5 easy tips to help your eBook rank on search engines
Posted: May 03, 2020
Google counted all the books in the world back in 2010 and the figure amounted to an astounding 13 million – 129,864,880 to be exact. This was 10 years ago when the world of eBook writing was in its adolescence. Today, this figure could be well over double of that with some estimates suggesting that around 5,400 books are published each month – 2 million per annum.
This is astounding and rather depressing at the same time – especially for those looking to get into eBook writing or making their eBook a source of passive income. With so many books coming out every day, what’s to stop your book from becoming just another statistic, right?
That’s exactly what this article will address today, giving you 5 easy tips to help your eBook rank on search engines. The better you rank, the better you’ll sell and thus increase your chances of being counted as a best seller and effectively standing out from the crowd.
I consulted professional eBook writers when writing this article for their help. They offered me valuable insights into the world of eBooks, making me ponder the possibility of getting published and sell well myself. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll assume that you have already completed your manuscript and are about to publish.
So, let’s dive in!Increasing your eBook’srank on search engines1. Optimizing your book’s title
One of the most important fields considered by any search engine, be it Google, Bing, or even Amazon when ranking your book is, unsurprisingly, the book title.
"Yes, it definitely matters what you choose to call your book. See, the title isn't just to compel readers to have a look – it also serves to help search engines determine relevance."
This goes without saying, yes, but it was only when the professional eBook writer in question said it out loud that I had my "Aha" moment. When you search for any product at Amazon, how are the results listed? They’re listed based on relevance by default - not best-sellers, not price, nor your favorite author. By relevance.
This means that whenever you submit a query (enter a search phrase and hit enter), search engines search first through metadata and then list the top 10 or 20 results that are relevant to your query. Only when the metadata results run out does the engine delve into descriptions.
This stands to reason that the better you optimize your book title, the better you’ll rank. However, you need to make sure that you maintain a balance between appeasing the search engines and appealing to audiences.
How likely are you to click on a book named ‘a crime fiction’ compared to say ‘the blue knife’ if you’re searching for crime fiction? The first one is relevant but a poor excuse of a book title.2. Optimizing description and other meta tags
As mentioned above, search engines first go through eBook titles and then move towards descriptions.
For the sake of appealing to audiences, book titles can’t be generic. For those looking for romantic, it makes sense to search for the word love, but how could it lead to something like Pride and Prejudice, 50 Shades of Grey, Twilight, or even The Fault in Our Stars?
Take the eBook "The Bride" by Julie Garwood, for example. It’s a classical love story based in historic Scotland. But at the same time, how hard is it to mistake the title for it to be a thriller like Gone Girl? That’s where a keyword optimized description comes into play.
"After the title comes your book’s description. Search engines compare the user’s query to your eBook’s description to find the perfect match. They aren’t looking for verbatim results, mind you. Just those that might satisfy your needs."
eBooks aren’t like webpages. People don’t just open the first results page and buy the one ranking highest. Readers are patient people and so, read your description to learn more about your book. If you’ve overstuffed your description with keywords, they’ll know and immediately back off, so again, maintain a balance.
When researching for the right keywords, it is a good idea to use a good keyword tool such as Google AdWords. Not only will the tool give you useful insights into global and local searches,but it will also give you an idea about what your competition is doing, how well they’re ranking and on what keyword.
Optimizing your book’s description doesn’t mean the description you write on Amazon only but also includes your book cover and reviews.
Where the title, description, and reviews are for readers and search engines alike, a well-designed book cover is for your audience. After all, it’s the first thing people will look at – even before your eBook’s title!
- People don’t read long title or descriptions. Keep it short, keep it simple (KISS)
- Tailor your book's description based on the book's content
- Go through Kindle’s eBook and paperback guidelines
- Conduct relevant research before adding keywords
- You can adjust keywords as well as your book’s description whenever you want.
Readability doesn’t just mean that you’ve used easy-to-read words or short paragraphs here but also that it is easy to access. Take BapsiSidhwa, for example. She’s notorious for writing books with a vocabulary for which most of us need to keep a dictionary with us, but she’s a best-seller, regardless.
That can be attributed to her book’s accessibility. Available on every medium, her books are shareable.
"Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing when it comes to spreading the word about your eBook. And that is only possible if your eBook is well-written, accessible, and of course has a message or story worth sharing."
Try not to make your eBook readable only on exclusive third-party software. Online-only is another big red flag, impacting the accessibility of your book adversely. If you’re scared about piracy, would it help to know that by keeping it exclusive or online-only, you aren’t doing yourself any favors?4. Conducting keyword research for Amazon
Here are some guidelines to follow when searching for the best keyword for your eBook writing ventures. Here, we’ll target the Amazon Kindle market.
- Use "keyword strings" or long-form keywords. Nobody searches for "love" anymore if they’re looking for romantic novels.
- Don’t rely on Kindle’s recommendations to give you the best keyword in the first go. Use different tools and target the one with the highest search volume but lowest competition.
- See which eBooks are listed under your shortlisted keywords. It’s fine if there are some major titles such as The Da Vinci Code listed on top. If you choose the same keyword, you aren’t competing with Dan Brown – just falling in his category. You’re now targeting people who read The Da Vinci Code. Just make sure there aren’t that many major publications or you won’t get a chance to climb up anytime soon.
- Don’t look at the free books to evaluate your keyword plausibility.
- If the keyword also targets books listed in Kindle Unlimited, don’t worry. It won’t affect how your book lists.
Once you’ve revaluated your keyword research, it’s time to implement it. To do so, sign into your amazon kindle account, go to your Bookshelf, and click on the "…" button. It will be under Kindle eBook/Paperback Actionsmenu.
- Click on "Edit eBook/Paperback Details"
- You’ll find the "Keywords" section. Add new ones and remove irrelevant keywords. Remember, long tail keywords are much better than short ones
- Click Save and Continue
- You’re going to have to republish your book again for the changes to take effect.
Use no more than seven long tail keywords, keeping a close eye on the character limit. Before republishing, search once more on Amazon with the same keywords. This will help you gauge the results and ensure that they are relevant.
"Think like a reader, not an eBook writer or publisher. Try to make your journey as easy as possible, and in proxy, your customers’."
At the end of the day, while eBook optimization plays an important role, the thing that sells most is not just the rankings, but also what’s within. Even the best eBook writers can make mistakes – some which can be rectified with a simple online tool, othersthat need a personal touch.
There are many professional eBook writers who offer struggling writers help in completing their manuscripts as well as making sure it ranks well, if you don’t have time or simply don’t want to. I know how easy it is to lose motivation to complete your eBook or optimize it – it just helps to know that there are people out there who can do it for you.
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If you think I missed out on something important or would simply like to share your thoughts, get in touch down in the comments. I would love to hear from fellow future or current eBook writers!
The writer is a professional plumber working for a licensed plumbing company in Texas for the past 15 years. They have catered to many plumbing emergencies in Fort Worth households and are trying to help homeowners prevent issues through their blogs.