A Guide to Optimizing Amazon KDP Metadata for Books Listing

Rick Wong 23 November 2021

Alright, the manuscript has been written and you are excited to publish your new title and have it live on Amazon. But before it goes live an important step is required and that is adding your book’s Amazon KDP Metadata into your listing.

Having the correct and the most optimized KDP metadata is not only adhering to the KDP content guidelines, which Authors, publishers, and selling partners are responsible for, but also good for Amazon SEO. So we cannot underscore the importance of KDP metadata anymore than that!

Amazon KDP metadata for books falls into the following specific buckets:

Book Title

The most commonly utilized search attribute is the title. Only the title of your book, as it appears on the cover, should be included in the title section. Any part of the title that is erroneous and irrelevant results may be buried and hidden from the search. 

Customers pay close attention to title problems and will not recognize your book’s legitimacy if it contains corrupted special characters, unnecessary words, poor formatting, excessive descriptive information, and so on. The following things are banned in the title field, but not limited to:

  • Unauthorized reference to other titles or authors
  • Unauthorized reference to a trademarked term
  • Reference to sales rank (e.g., “bestselling”)
  • Reference to advertisements or promotions (e.g., “free”)
  • Only Punctuation (e.g. “!!!!!!!!”)
  • Using only “unknown”, “n/a”, “na”, “blank”, “none”, “null”, “not applicable”


It is important to note that although there is a 200 characters limit (with the subtitle), it is important not to keyword stuff your titles. As not only the reader can pick up on it, but Amazon as well.

If you’re combining numerous stories into one book, use phrases like “Boxed Set,” “Bundle,” “Collection,” “Compilation,” or “Series” in the title box and on the cover to appropriately describe the contents of your book. Within a book, stories in a series must be in proper sequential order, and collections of individual stories must have all of the stories specified in the metadata, specifically in the description.

Start your title with the terms “Summary,” “Study Guide,” or “Analysis” if you’re producing a companion book based on original work, such as a summary, study guide, or analysis. Make sure the terms “Summary,” “Study Guide,” or “Analysis” appear before the title in a font at least as large as the remainder of the title when designing your companion book cover.

Your title must be added to the cover of print books (on the spine or front cover). It should also match the metadata you provide during title creation. The title is not required to be in your manuscript, but if you are adding the title in the manuscript it must match the metadata

Also please note for Books and Hardcover, the title metadata cannot be changed once the ISBN is assigned and your title is published. eBook on the other hand allows you to change your title even after your book is published.


A subtitle is a supplementary title that may be used to provide more information about your book’s content. Your title and subtitle must be under 200 characters combined. The same rules apply to your subtitle as they do to your title.

If a subtitle is used it will appear after the title with a colon in the description area of your Amazon listing.

Series Information

A series is a group of novels that are linked together. Please leave this section blank if your book is not part of a series. If your book is part of a series, however, fill in the series name field once a title is written. Customers may locate more Kindle novels in a series by looking up the name of the series.

The Series Name field will appear after your book’s title. Because titles are the most often used search parameter, your series name must follow the standards for book titles outlined above. Enter only the series name only, the series number and title of the book should not be included.


A synopsis of the plot and characters will entice readers. Nothing more contributes to the tension or surprise should be revealed. Give readers a feel of what makes your book intriguing and what type of book it is by describing it. 

If you need inspiration, look at the back cover or inner dust jacket flap of books in your category. Request opinions from friends or other writers. Consider your book description to be a 30-second pitch designed to persuade a casual browser to purchase your book.

You may also use basic HTML tags in your description to format for bold, bullets, and headers

The following things are banned in the description field, but not limited to:

  • Pornographic, obscene, or offensive content
  • Phone numbers, physical mail addresses, email addresses, or website URLs
  • Reviews, quotes, or testimonials
  • Requests for customer reviews
  • Advertisements, watermarks on images or videos, or promotional material
  • Time-sensitive information (for example, dates of promotional tours, seminars, or lectures)
  • Availability, price, alternative ordering information (for example, links to other websites for placing orders)
  • Spoiler information for Books, Music, Video, or DVD (BMVD) listings
  • Any keywords or book tags phrases


Put the name of the main contributor to your book here. You are permitted to use a pen name as long as it does not affect your consumers’ ability to make informed purchases.


This metadata is optional. Contributors are those who helped you put your book together. As long as they worked on that specific book, you can use these fields to name other writers, editors, illustrators, translators, and anybody else you wish to credit. You can add as many contributors as you require. You must list all of the contributors to a public domain book.

Don’t include anything else here but direct contributors; don’t include search terms or other keyword type information. Do not put the original work’s contributor(s) in the Contributors area if you’re releasing a companion book based on original work, such as a summary, study guide, or analysis.


You may insert your name or the name of your publishing business here if you are the book’s author or publisher.

KDP’s main goal is to highlight the author of the work, not a publisher. In the publisher section, just the names of the book’s author and publisher should be supplied. On the book’s detail page, customers may see the publisher’s name.

The following things are banned in the publisher field:

  • Any other publishing house, including any that has already published the book, is mentioned.
  • Reference to Amazon or Amazon-affiliated companies
  • Reference to Kindle or Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Websites or domain names

Keywords (Super Important)

A word or a phrase can be used as a keyword.  2-3 long words (long-tail keyword) are the best to match the reader search queries to your book. Think like a reader while determining the best search terms for your book. What themes or genres do your viewers like to read about? Or are they searching answers to a question?

Instead of guessing, we have written extensively about Amazon KDP keyword research. There are tools and process in place that allows you to get more tangible data on keywords.

So do some extra research and make sure your 7 keywords in this metadata section are the most relevant to your work.

As with anything Amazon, there are restrictions. Avoid keywords that aren’t appropriate descriptors of your book’s major storyline, or keywords that have nothing to do with the content. Incorrect terms might produce unexpected or perplexing search results, resulting in a negative consumer experience and as a result, hurt your organic rankings. Keywords that mislead or manipulate readers are also a no-no.

Example of prohibited keywords:

  • Other authors
  • Books by other authors
  • Sales rank (e.g., “bestselling”)
  • Advertisements or promotions (e.g., “free”)
  • Anything that is unrelated to your book’s content

Cover Image

Your cover’s title, subtitle, author name, and series information should all match the metadata you have entered previously. Covers that are misleading by mimicking the layout, color scheme, fonts, and/or photos of another book are not permitted.


ISBN is required for print versions of your work such as paperback or hardcover. Amazon can automatically add and provide for the 13 digits ISBN and add it to the barcode of the back cover. If the ISBN is added to the manuscript it must match the ISBN in the metadata under the content section, but selecting the section “Use my own ISBN”

If you have questions or insights to share, please feel free to post them via the comments section. Please also consider joining our Facebook Group where we discuss any questions you may have about running an Amazon business.

We are SellerMetrics, our Amazon PPC Software helps Amazon sellers, brands, KDP Authors and agencies navigate Amazon Advertising PPC via bid automation, bulk manual bid changes, and analytics.




You may be interested
in these articles