December 13, 2023

Improve Your Rankings with Amazon Search Terms Optimization

Amazon search terms are the specific keywords that shoppers input into the search bar while searching for products. Optimizing these search terms effectively can greatly enhance your product's visibility and ranking, which in turn can lead to a boost in sales and profitability.

You might also be familiar with Amazon backend keywords. These are a set of hidden keywords inputted into a designated field in your Amazon seller account. Amazon's algorithm utilizes these keywords to enhance the matching of your product with pertinent search queries.

It's important to note that the backend keywords field is restricted to 249 bytes, not to be confused with 249 characters. The distinction lies in the fact that each character may consume varying amounts of bytes, depending on its specific encoding.

In the past, unscrupulous sellers abused Amazon search terms to make their listings appear as top results. This prompted Amazon to evolve its algorithm and introduce the aforementioned 249-byte character limit for search terms. Sellers now must be more tactical and thoughtful in selecting the most appropriate keywords for their product listings.

In this guide, we share tips on how to discover relevant search terms and how to abide by the best practices to ensure your products are visible in Amazon search results.

  1. Compile all relevant keywords
  2. Pick the best keywords that describe your product
  3. Utilize relevant keywords in your Amazon listings
  4. Don't repeat keywords
  5. Remove punctuations and stop words in backend keywords
  6. Never use ASIN as a search term
  7. Avoid using hyperbole and sales-y words

1. Compile all relevant keywords

Keywords will be the foundation of your Amazon listing so the first step is to conduct keyword research to discover all the possible words and phrases potential customers use to find products.

Conducting keyword research is pretty easy. Imagine you're the buyer, what keywords would you put in the search box to find the stuff you want? Try it out and you'll start seeing some patterns and keywords you've never noticed before.

Another technique in keyword research is to use the auto-complete feature in the Amazon search bar.

auto-complete feature in amazon search box

Adding “for,” "with,” and other prepositions will reveal more possible keywords you can use.

prepositions reveal more relevant keywords in amazon search results

You should also add to your list words that are synonymous or somewhat related to your product. If you're selling couches, you may also use key phrases like "love seats", "sofa beds", or "sofa sets" as your search terms.

You can also spy on your competitors and see what keywords they are included in their product listings. There's no need to reinvent the wheel and you mustn't shy away from using some keywords your competitors are using.

Depending on your target market, you may also use translations of your Amazon search terms. If you sell bath soap, you may use "jabon de bano" as a secondary search term.

If you want to automate keyword research, you can try SEMRush Amazon Keyword Wizard. This is a paid tool but it's pretty nifty as it lists all possible relevant keywords for you.

2. Pick the best keywords that describe your product

If you're new or if your Amazon seller rank is still low, you should target long-tail keywords first. Very specific keywords, like "gaming laptops for streaming", aren't utilized by other sellers and are typically easy to rank for.

Using high-competition keywords from the get-go will definitely give you a high ceiling when it comes to potential customers but it's extremely difficult to rank for them.

3. Utilize relevant keywords in your Amazon listings

Once you've identified the most relevant keywords with low competition, it's time to use them in your product listings to enhance their ranking and visibility.

Place your primary and secondary keywords strategically in your product title, description, bullet points, and backend search terms to improve searchability. You may also the primary keyword to name the images for maximum effect.

difference between backend search terms and amazon search terms

But be cautious not to cram these keywords into your content as this can lead to penalties that will negatively impact your listing's ranking. Be also mindful of the 249-byte character limit for search terms. Exceeding the limit will have dire consequences for your Amazon listing.

If you want your product listing to be more visible in search results, check out another guide we've written about Amazon product listing optimization.

4. Don't repeat keywords

While incorporating your keywords into your Amazon listings is essential, it's equally essential to steer clear of redundancy or keyword stuffing. This means refraining from using the same keyword multiple times in your search terms and avoiding keywords already used in your product title, description, or bullet points.

Remember, using the same keyword multiple times doesn't affect the ranking of your product listings. It only has a negative impact.

This rule also applies to plural and singular nouns. Stick to either one, there's no reason to use both. For instance, you should only use "surround sound speakers" as a backend keyword and search term and not "surround sound speaker".

5. Remove punctuations and stop words in backend keywords

The A9 algorithm disregards periods, commas, and other punctuation marks. Stop words such as "an," "a," or "and" are also ignored by the algorithm. There's no need to use them on backend keywords, you'd only be wasting valuable character space.

Speaking of space, separate words with spaces only.

6. Never use ASIN as a search term

It's against the guidelines to use your Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) as a search term or as backend keywords. Doing so will result in penalties or the removal of your product listings.

never use asin in search terms or backend keywords

7. Avoid using hyperbole and sales-y words

Exaggerated or subjective words like "super" or "top of the line" are against Amazon's product listings best practices and should never be used coupled with backend keywords or search terms. It's also not a good idea to add promotional phrases or words like "huge discount" or "as seen in shark tank" because it's kinda spammy or gimmicky.

Serphead can optimize Amazon search terms for you

If you're still reading this guide, thanks for sticking around. May the knowledge you gained help you discover the right search terms for your product listings.

‍If you need help or need to outsource Amazon search terms optimization, we'd be more than happy to take that on for you. Contact us today and our seasoned Amazon SEO professionals will optimize your product listings and make them stand out from other sellers on Amazon.

‍FAQs about Amazon search terms

Can shoppers see the backend keywords?

Potential customers cannot see the backend keywords used in a product listing. Only the seller can see these hidden keywords from their dashboard.

Why is there a 249-byte character limit?

The character limit was implemented to enhance the overall user experience. If unlimited characters can be used, backend keywords will be spammy and it will be hard for shoppers to find the stuff they're looking for.

Picking the right keywords and using them appropriately is so important for Amazon search term optimization because of the character limit.

Can a product listing without keywords appear in relevant search results?

Based on personal experience, we haven't seen a product listing without search terms appear on the first page of Amazon search results.

This is why we stress the use of relevant long-tail keywords in Amazon search term optimization as it gives your listing a fighting chance to appear in search results.

Can you add special characters in search terms or backend keywords?

Hiragana, katakana, kanji, Cyrillic, and Arabic characters are also allowed in keywords. However, these special characters are bigger than 1 byte so use them sparingly.

Are there other Amazon keyword research tools?

Aside from SEMRush, you can also use SimilarWeb and Ahrefs Amazon Keyword Tool to help you conduct keyword research. There are other tools from lesser-known software publishers but they aren't as good as the three in discovering the right keywords.

Sergei Ivanov

Sergei Ivanov

Co-Founder and CEO of Serphead

Sergei has more than a decade of experience blending data-driven insights with SEO strategies to enhance online visibility and user engagement. He has been providing practical guidance for businesses and individuals navigating the digital landscape since 2012.