SEO & your book’s Amazon page

An editing colleague recently asked me whether I had any advice for authors asking how to get more traffic to their book’s Amazon page.

I’m not going to delve too far into basic search engine optimisation here (see my post on Google’s SEO Starter Guide for that). But what’s different about trying to optimise a page you have limited control over on a third-party site?

  1. The Amazon domain is a huge advantage. It will have an alarming number of inbound links. All things being equal it will outrank a page about your book on your own website.
  2. Amazon is a search engine in itself. So you’re trying to achieve traffic from organic search (like Google) & from the onsite search at Amazon.
  3. In addition to standard SEO stuff, you’ll have categories & tags within Amazon to consider.
  4. Most significantly: your page title is still the most important field on your page & it’s going to be your book’s title.

Your title

Let’s explore that last idea a bit further. The page title tag is a key indicator of what your page is about for search engines. Ideally it needs to be full of keywords that have search volume if you want significant impressions in search results pages.

And on Amazon, that’s your book title. For novels that have obtuse titles bearing little relation to the book’s topic, this is an issue. A subtitle is worth considering. For non-fiction it’s a little easier to use a title that’s descriptive.

Choosing a good title comes back to keyword research. What are people searching for? Importantly, if an author is asking this question & considering keyword research after the book’s written, it’s too late to address the title. Sure some keywords can be used in the description, categories & tags but a useful, descriptive title/subtitle will produce the best results.

On page SEO

Take care to use relevant keywords, phrases & variations in the description on your page. (Note: You can’t name drop other authors or best selling titles in here to capitalise on their search volume).

Off page SEO

Authors generally spruik their work in various newsletters, social media pages, to libraries, community groups, local press & in talks to anyone who’ll listen. Include links to your book’s Amazon page when supplying your bio or press release. Try to vary the anchor text a little so your get a spread of relevant words around your title.

Ads

The on-site search on Amazon seems to favour sales & popularity. So to get even more traffic from here you need to win the war on Google first & demonstrate some traffic & revenue.

It’s worth experimenting with Adwords &, depending on your topic, Facebook ads might be useful (especially for hobby-based books that could be targeted to people displaying an interest).

What do you think?

If you’re an author I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s worked & what hasn’t worked for you. You might also be interested in the video below where some indie authors discuss what they think works on Amazon.

Good luck!

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