Chris A. Baird | August 29, 2022
Breaking Down KDP Publishing "Algorithm"

Have you been publishing on KDP? This article on breaking down KDP publishing “algorithm” might be of great help to you.

Kevin asked me why exactly he should worry about keywords at all since his title was already so amazing. The fact is he had spent a lot of time thinking through to come up with a very clever title. 

Now it wasn't related to the topic or the niche that he's in. But a title that was very creative with regards to his preferences. Thinking about what he might like to read when it comes to his type of books.

Seeing No Sales And Traffic

The problem is he wasn't getting any sales on his books. That is one of the reasons why in today's topic, we're going to talk about breaking down KDP Publishing algorithm. Kevin is from Edinburgh Scotland and he's been working on a series of novels. 

These are samurai novels that he's had on Amazon. He's been trying to get some leverage on these specific novels. Because he was thinking maybe that if he could get these novels to pick up and start making sales, he could quit his day job and just do the writing thing full time. 

The problem is that his books were not selling many copies. He wasn't even seeing that much traffic to his self publishing blog posts and also to other things he'd done on social media with his books. That was leaving him quite frustrated. 

Now he had heard and had seen that the samurai niche in particular the sub-niche that he's in is a great niche. There are lots of sales to be made and there is a decent size audience interested in buying these exact types of fiction books. 

If he didn't get this thing figured out, then he'd be permanently stuck doing a job that he does not enjoy doing. Which put even more pressure to get these books to sell. But maybe there was a problem with the books that he was looking at. 

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Like it could have been the characters. There are just too many characters or maybe they're talking too much in the books. He should have a lot more action and try to find this balance between what's going on in his books. 

That might be part of the reason, he was thinking about that. But then at the same time, if they weren't buying the books, then how exactly would that be the issue? But he thought, okay fine, maybe it's the cover. 

So, he changed out the cover and the coloring on the cover that he had on his books. It had no impact at all on the sales. In addition, he thought maybe I can share these books more on social media if I pick additional platforms on social media. That would be the thing, to get the book to start selling. 

That was his next idea and that had also absolutely no impact whatsoever. So what happened was he ended up joining my email list. He grabbed a copy of my free self-publishing checklist

After signing up for my email list and my newsletters, he started getting them. And he noticed I was writing about the subject of the algorithm on Amazon. That made him a bit curious to learn more about it. 

So, he joined me on the free Volley app. I go back and forth with new subscribers on this exact thing. So, we're able to sort of look at your exact situation. We started discussing the role that algorithms play on Amazon to whether or not new authors are discovered or just forgotten among the other thousands of books that are published daily. 

Our number one goal is to make sure that you are not one of those authors whose books are being buried under the weight of all the other books covering all sorts of stuff. But then to do that, you're going to have to understand this algorithm that Amazon is using when it comes to your books.

Using The Most-Searched Keywords

The first thing you have to realize is that unless your name you're a celebrity author, then it doesn't matter what you publish. As long as you tell your audience they'll buy it and you should be okay. Now, they should also be following the rules here with the algorithm. 

But sometimes they don't even really have to. If you aren't famous already, then you're going to need to pay attention to what I'm about to tell you right now. That's what I told Kevin as well. 

The first thing is it's all about the keywords. It seems very crazy but the fact is that people are not finding your book because of some crazy clever title. Does that make sense? 

So, if you're doing something on like potatoes, you'd be like round brown ones or something. This is a terrible title; nobody is searching for that. You have to keep in mind that Amazon is the third largest search engine in the world, third to only Google, YouTube, and then Amazon. 

So, people who are coming onto Amazon are either going to go down a category but not usually they're going to start with a search term. That search term is going to be looking for something specific. 

In the case of Kevin, this is the thing I was discussing with him which is he needs to use the word samurai. So, we need to see samurai and we need to see all the related words around it. One of the tools we found was Publisher Rocket

I put it into Publisher Rocket, the word samurai. It came up with a whole list of suggestions and it will even tell you how those words are. Which ones are in the green zone and which ones are profitable? 

Then we took those and put them back into Amazon into Kindle KDSpy which is another tool. In this tool, we were then able to see how each of those keywords, and how many results were on Amazon. So that would be how many books were on Amazon in total. 

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In the case of his particular sub-niche, it came out to around a thousand books. Then how many of those books are ranked on the first page results are ranked in the top 100,000? And then we just divide the total number of books by the rank and the total number in that top hundred thousand basic sales rank. 

The result gave us the magic ratio that told us whether the keyword was profitable or not. On his particular sub-niche, it ended up being a popular sub-niche of all things. But his title and subtitle did not even mention that in the niche. 

He did have a cover that sort of matched the samurai theme and this particular sub-niche that he's in. But the problem was that people aren't searching for your cover, they were searching for the title and subtitle. Then they have the seven keywords that you can register against your specific book that Amazon has under the metadata. 

Once this is in place, when a person searches, if there's not much competition but there's a lot of searches going on and a lot of sales being made, then we can take this. And find that magic goldilocks zone to tell us which keywords will work best for you. 

This is one of the things I do with a lot of my clients and future clients when I'm doing free discovery sessions. Going back and forth with people on the Volley app. Discussing exactly your book and exploring this. 

So, with Kevin, I was able to show him a list of the power keywords that would be the most successful for his specific things. We're looking for a hungry audience for these keywords. We're looking for people who actually would be looking for these specific words. 

Then your book would show up because there's not that much competition. You don't even pay for this traffic, it's free which is the best part of the whole thing, right? So, then you would say, well what do we do once you have your first book out using these power keywords? 

The answer is you have a list of keywords. Your next book is going to target a different set of these exact keywords. Now we have two and then three and so when they're looking for your book, it's just going to pull up a whole list of books that are targeting this specific keyword.

Targeting What Your Audience Is Looking For

We don't care which book they click on as long as they click on any of your books. Because then when they click on your author's name, it'll pull up the whole list. So, they can see all of the books that you have come out with 

You're targeting a specific niche and that's the other key magic point here with the algorithm. It is that they aren't going to appreciate it if you've got books on thousands of different topics. They want the books to be targeted in specific niches per pen name. 

So that when that person comes and clicks in, they're going to purchase. Because they're going to see wow you do, you are an author of samurai books and that's powerful. 

So, if you're interested in joining my newsletter, you can get direct contact with me and also contact me on Volley apple. Then just sign up for my free checklist and you also join my newsletter. So that I can make sure that your books also are following the algorithm. 

Pull as many sales through as possible based upon the niche and the sub-niche that you've chosen. We may even help you find a new one. So back to Kevin, he finally discovered it was hard finding these profitable keywords. 

We did make a list for him but when he tried to use the tools himself, he was having some difficulty with it. So, he went out and purchased KDSpy. It's only like $50 and you can use it for life. 

He found this tool to be especially effective. So, what happened was he went into KDSpy and he tested out some additional keywords. He ended up finding some ones that were great for his book. 

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So, he changed the title and subtitle of his book. Change the description to include these and boldfacing the words that people are looking for. Made sure the seven keywords that he's allowed to register in his KDP account on Amazon were exactly using these keywords in there inside of those particular ones. 

Then he rolled it back out and what happened? The answer is he started getting a lot more people coming to his book. And what happened based on that? Because people were organically finding his book, he then started seeing his sales nearly triple as a result of just changing the title. 

I can tell you from personal experience, I have seen this. The most successful book that I ever released was earning about a thousand dollars a month. I was using crazy high-powered keywords on it. 

Because I had found some very powerful niches. Though they changed from year to year, these books continue to sell years and years later. It's no problem at all and that was the thing that Kevin discovered. 

It was by simply changing the title, subtitle, and the others. He's positioning himself right in the line with the Amazon algorithm. To find and bring up his books and put him in front of his target audience as opposed to somebody else's books. 

He realized that you might have the most wonderful title in the world or even the brand name publishing company in the world. But unless you're targeting a single audience and using the words that they are searching for, then you're never going to get the sales that you would like for your book. 


As long as you're not a celebrity already. But my question for you today is are you paying attention to the Amazon algorithm when it comes to the titles on your books? 

Write “Yes” if you are paying attention to the Amazon algorithm. Write “No” if you aren't because I need to know exactly where you're coming from. And whether or not this is working for you when it comes to getting sales.

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