How I doubled my Kindle sales rank with a simple 5-minute Amazon hack.

From page 7, to page 3 in one hour…

When I review other authors books on Amazon, I usually point out they need more keywords in their description, title, and even author bio.

Why? 

Because Amazon is a search engine.

If you don’t have any WORDS in your description letting Amazon know what kind of book it is, it won’t show up when readers are searching for things.

UNLESS it shows up in also boughts of similar books in your genre.

But if you’re not already attracting and converting readers who read those kind of books, you won’t show up there either.

However, I realized I wasn’t following my own advice for one of my books. I’d stopped targeting “mermaids” because I thought my dark fantasy book wasn’t quite right for typical mermaid readers, so I focused on the drama and story, and not mermaids. It worked pretty well. But after Shape of Water, very dark, adult mermaids are back in style… so I edited my blurb and immediately saw a huge boost in organic visibility. 

 

Visibility first

Keywords matter to show up, but also for positioning. Hopefully, your book cover perfectly sums up the genre while being attractive to your audience. It should grab them and make them want the book, before reading the description. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to work much harder. But the cover doesn’t matter either, if nobody is seeing the book, so start with keywords.

Once you ARE getting some readers on your page, if the cover doesn’t properly do its job and communicate genre, then the description still needs to tell readers what genre the book is. If they still don’t know whether this is scifi or fantasy, it’ll be much harder to draw them in with the blurb. Sure they can “guess” or “try to figure it out” after reading the blurb, but most of them WON’T read the book. If they aren’t already sold – if they don’t have all the basics they need – they won’t both to click ‘read more’ and finish the description.

In other words, the description doesn’t matter, if you can’t get them to click your cover, and then hook them so they click to read the description. After that they’ll look at reviews. All that together = conversion.

 

Conversion second

Conversion is how well your cover, description and reviews lead to the sale. You want less traffic and more conversion (because Amazon will learn faster and start promoting your book to the right readers). Organic keywords can help get your book SEEN, but not sold. And too much “keyword stuffing” – focusing on machines, not humans – can hurt conversion once actual readers land on the page.

What’s the solution? Advertising.

Advertising fixes the visibility issue.

And it can help with the conversion issue too, because you can test dozens of hooks and see which phrases attract the right readers and get them to buy. Once you know those, you can rewrite your blurb.

If you’re advertising, organic SEO is less of a problem, because your book will show up anyway in a more prominent position.

 

 

Kindlepreneur also has a good free course on Amazon ads

 

UDPATE: mixed results

This worked right away with immediate impact… but a few weeks later my book is on page 10 for me and page 20 for a friend… so my “hack” didn’t seem to stick. This is actually to be expected… both Amazon and Google are deliberately trying to overcome users trying to game their system with hacks like these: The most important metric is organic visibility, and anything that looks unnatural or like “keyword stuffing” could actually get their rank suppressed a bit (or random fluctuations + new books have just knocked me down – there are a whole bunch of new mermaid books on the market suddenly thanks to some great premades).

You do need your books to be show up though before anybody sees it, so matching keywords to content people are searching for is still a basic a sound idea (some people would say “don’t use ANY keywords!) but then readers won’t know what kind of book it is at all, and organic search will be worse.

ALSO: in this video I made a mistake – I sent a link with a keyword to get people to click on it and boost keywords, but it wasn’t a clean link… apparently it has a time stamp, so if many people click it Amazon will know something fishy is going on. If you have a big platform (who are willing to do you a favor) you can have them use the search bar to search for your keyword, and then buy the book once they find it. That should boost the keyword association as well.

Mainly though… You should focus on building organic traffic to YOUR website; an audience who loves your work (that you can reach by email easily) and Amazon or Facebook ads (which only work if your core offer converts really well…)

And of course… Shearwater is only book one of a potential series. I should really just write book two and then relaunch them both.

And also… “mermaids” still just aren’t super popular with my intended audience. I need to write a reverse harem dragon shifter cozy mystery or something. I do have some books that hit more popular keywords, which is why choosing to write those books may be better than working on these, though I will do both.

Read this next: The really weird tricks I use to publish bestselling books.

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me

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