Before you get too far into this post, the following initial results (an opinion) with the Amazon KDP Select program are based on my personal non-fiction, niche ebook. Your results and experiences with KDP Select may be quite different. I am only reporting the results as they pertain to me, 12 hours after my KDP campaign has ended.
this last weekend I did a test and placed my Ebook Formatting Guide for free for 3 days through Amazon’s KDP Select program. As you would expect my overall ranking in the Amazon Store skyrocketed from #220,000 to #315 out of millions of products. Not bad, eh?
The morning after the freebie campaign ended my book plummeted to 228,000, 8,000 below the original ranking. 12 hours after the campaign ended I am at 256,900. What happened?
At first I was disappointed. Then I started to analyze my results and compare my rankings before the campaign and after. I looked at my overall store ranking, my Kindle Store ranking, my Kindle eBook Store ranking, my category rank and my keyword/tag rankings.
Here’s what I concluded, which may be off base, but it seems logical.
Overall Store and Kindle Store Ranking
My book should drop in the Overall Rankings in the PAID Kindle store. After all, it hasn’t been listed in the paid list for 3 days. If you had pulled your book from the market for three days, wouldn’t you expect your ranking to slip? If not you are dreaming.
The lists for rankings are updated hourly every day. So for 3 days, I missed the list. That’s a total of 72 updates. That is a lot of time to miss.
Is your overall rank important?
Any ranking is important, but how important? I mean there are over a million books in the Amazon bookstore. And if you are ranked #315 or #220,000 how many people will find you by scrolling through the list?
Let me ask this, how do YOU search for books? I use keywords and categories.
The Silver Lining
When I started to compare my before ranking for keywords I was targeting to my current positions I was pleasantly surprised.
ebook formatting WAS #25 Now #9
Kindle formatting WAS #45+ Now #15
mobi formatting WAS #15 Now #1
epub formatting WAS #8 Now #1
And results (at 3 am) for the Kindle Store are the same or better
#7 ebook formatting
#15 Kindle formatting
#1 mobi formatting
#1 epub formatting
At noon – my ranking for Kindle formatting jumped even higher to #13.
Keywords and Tags
I have always been an SEO (search engine optimization) nut – fine tuning my website and posts to maximize my ranking in the Search Engines using specific keywords. It seems to me that Amazon is much the same.
This is why choosing keyword tags are so important. This is why including those tags in your Description is important. This is why adding those tags to your bio, your Author central page – everywhere, is so important.
If I am wrong, so be it, but I don’t think I am. If the tags and keywords play such a small role in the searches then why does Amazon recommend them and why are my rankings better?
I am guessing here, but perhaps Amazon’s algorithm uses HOW readers find your book as part of their ranking system. If people searched for the term “Kindle Formatting” and my book came up in the results for that term, AND they clicked on my book to read the details, perhaps my ranking for that keyword improves for that search terms.
I guess it comes down to basic SEO – if you want to be on the first page of results then you need to apply SEO logic to achieving your ranking goal.
Will I use KDP Select again, possibly. But next time I will have a follow-up marketing strategy ready to implement when the freebie campaign ends. the follow-up will help maintain your improved keyword ranking.
Even if I am wrong, it is clear that the overall and Kindle store ranking in paid results will change when your book is free even for one day. But it appears your keyword ranking strength should improve.
Not a bad tradeoff, don’t you think?