This was the provocative title of a post by Lidia LoPinto this week in the Marketing on Amazon Linkedin group that I moderate. Lidia maintains that authors should apply Internet search engine optimization (SEO) principals to their Amazon presence and that traffic to their book page, more than reviews, is a greater driver of revenue.
“Reviews, in my analysis of various categories, do not influence page position for relevance nor do they affect sales. The only parameter that is significant is the number of visitors to a page, and the number of clicks, whether they are to buy the book or sample the book. The author that manages to drive the most traffic to their Amazon page, will get a higher ranking. It's just math.”
In this brief interview I asked Lidia to expand on her findings and experiences.
1. Was there some particular thing that got you interested in investigating traffic as a sales driver?
I wanted to work with Kindle Publishing but didn't know where to start. My first attempt about a year ago was a total failure so I looked into a lot of resources and software packages to see if I could do better. I knew other people were selling books that frankly, were just not up to bookstore quality, and yet, they were selling a lot of copies. I wondered how?
2. What genre of books or eBooks did you analyze to arrive at your conclusion?
I looked at fiction and non-fiction. The data is related to where a book is on the page and whether it is on the best seller's page or not. Think of Amazon as a print catalog of books and you’d have 10,000 pages of fiction and about 200,000 pages of non-fiction. Those are pretty tall books! Imagine now going through these by category and under a subcategory you'll find no less than 100 to 200 pages. Each page has an icon, a book title and a star rating. At best you can find the top star ratings by doing another query of the data. But that is not the default sort. And that's the key. Amazon sorts by relevance and five star rating filters are an option. Relevance has to do with the keywords in your search and a lot of factors that they don't want to reveal, among them popularity. Popularity is measured only by visits and buys.
3. Do you think this approach works for eBookstores like BN, Kobo and Apple?
No, each search engine will have its own algorithm. Other catalogs organize their categories differently and have other criteria for default sorts. But, the logic is that if they are in the business of SELLING books. They are not in the business of telling visitors which are the good books. It's the consumer clicking habits that tells the engine which sell more. And that pattern has less to do with quality and more to do with buzz, a self-feeding buzz. The more clicking, the higher your rank, and the more clicking that follows.
4. What advice do you have for our readers?
You need to do search engine optimization on your page. The amazon sales page is no different than any other web page on the internet. It will rise to the top if people are searching for keywords that they find on the page. Also, don't just go cruising for blogs that will review your book. Find the blogs that have the most visitors to review your book.
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