Have you recently published a book, but can’t find it by searching for the title on Amazon.com?
Amazon, for obvious reasons, does not share with anyone the algorithm they use to calculate search results. But, you can make some educated guesses.
First, are you searching for your correct title? I know that sounds like an odd question but you’d be surprised how many authors don’t use the exact title that was put into Ingram’s or Amazon’s systems for their book. One author who contacted us about this issue was only searching the the first three words of his title. When I searched for the entire, correct title, it popped right up on Amazon, in the #1 slot.
The problem with just entering part of the title (even if it’s the entire main title, without the subtitle), aside from it not being the full book title in Amazon’s system, is there are tens of thousands of items in the Amazon store with one or more of the same words in their title or product description. The Amazon site has no idea, with terms that are pretty generic, what the customer is actually looking for so they serve up thousands of results. Those results are probably based on a combination of traffic those pages get, their overall sales numbers, and who is actually doing the search. Of course, Amazon can (and does) change their parameters at any time.
For a book with a title that is similar or identical to those of other books, entering the title in quotes, along with the author’s name (even just the author’s last name), will usually work. Of course, this is cumbersome to explain to readers.
The best way to avoid this problem is to have a website you control with direct links where people can buy the book. Then, promote that website rather than promoting Amazon directly. In your marketing activities, point people to your book’s marketing page on your website, which features links to your book on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, your publisher’s website, and any other stores you choose. It is never advisable to encourage people to just randomly search for your book on Amazon because you run the risk of them not finding your book, getting frustrated, and abandoning their search/purchase attempt.
Another option is to set up an Author Central account on Amazon. Through that, you can set up an Amazon Author Page URL, which will give you a single web address for tying together all your books in their system. Then, you can give people that URL. The downside, of course, is you are promoting Amazon instead of your own site. In our book, 90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan, we strongly recommend authors have their own web presence (a website), and direct all potential buyers there. That way, you can change the purchase links any time you want rather than giving control of your marketing links to one company (Amazon).
What Amazon chooses to display in response to a customer search is out of your and your publisher’s control. If they divulged their technology, it would be subject to manipulation by people wanting their product to pop up at the top of search results. Of course, everybody would then do that and Amazon’s search results would then be useless to book buyers.
Richard Hoy (now retired) was involved in Internet marketing dating back to 1995, when it officially became a profession. His career included developing and executing online promotional strategies for a number of companies, being moderator of the first professional community on the Internet dedicated to the subject of online advertising, and creating as well as editing the first compendium on the subject of email marketing. He and his wife, Angela Hoy, launched BookLocker.com back in 1999, which has now published more than 10,000 titles. BookLocker's headquarters are located in St. Petersburg, Florida. While Richard is still available for Internet marketing consulting, he is also pursuing his second passion as a wine and spirits expert.
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