Last year, after performing a market report on the book industry, one brand stood out from the rest: World of Books, with an incredible visibility increase of over 700%.

In this article, I am going to break down the opportunity keywords that they have ranked well for and how that has played a role in their rise to the top.

Struggling to beat the bigger players in the market? Fear not, we will dive into how World of Books doubled down on back-route keywords and started competing with industry giants almost overnight! In their case, it was the market for used and rare books where they jumped up the SERPs. The techniques they used are flexible and worth diving into, whatever route to the market you see as an opportunity.


Why World of Books Caught Our Eye

After skimming the report, World of Books appeared to have a low domain authority but high visibility. This is a clear indicator that lots of customers have been landing on their website. All this despite the fact their backlink profiles are nowhere near as strong as the sector’s biggest players.

Essentially, they were killing it on the SERPs, regardless of their lower authority than the larger brands, such as Waterstones.

So, how were they doing this?

As mentioned, it was the ‘cheap’, ‘rare’, and ‘second-hand’ type keywords where they saw success.

Surprisingly, their tactics seem to revolve solely around title tags and meta descriptions. This shows that any other booksellers can jump to the top of the SERP with some minor optimisations. If they really want to dominate, they could go one step further and add copy and links through to supplementary content. This is likely to result in a page 1 rank for these terms – often nearer the top than the bottom! So, why not take over the online world of books yourself?

If you are, indeed, a bookseller, we will explore quick tips to get ranking for this niche section of the market. But remember, you can use these techniques for any other subsector of the market. It seems the bigger players are resting on their laurels a little!

To find these other opportunities, look for keywords with decent search volume but low competition. This will show you which keywords the big players have let slip and ensure you are not competing with websites with a high domain authority.

Take a look at World of Books’ visibility and score from our report compared to the likes of Waterstones. 50 7636 80 54363

You will notice they should not really be competing at all with Waterstones on any terms! But, as mentioned, they have found the back door. Here, you will see how they really focus their title tags around cheap and secondhand books.

Surprisingly, they have not even needed to add or optimise copy to achieve their strong performance. That is because Waterstones stay away from any ‘cheap’ terms.

A Google site search for “site: cheap’ shows that they do not optimise at all for cheap and value-based terms. Perhaps look at some of your own keywords and compare with Waterstones. Are there other areas they have left open for the taking? Somewhere which will provide a different and easy route to market regardless of your visibility and authority?


A little more on how World of Books Used Second-Hand and Cheap to Their Advantage

A key finding when analysing WOB’s site was their use of keywords associated with second-hand, cheap, and rare. These keywords seemed to be the foundations of their success.

How World of Books achieved ranks on those title tags look key – they include ‘cheap’ and ‘secondhand’ frequently within their tags.

Here are some of the results from targeting ‘cheap’ terms

Rank position 1 for the term ‘second hand books online’ – 2,900 monthly searches

Rank position 2 for ‘second hand books’ –  18,100 monthly searches

Rank position 1 for the term ‘buy cheap books online uk’ – 30 monthly searches

Rank position 1 for the term ‘used children’s books’ – 30 monthly searches

That equates to getting in front of 21,060 monthly searches!

How to Execute Their Exact Strategy for Your Own Site

  1. Using Title Tags Effectively

The best way to signal intent and funnel relevant users through immediately is to effectively use title tags that are specific to the page that it will be on. Have a keyword that Google can pick up which is relevant to the topic that is talked about on the page and in the most condensed way.

  1. Optimise Introductory Copy with Keywords

Keywords around the topic will help you get picked up by Google. World of books have also used wider relevant language ‘killer savings…’ categories dedicated to ‘under 5.99’ etc.

For World of Books, I’d suggest using top keywords for rare and used books and give their blog posts a refresh. Furthermore, I’d give their blog post more depth and have it in the category structure rather than, and place it at the bottom of the website rather than small text. They have also missed putting links to books based around their content within the blog. There are no keywords embedded within the content for the algorithms to pick up and present your website to the user.

This goes to show that, in spite of admirable performance, there’s always improvements to be made. Finding these opportunities for improvement is our bread and butter. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can improve your online performance.