Monday, 16 April 2012

How do Amazon rank eBooks?

How do Amazon rank eBooks?

This is a question that comes up very often, and the short answer is 'nobody really knows' (except Amazon) so please take the rest of this post with a large pinch of salt as we'll be leaving the firm grounding of fact and soaring off into speculation.

Things Amazon definitely include:

·         Downloads (evidence - most downloaded list)

·         Purchases (best seller lists)

·         Reviews (sort by, high to low)

So we'll take those three as given and move on to the more speculative aspects.

I think the list of factors is far more complex, consisting of a smidge of all of the following in a ratio I can' t possibly define:

·         Number of page views

·         Number of purchases

·         Number of samples read

·         % conversion of samples to sales

·         % of sales returned for a refund

·         Sales on a per day basis

·         Recent sales trends

·         Price

·         If the book is free

·         KDP enrollment status

·         Number of reviews

·         Source of reviews (Amazon Vine, and Top 100 rank higher)

·         Usefulness of reviews (as rated by us)

·         Keyword tags, number and quality

·         Average review score

·         Age of reviews (remember the decaying average is in play)

·         SEO value of the title - are you competing for common keywords?

·         Whether a cover is present or not (no cover = reduced ranking)

·         Presence of an author profile

·         ISBN (It's not required I know, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was given a weighting)

·         Length of book

·         Publisher

·         Text to speech enablement

·         Language (English books rank higher on .com etc but lower elsewhere)

·         Customer discussions activity

·         Number of 'likes'

·         Whether a print edition is available (and linked to the eBook version properly)

·         Date of publication

·         Lending preferences

·         Royalty rate (Why wouldn't Amazon promote higher profit eBooks first, everything else being equal?)

·         Source of sales (USA, UK etc)

·         Number of times the book is borrowed from KDP (if applicable)

·         Relativity of all the above to other books in your category#

... *phew* and there are probably a dozen more I haven't thought of. Amazon isn't quite page rank complex, but it's not far off. The number of factors an author should be keeping an eye on are huge. Have you got your fans to like your page yet? Do you have enough relevant keywords (don't forget, you can add up to 15 per account)? Have you created an author profile (and linked it with your twitter feed/ blog/ good reads account etc for cross exposure)?

Anyone think of something we didn't? Disagree with our speculation? Feel free to comment.

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