Amazon KDP Keywords Having No Positive Search Result Effects?

Amazon Kindle Keywords Removed

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Or… How Too Many Amazon KDP Keywords Messed Up My Book

Note: Since this post was published using keywords in titles is not as effective as it used to be. That said, I still advise using a couple of Amazon KDP keywords in titles if it makes sense for your book. This is also still very relevant information so don’t let the above put you off the read.

After publishing “CreateSpace and Kindle Self Publishing Matrix – Writing Nonfiction Books That Sell Without Marketing” I’ve found a new rule when using Amazon Kindle keywords in the title(s) of a book. This concerns the amount of characters (including spaces) which you should use across all 3 of your titles. (Main title, sub-title and series title.)

Below is an image taken from the new books page, it shows the ellipses where Amazon has “cut” the title down:

Amazon KDP Keywords Removed

The original full title was as follows:

  • Main title: CreateSpace and Kindle Self Publishing Matrix – Writing Nonfiction Books That Sell Without Marketing
  • Subtitle: Publishing an eBook on Amazon Kindle Publishing or CreateSpace Self Publishing How to Guide
  • Series title: How to Write a Book and Make Money with Kindle and CreateSpace Publishing Print on Demand

Disgustingly long and keyword stuffed huh?

Well, I knew that all along, but one of the main themes of my book (aside from choosing the best amazon book categories) is to show just how powerful using Kindle keyword research, and then using the keywords within the title, is.

As I said, I never push things this far with keyword inclusion. I feel it looks spammy myself! On this occasion however I really felt I had to include plenty of keywords for demonstration purposes, even at the expense of the title looking bad to potential readers. The lesson for the reader, (to see me rank for these searches) was more important than losing a few sales.

Everything you see colored red in the titles above was “cut out” of the visible title on the Amazon sales page. This didn’t bother me too much at first, but then I started to notice something funny going on…

While almost all of the keyword phrases in my titles were ranking, (some better than others of course!) those keywords that were missing on the sales page (cut out where the ellipses were) didn’t show up at all in search results!

2 examples:
“How to write a book” was one of the Amazon KDP keywords cut from the sales page title, here are the rankings I tracked:

  • 9th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 16th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 24th June 2014: Not in top 500

“Make money with Kindle” was also cut out, here are the tracked rankings for that keyword:

  • 9th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 16th June 2014: Not in top 500
  • 24th June 2014: Not in top 500

I challenge you to find any other keyword phrase that appears in the “Kindle search drop-down,” and also appears in the titles “in black” above, that I don’t rank (somewhere) for! (OK… Maybe you caught one on a bad day! :-P)

So what have we learned?

  1. If your titles are too long, some part of it is going to get cut out.
  2. If any keyword phrases are cut out, you will not rank for them! (Unless they are in your 7 chosen keywords inside KDP.)

The following are assumptions on my part and they may be out by a couple of characters, I can only speak from monitoring my book:

  1. The first 153 characters are safe and will always appear on a Kindle books sales page. (Probably less/more according to the length of the last word before cut off.) Put your most important Amazon KDP keywords here.
  2. The last 36 characters across all titles are safe and will always appear on a Kindle books sales page. (Probably less/more according to the length of the first word after cut off.)
  3. By my count that is only 190 characters if we allow for a space between the words before and after the cut (This is obviously under Amazon’s 200 word allowance for title and subtitle!)
  4. If you are planning on ranking your keywords on Google and they are missing from the main H1 header, (book title) you are going to have a much harder job.

This unforeseen mistake on my part first resulted in me cutting the subtitle down to the following…

“How to Write a Book for Kindle and CreateSpace Publishing”

Now, for experimental purposes I have decided to remove the subtitle completely.

Amazon only allow 200 characters in the title and subtitle combined, I have no idea at time of writing if my main and subtitle will also be cut down, (Amazon tells me I have 7 characters left) but in less than 12 hours we will all know. Check back for an update or look at the books sales page if you’re curious!)

Hopefully you’ve learned something from my mistake here today, if you’ve seen similar “cut” Kindle titles I’d be interested to hear about them in the comments. Maybe we can figure out exactly how many characters we should be using to avoid it!

Update 24 hours later…

It turns out that removing the series title allows the whole of the (193 character) main and subtitle to show up along with the remaining Amazon KDP keywords. See image below.

Kindle Keyword Research For Book Titles

So… If you are planning on making your first book into a series, make sure you leave enough space for the series title to be included within your 200 characters is my advice! Plan the series title ahead of the curve and get it in right away (on book 1) by all means, this is probably the best way to go about it in fact.

Now… How to clean up my mess so i can use a series title, if or when needed… Hmm

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