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Author Topic: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords  (Read 102671 times)  

Offline CN_Crawford

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #75 on: January 03, 2015, 06:56:26 AM »
Just thought I'd do some search tests for the heck of it. Entered "horror books for teens", and my book came up on the seventh page. What really kind of irks me, though, are all the books that come up in that search with pictures of muscled dudes in their underwear. Seriously? In "horror books for teens". Romance/erotica writers are out of control. ;)

OMG you're not kidding! A lot of erotic shifter stories on there.

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Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #76 on: January 03, 2015, 07:17:47 AM »
I tried 'mystery book for teens' and this was on the first page  :o.

http://www.amazon.com/TABOO-TASTES-Lesbian-Taboo-Bundle-ebook/dp/B00RNHPE68/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420298030&sr=1-9&keywords=mystery+book+for+teens

However, when I tried 'teen mystery books' my book came up on the first page. How on earth are we going to sort out all these permutations of keywords?  ::)
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 07:20:27 AM by Jan Hurst-Nicholson »

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Offline Evenstar

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2015, 08:06:07 AM »
I tried 'mystery book for teens' and this was on the first page  :o.

http://www.amazon.com/TABOO-TASTES-Lesbian-Taboo-Bundle-ebook/dp/B00RNHPE68/ref=sr_1_9?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420298030&sr=1-9&keywords=mystery+book+for+teens

However, when I tried 'teen mystery books' my book came up on the first page. How on earth are we going to sort out all these permutations of keywords?  ::)

I am very surprised by that - judging from the categories this book is in:


    Books > Gay & Lesbian > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Gay
    Books > Gay & Lesbian > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Romance
    Books > Romance > Anthologies
    Books > Romance > Gay Romance
    Books > Romance > New Adult & College
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Gay
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Lesbian
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Short Stories
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Collections & Anthologies
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Gay Romance
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > New Adult & College

I would say that the author has certainly attempted to get it in the correct categories, but yes, there must be something in her keywords that has triggered this result. It isn't the blurb either. So my guess is that she must have put in the word "teen" in some context as well as the word "mystery" in a different context without realising it would link together and come up on a search for Nancy Drew types!

Just another example of how careful we should all be about getting our keywords right!

Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2015, 08:21:34 AM »
Animal Adventure story for children brought up  :o

http://www.amazon.com/Bearing-Paranormal-Werebear-Erotic-Romance-ebook/dp/B00RD8BSJ4/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1420301988&sr=1-8&keywords=animal+adventure+story+for+children

I guess the werebear was the animal.  ::)

Don't let your children browse for books  :o

What is particularly annoying is that this book has no reviews, but my books, that do have reviews, don't show up  :'(
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 08:26:18 AM by Jan Hurst-Nicholson »

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Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #79 on: January 03, 2015, 08:38:12 AM »
I am very surprised by that - judging from the categories this book is in:


    Books > Gay & Lesbian > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Gay
    Books > Gay & Lesbian > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Romance
    Books > Romance > Anthologies
    Books > Romance > Gay Romance
    Books > Romance > New Adult & College
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Gay
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Lesbian
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Gay & Lesbian > Short Stories
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Collections & Anthologies
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Gay Romance
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > New Adult & College

I would say that the author has certainly attempted to get it in the correct categories, but yes, there must be something in her keywords that has triggered this result. It isn't the blurb either. So my guess is that she must have put in the word "teen" in some context as well as the word "mystery" in a different context without realising it would link together and come up on a search for Nancy Drew types!

Just another example of how careful we should all be about getting our keywords right!

This is what I'm talking about. I kind of feel like these explicit erotica books should be on a separate part of the site where people who are looking for this kind of stuff can go and search for it there. I guess that's against the fair spirit of things, but whatever. Someone who's looking for a book like mine might not be willing to browse through several pages of gay erotica (with very risqu covers) to find my book.

Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #80 on: January 03, 2015, 08:45:21 AM »
This has been quite an eye-opener. I can't seem to find my Leon Chameleon PI books on any lists. No wonder I sell hardly any. Going to have to spend some time on different keywords  ::)

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Offline katrina46

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #81 on: January 03, 2015, 08:57:29 AM »
Let me ask you this. I write erotica, menage. I can't ever seem to show up in menage. For keywords I use menage, bisexual, Lesbian, LGBT and M/F/F. I always show up as lesbian romance. What am I doing wrong? I wouldn't even use Lesbian or LGBT, except it's the lesbian chart I always wind up on, so I figure I must have a small lesbian following, but still, I'd like to be more prominent in menage.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 09:10:01 AM by katrina46 »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #82 on: January 03, 2015, 09:08:11 AM »
Evenstar and David S., thanks for the explanations (and the testing). I was really not understanding the way keywords worked. I thought every term would only work as a specific search string (like, if you put in urban fantasy werewolf witch gods as one keyword, a shopper would have to search for exactly those five words in exactly that order for the keyword to generate a hit). If this is not the case, then I don't see any reason not to do what Cherise suggests -- leave out the commas entirely and just put in as many applicable words as you can. No commas = six extra characters.

Does anyone know of any reason to use commas?

Does anyone know if order of terms makes a difference?

Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #83 on: January 03, 2015, 09:35:27 AM »
Evenstar and David S., thanks for the explanations (and the testing). I was really not understanding the way keywords worked. I thought every term would only work as a specific search string (like, if you put in urban fantasy werewolf witch gods as one keyword, a shopper would have to search for exactly those five words in exactly that order for the keyword to generate a hit). If this is not the case, then I don't see any reason not to do what Cherise suggests -- leave out the commas entirely and just put in as many applicable words as you can. No commas = six extra characters.

Does anyone know of any reason to use commas?

Does anyone know if order of terms makes a difference?

I may be wrong and probably am, but you may have a limited number of characters per string. Otherwise, yeah, why would you need commas at all. There's got to be a reason for them, right?

Offline Steven McKinnon

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #84 on: January 03, 2015, 10:00:34 AM »
Terrific post, and very informative discussion. Cheers folks!
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Offline Claire Frank

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #85 on: January 03, 2015, 10:28:21 AM »
So I did a bit of experimenting, and thought I'd show a quick example of what I found with my keywords, for what it's worth...

I changed one of my keywords to strong female protagonist. When I search within fantasy (because I'm tiny and I don't think my book will show up if I don't at least start in the overall genre), and search for the exact words 'strong female protagonist', my book comes up on the first page (here's hoping customers are actually using that term). But, using just strong female puts me on page 3 of the search results, and using strong female lead doesn't work at all (at least, it doesn't show up in the first 10 pages and I quit looking after that).

So based on my super scientific experiment of one, I get better placement when the search term is exact, a bit of placement when the search term contains some of the words, and I get buried with other versions of the term that mean the same thing, even though two of the words are the same.

I'm just messing around with it to see what happens and figured I'd share what I noticed, FWIW.

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #86 on: January 03, 2015, 10:37:31 AM »
Interesting, Claire ... that's helpful! It suggests to me that if you want searches on urban fantasy and contemporary fantasy to return your book, you'd be better off with urban fantasy contemporary fantasy as a keyword than urban contemporary fantasy, so that the order of your words is closer to what people might actually type.

I wonder about plurals. Will searches on dragon return books with the keyword dragons?

Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #87 on: January 03, 2015, 10:37:52 AM »
So I did a bit of experimenting, and thought I'd show a quick example of what I found with my keywords, for what it's worth...

I changed one of my keywords to strong female protagonist. When I search within fantasy (because I'm tiny and I don't think my book will show up if I don't at least start in the overall genre), and search for the exact words 'strong female protagonist', my book comes up on the first page (here's hoping customers are actually using that term). But, using just strong female puts me on page 3 of the search results, and using strong female lead doesn't work at all (at least, it doesn't show up in the first 10 pages and I quit looking after that).

So based on my super scientific experiment of one, I get better placement when the search term is exact, a bit of placement when the search term contains some of the words, and I get buried with other versions of the term that mean the same thing, even though two of the words are the same.

I'm just messing around with it to see what happens and figured I'd share what I noticed, FWIW.

Strong female protagonist isn't a popular search term. You can tell this because, when you start to type in the word "strong," it gives you a list of the most popular search terms that start with the word strong. Then when you type in female after that, you can see that "strong female protagonist" doesn't even come up. The first search term? Strong female lead. And that one has less than 900 books. So, generally speaking, strong female anything isn't an extremely popular search term, and it's unlikely many people will search using the phrase strong female protagonist. But you should definitely make your search term "strong female lead" so your book will come up when someone types in that.

Offline Claire Frank

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #88 on: January 03, 2015, 10:45:49 AM »
Strong female protagonist isn't a popular search term. You can tell this because, when you start to type in the word "strong," it gives you a list of the most popular search terms that start with the word strong. Then when you type in female after that, you can see that "strong female protagonist" doesn't even come up. The first search term? Strong female lead. And that one has less than 900 books. So, generally speaking, strong female anything isn't an extremely popular search term, and it's unlikely many people will search using the phrase strong female protagonist. But you should definitely make your search term "strong female lead" so your book will come up when someone types in that.

Thanks. I thought it did come up as a suggested search term, which is why I gave it shot to see what would happen - but it was late last night, so hey, who knows. :)

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Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #89 on: January 03, 2015, 10:48:35 AM »
Thanks. I thought it did come up as a suggested search term, which is why I gave it shot to see what would happen - but it was late last night, so hey, who knows. :)

They do change around sometimes.

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #90 on: January 03, 2015, 10:58:26 AM »
I wonder about plurals. Will searches on dragon return books with the keyword dragons?

Tested this out. Simply plurals don't seem to matter (dragon and dragons return the same number of results). Things get stickier with more divergent spellings (like fairy, fairies, faery, faerie, faeries, fae).

Offline Anne Pottinger

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #91 on: January 03, 2015, 11:13:41 AM »
Excellent, thought provoking post. I've already done some research and changed my keywords completely. Following through on this, it could provide a good opportunity to carry out a lot of testing and eventually settle on the best performing list. Thanks again . . . :)


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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #92 on: January 03, 2015, 11:33:45 AM »
Very helpful post, Evenstar. Thank you. As one who has struggled with keywords and stared in awe at authors who manage to get their books into TEN categories, I always assumed Amazon was just sabotaging me.

I'm testing one book to see how many categories the Big A puts me in. If it's a lot, I'll go through the rest like greased lightning.


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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #93 on: January 03, 2015, 12:04:00 PM »
I learned about keyword stuffing about two months ago and started changing the keywords of my books -- but this is even more info than I had before, thanks! I think I will do some further refining. :)

But for those who need any further success stories, once I started creating my keywords using the search function on Amazon, I've found that my sales after a promotion have a much longer tail. I used to rely on my books being visible in their categories, but they can drop out of those fairly quickly after a promotion. Basing keywords on searches, I continue to get fairly regular sales even weeks after the bump from a promotion.

But now I'm off to stuff my keywords a little more. :)
 
 
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Offline Claire Frank

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #94 on: January 03, 2015, 12:40:17 PM »
Question, using my potential keywords as an example -

If I want to show up when people search for fantasy adventure quest, which is a suggested search term, am I better off using those specific words, or stuffing the keyword with something like fantasy action adventure quest thriller because I want all those words somewhere in my keywords?

If I do that (fantasy action adventure quest thriller), will I show up if people search for just
fantasy quest
fantasy action adventure
action adventure quest
And so forth
In other words, I'm wondering if keyword stuffing (assuming they're relevant to your genre) dilutes the effectiveness of the search terms because Amazon shows specific hits first, then hits that include some of the words.

Using Evenstar's initial example, she uses the "stuffed" keyword paranormal romance witch werewolf zombies ghost shifter love and says she'll show up with any combo of those terms. I searched for zombie romance (both words in the stuffed keyword) and Halloween Magic and Mayhem doesn't come up until page 8. So it's there, but not high. Granted, that isn't really the search she's going for first, as zombie romance doesn't describe the book exactly. So I searched for witch romance and I don't find it in the first 15 pages (maybe I missed it?). Would the book show up if the keyword was just witch romance, rather than the longer stuffed keyword?

I'm not trying to disagree with Evenstar at all! This is a great thread. I'm just trying to drill down to see if we can determine more about the effectiveness of different keyword strategies.

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Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #95 on: January 03, 2015, 01:01:34 PM »
Question, using my potential keywords as an example -

If I want to show up when people search for fantasy adventure quest, which is a suggested search term, am I better off using those specific words, or stuffing the keyword with something like fantasy action adventure quest thriller because I want all those words somewhere in my keywords?

If I do that (fantasy action adventure quest thriller), will I show up if people search for just
fantasy quest
fantasy action adventure
action adventure quest
And so forth
In other words, I'm wondering if keyword stuffing (assuming they're relevant to your genre) dilutes the effectiveness of the search terms because Amazon shows specific hits first, then hits that include some of the words.

Using Evenstar's initial example, she uses the "stuffed" keyword paranormal romance witch werewolf zombies ghost shifter love and says she'll show up with any combo of those terms. I searched for zombie romance (both words in the stuffed keyword) and Halloween Magic and Mayhem doesn't come up until page 8. So it's there, but not high. Granted, that isn't really the search she's going for first, as zombie romance doesn't describe the book exactly. So I searched for witch romance and I don't find it in the first 15 pages (maybe I missed it?). Would the book show up if the keyword was just witch romance, rather than the longer stuffed keyword?

I'm not trying to disagree with Evenstar at all! This is a great thread. I'm just trying to drill down to see if we can determine more about the effectiveness of different keyword strategies.

I think where you fall on any given search term results depends on your rank. But to answer your first question, I don't think putting the specific desired search term helps you in any way. But really who knows? It's one of those things that is a secret, and I guess Amazon's not telling. If you use the expanded string of terms, your bill will show up in the results of all those possible search terms you listed. But how many results show up in a list is determined, I think, by how many books have relevant keywords and then sorted by order of overall rank. Maybe?

It's like a particular field of science. We know some things that are true, but we don't really know how everything works.

Offline Claire Frank

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #96 on: January 03, 2015, 01:10:30 PM »


It's like a particular field of science. We know some things that are true, but we don't really know how everything works.

Right? I guess if it were all straightforward, it would be easy. :)

This is great though, because regardless of the tiny specifics, I think I was under-utilizing my keywords, so I'm making some changes and we'll see if it helps a little :).

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Offline Kylo Ren

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #97 on: January 03, 2015, 01:16:23 PM »
Despite all this talk about maximizing keywords, I still wonder how useful it is. Meaning, do people really shop for books this way? I know I don't (but I'm just one person). I think being in the top 100 of a category is useful, but I have to wonder about search terms. Changing my keywords really had little effect on my sales, but I am small potatoes.

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #98 on: January 03, 2015, 01:51:40 PM »
My theory on commas is, and this is JUST a theory, that by grouping words together you are score slightly higher on the hit list. So if they are grouped as three of the five words like, paranormal shifter romance, and were part of a string of five words that were, paranormal romance werewolves shifter wolf, then you would be picked first over a string that contained, paranormal romance PNR werewolf romantic shifter love wolf full moon turned alpha wolves kissing.  But it is pure speculation. It may make no difference at all...

Offline Evenstar

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Re: Evenstar's Monster Post on Amazon Keywords
« Reply #99 on: January 03, 2015, 01:55:55 PM »
This has been quite an eye-opener. I can't seem to find my Leon Chameleon PI books on any lists. No wonder I sell hardly any. Going to have to spend some time on different keywords  ::)

Uh, Jan, you do realise that people searching for the term PI are probably looking for something VERY different?

This reminds me of how hilarious I find my in-laws, it seems to me that every week they have a DP with certain friends or neighbours, "Yes, we had Martin and Judith round for a DP." I snigger in an immature way while my husband kicks me under the table. But they are talking about dinner parties, my mind is obviously considerably closer to the gutter.