Amazon likes to constantly keep sellers and vendors on their toes by updating and adjusting their ranking algorithm. And while it has been quiet for a little while on that front – our two last big updates on changes in the SEO ranking algorithm were in January 2019 (Keyword FAQs) and October 2018 (Weighing of keyword fields in product listings) – Amazon has now quietly introduced some fresh updates in Seller Central.
Disclaimer: Despite extensive and comprehensive testing, individual products or categories might vary in their ranking behavior.
Amazon Search Term Changes for Sellers – Information on the Amazon Help Page
Please note: The information on the Amazon help page is not entirely correct or precise. Please also see the next part about what actually changed.
The last Search Term Update from August 2018 saw the reduction of Search Term length to 249 bytes, including spaces and punctuation.
In their Seller Central Help section on ‘Search Terms’, Amazon now states that the Search Term length limit of fewer than 250 bytes does not include spaces and punctuation anymore.
Amazon’s statement in the help section:
Amazon Search Term Changes for Sellers – What actually changed
After we found Amazon’s update on their Seller Central Help Section, we straight away put the changes to the test. We found that the information in the help section is not entirely correct or precise. Here are our test results:
- The BYTE COUNTER is currently not aligned with the INDEXATION LIMIT
- Spaces and selected punctuation are in fact no longer counted by the BYTE COUNTER of the search term field in Seller Central
- BUT: Spaces and all kinds of punctuation are still counted for the INDEXATION LIMIT
- ALSO: the INDEXATION LIMIT was increased by 1 byte to 250 bytes in total (including spaces and punctuation)
- This means: BYTE COUNTER and the INDEXATION LIMIT currently work with different ways to count. The BYTE COUNTER allows you to add more search terms than are actually indexed. I.e. if you use the full length allowed by the byte counter, your search terms that exceed the 250 byte limit incl. spaces and punctuation are not indexed. To be precise: If your search term starts before the limit but ends at 251 bytes or more (incl. spaces and punctuation), it will not be indexed.
- So make sure your search terms don’t exceed 250 bytes incl. spaces and punctuation to be fully indexed
- Please note: Even if your search terms in total exceed the indexation limit (250 bytes incl. spaces and punctuation), the search terms at the beginning of the field (that are within this limit) are still indexed. Amazon will not ignore all your search terms.
Amazon Search Term Optimization – Recommended Actions
The changes above only apply to Seller Accounts – so far we have detected no changes for Vendors.
What does that mean for you?
We recommend sellers to avoid placing your most important search terms at the end of your backend search term field, especially if you are making full use of the available character space. To be on the safe side, you should count the bytes of your search terms yourself and make sure you stay within the 250 bytes including spaces and punctuation.
You can also use the Sellics SEO tools of the Seller Edition and Vendor Edition. Both provide a backend keyword generator that automatically creates a set of search terms that is within the limit and will be fully indexed. This backend keyword generator will always be updated to reflect the current indexation limits.
TIP: Easily and automatically create fully indexed backend keywords with Sellics. Start your free trial now!
Stay tuned for the latest Amazon SEO updates
Updates to the Amazon ranking algorithm and particularly search terms are frequent and often unannounced. It is therefore likely that future changes are around the corner.
Make sure to sign up for our newsletter (seller newsletter or vendor newsletter) to get all important updates. We will continue to keep an eye out for you and inform you of all the important changes that could affect your success on Amazon.
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