Master Book Metadata and Sell More Books
Do you remember that old Wendy’s ad, the one with the three old women commenting on a massive hamburger bun, then lifting the top slice only to find a teeny-tiny beef patty? Eventually, one of the sweet old women asks “Where’s the beef?”
If your books’ online listings are tasty burgers, your metadata is the beef. And just like an aspiring burger boss, you definitely don’t want search engines, or customers for that matter, ever asking, “Where's the beef?”
Well-thought metadata, rich in relevant keywords is one of your best book marketing tools. Metadata done right improves your books’ online discoverability, making it easy for customers to find and purchase your products.
Where’s the Metadata?
Metadata can live in a variety of places. Most often, metadata is entered when you upload a title online.
Book metadata usually consists of a few basic elements:
- Book title
- Author name
- Author bio
- Book Description
- Publication date
- BISAC codes (Book Industry Standards and Communications)
Where applicable, your book metadata need to be smartly infused with keywords. A keyword is a word, or more appropriately, a phrase that is applicable to your book. These phrases are what potential customers would enter into a search engine when looking for titles like yours.
If you want to run a smart book marketing campaign, then you will need to focus a decent amount of energy on creating effective book metadata with appropriate keywords.
Writing Good Book Metadata
The simplest way to approach book metadata is to think of it as a book’s cover flap.
When a specific book jumps out at customers perusing the shelves of their local bookstore, the first place they go to is the inside flap (or back cover in some instances). Experience tells them this is where they will find more information about the book, subject matter, and author.
Metadata acts like a book flap for search engines. Search engines use a book’s metadata to match online queries. For this reason, metadata not only needs to be well-written, but also keyword rich.
Keywords are the most important portion of your metadata. Every part of book metadata flows from your keywords. You can write the most captivating book description, but without relevant keywords, the right readers won’t find it. It is like putting something completely unrelated on your book flap, or even worse, nothing at all.
One of the best practices to get you started with creating good metadata is to build a list or database of keywords and phrases that are relevant to the content of your book.
How to Find Keywords for Book Metadata
A great reference point for discovering which words or phrases best describe your book, while increasing book discoverability, is your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. What do you think they would search for?
Here are a few exercises that can help you nail down some useful keywords and phrases:
- Think about category, genre, and subject matter
- Eliminate generic words—be more specific and direct
- Test search terms on Google and see what results you get
- Look at what terms other successful books like yours are using
If you follow these suggestions, you should come up with at least 10 decent keywords. When writing descriptions and bios, try your hardest to make sure these keywords occur naturally. We don’t want to stuff or force keywords into our text.
Keywords are also dynamic. Repeat these exercises every so often and look for new trends, shifts in volume, or unique spikes in popularity.
A Tasty Metadata Burger
The right mix of relevant keywords, a smart serving of BISAC codes, and well-written descriptions will make it simple for you to take a big bite out of your book marketing challenge and sell more books.
We can’t place more emphasis on metadata’s importance, especially in a landscape where people are increasingly shopping for books online.