Want to Improve Your Amazon Ranking? Improve or Update All of Your Book Descriptions

From Jane Friedman:

Let’s say you’re running some Facebook ads and you’re getting lots of clicks, but no sales. This tells Amazon your book isn’t relevant to the search, and that will impact your search rank on Amazon.


Yes, really.

Amazon’s goal is to serve up things its consumers want to buy; the site isn’t there for window shoppers, and the website is quite intelligent. If someone lands on your book page and immediately clicks off without engaging with your page at all (expanding your book description to reach more, scrolling down to read the reviews), that tells Amazon your book isn’t right for the market; consequently, it becomes harder to rank. So if you’re thinking about your own Facebook ads (or even your Amazon ads) that are getting lots of clicks but no buys, you may want to consider how it’s impacting your relevancy score and your overall visibility on Amazon.

So, how far back does Amazon go when considering your overall relevancy score?

Remember that first book you published that didn’t do well? The cover wasn’t great—you knew it could have or should have been better—but it was your first book, so you took it in stride. You learned from your mistakes and you moved on.

The thing is, Amazon never moves on. Somewhere, lurking in the back end of Amazon is a black mark beside your name, and that mark means, This author once published a book no one seemed to like = low relevancy.

Amazon cares about relevancy. It’s how the entire site—with all of its millions of products—manages to find exactly the thing you’re looking for when you need it. Plug in a few keywords and, boom, the exact widget, lotion, or book you were looking for appears. This is why relevancy is so important and why making sure everything connected to your Amazon account (even the older books you’ve published) is in tiptop shape. This point can’t be overemphasized.

The other element of this as it relates to Amazon ads is that the less conversion you have on your Amazon book page (i.e., the lower your relevancy score), the more your ads will cost you. And if your ads never seem to do well across the board, Amazon will ding your relevancy score as well. If you have an ad set that’s not doing well, kill it.

Is there any hope for that older book that didn’t do well? Fortunately, there are some options. Often, it means revisiting an older title, maybe republishing it, revamping the cover, or in extreme cases, taking it down entirely. But that’s pretty much a last resort.

A few years ago I noticed that our website wasn’t ranking as well as it should for the term “book marketing.” Considering that that’s the work we do, it’s a pretty important term to rank for. Upon investigation, I discovered that a page on our website was broken. By “broken,” I mean it had no keywords, no title tags; it was basically a mess. I fixed it and within about three months, our website was back and ranking again.

You can use the same method for an older book: fix what needs fixing and show Amazon that you mean business. The algorithm keeps a close eye on fixes, updates, and any polishing you do to your book or book page. It’s easier than ever to get back on track, and small changes and enhancements can help build your status in the Amazon ecosystem and grow your presence for both your author page and your book pages.

A great way to get back on track: improve your book descriptions

Whether we’re talking about Amazon or any other online retailer, book descriptions are more important than most authors realize. Too often I see simple details overlooked that can make or break an author’s ability to turn an Amazon browser into the next book buyer.

Dumb down the description

Most people bristle at the saying “dumb it down,” but dumbing it down doesn’t mean your audience is stupid; it means you’re making your content easier to absorb. Brains are meant to conserve energy, and reading long, complex text exhausts the brain and consequently your target reader. Fewer words, shorter sentences. Using eighth-grade writing doesn’t mean you sound like an eighth grader; it reduces the amount of mental energy a consumer needs to use to absorb what you’re telling them.

Make the description easy to scan

If you have huge blocks of text without any consideration for spacing, boldface type, bulleted lists, short paragraphs, or other forms of highlighting that help the reader scan and zero in on the best of the best you have to offer, that’s unlikely to attract readers. When your description is visually and psychologically appealing, it invites the reader to keep going, instead of clicking to a different page.

Our minds are image processors, not text processors, so huge pieces of text that fill a page overwhelm the mind and in fact slow down the processing time considerably.

When we’re looking at websites, our attention span is even shorter than it is when we’re reading a book. Even on sites like Amazon—where consumers go to buy, and often spend a lot of time comparing products and reading reviews—it’s important to keep in mind that most potential readers will move on if your description is too cumbersome.

The first sentence in the description should be a grabber. Often, this is where authors use their elevator pitches. This text could also be an excerpt of an enthusiastic review or some other endorsement; regardless, it should be bolded, and your elevator pitch should always follow this format.

Link to the rest at Jane Friedman

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