Keywords and Visibility on Amazon


If you, like me, have been having trouble categorizing your book in order to get better visibility for sells, this link might help.  I was using random keywords related to highlights of my book, but not coming up well in searches.


I had enormous difficulty in getting the correct keywords through KDP for visibility until I ran across this rather obscure piece on KDP’s site.  I was using all the wrong keywords.  The keywords that I was using were all related to my book, but they were NOT the specifically programed words and phrases that Amazon uses.  I was barely able to find my book in search results until I ran across this page.  Now, I have sold more books in the past two weeks than I had in the past two months, just by getting these correct keywords into place.

It seems that Amazon has specific keywords programmed to assist or enhance searches that I was not aware of.  Now I can find my book on the 1st through the 30th page of any search I put in using these keywords.  You can still use random words and phrases, provided you remember to put a comma between the phrase and the word, but these specific keywords may be most helpful.

You will see a list of broad genre selections.  Click on the one or two (you are allowed up to two) that best fit your book and you will see a spreadsheet that shows keywords.  Choose some specific keywords (you are allowed up to seven) from the list.  Try those.  I’ll bet you will see improved results.  I sure have.  If you lose this link, it is under help for “Browse Categories”.  Hope this is helpful to new authors, or any author who needs enhanced search results.  It has certainly improved my visibility.

This page is NOT in the edit book details where you put in your selected genre, this is in the help guide.  You have to then go to edit book details to make your changes.

Categories With Keyword Requirements:

In order to list your title in certain sub-categories, you’ll need to add Search Keywords in addition to the categories you choose for your title.

Click a category in the list below to see the keyword requirements. 

Search Keywords MUST include at least one of the keywords or phrases listed next to the sub-category.

Science Fiction & Fantasy


Teen & Young Adult

Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense

Comics & Graphic Novels

Literature & Fiction

43 thoughts on “Keywords and Visibility on Amazon

  1. I am so glad we had this conversation and what a brilliant thing to have come across. I shall definitely keep you posted on progress – I am loving the idea of actually selling something! 🙂


    1. It did not happen the first couple of days, but within a few I noticed an increase and then last weekend a lot, this week has been steady, and I have NEVER had a steady week since I published in March. I never knew there were keyword “Requirement” for sub categories.


      1. I am so pleased for you! And you have me all excited now – lol! Let’s hope it makes some difference at least. I shall definitely keep you updated and thank you again for sharing this with us all. 🙂


      1. Not yet no. I have gone with using phrases but I haven’t checked the list yet to see if I am using the right ones. It is still saying that it is in review at the moment so I guess nothing will change until it goes back to published status. I’ll check it tomorrow and then I can check the words that I should be using as well. Fingers crossed! 🙂


      2. Good luck! I heard Chris macMullen say many times that getting the right keywords was essential…I thought I just had to play with them. i did not understand that there were REQUIRED keywords for subgenre. Makes huge sense to me now. I don’t know why KDP doesn’t make this page more easily found when you are prompted to select keywords. Seems like they would.


  2. That’s amazing! I’m not on KDP, but I wonder if there is some way I can find out what keywords were put in by the publisher. Congratulations on the upswing in sales!


    1. Thanks. I don’t know about other sites. I am on smashwords also, but I have an independent publisher there, and he did all of that. I know he has me in Historical Fiction, but I have a hundred keywords listed…don’t know if the site itself has any keyword requirements for subgenre. He just put in tons of words. May not have been the best plan?


    1. I found this in the “Browse Categories” section of the KDP Help guide. I haven’t looked for nonfiction. If it is children’s these would work for age groups I think.


  3. This is really helpful information. I wish there were a way for me to do this, but given my small press does all the publishing tasks, it’s out of my hands, I think. What great info to pass on to others though!


    1. Will your small press give you a file to upload to Amazon? Mine did. I went through a small press who put mine up on smashwrds. He chose tons of keywords there. But for Amazon, I got to choose my own based on their specific guidelines.


      1. With his RCAR file, uploading to KDP was a breeze. i can’t participate in KDP Select because my book is not exclusive through them, so all my promotions have to be on smashwords, but with the Kindle app, having Amazon as a platform gives me my best sells.


      2. LOL….it is a learning curve for all of us. I wasn’t intimidated when I started because in my naivety I thought you just signed up and published. AFTER I started blogging, I started learning and really became intimidated. Don’t let it get the best of you…just glean what you can from this amazing WordPress family and develop your own ideas 🙂


      1. Oh, don’t apologize! I’ve had many people tell me they enjoy reading the comments, and when writers like you share your experiences, it helps everyone. Me included. 🙂


  4. Once again: blog/book info I can use when I get to that point. I’ve filed it away in a special folder on my desktop. You are so gracious and unselfish in sending out “beware flares.”


  5. Keywords really are the key to getting found on the internet. You could have written a fantastic novel, but if no-one can find it you have no chance of selling it.

    Great discovery and thanks for sharing with everyone.


    1. You are very welcome. I ran across this on KDP. It had been there all the while, but I never knew that there were mandatory keywords for Historical Fiction. They don’t tell you where to find this stuff. glad you found it useful.


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