SEO Keyword Tools to Improve Your Author Platform & Sell More Books
In today's digital age, it's important to find new ways to reach your audienceonline.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that helps you optimize yourcontent for search engines so you have a greater chance of appearing in thetop results for relevant search terms. From your book description, tosocial media profiles, to your blog and author website, having a basicunderstanding of SEO will help you improve your content and increasediscoverability and reach.
Incorporating SEO keyword tools into your book marketing strategy is avital part of improving SEO. Getting to know keyword tools and strategiescan help you understand how consumers search for books, their favoriteauthors, and related topics. You can also identify consumer keywords,topics, and phrases to inform content marketing and advertising campaigns.
Below, we’ll cover a few of the paid and free SEO and keyword researchtools that help find the right keywords to reach your audience. We’ll alsogive you a few tips on how you can incorporate these keywords in your titledata, author blog, social media marketing, and other book marketingstrategies to expand your reach online.
SEO Keyword Research Tools for Book Marketing
We’ve put together a quick list of SEO keyword research tools that you canuse to find the right keywords for your book marketing. This is by no meansan exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to get started.
As you use these tools, remember that your goal is to find keywords toalign your book and author profiles and pages with real people—providingcontext they care about in a way that will resonate with them. You don’twant to game the system. Keywords should always be relevant to youraudience, to the content of your book, and to the topics and interests thatyou write about.
Go directly to the source to research what potential buyers are searchingfor, what they’re ultimately clicking on and buying, and how they describeyour book or comparable titles.
- Type your book’s topic, genre, or theme into the search bar to see top auto-complete suggestions.
- See which titles are at the top of related search results.
- See who is buying ads for your target keywords.
- Look at what titles are ranking in what product categories.
- Read book reviews to identify the words and phrases readers and fan use to describe books.
- Use Advanced Search to filter search by author, keywords, category, pub date, publisher, and more.
You can also see if your book is indexed by Amazon for a specific keyword.Being indexed means Amazon understands a book to be relevant for a keywordor phrase and has tagged and linked them together appropriately. Bysearching for the ISBN or ASIN (Amazon’s unique product ID number) with a plus sign (+) followedby your target keyword(s), you can make sure that you’re optimized forAmazon.
However, it’s important to note that being indexed is not the same asranking in search results. You can be indexed and still not rank highly,and it’s also possible to not be indexed and still rank.
Cost:FREE - unless you find a book you can’t pass up!
With Google Trends, you can enter up to five search terms or topics to see:
- Relative search volume and popularity
- Seasonal shifts and trends
- Regional interest
- Related topics and searches
Google Trends data is anonymized and indexed (dating back to 2004), so youcan see how search habits have changed over time and where there ismeaningful interest and activity.
Google Trends is a great starting point for understanding search trends andconsumer interest in different types of books, genres, authors, and othertopics that might align with your work.
Cost: FREE - making it a great tool to add to your SEO keyword toolkit.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is Google’s official keyword research tool. It isintended for use with AdWords but can also be used on its own to findkeywords, number of average searches per month, and competition difficulty.You can even create a keyword plan right in the dashboard, to save it toyour account or share with someone else.
Cost:You can create a free account to use this program, and there is no cost tosearch outside of AdWords. You may be asked to enter credit cardinformation upon account setup, but you will ONLY be charged if you run anAdWords campaign.
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension tool that requires registrationwith a free API key. You can install this extension for Chrome or Firefoxand get an API key. Once installed, Keywords Everywhere automaticallyembedskeyword search volume and competition data within supported sites andtools. So, you can see estimated monthly searches and more, populated insearch engines like Google, Amazon, and YouTube as well as within otherkeyword tools like those covered here.
Clicking the extension icon in your browser toolbar will also give youadditional options to get metrics on uploaded keywords, or to see a keyworddensity analysis for a webpage.
Note: Search volume estimates are for monthly searches on Google.com(even when you see the estimates on other sites like Amazon orYouTube).
Cost:FREE - requires registration with a free API key.
LibraryThing is a Wikipedia-like community and cataloging site for bookswhere users can tag, review, and add detailed data about books and authors.
You can search for books and authors to see popular reader tags andcategories. This is a great source for user-generated keywords – how realreaders describe and identify books.
Use the “Tagmash” feature to find comparable titles based on similaritiesin genre, content, tone, and style. List a few key aspects of a book tofind other books with those attributes – rhyming board books about trucksor urban fantasy featuring witches and demons. Advanced operators (usingminus “-“ to demote and double minus “--“ to exclude titles tagged with aparticular term) let you further refine and filter your search (ex: booksabout vegan nutrition, but that aren’t necessarily cookbooks).
Cost: FREE - conduct unlimited searches with a free account. (As a bonus, ifyou join LibraryThing, you can add and update information about your ownbooks, too!)
Long Tail Pro
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research software developed to help you find themost effective long tail keywords. Using a sophisticated algorithm, LongTail Pro provides average keyword competitiveness using a score of 0-100,making it easy for you to identify which long-tail keywords to pursue inyour book marketing. The software also offers other information aboutkeywords including volume, bid, ranking value, and location.
One of the greatest benefits of Long Tail Pro is that it allows you tomonitor competition while also tracking your own ranking for certainkeywords. Using this keyword tool, you can easily:
- Identify the competition
- View detailed metrics on their use and success with certain long-tail keywords
- Track the keywords and domains you want to rank for
Cost:This program requires an annual subscription, which starts at $25/month.But you can get started today with a free 7-day trial.
SEMrush is an all-in-one digital marketing toolkit that offers powerfulkeyword and competitor research with an easy-to-use interface. With thisprogram, you can find tested SEO keywords that your competitors and otherindustry leaders are using to rank high on the search engine results page.SEMrush gives you extended information on keyword value for both organicand paid search such as cost-per-click (CPC), volume, trends, and ad copyresults.
The SEMrush keyword research tool also provides phrase matches and relatedkeywords, to help expand your keyword list even further. In addition, youcan find relevant long-tail keywords that help you take advantage of morespecific search queries and niche topics that may be relevant to your work.
Cost:SEMrush does require a monthly subscription (starting at $99/month).However, it provides additional value well beyond just basic keywordresearch data, including but not limited to:
- Site and content audits
- Ad builders
- Lead generation tools
With Soovle, you can get auto-complete search suggestions across majorsearch engines – including Google, Amazon, Walmart, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo,and others. Type a title, author, comps, and/or related topics and consumerterms into the search box, and you’ll see related search suggestions for afast look into what consumers across different channels are looking for.
Cost:FREE - and with a convenient “demo” located at the top of the screen, it’seasy to learn how to use. You can customize the default search engines onthe page via the “engines” link in the top right corner of the page, andget more help via the “secrets” link.
Deeper Keyword Research Tools
If you’re looking for more extensive, long-tail keyword ideas or moredetailed search volume trends and competition data, these tools are alsouseful:
- Ahrefs: Find thousands of new keywords, analyze ranking difficulty, and calculate traffic potential using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.
Cost: A monthly subscription is required – starting at $99/month. They’recurrently offering a 7-day trial for just $7.
- Answer the Public: Discover the top Googled questions and phrases about specific topics.
- Keyword Explorer (from Moz): Get smart keyword suggestions with volume data and proprietary difficulty metrics.
Cost: FREE - allows up to 10 queries per month.
- Keyword Tool: Find ideas for Google, YouTube, Amazon and other search engines.
Cost: This tool is free to view a limited set of keyword suggestions. A “Pro”account (starting at $48/month) is required for more detailed suggestions,volume, trends, and competition data.
- KWFinder: Discover keyword ideas with competition and difficulty data, including currently ranking pages on Google.
Cost: FREE - allows up to 5 searches per day.
- Ubersuggest: Find keywords, search volume trends, competition, and cost data.
You’ve Got SEO Keywords, Now What?
Now that you have the tools you need to get started with keyword research,let’s talk about what you should do with those SEO keywords after you’vecompiled a comprehensive list. Here are just a few tips for authors, usingSEO across your digital assets:
1. Use keywords in book title, description, and other descriptiveproduct metadata.
Use relevant consumer keywords, topics, and phrases in your bookdescription as well as in your title, subtitle, series name and otherdescriptive elements whenever possible. Make sure the first 25 words ofyour description include the most relevant keywords that potential buyersmight be searching on to find your book.
2. Submit retailer search keywords to improve search optimization andcategorization at Amazon and other online retailers.
You can submit keywords with your product data at various online retailchannels. Not all retailers currently accept keywords, but they are beingused more and more. These keywords typically do not appear on-site forconsumers to see, and they are a great way to optimize for terms that youcouldn’t include in the title of the book or the description. Here are somebest practices when it comes to submitting search keywords:
- Use at least 7 keyword phrases (the more the merrier – submit as many as you can).
- More specific and detailed keyword phrasesare better than single words, helping you incorporate a broader range of keywords that highlight the breadth and depth of interest about the book.
- Put the most relevant and important keywords first.
- Use keywords that are complementary but not duplicative of terms used in the book description or elsewhere. (So, no need to include the title or author name in your retailer keywords.)
3. Use keywords to develop new blog topics.
Your list of SEO keywords is a great place to start when planning new blogtopics. Look at the keywords to discover trends in topics that appeal toyour ideal audience. Then, use these topics to develop new blog posts.
Remember, the goal here is not to stuff the keywords into your content, butrather develop helpful, relevant blog posts that your target audience willenjoy. We recommend using your SEO keywords naturally throughout your blogcontent, while addressing the larger blog topic.
4. Incorporate keywords in your social media profiles and content.
Once you have a list of relevant keywords that your audience is searchingfor online, you’ll want to incorporate these keywords into your social media profiles and content. Not only will your social media profiles appear on searchengine result pages, but some consumers actually use social media channelslike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as search engines, bytyping in keywords to find relevant content and profiles. Use keywordsnaturally in your “about” and “bio” entries as well as in posts themselves,and look for opportunities to use popular hashtags that align with yourkeywords.
5. Include keywords in your optimized website content.
Make sure your site pages and blog posts are optimized for SEO and includethe relevant keywords you’ve discovered. Here are a few places you willneed to use the keywords:
- Headings: Your keyword should be used in the H1 (or title) as well as in at least one of your sub-headings.
- Content: Use the keywords logically throughout the content. There is no longer an ideal ratio for keywords, but you don’t want to “stuff” your content with keywords. Instead, write page content that incorporates the keywords naturally.
- Meta Description: The meta description is a short blurb describing what your page or post is about. Be sure to use keywords naturally in this description.
- Image Tag: You should also include an image tag for any of the images that you use on the page. This is another opportunity to use your keywords.
6. Look for link building opportunities.
Link building is an important part of search engine optimization. The goalis to build quality links back to your site content. The more quality linksyou have coming to your blog and website pages, the more valuable yourcontent appears to Google, which helps improve your search engine rankingsfor relevant keywords.
Quality link building isn’t easy, but there are a few ways that you canwork to build links back to your SEO keyword optimized content:
- Guest Blogging: When you write and publish a guest blog post on another site, you have the opportunity to link back to relevant pages on your site or blog, while also reaching a new audience online. Find relevant blogs or sites that accept guest submissions and look for opportunities to write about relevant topics.
- Link Exchange: In addition to building links back to your own site, you should also link to relevant external content on your blog posts and site pages. Once you have linked to another article or site, reach out to the author to let them know that you’ve linked to their content, and ask if they could link to yours.
- Posting Links: Look for opportunities to post links to relevant content on online forums, group discussions, or social media posts. Make sure the content is relevant to the initial discussion topic as you want to be helpful, not spammy.
If you want to reach your audience in the digital age, you need to improvevisibility on search engines and online platforms like Google, Amazon, andFacebook. One of the best ways to do this is to find and incorporate SEOkeywords into your book descriptions, web page SEO, author blog, socialmedia marketing, and other online marketing assets. You can get startedfinding the right SEO keywords by using the keyword research tools listedabove.
Once you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to incorporate theseinto your book marketing strategy. Use the keywords to develop the types ofcontent that your audience will be searching for. The more quality onlinecontent you produce that’s optimized for SEO, the better your chances willbe of reaching and connecting with your ideal audience online.