More than 60% of shoppers begin their product search on Amazon, and 70% of Amazon searchers never browse past the first page. This means that, just as with Google search, your job as a seller is to ensure your product listing appears within the top positions.
As Amazon’s ranking algorithm determines your product’s spot in search results, you have to understand how that algo works and optimize your listing for ultimate visibility.
This brief guide will reveal the key aspect of Amazon SEO, and keywords, and unwrap how to find and optimize your listing for the right search terms that can give your product the top ranks it deserves.
So if you’ve ever wondered how to develop an efficient Amazon keyword strategy and how to go about Amazon-tailored keyword research, you’ve come to the right place.
Nailing Amazon’s Ranking Algo: Why Focus on Keywords?
In itself, Amazon SEO—the process of product listing optimization for getting the top organic rankings—is a vast concept that includes various layers: keyword and listing optimization, customer reviews, pricing, sales, and a few more secondary aspects.
But the key drivers of your organic visibility on Amazon are keywords. That’s because the marketplace’s A9 ranking algo is built around three concepts where keywords play a major role:
Relevance: Here, keywords serve as one of the most important elements of your product listing and help Amazon understand whether your product is a great match for the user’s query.
- Conversions: Your listing clicks and sales (they are also affected by factors like FBA and prices) are other important factors.
- Maintenance: This refers to everything you do after your listing goes live—increase the number of reviews, invest in advertising, keep a close watch and alter the pricing, attract external traffic, and so on.
As you can see, everything starts with Amazon defining your relevance, and this, in turn, is mostly to do with your keywords. This means that finding the right search terms to optimize for is the very foundation of your listing’s eventual performance.
Another great aspect of keywords is that they are fully under your control. While you can’t always affect your number of product reviews or conversions, keywords are something you can implement without any external influences.
That’s why a great Amazon SEO strategy always starts with keyword optimization, and for that, you need smart keyword research that helps to find the most valuable search terms you should target with your product listing.
Amazon Keyword Research Done Right
It should now be more clear to you why there’s so much hassle about Amazon keyword strategy and optimization.
But the biggest question is: how do you find these incredibly impactful search terms that will give your listing the right visibility and, as a result, sales?
That’s where keyword research comes in.
With Amazon, keyword research is not as complex as with general e-commerce—after all, the marketplace only focuses on search terms that have commercial intent, meaning that users are already in the “buy now” mode, so you don’t have to tinker with informational or navigational keywords.
This makes your job a bit easier, but, you can’t simply choose your product name and think that that’s the keyword to optimize for. If you want to win the high ranks and outrace the competition, your keyword strategy has to be more nuanced and data-driven.
Why? Because things aren’t that straightforward:
Amazon searchers tend to use different ways to search for the same product, so you have to consider a wide range of keyword variations and phrasings;
Unless you have a unique, one-of-a-kind product, you are facing stiff competition that’s selling the same or similar products, meaning they’re also targeting the very same keywords as you;
Amazon has pretty strict guidelines regarding search terms you target, so you have to consider them when creating your target keyword lists.
Considering all these factors, you have to find the most profitable search terms that consider both the competition, how users search, and Amazon's internal policies. And this means that you need to get access to some specific keyword data that will guide and streamline your research.
Keyword Metrics That Define Your Optimization Efforts
There are a few specific keywords stats that will help to define your final keyword choices:
Relevance: You have to pick search terms that closely match your actual product. Otherwise, you’ll see low conversions and rankings.
Demand stats: This is typically referred to as search volume or the number of searches per given timeframe. This metric helps to assess how popular that keyword is—clearly, the higher the search volume, the more traffic you’re likely to attract if you rank for this keyword.
Competition factors: While optimizing for keywords with high demand is important, you also have to factor in the competition. If the keyword is too competitive—meaning, too many sellers have their listings showing up for this keyword—you might find it hard to bring it to the top positions. So, your optimization efforts might lead to little to no results.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to consider when you’re running Amazon keyword research. But it’s not as hard as it appears to be—all you have to do is find the right source of these insights.
While I have done a thorough run-through of the key keyword research tools for e-commerce, for the marketplace, you need something Amazon-specific.
There are a few solutions that give you relevant insights. I’ll be using Keyword Wizard for Amazon by Semrush to show you the logic behind an Amazon-tailored keyword research process. It’s my new favorite tool as it’s very intuitive and easy to use, but you can use the same workflow with your tools of choice.
Finding the Most High-Yielding Amazon Keywords
Step 1: Identify your seed keywords
Your initial step is to determine which keyword will serve as your ‘head’ term—or query you’re building your further keyword list around.
You can take it easy at this stage and simply use your product name as your seed keyword.
For instance, if you’re selling cotton swabs, you can use “cotton swab” as your seed keyword.
Step 2: Find similar/related search terms
Whenever you tinker with keyword tools, you’ll typically see a few keyword groupings: broad match, phrase match, exact match, and related.
Not to overwhelm you with various choices, I always suggest going for the broad match or related keywords—they will reflect all the various ways people refer to your product, including phrases you might not have considered.
Let’s take our cotton swabs example here.
There are quite a few ways to name cotton swabs, so it’s always best to start your research with the search term that has the maximum search volume:
As you can see, the name “Q-tips” would have the same relevance to your product but come with almost 5X higher search volume, so you should run your further keyword exploration with the more popular search term.
Does this mean that you can simply take “Q-tips” as your new seed keyword and leave your keyword research at that? No, your next step is to find more niche keywords that will have lower competing listings yet still solid search volume.
Step 3: Discover the lowest-hanging fruits
To find the so-called low-hanging fruits—— keywords that come with the least competition and highest searches—you have to make use of more advanced data.
This is where search volume and competition filters come in.
Set your target search volume
It’s best to avoid search terms that come with the highest search volume (over 100,000). Peaking search numbers often indicate that the keyword is highly competitive, so you might not manage to rank in the top positions for these searches.
The lowest search volumes are also a no when you consider keywords that should be included across your listing. While you may find it easy to win the rankings for these keywords, they won’t bring too much traffic and potential customers, so you’ll waste your efforts on search terms that bring minimal value.
Define an acceptable level of competition
Competition filters will help to set up how many Amazon product listings you’re ready to compete against. Typically, you’ll have to consider your current sales and conversions, pricing, and other factors to see how likely you are to win the competition.
In any case, it’s always best to begin with the lowest number of competitors. If the list you see features an insufficient number of keywords, you can go one range up.
After all these steps, you should be able to see a list of all the keywords that can bring maximum impact and that you can successfully optimize your listing for.
Pro tip: Make sure to exclude brand names from your final list, only keeping the names relevant to your product. This is an important step as Amazon’s guidelines prohibit using brand names your product is not associated with.
Step 4: Don’t forget about your Hidden Search Terms
The keywords you keep from all the previous steps should all be sprinkled throughout your product listing. (More on this below).
But there’s one more keyword placement spot some sellers often forget about—the Search Terms section within your Seller Central.
While you can simply gather all your target terms and combine them into one list you’ll enter on the spot; it comes with a 250-character limit and a lot of other specs (plurals, typos, etc.).
The Keyword Wizard tool can easily automate this part, helping you come up with a neat list of search terms you can include in this section.
For this, you have to go back a few steps:
- Run a broad match for your ‘head’ terms.
- Don’t employ any additional filters, as, for the hidden search terms, you have to use as many relevant keywords as possible—even the ones you can’t realistically rank for just yet.
Pick up to 1000 search terms that first come up after this search, and simply click “Search terms.”
- Finesse your list by removing keywords you’re using in your title and bullets. Also, once again, get rid of irrelevant brand names.
- And that’s it! The tool will instantly do the rest of the finetuning—excluding numbers, single letters, plurals, and other specs mentioned in Amazon guidelines while keeping everything within the required word count.
All you’ll have to do is simply copy and paste this final list of search terms into your Seller Central.
Optimize Your Product Listings for the Right Keywords
Now that you know how to easily come up with a list of keywords that will get your listing the visibility you need to get maximum traffic and, hence, sales, it’s time to consider keyword placement.
While it’s pretty intuitive where keywords should go, it’s always best to double-check your gut instincts:
- Include your keywords in product titles
- Product title is the first thing users (and Amazon) see when they come by your listing. So it’s one of the most important spots for placing your keywords.
While it may look user-unfriendly, Amazon doesn’t mind overly keyword-stuffed titles, so feel free to add as many key target search terms as you like.
This listing, for example, features a lot of closely related keywords that can be used interchangeably: Q-tips, cotton swabs, ear swabs, etc.
- Add your keywords across your product page
Bullet points, “About this item” space, and product descriptions are great places for adding your keywords.
These spots are typically out there for conversion purposes—you can better communicate your product's unique value proposition and features, but you also have a lot of space to include search terms you couldn’t add to your title.
So, get a bit more creative here and add more related keywords to these listing elements.
- Leverage Amazon Hidden Keywords
- As mentioned above, sellers often underuse the Search Terms part within your Seller Central account. After all, shoppers don’t really see this section, but Amazon does, and this affects the marketplace’s ranking choices.
Over to You
As you can see, Amazon keyword research is a meticulous process that requires tinkering with a lot of data. But if you have the right tools, it can be as easy as one, two, or three. So, if you want to maximize your product listing’s visibility and performance, a smart keyword research strategy is an absolute must.
About the Author
Meri Chobanyan is a marketing practitioner and strategist with an extensive background in e-commerce, advertising and tech.
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