The Golden Rules of Amazon Listing Optimization

This post was written by our friends at MerchentWords for the TurnKey Success Blog

In 2018, Amazon beat Google as the destination for 54% of all online product searches. As an Amazon Seller, this is important for two reasons. Firstly, this means more people than ever are accessing Amazon regularly, which increases your potential customer base. Secondly, due to the fundamental difference in nature between Google and Amazon, that means more people are shopping online. Therefore, not only the quantity of potential shoppers has gone up, but the quality as well.

The primary difference between searching on Google versus searching on Amazon is the intent. Keywords that come from Google are research-based; their primary purpose is to deliver information. Whereas keywords that originate from Amazon are purchase-based, they drive a sale. That means that it’s more important than ever before to ensure your keyword data is current, accurate, and properly placed.

There are two types of purchase-based keywords you can use to optimize your listing and ad campaigns: top-of-the-funnel and long tail. 

 Top-of-the-funnel keywords are broad seed keywords that have high search volumes like “shirt” or “phone case.” 

Long tail keywords are phrases with two or more words with lower search volumes that tend to be specific to the product you’re selling or a niche audience. In the example above, some long tail keywords would be “workout shirts for women” or “clear iphone 6s case.”

You need to include both to ensure customers can find your listing and then purchase your product once they’re there. High traffic with low conversion rates leads to little profit; while low traffic with high conversion rates leave money on the table.

Listing Optimization

There are four key elements to an Amazon listing: product name, product features, description, and search terms. Amazon’s algorithm looks at each of them differently, so it’s essential to know which keywords to place where. Let’s go through each one individually. 

Product Name 

Your product name (aka title) should include top-of-the-funnel keywords that accurately describe your product. A concise and relevant title will improve search results, catch a customer’s attention, and drive traffic to your product. Each keyword in your title should be relevant to your product and searchable on its own. 

When formatting your title include the brand, product, and critical attributes like size, color, and quantity. Search each of these qualities individually in your keyword tool of choice. Find relevant keywords with high search volumes and place them in your title. 

Be careful of how many keywords you include. You want your title to read clearly on desktop and mobile. Amazon also limits the number of characters by category so be sure to review the guidelines for your product. The trick is maximizing your number of keywords while also keeping it readable. 

Here’s an example of a good and bad title we found on Amazon. 

Good Title:

This title is concise and informative. Chances are, you know exactly what this product looks like without seeing the picture. 

Bad Title:

This title is overstuffed with keywords and truncated in the search results. Many of the keywords, such as “8 Hours Playtime,” are better suited as bullet points. 

Pro Tip: Capitalize the first letters of each word in your title and use numerals (2) rather than spelling out numbers (two).

Product Features

Listed in Seller Central as Key Product Features, customers use the bullet points in this section to quickly obtain information about your product, especially those shopping from their mobile devices. 

Think like a buyer, not a seller. If you were coming to Amazon to buy a product like yours, what would you want to know? Use each bullet point to highlight a top feature or benefit of your product.  This area is a great place to include both high- to mid-volume keywords and long-tail keywords that characterize your product. But most importantly, this is your chance to highlight the aspects of your product that make it something you MUST have! Communicate the “WHY” behind why someone would want your product, and you’ll sell your customer in a heartbeat. 

Amazon recommends writing this section in sentence fragments separated by semicolons or commas rather than full sentences. Again, think about how you can make it easily readable, while also maximizing keywords and character limits. 

Here are our real-life examples.

Good Bullet Point:

Bad Bullet Point:

The top example quickly communicates which devices these headphones work with instead of the lengthy and hard-to-read approach of the bottom. 

Pro Tip:  Only include brand names in your listing if they are pertinent to your product. Amazon will suppress listings that include branded keywords to boost search traffic.

Product Description

This section helps customers learn essential details and make a connection with your product. It should include product-related information that answers common customer questions and help guide them in their purchase decision. 

This section is an excellent place to utilize keywords you haven’t used elsewhere on your detail page and continue telling the story of your brand and sharing why someone should buy your product. Think about how, when, and where customers are using your product; consider including care or operating instructions, and warranty information. Also, be sure that any product claims you make are truthful and can be substantiated. 

While including the proper keywords is essential for Amazon search ranking, also ensure your copy reads well! Use correct grammar and punctuation and make sure that each word or phrase you include makes sense within the sentence. 

Good Description:

Bad Description :

In the second example, the seller uses this section as an extension of the product features. It isn’t in paragraph form and repeats keywords used earlier in the listing. Using a variety of keywords allows more customers to discover your product. Keep it brief though, Amazon only allows 2000 characters.  While spelling variations are useful (e.g., “lite” vs. “light”), consider using them in your backend search term section to maintain consistency and avoid duplication. 

Pro Tip: More people than ever are shopping on their phones. Keep your language mobile-friendly! Convey essential information clearly and concisely, so you limit unnecessary scrolling. 

Search Terms (AKA “Hidden” or “Backend Keywords”)

It’s important to place your most relevant, highly-ranked keywords into your title, description, and bullet points. For those that you can’t fit, you can include as search terms. 

The search terms section is the place for keywords that don’t fit into the visible part of your listing but can help enhance your discoverability. Use this as an opportunity to get indexed for new searches; include spelling variations, other use cases and occasions for your product, and niche audiences. Consider incorporating relevant phrases in other languages. 

Remember, this section is limited to 250 bytes, so do not include symbols, punctuation, duplicates, brand names,  or misspellings. 

The Ultimate Listing 

By combining all of these techniques and tips, you’re well on your way to finding success. Even if you don’t sell on Amazon, Amazon keywords can play a large part in helping you be profitable in e-commerce. 

Vox recently stated that “Amazon is uniquely qualified to spot and highlight shopping trends, as it’s where 75% of Americans do most of their online shopping.” Amazon shopper search terms give you incredible insights into high-level shopping trends, while simultaneously assisting you with the smallest of listing details. 

As the experts in shopper search, MerchantWords is here to help you find the most relevant keywords to grow your business. We’ve collected and analyzed over 1.6 billion keywords and 390 million products since 2012. Our singular focus has been to ensure that you have the most extensive, accurate metrics available. 

Utilize our shopper search data for product research, listings, and ad campaigns, or have our experts do the writing and optimization for you with our Listing Advisor service. Either way, we’re here to help you achieve success.