These days, just about everything we talk about in regards to social media comes down to using the right keywords. But the topic of keywords actually goes deeper than that. Keywords affect all areas of promotion: from creating the right copy on your website, to placing ads on Facebook that get attention, to developing an irresistible book idea. But more than that, you want to create a book idea that Amazon will love. The keyword strategies I discuss here can be used for anything: blog post topics, verbiage on your website, and book topics. Once you learn the how-tos of this, you’ll find yourself digging through keywords, not only because they are good strategy, but because without them your message may get lost in the ether.
The first step to generating good keywords is to use sites that offer keyword data. Though a lot of folks default to Google’s AdWords tool, you do need to have a Google AdWords or Gmail account to use it. If the AdWords tool will work for you, you can reach it here: https://adwords.google.com. If you haven’t used this tool in a while, be warned that some of the functionality has been stripped away. I typically don’t just stick with one tool; I’ll use several, then compare results.
If using Google is not your preference, consider these alternative keyword solutions:
Free keyword tools
• Wordtracker – https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com
• Ubersuggest – http://ubersuggest.org/
• SEO Book – http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/
• WordPot – http://www.wordpot.com
My personal favorite is Ubersuggest, and I’ll explain in a minute why.
Cast the Net Wide
The idea of this keyword exercise is to guide you and help you focus on specific keywords and current trending topics. We’ll talk about the latter in a minute. For now, let’s say you searched on AdWords for the term “book sales”.
Plugging in that keyword will show you suggestions, as well as the keyword’s average monthly searches. The “Competition” column is related to the AdWords rate, as you’ll see off to the right. The suggested bids will often reflect this. Typically, I’ll look for keywords that are getting 500 monthly searches or above. Unless your topic is super niche, anything less than that may not get you the kind of results you want.
As you review the wide range of related phrases, you’re looking for two things: phrases that more specifically relate to your topic and completely new phrases that have a similar meaning, especially those with high search volume. Add these phrases to your list.
Other Ways to Find Keywords
If you’re reading through this article thinking, “Well, this is fine, but I’m not even sure what my keywords are,” then let’s look at some ways to help define these for you.
Google Analytics: This is a great tool to help you find phrases and topics that are already driving traffic. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website you can farm all sorts of data. If you don’t have it, it’s easy to do. Ask your web person to install it asap. It’s a free system from Google and a fantastic source for anything you need to know about how your website is doing (traffic), how people are accessing your site (site data) and what’s bringing them there (keywords). So, let’s assume you have Google Analytics, from the backend of the site click: Acquisition, then click Keywords, and then click Organic.
This will show you how folks are finding your site, which is really handy. I often find some great keywords there that I use in blog posts, social media updates, or any ads that we run.
• Google Suggest: Just begin entering relevant keywords into Google and see what phrases Google suggests. You may also want to use a question, so, type “how to” or “what” and add in your topic. The top searches that come up typically have high volume and this should give you a good sense of what consumers are looking for.
Now for one of the best kept secrets in keywords: Ubersuggest. I love Ubersuggest because every day it scrapes all the searches on Google and when you pop in keywords it’ll show you a treasure trove of recent searches, word combos, keyword suggestions, everything. I adore this site. It’s the best keyword search tool I’ve seen in a while, and it does the same thing as the Google search bar but on a larger scale.
So now that you’ve done this work and become a keyword pro, build a list of ten to fifteen keywords or keyword strings. This is now the data that you can use to sift through Amazon and see what other competing titles there are on the site. Check out the other article I wrote on this (in the link mentioned above) and get some tips for incorporating keywords into your book creation process. Ideally, you want whole strings of words, like what Ubersuggest offered when I plugged in the term “book marketing”. Keep this list; you’ll use it over and over again during this process.
Good keywords will benefit you in dozens of ways. We use them in blog post titles, social media updates, copy on our website. Absolutely everything. Knowing how your consumer searches and what verbiage they plug into the search bar is crucial to getting found and getting your book noticed. Some years ago, a friend who is knee-deep in SEO told me that many of her friends were doing books based solely on keyword searches or what was hot in searches. While I don’t recommend this practice, it goes to my point that if your book isn’t somehow aligned with your consumer’s mindset, it could languish in obscurity. But what happens if your book is already out there? Well, then consider pulling these keywords into your book description on Amazon and when adding keywords to your book (which you do when you upload it to the Amazon site). You can also use these on the copy on your book webpage.
Keywords, in a sense, are like a GPS, taking you and your book on the right path. Finding the right ones, and using them, can really help expedite your journey and book success.
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com