You may already know that selecting great keywords is… key!… to helping your book appear in more search results on Amazon, Google, BN.com, etc…. But once you’ve researched and gathered all those keywords for your book, what do you do with them?
Here are the top three places you should place your keywords, in order of importance.
#1 Your Book’s Title and Subtitle
“Wait, what? My book already has a title.” I’m not saying you have to change it, only that you should consider it. This is, after all, prime real estate for your most important and relevant keywords.
Your book’s title and subtitle are prime real estate for your most important and relevant keywords.Tweet to your peeps!
For nonfiction, this is fairly straightforward. If you can shape your title and subtitle around the most obvious search terms people will use, you’re golden. In most cases, it’s best to go with the less poetic, interesting titles in lieu of a title that doesn’t immediately tell the viewer exactly what your book is about. They aren’t looking for something flowery, they’re looking for an answer to a specific question. Answer that question.
For fiction, you may already be married to your title, and you might bristle at the suggestion that you change it. I do understand, and it might be just fine. However, I still suggest that you at least give yourself some time to consider other options that may get your book into more readers’ hands. If there’s a naming trend in your genre that’s selling books like hotcakes, you might want to jump on that wagon.
Also for fiction writers: Don’t leave off a subtitle. Even if you decide not to print it on the book jacket, do select a subtitle for your metadata fields online. It’s a high-priority location for search terms that will help readers find your book.
#2 The Top Few Lines of Your Book Description
Different search engines have different ways of scanning your metadata, but one thing is clear: They don’t all scan all of your metadata. This means that, whether it’s by word count or character count, after a point in your descriptive fields, the algorigthms are no longer even looking at your data, let alone giving it top priority.
Adding your keywords as early in your book description as possible makes it more likely that they will actually influence your book’s searchability (and findability!).Tweet to your peeps!
Perhaps that was a little too much jargon for you, and I don’t blame you. This isn’t your full-time job. So to put it plainly, adding your keywords as early in your book description as possible makes it more likely that they will actually influence your book’s searchability (and findability!).
The takeaway: squish the most important keywords into the top line or two of your book description, and follow those with the rest. For a good example, check out this metadata review of The Memo.
BONUS Pro Tip!
Make the top line of your book description bolded. Some search engines *cough* Amazon *cough* appear to factor this in, giving those words even more weight in the algorithms.
#3 Off-Screen Keyword Fields
This one is more for independently published authors, although it’s good for all authors to know what these are and how they work. Depending on where and how your book is published, you’ll see one or more entry fields for keywords. It will usually specify a character limit, and will usually tell you how to separate your keywords and keyword phrases (commas or semicolons, typically).
These are called “off-screen keywords” because they do not appear “on the screen” that the public can see. So for example, once you’ve input keywords here, they will affect your book’s searchabiltiyy on Amazon, but Amazon shoppers won’t see them on your book’s page.
While you’ll definitely still want to prioritize the most important keywords and keyword phrases here, it’s also an opportunity to input keywords that relate to your book but don’t appear in any of the on-screen metadata (like the title or book description). For example, if your book is a biography of a famous football player, you might include the keyword “gifts for men” to tie your book to that search term.
If this has been helpful to you, please let me know in the comments!