Just because buyers do not see it, never neglect the act of optimizing the Seller Central backend information of the product listing. The backend information is crucial and it has a huge role in the keyword search optimization. There are a lot of places in the backend where you can provide Amazon with some extra information that will play a meaningful role in your product listing optimization. You might have already heard, earlier this year Amazon upgraded the Seller Central character limits for the backend search terms. This new update allows sellers to have more room than ever before to list additional keywords in a bid to rank them organically. The best part about this is how it will give a direct impact on the discoverability of millions of FBA products for sellers like you.
The backend search terms increased from 250 characters, 5 lines of 50 character each, to 5,000 characters, 5 lines of 1,000 character each. That is a huge difference!
At first the changes seemed sporadic, with only some sellers seeing access to the new limits. However the new change has now been completely rolled out and it’s available to everyone.
Here’s where you can find it:
- From Seller Central click on the Inventory tab.
- Then on the far right you will see ‘Edit’ against each active product.
- Click on the “Edit” button to open the seller backend ‘Edit Product Info’ screen.
- You’ll automatically arrive on the ‘Offer’ tab.
- Click on the ‘Keywords’ tab.
- Here you will find the “Search Terms” section.
So, what does this mean for you, the seller? How can you make the most of the new opportunity and is there anything to be wary of? These are all questions that are buzzing around right now as sellers try and work out the impact of the changes. We’re here to help get you up to date on the action, covering all of this and more in the following article.
What Does This Mean For Sellers?
The expansion of the new 5,000 characters of search terms can be considered highly valuable in helping buyers to discover your products. This update will allow you to add more keywords that will hopefully lead to more traffic. However, do not overuse the additional characters allowed by Amazon because if you throw in a bunch of random keywords just to receive more traffic, this probably won’t help the listing at all. Amazon is constantly watching conversion rates and this change is no different. Amazon will adjust the keyword ranking ability accordingly to relevance and conversion potential. Never forget that Amazon is in the business of making money!
The advice is simple; Always be smart enough only to use the additional characters space to boost traffic to your product listings for your targeted audience. Never over-do it.
So, How Do You Make The Most of This New Upgrade?
If you plan accordingly, 250 characters are enough for most sellers to cover most of the main keywords that will lead targeted traffic to your product on Amazon. However, having extra characters will also allow sellers to put those alternate long-tail keywords in, which often prove to be the most valuable as they convert the best. Most of the time sellers are forced to filter out these keywords because they just do not have enough space for them in the backend or in their listing. But before you go adding every word variation and synonym that you can think of, get familiar with the Amazon rules of Search and Browse terms.
Amazon Do’s and Don’ts
Even though you might thank your lucky stars for the extra keywords you can add into your listing, you must be considerate of what Amazon wants to see. They have outlined their Optimize Listings for Search and Browse requirements here. We recommend that you read it. They have done a great job at outlining their best practices for providing keywords. Some of the things Amazon mentions not to do include (but are not limited to):
- Providing irrelevant and misleading information
- Using overly long content
- Including interim statements
- Common misspellings
- Using terms which are considered offensive and abusive in nature
We’ve summarised the main points below and given some examples to help guide you through as well.
|Use a single space to separate keywords||No commas, semicolons, or carets are required|
|Where possible enter a phrase in the most logical order||No plurals or misspellings, unless it’s super uncommon|
|Use popular abbreviations: Lord of the rings, LOTR||No punctuation variants: 80GB, 80 GB|
|List alternative names: body wash, shower gel||No inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant info|
|Do include synonym versions of your keywords||No redundant information meaning keywords already captured in title, description or bullets|
|No temporarily true statement “new,” “on sale,” “available now”|
|No subjective claims: amazing, good quality, trendy, best seller, etc|
Amazon allows sellers to use the opportunity to include any extra keywords that are related to the products as search terms, style keywords, subject keywords, etc. Also include any features that a user might search for. This is your place to just list everything that you think is relevant. These keywords should be seen as important to buyers and only contain information, which is relevant to the product listing. But what does ‘Relevant’ actually mean?
Relevant to who? Amazon, the buyer…what about how the seller feels?
Let’s look at some examples: Normally most sellers would want to fill out the search term fields with something like this:
|Search Term 1||Body wash|
|Search Term 2||Shower Gel|
|Search Term 3||Bodywash|
|Search Term 4||Shower cream|
|Search Term 5||Moisturizing Shower Oil|
Applying all the rules above, you actually want your search term fields to look something like this:
|Search Term 1||moisturizing body wash natural shower gel mineral|
|Search Term 2||2-in-1 bodywash luxury fresh organic bath pump|
|Search Term 3||cream floral vanilla ultra deep face skin antibacterial|
|Search Term 4||creme women men purifying essential hydration|
|Search Term 5||oil no-soap restore regenerate nourishing milk sensitive|
Some experts suggest that you should put your most valuable keywords in the top 2 rows as it will alert Amazon that these are more important. Whether this is true or not, it certainly can’t hurt. But first, before we start to worry about the order, let us help you gather a long list of potential new keywords to target.
The Ultimate Keyword Collection Tools
Going from 250 to 5,000 characters is a huge jump, so let us help you with collecting an extended list of potential keywords to target. We believe one of the best keyword tools out there is the Keyword Research tool, by AMZFirst (available via a paid subscription). One advantage of using our Keyword Research tool is that it’s powered by Amazon’s search suggestions. These are the suggested phrases that start to appear as you type in the Amazon search box.
Here’s an example of the ‘Search suggestions’ for body wash.
As you can see, apart from the keyword phrase body wash, Amazon is also suggesting body wash for men, for women or particular brands of body wash. Even though you only see a few search suggestions here, the Keyword Research Tool sees them all. If you’ve never used our Keyword Research tool we have a great guide here, including a video tutorial on how to use it.
In order to systematically collect additional relevant keywords for the purpose of updating your Seller Central backend, we’d recommend searching for one phrase at a time, known as the seed keyword.
See the screenshot below of a seed keyword search for “body wash”. Under the keyword suggestions you may notice that after the top 10 results, the list then reverts to alphabetical order. These top 10 results are the top suggestions from the Amazon suggested search box, with the remainder simply being relevant variations of those.
While it’s important to know the top results and have them covered, the trailing keyword phrases will definitely help to expose some new synonyms for any seller. Note down the potential terms and then enter your next main keyword. Repeat the process until you have exhausted any new potential results.
More Ways to Extract Search Terms
The next best thing to using Amazon’s data for search terms is using the information buyers give freely on the Amazon platform everyday. What do I mean by this?
I’m talking about the product Q&A’s and the customer reviews, be it for your product or your competitors. Reading these two sections is like finding gold when you want to get inside the mind of your buyer.
- What do they like?
- Which features do they talk about?
- What doesn’t work…
How do they describe a product or even better is how do they describe the results of the product? Hiding in all this text are the words describing your product in the eyes of the buyer. Read them, study them and start thinking the way that the buyer does and I’m sure you’ll soon see plenty more potential search terms to use to help make your product more discoverable in the Amazon search results.
Pay to Play Search Terms
If you’re running Amazon Sponsored Products ads then you have the ability to see exactly what search term a buyer used to find your product. It’s called a Search Term report, and it’s exactly what the name says. A report of the exact search term a customer used in order for your product to display on Amazon. However the caveat is, that unless you’re paying for ads currently with Amazon, then you’re not entitled to see the reports. So it’s a pay to play situation with having access to the search term reports.
If you aren’t regularly downloading and analysing these reports, you should be!
Buzz terms come and go all the time, so you need to keep on top of what’s the going search term at any given time. Sort the report by orders and clicks, not by impressions.
Just because a term has a high amount of impressions, this doesn’t mean it’s relevant to the buyer unless then they show intent to buy. Clicks shows show an interaction with the buyer, as a step closer to a purchase and this makes it a much more valuable search term then one with a lot of impressions. Obviously a term which results in a sale is the most valuable and it leads to a buyer to open opening their wallet.
Take a look through your search terms and note down on your new potential keyword list any additional phrases which hadn’t come up in any of the two previous activities. Then, take your updated list of keywords and sort them using the do’s and don’ts above. Remove any duplicate words, or plurals of which I’m sure you found many.
Now, get them into your backend search term fields and wait for the results. However, just because you’ve added these new keyword strings, it doesn’t mean that Amazon is going to like every word. You’ll need to test the new keywords and see if they’ve been picked up by Amazon or rejected as irrelevant.
Testing Your Backend Search Term Keywords
It’s going to take a little trial and error to get your search terms updated and working well for you. The first thing we’d suggest is testing the new keyword string after 24 hours of making the change to see if Amazon are indexing your product now for these.
Testing Your Search Term String for Indexing
To test whether your five fields of search term are indexed or otherwise; copy a string (the entire search term row) of characters from a field and try searching it in Amazon.
You will be indexed if your product shows up in the results.
If no results are available for that string, or your product wasn’t one of them, that means this search term field was not indexed completely.
This means you may have done something wrong, which caused all of your keywords not to work when the string was searched. Maybe there was a double up in there you missed, or maybe you already used a keyword in your title.
Repeat the process and check how you went for all 5 search term rows.
How’d you go?
5/5 or was it only 2/5 that passed?
You must have an irrelevant or inappropriate term in there, which may block the rest of the terms. No one knows for sure if this is the case or not but what most sellers agree upon is that when you give Amazon the information they want, in the way they want it, your rankings seem to improve.
So we’d suggest you figure out the dud keywords and remove them.
Here’s how to do just that!
Solving the Problem Keyword/s
You can try testing for some blocked words, it’s just going to take a little time, and a lot of trial and error. To solve the problem of dud keywords, try searching for your ASIN in conjunction with a word, phrase or set of words.
Again, if your listing shows up on top, that means your product is being indexed for that keyword. But if the listing doesn’t appear or it shows as other found results minus a few keywords (meaning some are crossed out like below), it could mean that one or more of the words or phrases are not associated with your product.
If you used just one word and the result was a no-go, then Amazon is suggesting that keyword as ‘irrelevant’ for your product. We’d recommend that you drop it, and if possible find a different variation that works.
Repeat the search process on each keyword until you determine which are ok and those that are a bust. Go back into your Seller Central backend and tidy up the search term fields.
Remember keep everything relevant and keep Amazon happy.
If used correctly, this upgraded character limit will bring more benefits to the sellers who take advantage of it correctly.
However, if used incorrectly, sellers can expect to achieve lower conversion rates and risk action from Seller Performance.
So don’t go and fill in all 5,000 characters with just any word you can think of. Not abiding by the rules set by Amazon is always a dangerous game. Or potentially diluting your valuable keywords with hundreds of unimportant one’s isn’t a winning strategy either.
Time to Take Action!
So, now that we’ve covered the entire process of how to optimize your keyword list in your Seller Central backend for Amazon’s updated character limit, let’s recap the steps so that you can start taking action:
- Obtain a long list of relevant keywords. We suggest using our Keyword Research tool to assist with this.
- Filter the list of keywords in accordance with Amazon’s Do’s and Don’ts. Remove the words which aren’t needed.
- Sort the list of keywords in order of relevance and natural phrases.
- Add your new keyword list in your Seller Central backend.
- Remember the most important or valuable keywords go into the top 2 search term rows.
- Place keywords into a logical order of what a potential customer may search for.
- After 24 hours, test each of the 5 new keyword strings for indexing.
- Problem solve any strings which don’t return your product in the results.
- Adjust your keyword list in your Seller Central backend.
- Monitor your ranking in AMZFirst to watch for changes in your listings performance.
You have the opportunity to add more keywords but only do so if it makes sense to add extra relevant terms. There are advantages and disadvantages to this expansion of character limits. Always remember not to over-do your keywords because Amazon is more likely than not watching what you’re doing as a Seller.