An Updated Approach to Keywords on Amazon

In a recent post, we detailed how to optimize your Amazon page to promote your book’s discovery online. Since then, we discovered this piece on “mythbusting” the Amazon algorithm, published by Cate Baum on the Self-Publishing Review. A lot of Cate’s advice is in line with Girl Friday’s established approach to working with the Amazon platform with one important exception—the way to go about defining the right search keywords.

Cate argues that the Amazon toolbar serves up personalized results based on the previous things you’ve purchased and searched for. She’s correct about this—Google does the same thing. In Google’s case, this personalization helps advertisers identify and target very specific audiences; in Amazon’s case, they’re giving you a “better shopping experience” by serving up suggestions that will be specifically of interest to you.

It’s true that you don’t want that search bar to act as a closed loop, mirroring back only keywords that are most relevant to you. The way to get around this is to turn off your Amazon Browse History.

  1. Go to Amazon’s Manage Your Browsing History page. (You can navigate here by clicking on the “help” button” under the main Amazon search bar and typing in “manage browsing history”.)
  2. Select “OFF” on the “Turn Browsing History ON/OFF” button.
  3. Then clear your browser’s cache as well. I don’t know if this step is actually necessary or not, but it can’t hurt. (If you’re using Chrome, go to History, and Clear Browsing Data. You don’t need to delete passwords, but make sure to delete your browsing and download history, cookies, and cached images.)
  4. With your browser’s and Amazon’s memory of your preferences wiped clean, then go about using the search bar tool as we detail in this post.
  5. Finally, make sure to add to keyword list those that Amazon requires you to use if you select certain categories.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you have a different approach to working up your Amazon keywords.