How To Find The Perfect Keywords For Your Kindle Book

First of all where do we need keywords exactly?

  1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing keywords – We can add up to 7 KDP keywords to our book. Based on Dave's article that connects to this topic using all 50 characters is a good thing, which basically means you can add multiple keywords in the same field
  2. Amazon Advertising keyword targeting – In AMS you can use Sponsored Products campaign, where you can target you book using different Amazon Kindle keywords (if you want to learn how to do this, download or visual guide from Authors' Corner)
  3. Book's subtitle – In terms of Amazon SEO it's essential to use keywords also in title, but especially in subtitle, it highly improves the ranking of the book for that search term

Why using the right KDP keywords will increase sales and ROI in case of Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns?

Simply because better keywords means better match with visitors intention. Every visitor wants to find the right book that matches perfectly with his or her taste. This is why we always suggest to use ultra relevant keywords! 

In the first half of the article I will give ideas how to find the right Amazon Kindle keywords, that you may use the above purposes.

1. Short forms

“Science fiction books”
sci-fi books
scifi books
SF books

Short forms are very important keyword factor, people don't like to write on keyboard and especially not on smart phones, so they utilize short abbreviations as keywords. 

Finding the short forms of KDP keywords is like learning another language, it is the book lover's slang. The majority of new authors are unfamiliar with this slang, but it's very important to learn it at least from marketing point of view. 

2. Target audience and age groups

Targeted groups
kids books
children's books
preschool chapter books
books for tweens
middle grade books
young adult books
new adult books

Defining the age of the audience is extremely important in case of fiction books.

Don't forget to use the abbreviations here too like young adult – YA or middle gradeMG.

3. Say it another way, synonyms

Books for 8-12
juvenile fiction
middle grade fiction

Synonyms have an important role in terms of Amazon Kindle keywords. The same is the case when we are speaking about close words (not the same but almost). For example if you wrote a book about Excel Macros, you can use close words VBA Beginners too, not the same but close enough to gain extended visibility. Some of the people not even know the terms that they are searching for, this is why we need to utilize synonyms.  

4. Change the order of words

Switching words
chilrens books about dragon
dragon books for children
chilrens dragon books

The above examples are all keywords for example in Amazon Ads, however they use the same words in a different order. Please note using “for”, “about” etc. words as part of the keywords is ok, since people use these in the search fields too.

What you shouldn't use in keywords are the so called “stop words“: a, also, an, and, any, are, as, at, be, because, been, but, by, for, from, in, into, is, of, on, or, so, some, such, the, was, were, with. In addition never use any symbols or quotation marks as part of the keywords like ‘ , ” , ~ , ‘ , “ . 

5. Setting of the book

British set
historical regency romance

Romance novels set during the period of the British Regency (1811-1820). 

Horror sets
spooky ghost stories
haunted ghost stories

Spooky usually means it is intended for Halloween and the ghost simply indicates that the horror story contains some kind of ghost entities. If we would use haunted as part of the keyword it would indicate that there is a haunted house, where the action takes place. 

Place or author set
contemporary Irish fiction

Settings could connect to also a place like contemporary Irish fiction, which could mean both a book written by Irish author or a fiction that takes place in Ireland. 

The setting could connect to also an event like World War II or Civil War etc.

6. Character details

single dad romance
strong female fantasy

You use character attributes as KDP keywords, since they giveaway some important information about the plot and the protagonist. With these keywords you can also target certain reader groups who are fan of these type of characters. 

7. Story tone

Tone settings
dark fantasy
dystopian science fiction
uplifting poetry
Christian clean romance

You can further improve the main genre's plot tone by adding genre specific adjectives in the keyword. For example dark fantasy is a typical frightening “horrorish” subgenre of fantasy literature. This combination usually fits for boys. 

The dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction is also a great way to describe the state of the story. Hope plays a huge role in these fiction novels. 

8. Domain specific keywords

Special domain
NFT books
crypto books
RPA books

We love these special domain keywords, usually connecting to non-fiction and business books. Psychology, business has it's own slang, only after several years these words became mainstream thanks to media, but in the meantime they are excellent keywords. Insiders, entrepreneurs are using these keywords in order to be a step ahead the market. It is typical that the search volume of these keywords strongly increase over time.  

Amazon Kindle Keywords Explained In Small Details

It makes no difference if you have just decided to become a writer or you are doing it for years. On the same note, it really does not matter if this is your first book or you are already a reputable author on most major reading platforms. There are certain things and rules you need to keep in mind when writing a book and Amazon Kindle keywords are some of the most significant ones. You want your book to be found by those keywords, which are representative of it.

When it comes to keywords, a terrible book could make it on top if it is properly optimized, just like a good book can go unnoticed without the right keywords. Furthermore, even if you like the paperback alternative, Kindle represents a modern choice that you simply cannot overlook. New writers choose Kindle because they can keep their publishing expenses low. On the same note, even older writers will have to adapt and target digital readers as well.

Now, keywords are critical for your marketing strategy and should never be left behind. Using the right keywords allows you to advertise your book to readers from all over the world while you sleep. The process is quite straightforward and easy to understand – unless someone looks for your name or title in particular, they are less likely to find your book. If they search for keywords and your book matches the criteria, it will pop up.

How do Amazon Kindle keywords help selling a book?

Unless people know exactly the title they are after, they will search for particular keywords and get books from a specific genre or with particular keywords. Amazon will then use these KDP keywords to find books based on them and display them in the search results. It has an internal algorithm that decides which books are shown to the potential customer. It could be a single keyword or perhaps a phrase based on multiple keywords.

KDP keywords are the words used by a shopper when trying to find a book – be it a paperback edition or an electronic book. These are the keywords you need to focus on in order to have your book displayed to people. The better optimized your book is, the higher it will rank in these search results. At the same time, it may also pop around suggestions, even if someone clicks on another title. Now that you understand how they work, how do you actually find what you need?

How do you find KDP keywords people actually type?

Your target KDP keywords could be completely useless if you do not use words that people actually search for. In other words, you need to figure out what people actually need in order to target them. The good news is Amazon has a search function that will help you go in the right direction – the autofill feature. Most search engines use it. Its role is to suggest the most commonly searched items, so you can figure out exactly what people need.

First of all, Amazon will display results based on your previous searches. You can clear cookies and history or simply browse the website in an incognito way. Then, go to the Kindle store – you want to know what is popular in books, rather than other unrelated items that will only waste your time. Type a representative word for your book and the autofill function will kick in. Add each letter at the end of the word to see what comes up.

To help you understand, assume you are writing a romance book. Type in romance a, then romance b and so on. See what Amazon completes for your search and write the respective phrase on a piece of paper. Make sure you do not break Amazon’s keyword requirements and rules though. There are certain keywords you need to avoid and they are clearly mentioned in these requirements. Just because they are suggested by Amazon, it does not mean that you are free to rely on them.

While this is a simple way to find some Amazon Kindle keywords, keep in mind that you will only get some popular names. You have no clue how popular they are. You just know that people search for them, but how many people actually do it? To get more details about the popularity of certain keywords, you will need to use third-party tools. They are more accurate and efficient, but you are less likely to find any good tools for free.

How do you find Amazon Kindle keywords that people actually pay for?

While you will find Amazon Kindle keywords that people search for, you need to ensure people also pay for those books. Otherwise, the keywords are irrelevant. There might be popular keywords, but people simply do not buy them because they cannot find what they truly need. Assuming you already have a list of keywords, how do you figure out whether they sell or not? For each keyword, you will need to go into the top three results.

You can then see the sales – or the daily sales – based on the best seller rank, which is publicly displayed. Do this for the first three results – if they barely sell anything per day, a low number indicates two different things. First, there may not be too many searches for that keyword, even if it is actually one of the most popular ones. Second, people cannot find what they actually need, so they will not spend their money. You will have to perform this type of research for every keyword you have.

Is competition important for Amazon Kindle keywords?

Absolutely. Just like for anything else in life, competition is worth some consideration when starting a new venture – be it a business or just a book. If you cannot get your new book to show up for a particular keyword – somewhere at the top, that keyword is not relevant to you. It will not work for you and it will only be a waste of time. Practically, it will not give you any sales, but it will take the space for a keyword that might actually work.

Just like over regular search engines, shoppers on Amazon will go for a book within the first 14 results. Most people will click on a book showing up within the first few results, rather than go to the second page. In other words, you need to beat the first five results if you truly want your sales to skyrocket. Otherwise, the keyword will not help you too much. Fortunately, there are a few extra things you can do to trigger some attention and go on top of your competition.

good amazon title

How important is the title?

The title is one of the most important things when interested in Amazon Kindle keywords. At this point, you need to work in two different directions. First, you need to work on the title to attract customers. It must be catchy, but without looking like you are trying too hard. Second, the title must work for Amazon’s search engine as well. Just like for search engines, Amazon has an algorithm that finds a middle solution between these two considerations.

Now, is the main keyword in the title? This says that you are targeting the respective term properly. However, a random keyword in the title will not help if it does not actually make sense. You need to do some research and come up with a bestseller title that actually converts. Having the keyword in subtitles here and there in the book will also help – again, it must make sense for it to actually convert. Otherwise, it will not work.

amazon description

Does the book description count?

Many newbie writers overlook the actual description, but this is what actually converts. The description is more important than most people believe. When discovering a new book, most people will try to find a description first. They have no clue what to expect, so they need to get a bit of extra info – perhaps a plot twist or a few details about the action. If there is nothing there or it is too brief, people will try to find reviews about the book – otherwise, they will not spend their money.

The description is your last-ditch act to convert someone who might be interested into an actual customer. The actual description is not everything though. Some people come up with a good description, but they fail to structure it accordingly. If you end up with a massive block of text spreading over 50 lines, chances are no one will read it. Instead, structure the description accordingly, use some subtitles, and make it easy to read. Use the keywords in the description as well.

Can a complete newbie gain notoriety?

Generally speaking, the notoriety of an author does matter. A reputable writer with an international reputation will go on top of many results without too much hassle. But then, everyone starts somewhere. As a newbie, you will also be able to go on top if you have a good book and you use the right Amazon Kindle keywords. When researching your competition, go to authors' websites, their social media profile, the customer involvement and so on.

Does it help having the same keyword more than once?

As you go through Amazon’s guidelines, you will notice that Amazon does not recommend using the same keyword everywhere. In other words, Amazon advises against using the same keyword in the metadata, title, contributor and so on. Those keywords are already there and will already help potential customers find the book. Basically, Amazon does not claim that using the same keyword will hurt your book, but it might be a waste.

So, does it hurt if you repeat keywords? Will Amazon penalize your book? No, it does not. Reusing the same keyword will not hurt you or your book. You will not get penalized either. But on the same note, it will not help that much either. It does not necessarily mean that you will get better rankings. Keyword optimization is important, but exaggerations will not help too much – the good news is they will not hurt you either.

Using the same keyword can be handy sometimes. Imagine you have done your research and you already have a few phrases you want to use. Some words may repeat – for instance, you have decided to focus on fantasy elf and war elf. Just because one word will repeat, it does not mean that you should quit any of these keywords. You have two different phrases and each of them ranks well, so go ahead and use both.

Does focusing on particular Amazon kindle keywords help with rankings?

Amazon makes it clear – the degree of text match is critical for rankings. This means that the more specific you become with the Amazon Kindle keywords, the better you will rank. Amazon will, indeed, rearrange phrases and words. But then, you will be asked to put these keywords in search boxes. The way you add them is more important in the long run rankings. Strongly focusing on a keyword will, therefore, help.

What should KDP keywords be like?

Most importantly, Amazon Kindle keywords must be ultra relevant and specific to the book. Imagine what the customer would put in the search box to find your book.

Second, you need shoppers to look for these keywords. You will have the option to add some relevant keywords. Just because you only have a few, it does not mean that you should overlook others or leave blank slots.

Finally, the KDP keywords should not be overly competitive. Sometimes, you will be more successful with less competitive KDP keywords that put your book first, rather than being ranked the 25th in a competitive segment.


Bottom line, Amazon Kindle keywords do require a bit of research, as well as some early planning. In fact, it might be helpful to work on this aspect before you even complete your book. Indeed, you can adjust later on and come up with a successful marketing campaign, but planning everything in small details will make your book rank better and become more successful.