated the keywords on three of my titles respectively. Let's see what happens.

Offline Cherise

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #186 on: January 05, 2015, 05:08:07 PM »
Google does index the Amazon product description and use that for search, though. Just FYI.

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #187 on: January 05, 2015, 05:08:23 PM »
Keyword phrases. Do they work or not? Here's some direct evidence that seems to show that they do not. For my book Resisting Molly I've pulled the following snippet from my keyword field. I c&p'd it directly from the keywords textbox. None of these keywords appear in my title or subtitle.

older man younger woman,erotic romance,love story

Those are three of my seven keywords for that book, they're in the exact order they appear in the keyword textbox. Since Someone's research shows that the commas are treated as spaces, that's the equivalent of one big phrase "older man younger woman erotic romance love story," right? So here's how Resisting Molly ranks in the search results based on combinations of the words from that phrase:

"older man younger woman erotic romance love story"  #19
"older man younger woman love story erotic romance" #12
"erotic romance love story older man younger woman" #12
"older woman younger man love story erotic romance" #11
"older woman younger man love romance erotic story" #11
"love story older man younger woman erotic romance" #20
"erotic romance older man younger woman love story" #19
"erotic older love man romance younger story woman" #10
"erotic love man older romance story woman younger" #10
"younger woman story romance older man love erotic" #10

The exact phrase match ranks worse than the phrases where I switched the order of the words. Even if Someone's research was wrong and Amazon treated comma separated phrases as distinct keywords it doesn't appear that the search engine cares about the order of the words in the phrases.

Now, I haven't the faintest idea *why* it works that way, but if you try this with your own keywords I believe you'll see similar results.

Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

Offline Walter Spence

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #188 on: January 05, 2015, 07:30:42 PM »
Outstanding post, Evenstar. Busy as I've been, I read the thread shortly after the OP came out, then came back later to a thread swollen maybe ten times. Which meant I missed Someone's free offer, but since I've got Amazon Prime (and hadn't borrowed a book yet), was able to get it that way.

Now to mull over the additional six pages of posts (after popping an Exedrin or two)...

Walter Spence

Offline Caddy

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #189 on: January 05, 2015, 07:41:02 PM »
My books are still updating, but already one of the 4 in my House series picked up 3 new categories that are listed on the book's page. I'm glad to be in those categories, as I had a hard time choosing before!
ALSO WRITING HOT GAY M/M ROMANCE UNDER SIBLEY JACKSON

The Gastien Series: Sometimes the "impossible" is possiblebut the cost can be extremely high. | There Was a House:They better be damn good. There will only be one chance. | The Avengement Series: Karma really can be a b*tchespecially when it scores a willing partner.

Offline Silly Writer

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #190 on: January 05, 2015, 10:51:56 PM »
<LL looks around...backs slowly out the door. It's almost 2am and her eyes are blurry... Thought the OP title said "Evenstar's Monster Porn on Amazon...>

Online Lydniz

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #191 on: January 06, 2015, 12:01:26 AM »
I'm sorry, but Amazon absolutely does not index the description/blurb for search. I've tested this 800 different ways. You can put anything you like in the description and search for it, but if it's not in your title/subtitle/keywords that book is not going to show up in the search.

I'm not disputing your point, but then how do you explain what I said above - i.e. if you search for a particular phrase from one of my blurbs it brings up my book as the third result? The phrase is totally incidental to the subject matter of the book and I haven't put it in any keywords or metadata. My only thought was that the phrase might be mentioned in reviews. (As I said, I've only tested it with that one phrase and one other from a different book, which didn't work.)

Offline busywoman

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #192 on: January 06, 2015, 04:58:27 AM »
Thanks again to Evenstar for starting this topic and to everyone who has joined in.  It's most illuminating. I've learned a lot, even from points of disagreement.  It's brought many things to the surface.

I would like to add something to what Kelli points out here:

Keyword phrases. Do they work or not? Here's some direct evidence that seems to show that they do not. For my book Resisting Molly I've pulled the following snippet from my keyword field. I c&p'd it directly from the keywords textbox. None of these keywords appear in my title or subtitle.

older man younger woman,erotic romance,love story

Those are three of my seven keywords for that book, they're in the exact order they appear in the keyword textbox. Since Someone's research shows that the commas are treated as spaces, that's the equivalent of one big phrase "older man younger woman erotic romance love story," right?

Kelli, I think you raise a very important observation. Your example is quite helpful. But perhaps you reached the opposite conclusion? 

As I interpreted what Someone wrote, it's that for purposes of the keyword box (solely), Amazon ignores punctuation and therefore does NOT treat that as an exact match phrase. It treats every word in the keyword field as individual words. Each word is separate and apart from every other word in the keyword field.

Remember, input and output are two different activities when it comes to a search engine. 

And Amazon is throwing multiple considerations into the output. It's like Amazon's search engine says, "The searcher is asking for ____. Bots, let's go check the keyword field, title/subtitle, author name, description, review verbiage (possibly), and find all the places those words show up.  Then let's add in a cup and a half of book ranking/popularity, 2/3 of a cup of the customer's prior searches, and a tablespoon of this and a teaspoon of that -- and mix them all up using our own special recipe. Here's what you get, searcher!" 

That might explain why words in the keyword field can be in one order, but upon searching the results seem to come out based on a different order. That's because Amazon is taking into account many different things besides keywords when it interprets and spits out the search results.

Just my few thoughts based on a searcher's experimentation...

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #193 on: January 06, 2015, 05:50:26 AM »
busywoman, that was the point I was trying to make. I don't think that Amazon does "phrase matching" at all. I *think* based on my experiments that they assign each individual word that you type into your keyword box a value based on relevance (which is weighted according to various things like what words people used when they pulled up your books, what browse category they were in when they clicked on your book, etc.) and then they use those values to determine where your book should rank in the search results. So if you have the words

love story erotic romance

in your keyword field, Amazon might automatically assign a value of 50 to each of those words. Then a couple of people do a search on "love story," see your book and click on it, and Amazon increases the weight on the keywords love and story by an extra 10 points because they've been shown to be more relevant to your book.

love - 60
story- 60
erotic - 50
romance - 50

so searching on "love story erotic romance" would return your book ranked better in the search results over "erotic romance love story" because while the placement order in the KDP keyword textbox doesn't matter, the placement order in the search textbox does.

This is my opinion and it would take some rigorous testing to bear out - preferably with a new book in an extremely unpopular genre with a horrible cover that you could pretty much guarantee that no one else would click on while you did your search tests - but it's something that we ought to be able to figure out. Again, I may be completely off here; this just happens to be one way that would account for the kind of thing we're seeing.

I've seen a lot of books where they compare search results using search phrases against each other to decide which combination works best, but I've never seen anyone comparing search results that compared using phrases against just the keywords in random order the way I did above. I think it's going to be very hard to argue that phrases are meaningful based on these results. Again, though, this is something that anyone here can test with their own books and I would encourage them to do so rather than just taking my word for it. That way you *know* whether it works or not.  :)

Lydniz, I can't account for the result that you got. But you said you tried the same thing with one of your other books and it didn't work, either. I've tried many, many times to use snippets from my blurbs in searches and never had any luck. Based on what some people have said I've tried using the first sentence, last sentence, and so on but it's all the same. No results found. One thing I would suggest is to make sure that you're logged out of Amazon when you do the search; they do cache information about your account and skew the search results based on your history. Try it that way and see if it still works?

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Offline ScottC

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #194 on: January 06, 2015, 05:51:37 AM »
Are there any do's or don't about subtitles? I have blank subtitles for each of my books and it seems like I'm missing an opportunity to put a phrase
with important keywords.


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Offline Sonya Bateman

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #195 on: January 06, 2015, 06:16:16 AM »
Thanks so much, Evenstar, for this awesome post, and thanks so much to Someone for the book -- which I have just signed up for my trial month of Kindle Unlimited just so I could get it. :D

My brain is totally fried right now... so I'm posting in this thread so I can find it and read it all the way through. Thank you to everyone who's adding to the discussion here. It's awesome!


WRONG SIDE OF HELL -- #27 of the 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016. Woo!
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Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #196 on: January 06, 2015, 06:17:17 AM »
Are there any do's or don't about subtitles? I have blank subtitles for each of my books and it seems like I'm missing an opportunity to put a phrase
with important keywords.
You're not supposed to put anything in the subtitle field that doesn't appear on the cover of your book. Amazon doesn't seem to be enforcing this right now, but they have dinged people for it before and with Amazon you just never know. If you can modify your covers easily you should certainly consider it.

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Offline Someone

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #197 on: January 06, 2015, 08:04:19 AM »
Regarding keywords and description:
Sales are dependent on visibility; logically one can't buy and enjoy reading a book they can't find. I'm a firm believer of keywords playing a crucial and sometimes underestimated role in visibility. Cover, title, blurb, keywords ( CTBK ) = visibility = sales.

CTBK puts a book in a reader's hands. Our well-crafted, engaging and entertaining content keeps it there. 

My opinion on keyword description is only based on what I believe because it appears to be true. Appears. That's it. Nothing more or nothing less than appears. It is very important to point out - I want to be clear - keyword description was not tested for and my opinion is 100% based on speculation. 100% speculation.

That being said, I am inclined to agree with what would be a combination of Kelli and Lydniz's view.  But I don't know anything with any kind of certainty that I feel comfortable drawing a conclusion on . My speculation only based opinion is that description keyword is either a small variable or a nothing burger when it comes to algo, keywords and the search engine. Until I know better, I think keywords in the description may have a very slight effect - and very slight is different than no and, depending on other keyword use, that very, very slight might give the occasional slightly discernible boast. Basically a combination of what Kelli says - she says she notices nothing - and what Lydniz says - she noticed what she thinks was some help on one book.

I do know this. Keywording in description cannot be a big algo factor because of logic and word density. When we consider what our blurb MUST do to sell our book, IMO, there is just no feasible way to overcome the word density issue. Well unless, besides a few books one might be able to get it to work on, one doesn't mind having a really crummy description/blurb.

Perhaps I could nudge towards getting off the fence if I, at least, published one book with a keyworded description. But why even do that? It won't solve anything. When I tell people what testing shows, I always remember that if people act upon what is said, their income can also be acted upon. IMO, because income can be affected, it's irresponsible to make any kind of conclusion about keyword descriptions on a test of no less than, at the very least, 500 books.  I can't think of how you could enjoy reliable results if any part of keyword description test involved using software, and don't know anyone - or any group of people - who would want to 1) put the time and effort it would take to test, especially when we know from appearance that the results aren't going to reveal anything compelling or significant enough to change behavior 2 ) effectively kill 500 books since a reliable keyword description test would require the books tested to forfeit their blurbs and only have keywords as a description.  But, OTOH, until it is tested, because the algo is so complex, I don't think anyone can definitively make any absolute claim on keyword description. 

And I keep coming back to the density issue. An effective blurb is hard enough. Trying to hit a certain density while not sacrificing blurb on every book... I don't even want to think about that. Sure every once in a while, it might not be too tough, but every book? IDK. I think consistently trying to exploit your description to chase the algo - because shooting for a certain density is going to lessen the blurb's quality - would end up being a zero sum game.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 12:51:13 PM by Someone »

Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #198 on: January 06, 2015, 08:50:48 AM »
Messing around with searches this morning and typed in "coming of age horror". Came up on the first page, right under Neil Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane  :) (which is a great book, btw) and right above a book called He's So Tight>:(   W..... T..... H.

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #199 on: January 06, 2015, 09:00:53 AM »
You obviously didn't look at the books that were ranked higher than yours and Neil's.   :P

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