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How to Use Keywords to Research Your Nonfiction Book Audience

Most people associate keyword research with PPC programs and SEO. But really, this data provides a window to the desires and ailments of the online masses. It gives you one of the most comprehensive looks at what your audience wants. Google receives over 3.3 BILLION searches per day – you won’t find a larger sample size!

Take advantage of this vital information and you do a great service to yourself as an author. Whether you plan to start writing, or whether you finished your book, keyword research can help you improve every aspect of the project.

From your book’s title and subtitle, your chapter titles, and beyond to your essential promotional copy, keywords will make sure everything you do as an author remains focused on the needs of your readers. Keyword research will also make you more aware of the competition out there related to the topics your book will tackle.

It will help you answer questions like…

Keyword data can answer all of these and more!

You can learn how to begin your research by mastering this comprehensive guide. The rest of this article presumes you reviewed and understand the basics of keyword research.

Get In Tune with Your Audience’s Lingo

As an expert or professional in our fields, we often use terminology well known amongst colleagues, but not so accessible to our potential book buyers. If you want your reader to find your book, if you want people to be able to make the decision to buy your book based on the title and preview you provide, you must speak their language.

Keywords allow you to do this!

Put together a list of all the questions your book will answer, all the problems your readers face. Frame these questions in a way that you or someone else would enter into a search engine.

Now, run each individual question through the Keyword Planner. Review the results Google displays and review the suggestions. Make modifications to the questions to increase monthly search volume and precision. Compare the language you used and the language people actually use. Compare the language suggested.

Adjust your phrases accordingly. Record all your research in lists. Categorize the phrases. Keep track of the monthly search volume. Mark the best potential keywords as well as the keywords you want to avoid using.

Reality Check!

If yes, you should be smiling ☻

If no, there might be little to no interest in what you want to write about. Maybe you need to rethink the language or your approach? Maybe your book will bring attention to an unknown issue?

Or maybe you just saved yourself from writing a dud!


Once you know a market exists for your book, you can begin to evaluate the competition for the keywords you researched. Pay attention to the websites on the first and second pages of search results for each phrase.

Don’t limit your search queries to Google. Check out the results on Yahoo! and Bing as well. Assume people will also use these phrases when looking for books on Amazon, so type them in there and see what pops up.

This stage will give you a general idea of the current establishment related to your book’s topic(s). By the end, you will either feel confident your book will serve a need and can overcome the current competition or you will be discouraged by the overwhelming amount of information out there.

Take time to reflect and decide whether you should move forward with your book project.


Ready to put your keywords to work to better structure and promote your book?

Warren Samu
Last edited on
May 22nd, 2020