Choosing the right categories on Amazon for your book or product can make a huge impact on your sales.
Why Choosing the Right Amazon Categories Matters
There are two reasons why you need to pick the best categories.
1. Customers Browse Categories
Customers and readers browse Amazon’s categories to find books and products they might like to buy. If your book is featured in the wrong category, your ideal readers and customers won’t be able to find your book and buy it.
2. Amazon’s Algorithm Matters
Amazon uses data science to find out what customers might like to buy in the future based on their past purchases.
That’s why you’ll see sections on every Amazon listing that say “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought…”
The “also boughts” are crucial to your success when selling on Amazon, because they will either drive thousands of new customers to buy your product every month or doom your Amazon listing to obscurity.
Why? Because Amazon optimizes all of their listings based on conversion rates.
Think about it. Book A converts 10% of visitors into buyers, while Book B converts 15% of visitors into buyers. Which book will Amazon promote? Book B obviously, because Amazon wants to maximize their revenue and make customers happy.
In the real world, this means a high-converting product like Book B will sell thousands or hundreds of thousands of copies, while a low-converting product like Book A won’t ever sell more than a few hundred copies per month. Many low-converting products on Amazon get the “Amazon kiss of death” and never sell more than a handful of units each month.
Here’s why conversion rates and categories matter: Picking the right categories will increase your conversion rates because you’ll be attracting your ideal customers who will be more likely to buy your product!
And higher conversion rates mean Amazon will promote your listing much more heavily, meaning you will sell more units every single month.
3. Best Seller Badges Increase Conversions
Another way picking the right categories increases sales on Amazon is by giving your book or product listing a Best Seller badge.
Above, you can see one of our books, Unlimited Memory, with it’s #1 Best Seller badge and ranking for #1 for the keyword memory on Amazon in the Kindle store and book store.
Note: That book is amazing, and if you want to improve your memory, you should definitely read it.
If you pick a category in which your book or product can rank #1 on Amazon, you’ll get your own Best Seller badge for your listing, and that badge alone can dramatically increase conversions by providing social proof and an extra reason for browsers to click your listing from search results on Amazon.
How to Choose Amazon Categories
The first step in choosing the right categories is to create a list of every relevant category in which your book or product could be listed.
You can browse Kindle categories here.
Click any and all relevant subcategories that you think might be a good fit for your product.
“Business Skills” is the child category. It’s the most niche and specific category, so that’s the category you would select if it was a good fit for your book. By selecting that child category, you’re automatically selecting all the parent categories that it’s nested under. So, Unlimited Memory is also featured in the Education & Reference, Business & Money, and Kindle eBooks categories as well.
Software for Finding Amazon Categories
We developed and sell our own custom software for finding the best Amazon categories called Bestseller Ranking Pro.
You can simply login in, search for a keyword or text string, and find all the relevant categories for your book on Amazon in 5 minutes or less.
Above, you can see a few of the 649 results for every category on Amazon that has the word “business” in it.
Notice some of the categories are in the Business & Money category, but some are in Arts & Photography and Biographies & Memoir too. That’s why you need to do a thorough search through every parent category to make sure you find every relevant category for your book.
If you ONLY look inside the Business & Money category for your business book, you’ll be missing hundreds of potentially relevant categories.
Once you’ve found as many relevant categories as possible and created a list of each category, it’s time to analyze the sales and competition in each category.
Analyzing Sales and Competition
Now that you’ve got a list of relevant categories, estimate the sales in each category for the #1 product and #100 product, and for any listings in between those spots if you want.
This data will tell you:
- How many sales you need to hit #1 in that category
- How many sales you need to hit #100 in that category
Note: Amazon only shows the top #100 spots in each category. So, if you’re not ranking in the Top 100, you won’t get any additional sales boost benefit from being listed in that category.
Bestseller Ranking Pro does this automatically for you. It’ll tell you how many books you need to sell to hit #1, #20, or #100 in any category.
If you’re selling physical products instead of books, you can get the Unicorn Smasher plugin for free and it’ll estimate the sales in each product category for you.
Once you’ve analyzed the sales needed in each category to give you a gauge on how competitive each category is, it’s time to select the best categories for your product.
Pick the Best Categories
First, you need to understand how many categories you can select for your product.
For Kindle eBooks and print books, you can select up to 10 categories. For audiobooks, you can select up to three categories.
For physical products, you can only select one category.
So which category should you choose? There’s no one answer to this question. You have to analyze various factors and make the best “educated guess” you can as to which category is best for your particular product or book.
Here are the most important factors in helping you decide, in order of importance:
The #1 most important thing is that you pick the most relevant category. This is the category your most ideal buyers will be browsing, so it’ll increase your conversions and sales more than any other factor.
2. Size and Competition
Next, analyze the competition. You want to ideally be ranking Top #20 for a very competitive category because that will send more new buyers and leads to your product every day.
But picking a huge category won’t help if you can’t rank in the Top #100 spots.
3. Best Seller Badge
If you can get a best seller badge, that’s awesome! But it’s not the most important factor. It’s often better to be #5 in a HUGE category than #1 in a tiny category, because you’ll get more leads from a huge category with lots of buyers browsing it every day.
Help Picking Your Categories
We can pick the top 10 best categories for your book! Our book promotions manager will hand-select the best 10 categories for your book based on our proprietary software and analysis to help you maximize your book sales.
How to Become a #1 Bestseller on Amazon
Now you know the secrets to finding and picking the right categories on Amazon.
If you want to learn more great marketing tips to hit #1 on Amazon and get your best seller badge, check out our guide to becoming a #1 bestseller on Amazon.
If you liked this post, here are some other articles you might love:
- Amazon Book Sales Calculator
- The Top 200 Most Competitive Amazon Print Bestseller Categories
- How to Boost Your Kindle Sales Using Smart Amazon Marketing Strategies
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.