Amazon Keyword Research: How to Do it and Why it Matters

Ariel Dearth

Table of Contents

Your consumer arrives at Amazon.com with intent to fill a need. They want to know what you can do to solve their problem. A click in the search bar and a few strokes of the keys, and they’ve described exactly what they’re looking for. They are presented with a carefully crafted selection of products that the search algorithm has deemed the most worthy. Did your product make the cut? Without thoroughly executed and implemented Amazon keyword research, the answer is no. 

Why Perform Amazon Keyword Research? 

The reality of the search engine results page (SERP) is that 16 out of the first 20 product results are ads. Ad space is taking up ever growing swatches of prime real estate on the page. This means everyone in your aisle is competing to rank organically for just 4 coveted spots.  

How do you conquer organic SERP placement and claim victory? By conducting search engine optimization (SEO).  

SEO is the process of ensuring the search algorithm shows your product to the largest volume of qualified traffic. This is done by maintaining a high seller rating, high customer ratings, and placing carefully chosen keywords within your content to prove to the search algorithm that your product/brand is the most relevant and best buying experience the shopper could have. 

What is Amazon Keyword Research?

The next question is: how do you create the carefully chosen keyword list necessary for successful SEO? The answer: Keyword research.  

Amazon Keyword Research is the process of discovering the phrases that reach your target audience as efficiently and completely as possible on this marketplace. Once you know what terms are best for your efforts, you can add them into your title, bullet points, description and search term fields to tell the algorithm who your product should be shown to.  

How Does Research for Amazon Differ From Google? 

The overall mechanics of conducting keyword research for Amazon is very similar to that of Google or Bing. The difference is how people search. Searchers go to Google with questions. Type “What type of pan should I cook meatloaf in?” into Google and it will display several snippets and provide recommendations.

Google’s algorithm decided the intent behind our query was informational, meaning we wanted to answer a question. Click on the Shopping tab and you’re provided with many choices of specially designed meatloaf pans that can be purchased across the internet, including some from Amazon.

By switching to this tab, you’re showing Google your intent is commercial: you’re looking to buy something! Searchers on Google may have many different intents, but on Amazon, searchers are only there to shop. They may be at different stages within the sales funnel, but Amazon’s algorithm knows whatever they search for, the answer will be products.  

Because of this, searchers do not ask Amazon questions. Instead, they will search for: 

  • Name of a product Ex: Loaf pan 
  • Brand name Ex: Acme pans 
  • What they think the product is called Ex: bread tin 
  • What competitors call their products Ex: Meatloaf-O-Matic 

This is why you must use keyword research tools that harvest search results from Amazon as opposed to researching what is queried in a search engine. SEO for Google educates; SEO for Amazon converts.  

Free Tools vs Paid Tools 

Search volume and keyword popularity shift every day, which means Listings must be reoptimized every quarter at minimum. Regularly introducing new products is another reason to have a robust keyword tool at your fingertips.  

Which tool you choose is up to your preferences, your budget, and your expertise level. Here are a few examples of Amazon keyword research tools available: 

Many of these tools offer a free version to help you decide what you’re most comfortable using. Whichever tool you choose, the research strategy will be similar. You’ll also need to combine paid tools with free resources that are already at your fingertips: 

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner 
  • The SERP 
  • Competitor’s listings 
  • Customer reviews 

I will explain how to utilize each of these free tools within your keyword research process. 

How to Execute Amazon Keyword Research 

You’ve built your keyword toolbox, but how do you utilize those tools to execute efficient and meaningful research to set your listing apart? Let’s walk through the process, using dog beds as an example. 

Step 1 – Initial Brainstorm 

Brainstorm terms you associate with your product. Start simple. Most keyword tools will have a list feature to collect words for later. In our case, your original list might start with:

  • Dog bed
  • Dog cushion
  • Large breed dog bed
  • Medium breed dog bed
  • Small breed dog bed
  • Pet beds

Input each of these into your keyword tool and see how successful these terms are likely to be. Assess them based on:  

  • Search volume – How many eyes the term has the potential to reach. Remember that lower volumed keywords still have value if they bring in more specifically qualified traffic. 
  • Difficulty to rank – Very popular terms become highly competitive. Focusing on terms with a high difficulty to rank can be just as fruitless as keywords with little to no search volume. That’s not to say you can’t include them, but don’t rely on their presumed traffic. 
  • Trending – Many tools show if keyword popularity is waxing or waning. This can indicate seasonality or a shift in terminology. 

Searching your seed keywords will also give you a list of related words you might not have thought of. Evaluate search volume, difficulty to rank, trending and other provided metrics and add them to your list. Add as many potentially useful keywords to your list as you find. We will weed through them later. 

The penultimate keyword has high search volume (10k+, unless it’s a very specific term that only applies to your niche audience), mid to low difficulty to rank, positive trending, and is relevant to your audience and no one else.  

Step 2 – Keyword Relevancy 

Some paid tools provide a relevancy score, but you can also determine relevancy on your own. Go to Amazon’s search bar and type in the keyword and see what comes up. If every listing on the SERP is a direct competitor, the term is relevant. If there is a mix very different from what you’re offering, consumers will have a tougher time finding your products. 

High Relevancy: 

Lower Relevancy:

Similarly to high-competition keywords, lower-relevancy keywords still have their place, but they should only be implemented once all high-relevancy terms have been implemented. 

Extra Brainstorming Help 

If you hit a road block in brainstorming, use Google Ad’s Keyword Planner Tool to expand your initial list. Remember, not all Google keywords will have the same success on Amazon, but the broader nature of the search engine can open your thought process. 

Step 3 – Expand Keywords List 

In the first wave of keywords, you defined your product. Now step back and ask more questions. These terms might not have high search volume, but they can gather fringe shoppers who have not realized your product is a solution. 

What issues does the product address? If you’re selling a vitamin C supplement, maybe they don’t know that’s exactly what they want. They’re looking for immune system boosters. In our dog bed example, try “elderly dog products” or “new dog essentials” and look through the related terms.

What other names might consumers call your product? Shopping cart, shopping trolley, basket – not everyone uses the same term. For this example, we would try: 

  • Dog mattress 
  • Pet sleep pad 
  • Puppy sleep cushion (be aware of terms like this! Without the word “sleep”, these results will include throw pillows with puppies printed on them.) 

Are there outside-the-box uses for your product? Think about terms that consumers might be searching for that your product could fit. You’re selling a dog bed, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be used for a cat, especially if it’s a small bed. 

Step 4 – Customer Input 

If you really want to know what terms consumers use to for your product, go to the source and read customer reviews. The example below might inspire us to check the search volume of “dog cushioned pad” and “dog nap mat.”  

Use customer service channels from off-Amazon sales in a similar manner to understand how consumers see your product. 

Step 5 – Competitor Keywords 

Unless your product is first-to-market, chances are someone else is already bringing your potential customers to their listings. Figure out what keywords work for them and capture your own market share. Without a tool, you can manually look through successful competitor listings and decipher which terms they’re using.  

That said, the competitive analysis process is much easier with a paid tool. Start with a search to see who is currently ranking in your favorite keywords. Once you’ve identified your competition, use a reverse ASIN lookup to see what keywords they rank in.  

Note that branded keywords will be listed, but it is against Amazon policy to use competitors brands in your listing.  

Step 6 – Implement Keywords 

Now that you’ve generated this extensive list of keywords, you can filter by search volume, relevancy, trending, and difficulty to rank. Determine a ranking priority and implement them as follows: 

  • Product Title – Insert the top 2-3 keywords. They are most likely the keywords that define your product. 
  • Bullet Points – The first 500 characters of bullet points are crawled by the search algorithm, so implement as many of the top keywords as will comfortably fit and flow naturally. Never prioritize SEO over the experience of the customer who has already arrived.  
  • Description – The full 2000 characters of this field are seen by the Amazon search algorithm. Implement any remaining search terms here. 
  • Search Terms – This is a 250 character back-end field that cannot be directly seen by customers, only by the algorithm. It’s ideal for related terms that do not exactly align with your product, but customers looking for those terms might find your product as a reasonable alternative. For example, if you sell a couch, someone searching for “settee” might think your couch is a solution. You don’t want to visibly call it a settee because it’s not but mentioning it in the non-visible search terms will give it the possibility to show up on the SERP. 

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More About the Author

Ariel Dearth