SPQ 019: Why Keyword Tools Don’t Sell Kindle Books

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Why Keywords Tools Don't Sell Kindle Books

The Question…

A reader asks: “You come out against Kindle keyword search programs, but I would have thought that they would enable an author to more accurately find those precious seven keywords that Amazon allows? Surely these programs would offer more accurate results, and therefore more sales, than human opinion and guesswork? There are a number of programs on the market claiming to be able to identify the most effective Kindle keywords. As you suggest using the Google keyword tool, which is designed to help with Google searches, not Amazon searches, I don’t follow your logic on this point.”

Biggest Takeaway…

Steve’s Answer…

Steve’s opinion on this topic is pretty controversial, and a lot of authors and marketers actually disagree with him. He says keywords aren’t all that important for selling books. You want to find a good keyword for your main title and spend a bit of time finding seven keywords to use on Amazon, but keywords aren’t very important otherwise.

He has two major problems with the idea that keywords are really important in selling your Kindle Books:

  1. Some of the people selling keyword research tools are basically snake oil salesmen. They tell you keywords are the secret to “Kindle gold.” Keywords help, but they are a small piece of the puzzle. Good keywords do not necessarily result in more sales.
  2. You’re not building a long-term business if you focus on keywords.

Steve did a test using some of the most popular keywords: make money online, lose weight, and time management. He found that some of the titles with top rankings for those keywords weren’t even selling one book per day.


  • Two books that ranked well for the term “make money online” had Amazon sales rankings of 217,000 and 237,000. This translates to sales of less than one copy per day. One book even had a sales ranking of 502,000, or sales of one or two books per week.
  • One book ranking well for “lose weight” had an Amazon sales rank of 11,000, which means it’s selling about 10 copies per day, but two other books had sales rankings of 202,000 and 216,000.
  • Books ranking well for “time management” had sales rankings around 17,000, 46,000 and 65,000.

If you focus on the results of keyword tools, you’re not focused on creating high-quality, unique content. All authors should be building their audiences, talking to readers, identifying pain points, and creating original content.

When Steve focused on creating unique content, he started making more sales. One of the most important things to do is build an email list of people who want to buy your books. You can’t do this if you are focused on keywords.

Steve believes keywords are the reverse of the 80/20 rule. Keywords are a 20 percent activity; you need to spend a little bit of time on them, but they’re not going to produce most of your results.

What do you think about using keywords on Amazon? Leave a comment on this episode to share your opinion.

Resources and Links

SPQ019: Let Steve know you think about using keywords on Amazon’s Kindle platform

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