Update 11/06/2019: Amazon regularly adjusts rules for backend keywords. We have updated this post to reflect current changes. First published April 2017.
What are Amazon Search Terms?
Amazon search terms are keywords that shoppers use to find products. Amazon’s A9 algorithm matches customer searches with the terms included in product listing backend and compiles relevant products for search results. Backend search terms field is limited to 250 bytes excluding spaces and punctuation.
Every day, more than 2.65 billion people use Amazon.com to find their favourite products online. Out of these 2 billion visitors, the overwhelming majority uses the search bar to narrow down their search and find exactly what they are looking for.
Source: Statista 2019
Products on Amazon can only be found via search if they contain all of the keywords a customer entered in the search query. That’s why the most important rule in search terms optimization on Amazon is:
To make sure that your products are listed for as many search term combinations as possible, you need to equip your Amazon listing with as many relevant product keywords as possible.
There are multiple ways to enrich your product listing with Amazon keywords. One way is by entering relevant listing keywords to the title, bullet points and product description. Another way to optimize your product listing for customer searches is the backend – often referred to as Amazon search terms.
In this article, we will show you how to:
- find the right keywords for Amazon SEO (with examples)
- and do Amazon backend search terms optimization properly
For a deep dive into how the Amazon algorithm works and a complete guide to product listing and Amazon keyword optimization, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Amazon SEO.
Below we have summarized the most important take-aways from this post, which we will then cover in more depth afterwards.
Optimization: How to Use Search Terms in Amazon Seller Central?
Summary of Amazon search terms guidelines:
- Don’t exceed the 249 character limit
- Use only relevant search terms and key phrases
- Cover all possible keywords but avoid repetition
- Use hyphens to match different spelling variants
- Don’t use the ‘platinum keywords’ field for words
- Avoid brand names, irrelevant, and ‘filler’ words
- Don’t include product names, ASINs or UPC codes
- Separate keywords with spaces instead of commas
- Other punctuation marks should also be omitted
- Never use offensive vocabulary or false claims
+ Hint: analyze search terms of at least 5 competitors
Let’s have a closer look at Amazon Search terms and how to use them effectively.
What are backend keywords on Amazon?
Amazon backend keywords are search terms that Amazon sellers and vendors can add to the backend of their product listing. These Amazon keywords are used by Amazon’s A9 algorithm to compile relevant products for search results. Optimizing Amazon search terms in the backend thereby increases the chance of being found and making a sale.
What are Amazon Platinum Keywords?
Amazon platinum keywords were set up for Platinum Merchants to structure their store front. While you can add product keywords into these fields, they will not make a difference to your SEO or ranking. While we usually recommend to make the most of all the keyword fields available, platinum keywords can be ignored by most sellers.
What are style keywords on Amazon?
Style keywords are another category of Amazon keywords that can be added to your product listing. In comparison to other product keywords, these are used to put the product into certain categories. These respond to filters that customers can apply in the left navigation bar to better sort through their search results.
The different types of style keywords include Target Audience, Subject Matter, Other Attributes, and Intended Use. When entering these style keywords into your product listing, Amazon offers fixed options that can be selected via a drop-down menu. Your product can only appear in filtered search results if you have applied this classification – so make sure you don’t miss out on this traffic.
Prioritize keywords in Amazon Seller Central backend
Amazon has once again changed the character restrictions for Seller Central backend search fields. As of August 2018, Amazon is only indexing 249 characters in the backend search fields. Additionally, spaces, commas and hyphens are now included into the character count. We’ve seen Amazon roll out these changes incrementally, however sellers should be proactive and readjust their backend keywords immediately in light of these changes.
Prioritize and drill down to a list of the most relevant keywords for your product. Amazon treats the entire field as a coherent set of search terms so keyword location or relative distance of keywords from one another is irrelevant. So to cover different combinations of keywords (e.g. “cream face” and “cream eyes”), it’s not necessary to repeat any keywords.
Therefore, you should aim to enter as many unique keywords per field as you can.
- Want more tips and information about Amazon SEO? Check out our Sellics Academy.
Tips on saving characters in Seller Central backend search fields
Here are some tips to help you save space when entering Amazon search terms into the back end of Seller Central. Even cutting down on a few characters will allow you to add some extra terms!
Avoid repetitions by using hyphenated keywords: Two words connected by a hyphen cover all possible combinations and the individual words at the same time. For instance, the keyword “anti-aging” covers “anti”, “aging”, “anti-aging”, “anti aging” and “antiaging”.
Furthermore, you don’t have to distinguish between singular and plural forms as both will be included in the search automatically.
Likewise, there is no distinction between upper and lower case letters.
Filler words and stop words are also omitted in the search and should thus be left out.
Exclamation points should by all means be avoided as they cause a product to only be listed if a search query exactly matches the queried phrase.
And finally, to separate keywords you should just use single spaces – commas are not required and just take up valuable character space.
All rules are summarized again in the following table using the example of a night cream:
Amazon Search Terms Example: Implementation of ‘Night Cream’
The following examples illustrate a bad and a good implementation of filling the Amazon search term fields in Seller Central backend. The aim is to achieve optimal keyword coverage for a night cream.
Bad Search Terms Optimization
In the first example, Amazon search terms were not used optimally, because:
- Platinum keywords were used although these will be ignored (it won’t hurt you to fill them out but it won’t help you either)
- Words were separated by commas which is not necessary but counts towards the character limit
- Keywords were repeated unnecessarily:
- “night cream” and “cream” were repeated in several combinations
- Anti-aging was repeated in two variations (“anti-aging” and “anti aging“) although both keywords are covered by using a hyphen (“anti-aging“)
- Unnecessary filler words were used (“skin cream for night“)
- Keywords of little relevance were used (“cheap night cream“)
- In this example, not all search terms are taken into account by Amazon for the reasons indicated earlier. Moreover, space for keywords is unnecessarily occupied and not wisely used. The night cream is available for fewer queries than what would have been possible!
Good Implementation of Amazon Search Terms
In the second example, the use of search terms was implemented well, because:
- ‘Platinum keywords’ field was not used for keywords
- The available space has been utilized
- Keyword repetitions were avoided here
- Keywords were used only once
- Hyphens were used to cover several variations of compound and separate spelling
- Filler words were not used
- No use of irrelevant keywords
In this optimization example, all relevant search terms are considered by Amazon. The space is utilized effectively so that more keywords are covered and the night cream listing will show up for many more search queries – therefore increasing that product’s visibility on Amazon. A higher visibility most always results in a higher amount of clicks.
Find new keywords, compare Amazon search volume data, track keyword rankings, and much more with our complete Amazon SEO tool.