Amazon’s Rankings – How to Keep Your eBook at the Top
The days of creating a six week book marketing campaign and then letting word of mouth continue to drive sales are over in our new digital world. An exciting pre-launch and launch is still important, it is that now in order to continue selling you must always be promoting your eBook.
Uploading your eBook to Amazon, riding an initial marketing push that results in sales and then expecting sales and your high Amazon rankings to continue will provide you with reality check if you stop promoting it.
Let’s look at how Amazon and some of the online eBook retailers determine which eBooks make their recommendation lists and maintain a high ranking. The exact formula Amazon uses to push eBooks into their recommended lists or keep them high in the rankings is not exactly known.
I have listed the key points that will assist your eBook standing out from the crowd such as creating a powerful title, professional looking cover, a description that sells, using key words, gaining great reviews and more.
In this article I want to cover what else you can do to keep your eBook ranking high on Amazon. Again, these ideas are based on personal observation and not on knowing exactly how Amazon’s algorithms work for rankings and list recommendations.
Amazon’s Rankings Key Assumptions and Views:
1. Amazon is in the business of making money and selling eBooks (along with other products). Amazon’s goal appears to be selecting those eBooks that will likely generate the most sales. Those eBooks that do sell well are also likely to have a better chance of appearing in the recommendation lists.
2. Amazon likes eBooks that are generating a lot of sales in the present and believes that they are also a good chance of generating sales over the long term.
3. Amazon rewards you for generating sales on a continual basis from daily, weekly, and monthly sales. Amazon wants to avoid the eBooks that seem to be short term winners in their sales that then fade away quickly after the initial sales push.
Amazon wants to devote their prime website space to those eBooks where they can make to most sales. This is nothing different to supermarkets dedicating their prime shelf space to the products that sell in high volume.
4. Amazon focuses more on the long term and those eBooks that can continue to sell well on a monthly basis. Daily and weekly sales could just represent an initial burst of sales from an author’s friends, family and lists. Authors must continue to sell beyond this short period for Amazon to like their eBook.
As an author you must create a strategy to continue selling on a monthly basis. This could be monthly mail-outs to your subscribers, submitting a press releases, new blog promotional posts, being active in the communities where your target audience hang out or using a technique called ‘price pulsing’ that we discuss in another article in our Academy.
5. One-off promotional events such as author blog tours or a book launch will definitely contribute to increasing sales. However, these are often one-off events. It is the long-term marketing techniques listed that will help to generate ongoing sales over a long term.
6. Amazon wants to provide the viewer with the latest and most popular eBooks. Fresh content is important so once the sales for an eBook start to decrease Amazon will likely be more than happy to replace it with the latest hit.
It is a bit of a catch twenty-two for an author in that they need to maintain their high rankings and make the recommendation search in order to sell more eBooks. However, a drop in sales is likely to remove your eBook from those lists which takes your eBook away and replaces it with one of your competitors.
7. Amazon doesn’t seem to penalize you for a drop in sales over the short term such as a week. It seems they don’t like it when sales drop month after month. This is why creating a marketing plan that generates significant publicity on a monthly basis is essential along with the constant stream of promotion via your website, blog, or social media sites.
8. Do not despair. As already mentioned, Amazon is not against old titles making a comeback. So if you are able to generate sales again then it does not appear that Amazon will permanently penalize you.
They may once again put you back at the top of the rankings. This can often happen to authors who may pass away and as a result of their death readers may go and find their titles once again.
I welcome you to provide your own views to these assumptions that I have made above. I imagine that these will change over time just like Google regularly updates their algorithms which cause a mass panic amongst SEO providers as they are forced to review their techniques and make changes to their customer’s sites to keep them happy.
How can you make sure your eBook continues to stay in favour of Amazon?
Design and implement a powerful and long-term marketing plan and strategy for your eBook so it can ride the wave of high sales as long as possible.
Conduct a pre-launch and a publication launch but make sure you also adopt strategies and techniques for the long term. You quite simply cannot conduct an eBook marketing campaign for a set period of time and expect it to drive sales indefinitely.