In this guide we’re going to cover keyword research for Amazon. It’s going to be a very simple guide which we’ll be updating over time depending on our feedback.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords, search terms, customer phrases – Whatever you want to call them, these terms are what a customer types into Amazon with the result to find a relevant product.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the terms or phrases that describes your product. Think about how you can sum up everything about your product and condense it into a few words; these are your primary keywords.
Keywords are important because they bridge the gap between your product and what your customers are searching for in Amazon. Everything about keywords is centered around one goal: organic rankings.
It’s important to keep the customer in mind when selecting a keyword. After all, they are going to have to find it, so it must be discoverable and relevant in that niche. This is where keyword research comes in.
Why Do Keyword Research?
As we said earlier, keyword research is a crucial part of Amazon SEO. Amazon views keywords as an important factor for rankings in search results. Get them right, and Amazon will understand what your product is, making it easy for it to show up at the right time in response to a search.
When you know what your target audience is looking for, you can optimize your product listing to deliver the products they want. Different keywords need to be in specific parts of the listing, for example, the primary keywords we mentioned previously must be in the product title.
HQ SEO has this to say on keyword research:
For the majority of businesses, the initial higher searched terms will be very obvious, but understanding what your target market is searching on a more granular level is extremely important and very profitable in the long term.
Overall, keyword research supports not just creating the product, but all marketing and promotion strategies, including email marketing. It will also help with pay per click advertising and competitive research.
Checking out the keywords your competitors are targeting can help you refine your product keyword strategy. The best way to do this is with an Amazon ranking tool. Reverse engineer how they are ranking well for a product similar to your own and employ your own strategy based on the findings.
Understanding Types Of Keywords
Before you start doing keyword research, it’s essential to understand how to classify them.
There are 3 main types of keywords: head, body and longtail:
- Head keywords have the highest search volume and consist of 1-2 words only.
- Body keywords are more specific that head keywords (2 to 3 word phrases) but with less search volume.
- Long tail keywords are 3-4 phases that are very specific to your product description. They will have the lowest search volume of all keywords.
The main difference between each of three is how specific they are to your product. The longer and more specific the keyword, the fewer search results there’ll be when searched.
As an example, let’s look at the basketball shoe niche and the number of search results:
- If we search for “basketball shoes” we get over 30,000 results.
- If we search for “red basketball shoes”, we narrow down to 5,000 results.
- If you search for “red Nike basketball shoes”, it’s cut down to 1,000 results.
Just by adding a few more words into the search bar can make a big difference in terms of product viability. From a visitor’s viewpoint, the more context you add to the search terms, the better the results.
The more specific the search term of keyword the easier it is to rank for, the more generic or competitive the term, the harder it would be.
This is one of the reasons why having good keyword research and creating the correct search terms to target is very important.
Inside Keyworx’ keyword tracker we can see the search terms people are implementing and what they are looking to rank for. Unfortunately this information shows that a lot of sellers have no idea what their potential customers are searching and have no concept of keyword research.
The 2 Minute Guide To Selecting The Right Keywords
If you’ve been in the industry for any amount of time, you’ll know that keyword research comes naturally once you’ve learnt the process. But if you’ve ever tried to explain keyword research or build out an SOP for this, then you’ll know that it’s quite difficult to explain. In the next few paragraphs I’ll run over the exact strategies we use and more importantly why we are building this out.
The reason why keywords are essential is two fold. The first is you want to know what your target audience is looking for. This is inbound marketing we’re essentially doing with Amazon so your customers are already coming to you, looking for what you have, but WHAT keywords are they searching. The second part is we can actually track where we rank for our keywords using Keyworx Amazon ranking tools and then actually move to rank these and improve in the process. Because higher organic rankings = higher profits.
Because we’re looking to make this guide as beginner friendly as possible we’ve included 2 strategies that don’t involve the use of paid tools and can be done within 2 minutes.
Strategy 1: Family & Friends (& Randomers)
Simply ask your family, friends, co-workers and strangers if needs be what they would search to find “this product”. The “this product” is key because we’re looking for their answers so do not position them in any way by saying what you believe the product is.
Note down all variations and terms they state, as well as making sure they expand on these, asking what others or variations might you search. This is a very easy and free way to get some good data.
This works even better if you are surrounded by your target market. For example if you are in the gym and thinking of launching a gym or fitness related product, then remember to simply ask everyone around. Just state you’re doing some market research for your product. 2 questions; 1.) What would you search in Amazon if you wanted one of these? and 2.) How do you think this could be improved. 2 very simple questions that will give you tons of data for your business and extremely useful information to work from.
Strategy 2: Amazon Search
If you have a very obvious product core keywords (this is usually the case.) If someone asked you out of the blue, what do you sell on Amazon – What are the 2 words you say? Usually it’s as simple as; laptop stands, computer charges, chairs, tools, pens, MP3s etc.
Start with these core keywords and then head over to….. Amazon (shocker).
Enter these keywords and check 2 things.
The first is what your competitors are using in their titles, we can see all titles very quickly and build a huge keyword list out. For example if our core keyword was “laptop stand” we can get dozens of ideas from competitors titles as per the below screenshot.
Strategy 2 is a little more granular but involves searching your core keyword in Amazon and running through the recommended searches. This is what Amazon thinks you are looking for. We’ve all seen this on Amazon and Google but it’s incredibly effective (screenshot below.)
How To Select Search Terms For Keyworx
Once you have your core group of keywords, you want to pick between 10-50 depending on how many larger ones you have, and then enter these into Keyworx. Keyworx will then automatically find your product based on the ASINs you’ve entered and track your organic rankings on a daily basis.
Advanced Keyword Strategies
Amazon’s A9 algorithm is constantly evolving so if you want customers to find your product, using the right keywords is extremely important.
We’ll now cover some more advanced concepts in the area of keyword research.
Latent Semantic Indexing
There is another term to be aware of when it comes to keyword research and that is semantic keywords. These are related to latent semantic indexing (LSI). LSI is when search engines associate your search terms with different products to find what you’re actually searching for.
For example, if we search for the term “Dodgeball” into Amazon, the search engine would use the context you provide with other search terms to decide whether you’re looking for products that relate to the sport or the movie.
See this small snippet from Higher Visibility’s infographic:
LSI helps search engines provide the most relevant results when people search. The best keyword research strategies will find LSI keywords to use in their product listings. To see it in action first hand, start typing a random keyword into the Amazon search bar and look at the autocomplete results. As more words are added to provide context to the original search term, the list will change.
It all comes back to choosing the correct keywords for your products; use semantic keywords to give products context and more potential relevance and reach.
Understanding Keyword Intent
However you describe keywords, it’s not just enough to understand whether they are short, medium or long tail. To make the most of keywords for Amazon products, it’s important to understand the intent of the searcher who uses them.
As usual, there are different ways of describing keyword intent. There is a great piece by Practical Ecommerce where they describe all the variations but for Amazon, only the following are relevant:
A lot of queries on Amazon are searching for general information.
Keywords with informational intent are not likely to lead to an immediate sale. However, they give an idea of how your products engage with potential customers. Choose keywords that a visitor would use to solve a problem.
One of the most efficient ways to do this is through a keyword tracker and seeing which phrases are proving popular search terms.
For example, if you are looking for “how to ride a bike”, Amazon will show products that will help the searcher learn the skills.
This is the line between researching an Amazon product and going out and buying it.
Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, said:
Researching the best brand of digital cameras for an upcoming purchase qualifies as investigational intent. It’s not directly transactional, and may never result in an exchange of goods, services, or monies, but they’re it’s not purely informational either.
Potential customers may be using keywords with investigational intent to try to compare products or retailers. They might be investigating seasonal differences in price. Or they could be trying to deepen their understanding.
Keywords with transactional intent are used by visitors that are ready to make a purchase. These are the ‘holy grail’ of all keywords.
However, it’s less likely that transactional intent is less important when it comes to the Amazon search engine compared to Google. Remember, Amazon is an online retailer and so customers searching are going to purchase here, rather than comparing prices to other online stores.
Avoid Broad Keywords
This is best described by looking at an example of a clothes store.
Now, the keyword ‘clothes’ does a decent job in describing what the store is selling. Imagine this store sold all different types of clothing. To rank highly in the search results for the term ‘clothes’ would be the dream scenario. In reality, if the store is not one of authority already, it will not be a profitable keyword. Relevant traffic will be diverted elsewhere due to the extremely high competition.
For the clothes store, it becomes far better to start targeting keywords such as ‘men’s t-shirts’ or ‘women’s jeans’. The change in wording has a dramatic effect on the search results. The competition may still be there, but it will be far less fierce than going after a term that covers an extensive number of items like ‘clothes’. This is true for both PPC campaigns and organic rankings in Amazon. The more specific the keywords, the better the product viewings will convert to a sale, which in turn boosts rankings.
These keywords are sometimes known as ‘vanity’ keywords. By doing a search for the broadest keyword, the product likely winning the space is the one that shows up first. However, by narrowing down and creating specific keywords, the return on investment is far greater.
When you know how to categorize the keywords you find in your research, you can use this information to help with product listing strategies and to ensure that the customers’ needs are met wherever they find the information.
Keyword Selection Tips
So now that the importance of choosing the correct keywords has been discussed, here are a few tips on how to choose them.
Pick Good Phrases
Keyword generation should start simply with answering the question of “What products or services do you sell?”
Going back to the basketball shoes niche, choosing to use the keywords ‘basketball’ and ‘shoes’ separately, would be poor. On their own, neither do a great job actually describing what the business is selling.
This may seem pretty obvious but it’s not uncommon. Make sure to use bigger, precise and relevant keywords. In fact:
This goes to show the importance of longtail keywords.
Adhere To Amazon’s SEO Structure
Amazon has a very specific way they want their sellers to input information for their own search engine so follow it.
In a way, it’s easier than formulating SEO for Google because Amazon’s already done their own research. They want certain types of words and phrases that’ll result in conversions because their main aim is to sell products, so give them what they want.
Each product should be aiming to convert to a sale and Amazon’s structure wants relevant keywords to make that happen.
Use A Tool For Ideas
They won’t give you perfect keywords but if you’re struggling for ideas, they’re a good place to start.
Tools like the Google Keyword Planner provide a large volume of keyword ideas. The search volumes here are based on Google searches.
From here, enter them into the tracker tool to see which ones rank the best for certain products.
Tailor Keywords According To Competitiveness
This doesn’t relate directly to other sellers in your niche competing for the business. Instead, keywords are competing against one another. Choosing keywords that aren’t so ‘mainstream’ can give you access to a market no one else is targeting.
The ideal scenario is discovering keywords that are high in search volume and low in competition. However, finding these is going to take time and a bit of luck. The more research, the better the chances.
In terms of competitors, especially for those in competitive niches, do a quick search to see which products are ranking at the top. From here, track what keywords are they are ranking for.
Utilize Sponsored Ads
Sponsored Ads, or PPC ads, can be another great tool for keyword research. With Automatic ads, Amazon shows a product as a sponsored ad for what it considers to be relevant keywords based on its information. After an Automatic Ad campaign, download a keyword report and figure out which keywords the product performed best for.
The keywords that converted the best should be considered primary keywords. All other future keywords should be built around this result.
Choosing the right keywords is an important decision for any Amazon business launching a product. Tracking how these keywords perform will help decide those to pursue.