Using the Amazon Search Engine as Marketing

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

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Amazon shutterstock_1219099198Search Engine Optimization is a fundamental aspect of web marketing. As you think about ways of getting found in search engines, you should also keep in mind that there are many other search engines in English besides Google. The second most popular search engine is YouTube and the third is Amazon!

When considering SEO, nearly every marketer overlooks the search engine that powers Amazon. It’s not just product companies that can get found on Amazon. Every organization including B2B companies, nonprofits, and independent experts can use Amazon to reach buyers. Amazon is the site of many searches related to your business or expertise. Will people find you?

One way to get found is to leverage Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s self-publishing platform. Using KDP, you can quickly turn a manuscript into a digital book available on the Kindle platform, as a print-on-demand book, or both. KDP books reach millions of potential readers on Amazon at the exact moment they are searching for information on topics that interest them.

Think of this as a form of newsjacking - the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business – but with the content published on Amazon.


Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform

SVE on AmazonAt the beginning of the pandemic, I published a quick and short book with my friend Michelle Manafy titled Standout Virtual Events: How to create an experience that your audience will love on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform. The book took about two months to research and write and once uploaded onto KDP in September 2020, it was available on Amazon within a few days.

Soon after publication, I had the top natural listing on all of Amazon for the phrase “virtual events”. While the position in the search results occasionally varies, I just checked, and the book is still listed in the number one position among 3,000 listings for this phrase nearly two years later.

Imagine trying to get the top natural search result for a phrase like “virtual events” in Google or YouTube. That’s super tough.

(Note that you can also pay for sponsored listing in the Amazon search results.)

In addition, this technique is a kind of “back door” to a Google listing too as natural search results on Amazon are indexed by Google. That led many people to my book, and then to me, resulting in virtual event organizers hiring me to speak at their event.

My friend Shelly Palmer, an independent business advisor, author, and commentator, also used this strategy to great effect. In early 2021, Elon Musk was actively talking up cryptocurrencies. It seemed like every artist and sports star (and their managers) were looking to get into NFTs (non-fungible tokens, a way to assert ownership over digital content). And interest in blockchain was exploding. During this period, the media was writing thousands of stories about these complex, interrelated new worlds.

Shelly, an expert in blockchain, crypto, and NFTs, knew from his work that businesspeople needed practical information about these topics, not a lot of breathless hype. He wrote a short book Blockchain—Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts: An executive guide to the world of decentralized finance.

Like me, Shelly self-published the book via KDP in May 2021. Shelly’s text makes these seemingly complex ideas easy to understand. The popularity of his book resulted in lots of new business for his firm. Why? Primarily because he was able to be ranked at the top of the Amazon search engine for important terms like “blockchain.”

“Blockchain and cryptocurrency may seem like a new thing, but they have been around for over 10 years,” Shelly told me. “The problem is that the world of crypto can be very confusing with all the jargon, acronyms, and other unfamiliar words. My book contains an overview of the entire ecosystem as well as deeper insights to help readers think about the consequences, intended and unintended, of our transition into a decentralized, trustless world.”

It took him just a few months to write, edit, and publish his short (fewer than 100 pages) book. Shelly purposely kept the Kindle price at a low $2.99, so he could sell as many books as possible. In the first month, he sold over 20,000 copies. At the time, Blockchain—Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts was the top title on Amazon in the money & banking category and several others.

Best of all for Shelly, if you typed the words “blockchain” or “cryptocurrency” into Amazon’s search engine, his book came up on the top of the search results. While it would be nearly impossible to get to the top of the Google rankings for an important word or phrase with just a few months’ effort, it is possible in the Amazon search engine using this strategy of providing well-timed, relevant, helpful information.

Many of the people who purchased his book did not know of Shelly and his work prior to reading Blockchain—Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts. Some of those people reached out to him to inquire about hiring him for consulting work. And several reporters reached out as well to interview him for stories they were working on—a classic example of newsjacking.

“There have been six unbelievable inquiries from potential clients who read the book and who now see me as the foremost expert on the topic,” Shelly says. “A CEO from a massive organization called me personally. The instant and immediate financial response has been beyond my expectations.”

This post was adapted from a section in the new 8th edition of my book The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

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