Four things you need to know about keywords in metadata


With a host of websites and online book retailers available, it is imperative to use appropriate keywords for maximum visibility. The keywords must be consumer-oriented to lead readers to a particular book that they are looking for. Quality keywords not only describe the content but also envision how the consumers are going to search for it. It is therefore necessary to brainstorm and observe the usage of keywords in search engines as well as on online bookstores before finalizing on the keywords to be used in a book’s metadata.

Keywords are added to an Online Information Exchange feed and sent to third parties to be indexed for searching by various search engines. A consumer will search the book based on the genre, characters, or plot and the keywords would lead them to the books that they are looking for. Publishers now-a-days are adding keywords to their books as well as their titles. In order to improve the use of keywords in online publishing and to adopt the best practices in choosing them, Book Industry Standard Group (BISG) developed a guide ‘Best Practices for Keywords in Metadata,’ in 2014 to provide effective pointers on choosing the right keywords.

Online book retailers receive keywords of a wide variety from individual consumers and big companies. This information is filtered and incorporated into the search index by the retailers, thus attracting consumer search to their sites. Search engines typically lead audiences to the sites with the best information in relation to the keywords searched. Book retailers can stay ahead of competition by having knowledge of these keywords and placing them throughout the site.

 Below are four important points you must know about keywords in metadata

  1. Keywords must come in a logical order and separated by commas. These can also be changed from time to time.

  2. It is imperative to use keywords relating to the plot, setting, characters, theme and story for best results.

  3. Technical knowledge is not important to write good metadata with keywords. Understanding the subject, consumers and the market is crucial.

  4. It is best to stay away from subjective claims and concentrate on relevant information. 

Investing in keywords in metadata is valuable as it offers maximum visibility in the search engine results. The right keywords helps readers discover, select and purchase books of their choice.