Amazon Author Central and Optimization

In online book sales, Amazon reigns supreme. Thousands of books are published each day and made available for purchase—making competition for discoverability, search standing, and sales enormous.

There are, however, several SEO tactics that authors can employ to help improve their discoverability on Amazon. First and foremost, set up your Amazon Author Central account and claim your book!

Creating this profile on Amazon is a great way to garner free real estate on the largest online retailer. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you as an author and to see additional content that you have created. Authors can feature their blog feed, Twitter feed, videos, photos, and information about upcoming events, such as book signings, on their Author Central profile.

Claiming your book allows you to link all your titles together on your author page (assuming that you have published multiple books), which Amazon might not otherwise intuit. It also gives you access to manually update info on the book’s detail page—including the book description, author bio, and editorial reviews. Author Central also provides weekly sales reports from the industry-reporting agency, Nielsen Bookscan, as well as historical Amazon sales and author rankings.

An added benefit of having an Author Central Account is that Amazon maintains a direct help line. So, if an issue pops up on your book’s Amazon page you can easily contact them for assistance and speak with a live representative.

Another key tool for authors is to select Amazon browse categories. Amazon browse categories are the online equivalent of genre shelving in a brick-and-mortar store. The advantage of browse categories is the ability to drill down into subcategories that most closely align with the content of your book. Plus, the further you drill down into a category the less competition there is. Once you’ve chosen your browse categories, Author Central can assist with placing the book in those categories.

By listing your title in the most niche browse categories that are true to the content of your book, you increase the likelihood of being able to rise to the top of that category. Hitting the Top 100 in a category ranks your book as an Amazon Bestseller (these rankings change hourly), and achieving this even once helps to trigger Amazon’s promotional algorithm that recommends your title in the on-site recommendation carousels, such as “You Might Also Like” or “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought”, which will greatly increase your books ability to reach new readers.

Finally, activating Amazon’s Look Inside feature not only makes a portion of your book visible for users to preview, but the entire content of the book is indexed. That means if someone searched for a keyword that appears anywhere in you’re book, you’re going to come up in the search results – the more relevant your content is to the keyword, the higher your book will rank.