How to research keywords to include in your Amazon listing

Amazon has now become a globally accessible search engine for products. Customers find what they’re looking for by basically typing it in the search bar. And the website loads the results that are most relevant to the keyword. 

In short, keywords dictate how high up a product is ranked on the results page. This is why the more visible you are on the search results, the more likely potential customers can find and buy from you. 

Keywords, search result ranking and sales

The sellers that rank highest on the platform for certain search keywords are also usually some of the top sellers in that category. Why? 

Because they’re more visible on the site. Let’s say a customer searches for a gardening tool and finds your product. When they make the purchase, the algorithm determines that your product is relevant for the original keyword they used. This boosts your ranking for that particular keyword. In short, Amazon’s algorithm creates a cycle where keywords impact product ranking and vice versa. 

Why does Amazon’s ranking algorithm rely on keywords?

To put it in simple terms, Amazon is premised on keeping customers satisfied. The more customers buy a product after they search for it using a particular keyword, the higher its relevance rises. 

This is why optimization is so important. Your product’s title and description need to be relevant if you want the search algorithm to pick up on it. 

When we say relevant, we mean relevant to both the type of product you’re selling and the type of keywords that customers use. For eg: customers don’t always use the most technically correct terms when they search for a product. They use the most convenient labels. This is why you need to do your research and find out which search terms are popular for your specific product category. 

Amazon keyword research has a massive effect on how well your listings are optimized. The more relevant your listings appear to be, the more visible they become on the site. This is why researching keywords is so important. And in this article, this is exactly what we’ll be covering. 

Why do we need keyword optimization?

Remember, a lot of sales are a result of constant targeting, great keyword usage and brand reinforcement. 

In other words, many customers end up buying a product after it is suggested to them. A lot of them find and buy products that they were not initially looking for but stumbled upon, thanks to smart optimization. This is the primary goal of good keyword research. To reach potential customers. 

Making it easy for buyers to find you

Before we dive deep into keyword research sources and sites, let’s cover some basic rules of optimisation. First of all, your most crucial keyword needs to appear first. It should be prominently placed on the title. 

Don’t expect customers to spend a lot of time perusing your product listing if it doesn’t catch their attention at first glance. For that to happen, you need the title to match what they’re looking for. Otherwise, they’ll just skip past it. 

The goal is to make search easy and accessible for customers. Give them all the details such as the products type, size, quantity, features etc in very succinct terms. You can elaborate on them once you showcase all the essential information up front. 

What are primary and secondary keywords?

First of all, let’s get you familiar with “seed keywords” These are also known as primary keywords. They describe your product in very short yet apt and accurate terms.

These keywords are always very short and to the point. Potential customers use them all the time to get the quickest and relevant results. They help your customers identify what your product is instant. 

For instance, when we use words like a tennis ball or basketball, there’s no confusion about which product we’re referring to. Shoppers instantly know what a basketball is and what a tennis ball is, and there’s no need for any further explanation. 

Secondary keywords are what describe your product and add details to give customers a better idea. They help make the product-specific in terms of color, size, quantity, material etc. 

Eg: White silk bed-sheets, sky-blue cotton buttoned-up shirt, green tennis ball, etc. 

Placing keywords throughout your listing

Your keyword research should comprise finding ways to combine both primary and secondary keywords. It should help you understand where to use primary keywords and where the secondary ones are more apt. 

You’ll find slight variations to the original keyword when you conduct research. These are secondary keywords that make sure your product is relevant enough to be included in all related search results.

The secondary keywords are what we then end up adding to bullet points and scattered throughout the description and the backend (hidden keywords, similar to metadata in Google search pages).

Using keywords is all about casting a wide net. You’re trying to make sure you don’t miss the attention of any potential customers. This is why, in addition to the seed keywords, you need to utilize as many of the top relevant keywords as possible. 

You can use the data you get from keyword planning tools (paid or free) to generate the most relevant and precise keywords that customers are frequently using at the moment. 

How to carry out Amazon keyword research

Auto-complete: your primary tool

The Amazon website itself is the best place to start. It is an obvious choice because of how you can test out what works and what doesn’t in real-time based on the web results. You could simply begin by visiting the website and trying search terms for your product. 

The first thing you’ll notice before you even hit the search is the list of auto-complete suggestions. This is a jackpot of keyword insights right here. Why? 

Because these are all the most frequently used and popular search terms on the website. Not only do the suggestions help you find out the right term to phrase your product, it also gives you an overview of what else customers are searching for. 

Amazon’s auto-complete function is based on search frequency. The most frequently used terms appear at the top of the list. While it helps make the search easier for shoppers, the suggestions they generate are also actual keywords that you can use. 

However, you need to try different letters of the alphabet and the product title in different variations to get a better idea. The more frequent a keyword pops up, the stronger it is likely to be. 

Make sure you focus on covering different variations on the keyword such as misspelled words and incorrect phrases. You can do this discreetly through hidden keywords in the backend. 

Even when you search for something as simple as a clock, you’ll find a variety of choices such as analog, digital, rechargeable, etc. All of this will give you a better idea of what’s trending and how specific you should be in including keywords when you list a title.

Free and paid keyword planning tools for Amazon keyword search

Keyword research tools and keyword analysis software are super important. It could be a simple database that provides you with key metrics or a complex platform that crafts a strategy for you. What’s important is that they indicate how frequently a keyword is being used and which ones are at the top of the list based on the search location. These are all insights you can leverage to your own advantage when you create a listing.

There are plenty of free search tools that allow you to research Amazon keywords based on both data from the website as well as Google (which is way more comprehensive and broad in its reach).

There are literally dozens of credible keyword research sites that publish actionable data for free. While they might withhold certain key details such as search volumes and location data, it doesn’t matter. You can still use them to generate ideas. And if you do feel like you could do with some more data, they come at quite affordable monthly subscription rates.

Search terms and correct terms

Before you optimize the product listing, you need to have information to back up the keywords you use. The actual search terms people use and what you think they use can be two different things. Crafting a listing based on what you assume customers are searching for, is a blind way of doing business.

Look for gaps where the actual correct name for the product is different from what customers are using and typing in the search bar. For instance, most customers might search a product by its brand name instead of  the actual, generic term. This usually happens when the brand becomes so commonplace that customers associate it with the product type itself. 

Another oddity is when shoppers search using shorter terms like an abbreviation because it’s far more convenient and quicker. 

Looking up competitors for inspiration

If you find yourself stuck and not sure how to use keywords in your listings, you can always simply look up competitor products that are doing well. Take notes on how they’ve optimized their title and description, what keywords they use and how it affects their ranking. This is all the ground you have to cover. 

Scroll through similar product listings and browse the website for other categories that resemble what you’re selling. There are plenty of terms that you might have simply missed or forgotten about. Make sure you compile a list of all the keywords you come across from the very start. 

Bridging the gap of varied usage

As locations change, word choices differ. There are plenty of differences between American and British English when it comes to usage. A simple, online thesaurus can be very helpful in mapping out which words are better suited for the location you’re targeting. 

If you’re selling a widely available product type, then it’s best to get familiar with the name of that item in different parts of the world. 

Other platforms

Amazon sellers often overlook other e-commerce websites like Shopify, eBay, Alibaba, etc. 

It’s a good idea to be aware of the type of keywords and search terms most customers commonly use in other e-commerce platforms as well. It helps you streamline your product listing for all audiences. This makes it much more accessible through search engines like Google, and helps push your product further ahead. After all, a lot of us do shop for products using a simple Google search, especially when we’re looking for the best deals. 

Complementary products

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon for anything, you might have noticed a list of products at the bottom that says: Frequently bought together. These are very useful hints in their own right. Why?

Because they give you ideas for complementary products.(additional products you can sell with your original offering because of how well they go together). A lot of these lists actually indicate a growing demand for the products that they showcase, which makes them a goldmine of useful insights into current customer behaviour

Give the listed products a look and see what keywords they use. You don’t have to include all of these into your title. But you can still manage to use them in your product description, in certain bullet points or hidden keywords. They may not directly attract your target customers but can create the opportunity to connect with an entirely different base of potential buyers who are interested in a similar product.

Personal experience reflecting on research

Another good way to approach it is to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Consider whether you’d use a certain keyword if you were searching for the product. You could also run a small-scale social experiment with friends and family just to get a gauge on what keywords they would use. 

However, this is just to get an idea of the buyer’s mentality and behavior in your location. If your target audience fits a much broader profile and you’re aiming for international customers, then you need more accurate data. 

Keep in mind that your title keywords are top priority. They need to be the utmost relevant, perfectly short and highly popular keywords in the list that capture your product in simple terms. 

What should you avoid when using keywords?

  • One thing you absolutely must avoid is keyword stuffing. This can actually negatively affect your listing’s rank. 

Yes, you should use keywords but optimally. Don’t make it too obvious. If possible, try to add content where the keyword can seem like an organic part of the description. When you stuff your listing with keywords, it instantly comes off as forced. Customers can always recognize this, which only makes matters worse. 

  • Another common mistake that a lot of sellers make is using certain keywords that don’t match their product simply because it’s more popular. This is the wrong approach to take. When shoppers find out that the product you’ve listed isn’t what they’re looking for, they’ll simply be disappointed and move on to the next listing. 

There’s also a huge downside to this: when lots of customers leave without buying, your ranking drops. Some might even leave a bad review if they feel deceived. This ends up being worse for your business. 

Yes, your goal is to capture the attention of potential buyers. But that’s precisely the point. You don’t want them to simply visit your page, check the product and leave. The end goal you’re aiming for is a sale. That’s why, when you choose popular keywords, you should also make sure that they fit the product’s description and are very relevant to what you’re selling. 

  • Also avoid cheap strategies such as spamming your competitor pages or bombarding them with negative ratings. It is highly unprofessional and unethical.

Final thoughts

A good keyword strategy goes a long way in boosting your visibility and making you accessible to target audiences. The easier you are to find, the more visits and conversions you get. This in turn boosts your ranking even further. It is basically what you would call a positive feedback loop

As more and more shoppers turn to Amazon for just about every daily product they’re looking for, sellers that are new to the platform have to work extra hard and keep up. There’s plenty of competition on Amazon and almost all of it is tied down to the search algorithm. A winning strategy involves an optimized listing. That entails the right keywords used the right way. 

Once you get the hang of good keyword research, you’ll be able to list your products and capture buyers like a pro. Until then, don’t be afraid of trial and error and always stay open to learning. 

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