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Amazon SEO Strategy and Search Term Optimization

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Amazon SEO Strategy and Search Term Optimization

Shannon Roddy
Amazon SEO Strategy and Search Term Optimization

The most important aspect of increasing traffic to your Amazon listings is properly implemented Keyword Research. There are lots of ways to drive targeted traffic to your listings including off-site promotions and internal sponsored product campaigns, but the best way to garner a #1 Best Seller is to leverage organic traffic based on relevant researched keywords strategically placed in your listing.

Amazon SEO Strategy

There are a few key principles you will need to implement to execute an effective Amazon SEO strategy. Knowing what makes a good SEO strategy is vital and that starts with keyword research. You have to know what Amazon customers are searching for and use relevant terms in your product listing in order to get in front of them. The key here is relevant. It doesn’t matter how high the search volume is if a customer clicks away prior to making a purchase. Once you have relevant keyword terms, your goal is to strategically place them in the product title, features, description and the search terms in the back end.

The Cycle of Optimizing, Analyzing and Repeating

Note: just because you have optimized your listings once doesn’t mean the work is finished. Optimization is an ongoing process and will require going through the cycle of optimizing, analyzing and repeating.To be successful, you will need to pay attention to what keywords are successful in converting sales and enhance those in the listing. You can always add more keywords to the listing, or edit the listing to be more relevant for specific keywords.

Often, there are search terms that you think will be relevant but fail to convert customers. In these cases, you may want to update the listing to reflect that feature or benefit more clearly. In other situations, you may find that unexpected keywords tend to convert highly and you may choose to focus on these new converting keywords instead. Either way, the goal is to figure out what works and continue to push your listing in the right direction.

"Optimizing for customer conversion first, while including important keywords will help with the A9. Brands should recognize that Amazon product listings show up in the top paid and organic spots on Google search (sometimes above the Brand's own site) so how you optimize your titles and bullets plays a key role in what off-Amazon customers see."

— Joseph Hansen, CEO of Buy Box Experts

Understanding Amazon’s A9 Search Algorithm

A9 is Amazon’s proprietary search algorithm software implemented to help Amazon customers find the best products, at the best price to allow them to make more purchases, thereby increasing Amazons revenue. The most important thing to remember about A9 is that Amazon rewards listings that convert, not listings that have the densest keyword use.

Amazon's A9 Search AlgorithmA9 | Amazon's Search Algorithm

There are several things that determine a products’ rank in the algorithm, including the quality and quantity of the product reviews, fulfillment method, and price, but ultimately everything comes down to the conversion. The more a product converts for a specific keyword, the higher it will rank on Amazon for that search term. Amazon often rewards products with an Amazon Choice badge for a specific search term, even if it is not a best seller in the parent category.

Amazon Search Engine Optimization Keyword Research

As stated in the strategy, the most important aspect of Amazon SEO starts with doing proper search engine optimization keyword research. Below I have listed a handful of the most popular resources, ranging from free to paid, that will allow sellers to look at what the potential search volume is for any given term. Since no tool is going to be absolutely accurate, it is still helpful to look at which search terms are higher relative to other terms, and base your decisions on that. Search volumes between different tools can also vary greatly especially if they are targeted towards different platforms, i.e., Google, Amazon, etc.

SEO Keyword Research using SEMrush

To get started doing search engine optimization keyword research for Amazon you will want to begin by writing down all of the keywords and search terms you can think of that a customer might use to find your product. From there, you will enter them into SEMrush in the keyword overview search bar. This will provide a list of related terms that you can easily download into a CSV file. Repeat the process until you have entered all of your initial search terms.

Amazon SEO StrategySEMrush Keyword Overview

Now begin to copy the most relevant search terms into a new spreadsheet including the keyword, search volume, and CPC (which can be helpful for determining ad budgets once you begin advertising). You may also find additional terms that you hadn’t considered and enter those variations or combinations of search terms to find additional search terms and their volumes. Once you have your list you will want to consider using some of the additional sources of keyword research mentioned below before finalizing your list and choosing the most appropriate terms to target in your listing.

Amazon Search Terms OptimizationSpreadsheet of Relevant Keyword Terms

Keyword Research Using Amazon Auto-Fill

One of the easiest ways to get additional suggestions is by going to (be sure to log out of your account first and clear your cache to avoid any suggestions based on previous search history) and entering your initial search terms into the search bar. Amazon will begin to auto-fill suggestions that you can use to determine what Amazon customers might be searching for and how they might be phrasing those searches.

Amazon SEOAmazon Auto-Fill Example

Keyword Research Using Google Keyword Planner

If you have a Google AdWords account, you can also use the Google Keyword Planner which can provide suggestions based on initial search terms as well as estimated search volume for the terms on Google. Note that even though Amazon surpassed Google as the primary search engine for product shopping, Amazon listings still rank on Google and sellers can increase their product rankings by optimizing them for both Amazon A9 and Google search engines.

Search Engine Optimization AmazonGoogle AdWords Keyword Planner

Keyword Research Using Scope

Scope is a new Amazon SEO research tool by Seller Labs that allows sellers to search for relevant search terms based on initial search phrases, as well as search terms for competitor listings. They include a free Google Chrome Extension to begin, but you will need to upgrade to the paid plan to get full access to the tool. One of the biggest benefits of using Scope is that you will get more accurate search volume for Amazon since the data pulls from search term impressions, which is likely to be higher than Google.

Amazon Search Engine OptimizationScope Keyword Generator Results

Keyword Research using Amazon Automatic Campaigns

If you already have your products listed on Amazon and are running automated campaigns you can use the automatic campaign keyword report, which uses broad match, to gain additional potential search terms that your product already converts for. This can be done by going to Reports – Advertising Reports – Search Term Report and requesting a report that you can download for analysis.

Once you have all of your potential keyword terms, you can add them to your spreadsheet, sort by relevance and volume and work on creating a plan to implement them into your product listing. 

Amazon Title Optimization

There are several places you can insert keywords, but none are as important as the product title. The title is essentially your first and most valuable search field. The goal here is to leverage SEO and avoid keyword stuffing while keeping in line with Amazon policy and best practices.

Amazon titles will vary in length but the goal is usually to be concise, and based on the category will be restricted to anywhere between 50 - 100 characters. Optimized titles will also include the brand name, product name, primary feature, and variation information (size, color, flavor, etc.) Note that it is always better to dominate for a few keywords than be lost in the shuffle for many. Typically the top 2-3 search terms will bring in a majority of the products organic sales, so focusing on the most relevant search terms here is essential.

Amazon Title OptimizationOptimized Title Example with Primary Search Terms

You also want to make sure you abide by the Amazon Style Guide, an online guide that provides details on how a title should be formatted based on the category of the product. Typically a title will follow this general format/layout:

[Brand] + [Feature] + [Material] + [Key Ingredient] + [Product Type] + [Model Number] + [Size] + [package count] + [Color] + [Flavor]

You will want to include at least 1 or 2 search terms in the title, and occasionally they will overlap allowing you to fit them concisely in the allotted space while still following Amazon’s style guidelines.

Amazon Search Terms Optimization

This is absolutely an essential component of your Amazon optimization and should not be overlooked. Amazon currently allows for 250 characters in the Search Terms field to be indexed. Your goal is to use as close to that 250 characters (including spaces) as possible to increase the number of search terms that can be used to find your product.

To do this, you will want to use all of the related and tangential search terms from your research that were not used in the title to fill out the search terms. Don’t repeat keywords, use stemming (-ing, -ed, -es, etc.), commas or punctuation. I prefer to keep all of my search terms lowercase since it looks cleaner and allows me to easily spot terms that might have been used twice.

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It is important to take your time to do this well since your potential search volume relies heavily on it. Your product is not likely to be found if it doesn’t contain a keyword and adding additional related terms will help expand your potential audience. Surprisingly, out of the 50+ professional Amazon sellers I have worked with, only one has ever done their search terms correctly. So, this is likely to give you a competitive edge over other listings if you take the time to do your Amazon search term optimization right.

Amazon Product Feature Optimization

In addition to your back-end Amazon search terms, you will also want to add your top 2 – 3 search terms to your product features. Again, you don’t need to keyword stuff, but consider adding one keyword term per product feature, at most, if applicable. A9 does index product features and including them here can not only increase potential ranking but also conversion rates if customers are able to confirm quickly that they have found the product they were looking for.

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Amazon Product Description Optimization

The last place you can add your primary search terms is in the product description. Amazon currently has two product description options for sellers with the brand registry: regular product descriptions and Enhanced Brand Content. A9 currently does not index Enhanced Brand Content, so even if you use this feature as an overlay, you will still want to include an optimized regular product description for A9. However, Google does index the Enhanced Brand Content so you will want to include your primary keywords in that content as well.

Summary of Amazon Search Engine Optimization

In addition to utilizing the search terms in your product listing, you can also include all relevant search terms in your Amazon manual campaigns to drive additional traffic to your listings. Optimizing a listing the first time typically gets you 85% of the way there, but ongoing analysis and optimization are required to maintain momentum. Once your optimizations are made, you will want to immediately drive internal and external traffic to the listings to create conversions and begin allowing A9 to rank your product accordingly. 

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Shannon Roddy is an Amazon consultant with over 6 years of experience helping brands make the most of their Amazon experience and creator of Marketplace Seller Courses, an online course for brands and private labels selling on Amazon.
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Proper keyword research will account for 90% of Amazon SEO - - also these guys use some great techniques to rank you on Google for your product an boost your Amazon ranking ironically its proper use of Titles and more sales that drive more sales on Amazon -
Are your search terms indexed by Amazon?
I found the keywords in the title and bullet points are indexed within 1 day but those in search term aren't indexed after 2 days.
Shannon Roddy
Hi Jack. Yes, the search terms are indexed by Amazon (the first 250 characters anyways). Remember that the title is the most important search term field, so it will always hold the greatest weight in terms of keyword ranking. The additional terms in your search terms fields will only rank if there is high relevance (are those terms also in your product features and descriptions) and most critically, does your product convert for them. This is why it's critical that once you optimize your listing you drive targeted manual campaign traffic to your listings with the terms you want to rank for (it will still need to convert). If your listing converts for a specific term whether found organically or sponsored product listings it should start to show up in the ranking. Keep in mind that it takes time to rank for any given keyword depending on the competition and how long the competitor products have been around.
heres a really good top 10 guide to Amazon SEO!
Shannon Roddy
kate hudmen
Hi Kate, nice article! Thanks for sharing...
Is there a way of getting SEM Rush to estimate search volumes for Amazon vs. Google?
Shannon Roddy
Bjorn Dawson
Hi Bjorn. Currently there is not a way for SEMrush to estimate the search volumes for Amazon vs Google. As the primary platform for product searches, Amazon is typically going to be higher for all product related searches. However, you can do SEO keyword research on SEMrush (Google) and Scope (Amazon) and then cross reference to compare. I do this quite frequently for clients to gauge brand awareness levels by learning what the estimated monthly searches are for their brand on each platform.
Shannon Roddy
Thanks for the reply Shannon. I'm not sure exactly what "scope" is. Could you elaborate?
Shannon Roddy
Bjorn Dawson
Scope is a tool I reference in the article by Seller Labs that does estimated search volume for Amazon. You can learn more on their site at:
Do you recommend to put common misspellings to search term?
Amazon says it's not necessary but I found the search results wouldn't be the same when typing misspellings to search box.
Shannon Roddy
Hi Jack, great question. Most customers will search for products correctly and a handful of the ones who don't will use the auto-fill in the search bar, essentially correcting the typo before they hit the "search" icon. A9 will pick up most typos, however, if there is a very common misspelling associated with a primary aspect of your product you can always include the misspelling as an alternative in the back end search terms (I do not recommend including them in the title). SEMrush and Scope will both provide common misspellings and their corresponding search volume. Note that any time a misspelling creates separate words you would absolutely need to include both versions (i.e.: "handmade" and "hand made"). I would first check and see the search volume of potential misspellings and then see where your product ranks in those searches in comparison to the correct spelling prior to making any changes or additions.
Great article! I had a question as to how you would enter the search terms.
If I sell shoes and have already put words “shoes” on the title, can I put it in search term again? If I put “women shoes” in the search term,will this be duplicating title words?

Second, If I want to use quoted phrases,and write them as “high-heeled shoes"and"lace up shoes” in same search term bar,will this be duplicating the words?

Would be very appreciated if you could answer them for me. Thanks in advance!
Shannon Roddy
Hi Steven. Thanks so much! If "shoes" is already in the title, you do not need to put it in the search terms again. This is essentially creating a duplicate keyword and your search terms are used most effectively by putting in tangential terms that would increase organic traffic that could be searched in conjunction with terms in your title. In this case your ideal search terms would include, "high heeled lace up womens" etc. A9 will add terms in your title to terms in your search terms to come up with "high heeled shoes", "lace up shoes", "women's shoes", etc.

The one caveat to this is if you're putting phrases in the search terms Amazon does recommend that you put them in the most logical order, so if you have shoes in the title already, you could include "lace up sneakers" in your search terms (as opposed to "sneakers up lace") and that would help you rank higher for that term. If you have lots of extra room to fill the 250 characters including spaces, you can add "duplicate" terms to your search terms to put them in order "lace up shoes", but that's only if you are unable to fill the space otherwise. Hope this helps!
Amazon Webstore offers critical security, operational and cost management insights to be considered while working on Amazon SEO to rank your product and optimize your listings.
if you are selling ebooks and/or soft cover books on amazon - what tools/optimization do u recommend.
Shannon Roddy
Hi Kathy, most of the tools in terms of keyword research will be the same. However, depending on the type of publishing you may be limited in terms of what can be placed in the title, listing, etc. However, you can still place relevant search terms in the title/subtitle and keyword fields if applicable, but it will largely depend on internal/external marketing to gain traction.
I found some articles claim that space and comma are ignored, but you said space is included in 250 characters. I'm confused by these two statement. Which one should I take?
Shannon, Happy Wednesday! You're doing a lot of manual work that can be accomplished with tools and algorithms, specifically keyword selection and collection. You can use to build a keyword list without a spreadsheet, and you can skip all keyword collection and ranking completely if you use our tool that automates keyword collection, and also shows you where to place them. See: Would love to chat with you more about Amazon SEO, or I'm also happy to do a guest blog post. Cheers!
We offer customized software development for clients with a proven track record of designing and delivering high quality software solutions in the areas of enterprise applications, BPO workflow solutions, e-Business applications and software products. We provide end to end solutions from front-end programming to back-end programming and maintenance..
Thanks for a great article Shannon. Quick question: does Amazon actually penalize listings for adding a search term in several different places in the actual listing? And does Amazon penalize for adding the same search term in different forms in the backend search boxes. For example I've written 'women' and 'womens' in my backend search boxes. And I have the word 'women' in several places in the listing itself. Thanks for any advice you can give :)
Shannon Roddy
Angela Boswell
Hi Angela. Thanks so much! Great question. To answer the first part of your question: No, I don't believe Amazon penalizes listings for adding a search term in multiple places, but it might not help much. For example, A9 will recognize "Women" and "Womens" the same, so it's redundant to use both in the search terms. However, if you add "Pants" and "Slacks" that's a good use of variety.

In regards to the second part, we don't know for certain if adding a search term to the listing in the product features and description "reinforces" the keywords, that is, makes it rank higher in A9. We do know however that Google likes reinforced keywords, and using your primary keyword terms in the title, product features and description is a good best practice: it can help your Amazon listing rank on Google.

In regards to Amazon, there are two reasons to consider is using your primary keywords in the listing: 1) customers will be reassured that they've found what they're looking for and more likely to purchase, increasing conversions and ranking and 2) It's important when driving traffic through manual campaigns to have those keywords in your listing in order for the campaigns to run effectively and result in purchases for the same reason as above. I hope this helps clarify the issue and answer your questions!
Great article Shannon. What protocol do you use when adding keywords to the target-audience section? I'm finding it difficult to get any clear information on this. Cheers
Shannon Roddy
Kenny Goodman
Thanks so much for your feedback. The valid values for Target Audience will vary based on the category you're selling in. Essentially you will want to look at the Valid Values tab in the Flat File Template for that specific category and see what options are available. On the Template Tab these will be available as a drop down (so you can't add your own). For example for the Sports Category, the valid values are: "adults", "female", "male" and "unisex". To download the template login to Seller Central, select "Add Products via Upload" then "Inventory Files" - "Category-specific inventory files" and select the category for the template you wish to download. Hope you find this useful!
Shannon Roddy
Thanks Shannon. Just fighting with Seller Central to try and get this now.
Shannon Roddy
PS Do you add in the same format as you would with the search terms above? So: unisex men women male female
Shannon Roddy
Kenny Goodman
You would only choose one option from the drop down/valid values for each column:
target_audience_keywords1: men
target_audience_keywords2: women, etc.
Shannon Roddy
There is only one field and it doesn't allow you to add more lines/fields as you can see here Shannon. Is this the correct format in this screenshot?:
Shannon Roddy
Kenny Goodman
Hi Kenny. You can add multiple fields using flat file templates, but it appears only one using the interactive listing tool. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any further questions!
Excellent article. While there are a couple of corrections and outdated statements I think this is hugely helpful for most Amazon sellers to get a general feel for the extra effort necessary to improve their listing relevance.
Nicely done!
Shannon Roddy
Hi Brian, thanks for your comment! Feel free to contact me with any updated corrections or information including references that you believe could make this article more accurate. I look forward to hearing your feedback!
Ben Kazinik
Hey Shannon, 100%. SEO is all about the user experience and high conversions. Awesome breakdown of the tools to use, I will definitely check some of those out. thanks!
Shannon Roddy
Ben Kazinik
Hi Ben, thanks so much for your feedback. You're absolutely right, it's imperative for sellers to also have Amazon Listing Optimization in addition to SEO. We look at it as a 3 step process for any successful listing:

1) Discoverability: This is the Amazon SEO Keyword Research & Implementation we discussed in the article.

2) Buyability: This is the on-page listing optimization (enhanced images, copy, videos, etc,) that create high conversions for Amazon customers leading to:

3) Rankability: How your product ranks in the A9 Search Algorithm for any given search term over time.

This three step-process is crucial for increasing Amazon sales over time. This goes along with the on-going optimization process which is:

A) Optimize your Listing
B) Drive Traffic to your Listing
C) Analyze your Listing

Thanks again for your feedback and let me know how you enjoy the tools discussed in the article!
Thanks for this great article.

Regarding the Search Term, I'm wondering which one is correct:
1. 50 characters for each line, and 250 characters for 5 lines in total
2. 250 characters for each line, and 1250 characters for 5 lines in total

I have searched quite a few articles, and just read conflicting descriptions on this topic, do you know the exact answer?

It's a shame that Amazon never told users about this.
Shannon Roddy
Heiya Zhen
Hi Heiya,

Thanks for your feedback! In regards to your question, Amazon will index the first 250 characters (including spaces) of the search terms field(s) starting with the first field regardless of how many search terms or characters you use. I recommend putting 250 characters in just the first field so that you don't waste characters trying to break the search terms up into 5 blocks of 50 each. Amazon made this change in August 2017 in an attempt to improve search results and made the announcement by posting an update in Seller Central. This has also been confirmed speaking with Amazon Catalog department reps. This makes it even more important for sellers to do the research and carefully choose which search terms to use in the back end of their Amazon listing.
Shannon Roddy
Hi Shannon,
Great article. To clarrify on this point, are we talking about the 'Search Term' field under the Kewords Tab of the listing when editing? I ask b/c the pre-populated example shows 'Ex. Electronic' then add more (up to 5 lines). Based on that, it seemed that each line should only be ONE term. But I'm reading this as though I should put ALL search terms into the first line. Thanks,
Shannon Roddy
Jay Peterson
Hi Jay. Correct, this is in reference to the "Search Terms" field in the Keywords tab. Yes, you want to put ALL of your search terms into the first line (up to 250 characters including spaces). Hope this helps!
It is very useful article for every ecommerce business as Amazon is a world class ecommerce organization. there SEO strategies are very effective at the same time very contemporary.
Shannon Roddy
Jenny Pitula
Thanks Jenny,

Amazon strives to be at the forefront of search engine optimization with the advent of their A9 search algorithm. Prior to the introduction to A9 Google was much more effective than Amazon's internal search engine. Both Google and Amazon search engines are effective but they use different criteria to determine the rank of search results as an information platform and eCommerce platform respectively.
Helen Flaherty
Nice sharing. Its useful and helpful for us. Which people do this amazon affiliate marketing. And earn money by affiliate marketing
KW finder is not bad too.
Moss Clement
Hi Shannon,

Your article is insightful and helpful to all marketers. Truthfully, optimization is necessary as it will help drive traffic to your listings.

However, I believe it is equally important for marketers to be able to identify both direct and indirect factors that influence Amazon's organic rank algorithm.

Why is this essential? Because Amazon content ownership is shared and there is no guarantee that when searches are made, your data will surface on an Amazon detail page. Instead, Amazon algorithmically pulls what it sees as the best content to display in order for that product to sell.

Thanks so much for sharing!
Shannon Roddy
Moss Clement
Hi Moss,

Thanks for your comment. As you mentioned, optimization is important, but detail page control is essential in order to display those optimizations. Brand Registry 2.0 is vital for brand owners, manufacturers and private labels who have a Registered Trademark ® to take control of their brand detail pages.

However, even resellers on a listing with multiple contributions can submit their own contributions and contact the catalog department to remove inaccurate information from the listing or request that their optimized content be used if its more accurate per the manufacturer's website.

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