How to Use Keywords
in Book Titles and Subtitles

Let’s face it: We use the Internet to find almost everything we need. So when planning a book, it’s important to consider how certain word choices can affect your visibility on the Internet — and in your target market.

Stay True to Your Message

The most important component of a book title is something that is memorable, catchy and authentic. It is important that the title stays true to your message and is something that promotes your brand. However, if you can combine the book title with keywords that your target audience may be typing into search engines, then you have an even more powerful book title or subtitle. Using keywords in your book title is a great way to improve your chances of being found online and therefore a great way to improve your exposure. When choosing keywords to be a part of your book title, it is always important to know what people are searching for versus what you think you want to project. Understanding what your audience is looking for and the vocabulary that they use can be a powerful component when combined with creating a book title and subtitle. 

Do Your Research

An example of this is when we worked with author Carmen Kosicek. Her book was going to come out as an e-book product first, before she printed the softcover or hardcover version. She was also going to promote it on her website first, so keywords became very important. We looked at keyword searches and found that the top keywords were “nursing & jobs,” “nursing & money” and “nursing & career.” “Jobs” was actually a bigger keyword than “career,” when associated with nurses, and “money” was a bigger word than “salary.” We decided that her book title had to have the biggest keywords, and her book title became “Nurses, Jobs and Money: A Guide to Advancing Your Nursing Career and Salary.” All of it was still consistent and true to who she was, but the keywords gave the book that extra element of appealing to her target audience and made her product easy to find online.

If Carmen’s book title had used any of the keywords we researched, it would have been authentic and true to her, but we wanted to also use the opportunity to attract people who were looking for her topic. Using the most popular keywords enabled her to market to people who may not have even known about her book or been looking to purchase a book just yet. In the end, the book title was still consistent and true to Carmen’s message, but the keywords gave her that extra element of appealing to her target audience. This same principle can be applied to subtitles and chapter headings, specifically if you’re going to be giving a free chapter excerpt online, because search engines such as Google will be able to pick up on those key terms.

Make It Memorable

While using keywords in your book titles is important, consistency with your book branding can also pay off. Take, for example, the “For Dummies” series of books. Launched in 1991, long before the era of keyword research, the brand has undoubtedly gained visibility thanks to its memorable branding. Just type in “mechanics for” or “computers for,” and “mechanics for dummies” and “computers for dummies” will auto-populate in your search. The more memorable your book brand is, the more likely it is that it will be searched, and the more exposure you will receive.

Remember Things Are Always Changing

Google and other search engines are chameleon-like animals — they are always changing. As such, keywords are just one of the many factors that lead a website or product to rank for certain searches. It is important to take them into consideration when selecting a book title, but being true to your message is always more important than manipulating keywords. Those authors who are able to seamlessly blend the two are set up for success.

If you need assistance planning and organizing your book, a professional ghostwriter or editorial coach can help.

Related Resources

Read more about How to Build Your Book Brand

Read more about Marketing Your Book

Read more about 8 Steps of Writing a Book

Return to the top of the Using Keywords in Book Titles and Subtitles page

Return to home page

  • “Thank you for your hard work, long hours, and commitment that you have put into this book. I would not be here if it wasn't for that one phone call. You believed in me, and I can't thank you enough for that, Helen.”

    Nisa Burns, author of Kitchenability, from Acknowledgments section

  • “To Helen Chang, for your editing brilliance and incredible cheerleading. Any person who has the privilege to work with you is very lucky.”

    Chad Mureta, Author, App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life and Let Technology Work for You

  • “To Helen Chang, noble warrior, editor, brave soul, and sojourner, who covers all the bases we would have missed had she not been there.”

    Michael Gerber, Author, The E-Myth Optometrist and other books, Acknowledgments chapter

  • “Helen Chang, wow, we did it! From book jail to book hell to book heaven, all in a few months. Your work ethic is unbelievable. You are a woman of excellence and diligence. I enjoyed working with you, and I love your heart for people.”

    Dani Johnson, Author, First Steps to Wealth, Acknowledgments chapter

  • “[Author Bridge Media] has taken me from talking about writing a book to actually having a book ready for the published market in under 4 months! Their support is amazing and if the author is willing to put in the time necessary, it can and will be done with this team.”

    Carmen Kosicek, RN, MSN, Author, Nurses, Jobs and Money: A Guide to Advancing Your Nursing Career and Salary