Most Businesses have suffered the consequences of Amazon’s Changes to it’s Keyword Search Terms. Don’t be one of them.
First, what are Amazon’s Keywords?
There’s actually three different parts to the Amazon secret sauce here.
- Keywords in your listing page (the product page that buyers/customers see on Amazon)
- The Search Terms field(s) in your product setup
- Amazon’s Campaign Manager (Advertising Keywords)
Amazon merchants that don’t pay attention to these key parts of the Amazon marketplace are finding themselves left behind, and the sad thing is that it’s left many wondering what’s happened to Amazon?
Amazon likes to change things up, always in an effort to make the buying experience better for its customers, and those that stay on top of the changes benefit from Amazon’s search updates.
How well are your Products Ranking in Amazon Search?
In the old days, you just needed to launch your product with a few search terms, make sure you’ve sent your items to be Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), get some reviews, and you were off to the races.
It’s now requires a little more effort, but the good thing is that you’re paying attention, and are willing to do what it takes to get sales on the right track.
With the changes Amazon has made to its search and keywords, many sellers have found that they’re not ranking in Amazon’s search results like they used to.
Other products have taken over. What are they doing to get into the top results?
Here’s what they’re doing:
1. Putting Keywords in the Title and Bullet Points of their listings
You may have seen the sellers that have gone overboard on this, they’ve stuffed their product titles with keywords. Amazon says not to do that, and we agree. However, you can put a keyword or two in your item’s title if it’s descriptive and helpful to your buyers. Some sellers put the keyword towards the end of the title, but it’s thought that this has less relevance, but it towards the front.
Let’s say you’re selling digital thermometers for taking a child’s temperature. Here’s a title from a real product on Amazon:
Metene Digital Infrared Non-Contact Forehead Thermometer*CE and FDA approved. Suitable for Baby, Toddlers and Adults And Object with Instant Results
This title tells you the major points you need to know about the product, and all at a glance.
Now compare that with this product’s title that showed up in the same category (health), but was far off page 1 of the Amazon search results.
Digital Probe Thermometer
You can probably tell which product is the #1 seller, and which one isn’t.
The title lets buyers know exactly what the product is, best of all, it does so in a way that includes keywords that customers would be searching for “Infrared, Non-Contact, Thermometer, Toddlers” etc.
Is it keyword stuffing? The way they’ve written it, I’d say no.
The title is not just a list of keywords. Is it a little long? Yes, for my taste, but it gets the job done.
If you’re title is too long, it will be cut off in both search results and on the display page. If you’re title is a list of search terms, both Amazon, and customers will see it as spammy and unprofessional.
What you want is the right balance.
Amazon indexes keywords from the title, and since buyers see the title first in search results, it makes sense that those terms are weighted more heavily for search indexing.
So, take a look at your products titles on Amazon. Don’t keyword stuff, but do look at how you could include a few terms in your product’s title so you’re not left with “Digital Probe Thermometer” as your title.
Keywords in your Listing Page Bullet Points
The same principles hold for keywords in your listing page’s bullet points. Amazon previously had a limit for how much text could be put in the title and the bullet points. You literally could not add any more text after a certain amount of characters.
You can now put in a whole lot more. Amazon likes to experiment, and some sellers are taking advantage of this change, some are abusing it, and some don’t even know about it.
Terms in your bullet points are indexed. Don’t make a list of keywords, or else you’ll be spamming, and it won’t help you, your customers, or the ability to have longer character limits in the future.
Just write natural, descriptive bullet points that sell, and include important keywords to your product as you naturally describe what it does and the benefit it has to the customer.
I haven’t mentioned the product description because many sellers have opted to use the Enhanced Branded Content, and it just doesn’t seem that content is being indexed from the EBC portion, even though after contacting Amazon, they say it is.
Update: Amazon has said that Enhanced Brand Content is not indexed in search, and you can remove EBC if you want.
Make sure you’ve got your keywords in your title and bullet points.
We’ll talk about how to check if you’re indexed for particular keywords in a little bit.
2. Get the Right Search Terms in your Amazon Listing Keywords Field
When you edit, or setup a product for sale on Amazon, there’s a tab labeled “Keywords” which has fields for “Search Terms.”
Amazon recently opened up the search terms to allow for 1,000 characters per line where it used to be only 50. There’s some good discussion that Amazon really isn’t indexing 5,000 characters for your search term results.
Even though Amazon told us that the 1,000 per line are indexed, our testing contradicts that information. What Amazon is probably doing is creating a cloud of related terms and choosing what it thinks are the relevant ones.
If you keep your search terms to under 250, every one gets indexed (as far as we can see with our testing). This may be that there are a lot of sellers that created their items under the 250 limit, and Amazon has made an allowance for that whereas the 5,000 limit Amazon feels it can pick and choose what it thinks are the relevant terms.
You’ll need to decide what you think is best for your business. We’ve opted for staying under the 250 limit and making sure relevant keywords are in the title and bullet points.
If you’ve made your title and bullet points rich with search terms in a natural way, no stuffing, you really only need 250 characters in the search terms because you do not need to (and do not want to) repeat any words in your search terms fields that are already in your title or bullet points. It really is a waste of space.
If you’re title has the term thermometer in it, don’t but it in the search terms. Put something like “check fever” (without the quotes) and other related terms that you don’t have anywhere else, but that customers still might search for.
You also don’t need to add any commas or quotes, they’re a waste of characters.
How to Check if Amazon has Indexed your Product for a Keyword
The easy, and free, way is to copy your ASIN and paste it into Amazon search along with the keyword you want.
If the search results say “0 Results for…”, then you’ll know you’re not indexed. We found when we kept the search terms to 250 characters, every one was indexed. This wasn’t the case when using the 5,000 character limit.
Keywords in your title and bullet points should also come up as indexed and that’s why you don’t need to repeat them in the search terms field in your product setup.
There’s tools out there that can help automate this process of checking, but once you get the idea, it’s not that hard.
3. Use the Right Keywords in your Advertising Campaigns
The third way you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of is Amazon’s Promotional tools, specifically, Amazon’s advertising tool.
If you want to be on page one of Amazon search results, and do it quick, you’re going to have to pay for it. Some people like blast services where you discount your product to a couple bucks and then they send out the deal to their email list. It’s a costly method, and not without risk. Others have shared that simply running a great advertising campaign makes more money, gets more reviews from those sales, and better quality reviews.
It all comes down to keywords again. You can set up an advertising campaign to run on Auto, meaning Amazon chooses the keywords for which your product would appear as “Sponsored” at the top (side, etc.) of search results.
The auto method can be helpful because you can later run a report to check on what keywords actually drove sales. You might discover a whole lot of keywords you might have otherwise missed if you were just manually guessing for keywords.
Once you have a good idea for what keywords work, you can create a manual campaign and add your own keywords and be able to target better with phrases or exact search terms rather than just broad.
If you want to speed up the process, we recommend Scope which can really speed up the process of discovering what keywords are driving sales on Amazon.
Scope has a free browser extension (you do have to create a free account on the website for it to work). The free account limits how many keywords you can see, whereas the paid version gives you the kit and kaboodle.
If your Amazon Sales have Dropped Recently, It’s time to Check Keywords, or even Getting Help from Professionals.
Really take a look at your keywords in your listing page (Title and Bullet points), your search terms, and your Amazon marketing campaigns, it can make a ton of difference.