Are you looking to grow an Amazon store and trying to understand how to perform better Amazon keyword research?
Amazon is the undisputed e-commerce champion, and considering part of its product rankings are determined by keywords, you’re making a wise choice.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Amazon keyword research, including a step-by-step keyword research plan.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
1. What Is the Amazon Search Algorithm and Why Does It Matter?
2. How Much Does Amazon Keyword Research Really Help You?
3. What Do Amazon Keywords Have To Do With Product Relevance?
4. 8 Steps on How To Conduct Amazon Keyword Research
5. A Step-by-Step Example of Selecting Keywords
6. The 5 Top Amazon Keyword Research Tool You Should Use
7. What if My Product Ranking Drops?
8. Final Thoughts
What Is the Amazon Search Algorithm and Why Does It Matter?
Amazon’s search algorithm is called A9.
It’s similar to how Google uses SEO, but it’s a marketplace, so it also places value on how well your product converts.
Amazon continuously collects data, including keywords, to help determine a product ranking. Your product ranking is the position in the search results that your listing is shown.
When first starting on Amazon, keywords should be your primary focus.
Let’s break it down further.
AMAZON ACTS AS A SEARCH ENGINE
Most people think of Amazon as a marketplace and forget that it’s also a search engine.
Amazon places customer experience on a pedestal, and an important part of that is showing customers the most relevant products when they shop.
Part of determining the most relevant products is evaluating your product keywords.
AMAZON USES ITS OWN PPC ADVERTISING SYSTEM (AMAZON PPC)
In addition to using your keywords to determine your organic ranking, Amazon uses keywords for their native advertising system, Amazon PPC.
If you choose to advertise on Amazon, you’ll need to know what keywords to bid on.
For Amazon PPC, you’ll need to understand and use negative keywords as well
AMAZON CONSIDERS MULTIPLE FACTORS IN RANKING
Amazon considers many things when determining where a listing ranks.
Some factors Amazon considers are:
• Keyword relevancy
• Click-through rates
• Conversion rates
• Customer reviews
• Delivery time
This guide is about the Amazon keyword portion of your ranking, so let’s dig deeper.
How Much Does Amazon Keyword Research Really Help You?
When you introduce a new product, keywords are the tool you have to get in front of shoppers to generate those clicks, conversions, and reviews.
Even once your product is established, Amazon has to have keywords to know how to categorize your product.
Keyword research is non-negotiable.
HOW VALUABLE IS IT TO RANK?
Maybe you’re still not sold on the importance of good keyword research.
But consider this, 73% of Amazon shoppers will click-through to the first listing in the search results.
Yes, that’s right, almost ¾ of shoppers trust that Amazon knows what they are doing and views the top result.
That amount goes down to 14% for the second listing and just 5% for the third listing.
If your listing is below the third result, well, that’s not good news as the rest of the product listings in the results share 8% of the clicks.
If that didn’t get your attention, then let’s consider what this information means in terms of sales.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN TERMS OF SALES?
If a keyword is worth $1,000,000 a year in sales, the top listing could get $730,000 of that.
The second listing would likely take another $140,000. The third would take $50,000, and the rest would have to split the remaining $80,000 a year.
Knowing this, I’m going to assume you want to be in the top three listings, right?
That’s going to require you to know how to do Amazon keyword research.
What Do Amazon Keywords Have To Do With Product Relevance?
Without keywords, your product has no relevance.
No matter how beneficial your product is, it doesn’t matter if no one can find it.
As you learned previously, Amazon is a marketplace that is powered through search.
What would Amazon be if users had to spend hours figuratively walking the aisles to find what they want?
Let’s take a look at where keywords need to be in your product listing to help your products be found.
AMAZON KEYWORDS IN THE PRODUCT TITLE
The keywords in your product title need to be the strongest keywords for your product.
Product title keywords let Amazon know that your product matches the search intent of the customer. It also helps your customer when they’re scanning the results.
Shoppers decide quickly whether they are going to click on a product or not. You can help them decide by front-loading your most relevant keywords in your product title.
Front-loading is simply putting the strongest keywords at the front of your product title to make it easier for your customer to notice while scanning.
Try to make your product title keywords as descriptive as you can and answer product questions the shopper may have.
AMAZON KEYWORDS IN THE PRODUCT DETAILS
The keywords in your product description serve a different purpose than the keywords in your product title.
It’s important to remember that while the keywords in your product title got the shopper to click-through, you need to focus on getting your product description to convert.
Product details should message match your product description without reusing keywords you’ve already utilized in your title.
When developing the bullets in your product description, be sure you are answering prospect questions with your keywords. Use informative keywords paired with the benefits of your product.
Don’t forget that your ranking depends not just on keywords but also on how well your listing converts, so you need to pick the keywords that the customer will need to see to buy your product.
You can place the keywords you want to rank for but don’t fit your product messaging in your hidden keywords.
AMAZON KEYWORDS WITHIN YOUR SELLER ACCOUNT (HIDDEN KEYWORDS)
When searching for a product, not everyone uses the same phrase, and hidden keywords allow you to add similar keywords to your listing without confusing customers.
Your hidden keywords are referred to as hidden because your customer never sees them. You enter them in your seller account making them only visible to you and Amazon.
It’s an ideal place to put keywords that have a high search volume and are related but aren’t the most descriptive of your product. Audience-focused or competitor keywords should be placed here.
You only get 250 bytes, not characters, for your hidden keywords so you’ll need to be selective.
When choosing Amazon hidden keywords remember:
• Don’t repeat keywords from your product title or description.
• Don’t use brand identifiers. (Amazon doesn’t like this.)
• Don’t add punctuation or plural form. It’s unnecessary and wastes space.
• Don’t set-it-and-forget-it. You need to optimize your backend keywords the same way you do your title and description keywords.
Think of your hidden keywords as you would alt text on your images for Google. It’s not for the customer, it’s for the search algorithm.
8 Steps on How To Conduct Amazon Keyword Research
Amazon keyword research requires strategy. You shouldn’t be guessing what shoppers are searching for.
There are a few ways you can complete your keyword research, but I recommend following the steps below for the best results.
This plan will help you come up with more keywords than you will need at first but note the keywords that didn’t quite make the cut to test later.
1. TYPE INTO THE AMAZON SEARCH BAR AND LOOK AT THE KEYWORD SUGGESTIONS.
A straightforward way to find keywords is to type into the Amazon search bar.
This may sound simple, but it lets you see keywords as your customer does. It helps you see what is popping up for them as they start entering a search term that may guide their search.
The best way to do this is to enter your product, followed by each letter of the alphabet.
So if you sell hand mixers, you would start by entering “hand mixer a” and see what Amazon auto-suggests. Then you note those suggestions and move on to “hand mixer b”.
It can be time-consuming, but it will give you a starting list of keywords to research and build on.
2. TARGET PRODUCTS THAT COMPLEMENT YOUR PRODUCT.
Amazon is notorious for their “frequently bought together” suggestions on their product pages.
For them, it increases their AOV, but did you know there’s also an added benefit to you?
You can use those suggestions on your competitor product pages to gain additional keywords for your product listing.
When you include related keywords for complementary products you are targeting shoppers that may not have known they needed you.
It’s a great way to get in front of an additional audience.
You can add these keywords in your product descriptions and in your hidden keywords.
3. LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE RANKING FOR ON GOOGLE.
Turning to Google is ideal for people that also sell on their own site, especially for first time buyers who may be hesitant to buy from a new store.
You can use what you rank for in Google and use that information to further optimize your Amazon listings.
Oftentimes, shoppers look around before they decide what to purchase. They may search on both Google and Amazon before making their decision, so ranking for the same term in both can only benefit you.
4. FIND YOUR SEED KEYWORDS.
As with all marketing efforts, you need to know your competition.
Competitor research is a must when it comes to keyword research.
When you’re competing with an algorithm, it isn’t the time to get creative. It’s the time to use what works.
Your competitors know this, and you can use them as an example of what to do for your own product listings.
Start by entering 4-6 of your seed keywords into the Amazon search and see what comes up in the top listings.
You can then use an ASIN reverse search tool to research those and gather more keywords later.
An ASIN reverse search allows you to see the top-ranking keywords on any listing. At first, you can use this to view your competitor’s keywords, but as you become more established, you can use it to see what the top keywords are for your own listing.
5. USE A KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOL.
Keyword tools will help make your keyword research go faster.
Keyword tools can generate hundreds or thousands of long-tail keyword options in a matter of seconds. However, you’ll have to comb through the results to show the right ones for your product.
There are many free and paid Amazon keyword tools on the market, and we will take a look at five of them in the next section.
For now, it’s just important to know that there are options out there to give you data-backed keyword ideas. I encourage you to find one or two that you like to use regularly in your research.
6. INSERT THE KEYWORDS INTO YOUR AMAZON LISTINGS.
Now that you have keywords, it’s time to start testing them in your product listings.
Inserting keywords in product titles.
The keywords you choose for your product title should be your most relevant keywords.
Your product title has very limited space, but it’s what your customer views before they decide to click-through or not.
Amazon recommends that sellers include the brand, color, size, materials, and key features in the product title.
Inserting keywords in product descriptions.
When inserting keywords into your product descriptions, you have to be aware of how it will read.
The shopper isn’t looking for a product description that is full of keywords but provides no further information about the product. You have to include your keywords in a way that enhances your product description.
If you are getting a lot of traffic but low conversions, you may want to focus more on the benefits of the product and remove a few keywords, but if you have low traffic and high conversions, then try adding more keywords in your description.
Remember not to reuse the same keywords you used in your title. Keywords need to only be used in one place to rank for the term.
7. HIDDEN KEYWORDS
In addition to keywords in your product title and description, don’t forget to add hidden keywords in your seller’s account.
You may consider adding common misspellings of popular keywords if you have space as it’s not definitive exactly what spelling errors Amazon covers.
Again, remember not to reuse any keywords you already have in your customer-facing listing.
8. KEEP RESEARCHING NEW AMAZON KEYWORDS.
One thing to keep in mind is that popular search terms are subject to change.
You should never stop optimizing and looking for new opportunities.
You’ll need to take into account regional language variants if you are getting more traffic or conversions from a specific location.
A can of coke is called pop in one area and soda in another. It’s important to test these types of language variations in your keywords.
A Step-by-Step Example of Selecting Keywords
If you haven’t established keywords for a new product listing before, you may be wondering how you narrow down your keywords.
I’m going to quickly show you the process for selecting your initial keywords using Amazon. Let’s get started.
For the fictional product, I’m going to use a zippable lunch bag. Based on the Amazon best sellers, there should be enough keywords for the product to make a good example.
First, I go straight to the Amazon search bar and enter “lunch bag.” Amazon starts to give me some examples of what other shoppers have searched. Write down any that apply to your product.
My lunch bag is insulated, so I then search for “lunch bags insulated” and get even more suggestions. Tip: try adding the descriptive words both before and after your seed keywords.
You’ll want to keep doing this step as many times as possible. The keyword tools generator tools available are great, but nothing beats understanding how customers are truly using the search function.
Don’t forget to consider any alternate phrases your customers may use to describe your product. In this instance, I searched for “lunch box” as well.
You’ll notice here that Amazon made recommendations across the top. Try to add one of those descriptors to your product title if you can.
Now that you’ve spent some time utilizing Amazon’s suggestions, move to looking at your competitors’ products. Take 5-10 of the long-tail keywords you’ve gathered so far and review the top products on the first page of the search results for the term.
I’m going to look at “lunch bag insulated women.”
I notice as I look through the top listings that many of them include the words “cooler” and “shoulder strap.” Start noting recurring themes in the product titles that you can use for your listing. If they are in the product titles of successful products, you can bet they are valuable — especially if there are ads running for the keyword as well.
Next, continue into the listing and look for both seed and descriptive words that could be used to create long-tail keywords in the listings.
You’ll note in the image below that I found another potential seed word “lunch tote” in the listing, as well as some great descriptive words.
Once you’ve exhausted your Amazon search – not just looked at a handful of listings – you can move on to using a keyword tool.
The 5 Top Amazon Keyword Tools You Should Use
If the idea of manually searching for keywords gives you nightmares, you can use one of these tools to help.
There are both free and paid tools listed below to assist with your keyword research no matter your budget.
Ahrefs offers a popular tool typically used by content marketers to explore backlinks called Site Explorer, but it can also be used to find Amazon keywords using its Keyword Explorer tool.
In fact, Ahrefs claims they have data on 475 million keywords.
To use Ahrefs to find keywords you simply find a high-ranking competitor’s product listing, grab the URL and paste it into the tool. Ahrefs will then show you the organic keywords the page is ranking for.
You can use the filters to narrow down the keywords that are most relevant to your product.
Ahrefs is a paid tool but does offer a $7 trial for two of their plans.
GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER
Google keyword planner is a beloved tool for Google SEO, but it’s also useful for finding Amazon keywords.
To use the Google keyword planner, you’ll need to set up a free AdWords account, but don’t worry you don’t have to run any AdWords campaigns to use the tool. To use Google keyword planner, you’ll start with your seed words then it will suggest long-tail keyword options and related phrases. This keyword tool provides you estimated search data, but be aware that Google search volumes are not equal to Amazon keyword search volumes. However, if a product keyword has a high search volume in Google it likely also has a high search volume in Amazon. The exact numbers just won’t match up. One great asset of the Google keyword planner is that it allows you to segment by location. This is especially helpful if you are selling outside of the US version of Amazon. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can enter a competitor and let Google feed you some keywords to start with based on their data.
If you don’t have the budget for a paid tool to get started, Keyword.io is a good free option to look into.
Keyword.io is a good alternative to Google keyword planner if you don’t want to set up an AdWords account.
The software uses the Amazon auto-suggest feature to populate long-tail keywords that fit your product.
This free software is not as robust as many of the premium tools on the market, but it will get you started and also has a paid option.
I did a quick keyword search for the seed word “high heels”, and the tool generated 235 keywords in a matter of seconds.
Helium 10 is a premium tool that lets you enter any keyword then it shows you thousands of related keywords, including the search volume of each.
You can sift through the keywords and remove those that don’t fit your product.
Knowing the accurate search volume will allow you to determine which keywords should be prioritized and possibly added to your product title.
This tool helps you track the organic ranking of the products within the keyword so you can see what keywords are making a difference.
Helium 10 offers a free plan that will allow you to use only its basic features but will give you an idea of the tool’s capabilities.
Sonar is the Amazon keyword research tool offered by Sellics.
When using Sonar, you begin with your seed keywords then it will generate related potential long-tail keywords.
As with all the keyword tools, you’ll need to filter and evaluate the results before using the keywords in your product listing.
The tool will tell you who is currently ranking for the organic keywords as well.
Sonar is a free keyword research tool, but Sellics offers additional paid tools to fully optimize your Amazon product listings.
What if My Product Ranking Drops?
If you use the steps in this guide, you will be able to improve the keywords on your product listings to rank higher in the search results.
But what happens if your product ranking starts to drop over time?
Since Amazon is constantly gathering information to inform what results come up in the search, it’s vital to stay on top of your listings and optimize every part of them.
If your ranking starts to fall, first look at these keyword factors:
• Keyword choice — Are the other products in the search results similar to yours? If not, you may need to target different keywords that your customers would use to describe your product.
• Description keywords — Are your keywords getting clicks but no conversions? You might consider trying to be more benefits-focused in your description. Be sure you’re not keyword stuffing, as it will hurt your listing.
• Keyword variety — Are you testing different keywords to seek new opportunities as the market changes? Sometimes the competition pulls ahead for reasons that are beyond your control (like if Amazon releases their own brand product) and you’ll need to find new keywords you can do well in.
You’ll also need to look at your product photos and reviews. Your ranking is dependent on more than keywords.
Go take a look at the listings that are pulling ahead and try to determine where their listing might be more informative or appealing to customers.
If you’re looking to scale and can’t stay on top of your listings, consider outsourcing to an agency that handles Amazon optimization for you.
Amazon keyword research is like most marketing tactics in that you have to be willing to adapt to changing circumstances to stay on top.
Understanding how to do Amazon keyword research is a must for any brand looking to utilize the power of Amazon.
Whether you’re launching your first product or your 50th, keywords are the only way you can get your product in front of potential customers to get sales and improve your ranking.
Amazon keyword research doesn’t have to be difficult, just follow the eight steps and you’ll be on your way to better product listings.
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