The SEO of Keywords

While keywords may not be something you’re actively noticing while reading a book or web article, they’re vitally important in helping with search engine optimization of your brand.

Search engine optimization is the act of making your content more discoverable online. Whether that content is a blog post or your Amazon book page, when you write something, you want it to be found by your target audience, which is where keywords come in.

Not only do keywords connect your content across all platforms, but they reinforce key themes and ideas as well.

Key Themes

What are the key takeaways from your book and what do you want your audience to consider when reading? What are the pain points of your readers and the problems your book will solve for them?

Take a look at your table of contents. Chapter headers are an easy way to find the main topics presented in your book. You will also find that the most important lessons or subjects are repeated frequently as well. This is where you will find the majority of your keywords.

If you’re hoping readers will come out of reading your book with a new sales methodology, you might see the phrase “sales success” occur often in the text. Or perhaps you want to help readers cure their physical or emotional ailments, then the keyword for that pain point would likely be the name of the condition or affliction.

Pay attention to the words you’re using and how often you’re using them.

Search Histories

Sometimes what you may think is a strong keyword for your book may not necessarily be what consumers are searching for. Put your reader hat on and consider the types of words you would use when looking for content like yours.

A great way to find out what readers are searching is to begin typing in the search bar on Amazon or Google.

For example, if you search “leadership” in Amazon, you will likely get similar results to the ones below which is a good indication that they are common searched keyword strings and you may want to consider how they can be applied to your content.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a publicly available database that allows users to explore and compare the number of searches for a specific keyword over time, across various regions, and in a variety of languages.

This is a great tool for comparing two keywords or confirming that a keyword is a reliable search result. You’re looking to see where the keyword is being used most frequently and in what context. More information on usage can be found in this article about using Google Tools to help title your book.

Using Keywords

Keywords can be used as metadata for some online retailers to improve discoverability, but they should also be utilized often in your blog posts, articles, newsletters, social media posts, marketing copy, and anywhere else where your name might appear.

The more a keyword is used to align your content, the more likely you are to have your name show up in search results when that keyword is searched.

Keywords to Avoid

When considering appropriate keywords for your content, you also have to consider which are not in your best interest.

Superlatives, broad adjectives, and nondescript nouns are best avoided. Some sites, like Amazon, won’t even allow you to use keywords like “best”, “top”, or “#1” and will remove content that includes these words unless they are verified (like “Amazon Bestseller”). Other words like “book” and “novel” are just too broad for search engine optimization and will take up space without helping improve discoverability.

Ideally, authors should make a list of 5-10 keywords and keep them in mind whenever marketing their work and creating new content online. These will make content easier to discover and keep the author’s branding clear and succinct.