A while back we asked you all what topics you'd like to see us cover here at FTWA. One reader asked about eBook tagging on Amazon, and unfortunately none of us really knew anything in-depth about it. At least not in terms of what it does for the author, and the logic behind tagging parties/lists. I've finally come across some information about this, so the question can be answered! I'm not sure the original asker really needs the info anymore, since it was Ruth Cardello, who is busy blazing her own trail on Amazon and seeing some good success with her marketing tactics. For the rest of us, here are some important things to know about tagging on Amazon.
- Any one person (author or customer) can add up to 15 tags (think of them as keywords or category labels) to a book on Amazon.
- If you click on a tag from a product page, you'll see other products with the same tag.
- You can browse the most popular tags.
- Amazon will suggest items to you based on your tags.
That seems fairly straightforward, and not exactly rocket science. It would seem that tagging is a way to make your book more visible to people looking for certain categories/subjects, right? Right. To an extent. However, you might be interested to know that clicking a product tag yields very different results than typing the tag into Amazon's search box.
It seems the more people who tag your book with a certain term, the higher your book will appear in the results when a customer clicks on the tag, either from another product page or the tag cloud. This is why you'll see groups of people starting "tag parties" (the erotica writer in me wants to assign a very different meaning to that phrase, ha!) where everyone agrees to tag each others books with the author's preferred tags. While this is good to know, ask yourself how often you browse for books (or anything) by clicking tags. For me, I might click on a tag occasionally, but not very often. More often than not, I'll use the search function and type in a topic, and use the drop-down box to search in "Books" or "Kindle Store." You can get drastically different product results this way.
Take a moment to do your own experiment on Amazon to see what I mean. I typed erotic romance into the search field and searched the Kindle store for that term. I looked at some of the titles, clicked on the first one, and scrolled down to the tags. From there, I clicked the erotic romance tag and was taken to another page of results that looked much different than when I had typed in the words and searched. I also tried enclosing the search term in quotes, and got yet another set of results. And just for good measure, I typed the tag into a separate search box labeled "search products tagged with" (which was at the bottom of the page, next to all the product tags).
Typing the tag into the special search box did yield the same list of results as clicking the tag itself, but not the same as typing the tag as a phrase in the main search box, which, let's face it, is the one that's most visible, and that most people will use. So I don't think rushing out to start or join numerous tag parties to make sure your book's target keywords are tagged hundreds of times is necessarily a guarantee that customers will find your book, but it won't hurt, either. (Something that might help a little more is thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) on your book's product page.)
Have you/would you participate in a tag party? If you have, do you think it's helped customers find your book?