The Ultimate Guide to Doing Keywords Research on Amazon

Publication: Sunday, January 20, 2019.

DataHawk is a web-based Amazon Analytics Tool that combines a Keyword Ranking Tracker, a Product and Buy Box Tracker, a Market and Keyword Analysis tool, a Product Research engine, and a Sales Reporting tool. This is a blog post where we share some insights on the topic of joining the Amazon Brand Registry program. Our software comes with a free plan and advanced paid plans for sellers, vendors, and agencies of all sizes.

We live in the era of search engines. This applies to both those who are looking for content and products online and those who want to profit from selling goods online. Basically, it all revolves around optimizing and delivering the best possible user experience. Amazon, as one of the worlds largest eCommerce platforms also uses a search engine to help customers find the most relevant products in just one click.

If you are planning to launch your business on Amazon, it is of the utmost importance to know Amazon’s search engine inside and out. It will help you rank your products higher, extend your reach and, ultimately, generate more profits. The only problem is learning how to do it right.

 This is why we have composed the ultimate guide to doing keywords research on Amazon. Let’s start with the basics and work our way up to more complex stuff.

Amazon's A9 Search Engine and What We Know About It

At the very center of Amazon’s search engine lies a powerful A9 algorithm. And quite often, you will see people referring to this search engine as Amazon A9. Under the strict supervision of Amazon’s A9 Division, this algorithm is constantly kept in check, optimized and improved. It was created by Amazon and first introduced back in 2003. Today, it is as sophisticated and powerful as the one used by Google.

Amazon’s A9 search engine is what powers the complex product ranking process. It is responsible for showing products on the Amazon search result pages for a specific keyword. Amazon has released a complete specification that shows us explicitly what are all the factors A9 takes in the consideration.

This makes ranking on the Amazon platform straightforward if one follows the prescribed methodology. The ranking factors are divided into two groups: the direct and indirect factors. Knowing them is more than enough to master the keywords research game.

The direct factors are:

  • Price
  • Availability (entire history is taken into the account)
  • Text Match Relevancy
  • Sales Performance History

While the indirect factors go as follows:

  • Advertising
  • Promotions
  • Images
  • Number of Reviews
  • Reviews Stars Rating
  • Fulfillment Method
  • Premium Content

 If you want to learn more about the A9 algorithm, you can check our Amazon ranking algorithm guide.

The Differences Between Google Keywords and Amazon Keywords

Google is not the ultimate king in the search engine space. According to one of Bloom Research studies, well over 50% of online shoppers start their customer journey by researching products on Amazon. The same study reveals that 90% of online shoppers check Amazon for a product even if they originally find it on some other website.

 While Amazon’s and Google’s search engines serve the same purpose, the mechanisms that stand in their core are completely different. The same premise of using keywords for ranking is present in both. So where do they differ? Let’s discuss Amazon and Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

 Clicks and Conversions - This is the biggest difference between Google and Amazon SEO. The difference comes from the algorithm’s design. A9 was developed for selling products. On the other hand, Google’s search engine algorithm was developed for selling ads. In other words, they use completely different metrics for ranking.

 The Google ranking methodology takes into the account relevancy - the more relevant your page is to the keywords a user inputs, the higher it gets ranked. To assess this, Google analyzes:

  • The number of clicks your website or particular page receives (traffic);
  • Where is the traffic coming from?;
  • The bounce rate (how many visitors quickly leave the page after arriving on it).

 Amazon SEO is all about selling more products. This is why A9 values conversion rates significantly more than the number of clicks and how much time users spend looking at a specific product. As we said earlier, it is the price, sales volume, reviews, and text match relevancy that matter here.

 Short and Long Tail Keywords - Google SEO experts place their hope in using long tail keywords to help their clients rank higher in SERPs. Targeting one or two long tail keywords is a recipe for success. And, it is important to use these long-tails just as they are. Where on Amazon, the situation is quite different.

 Amazon SEO is more short tail keywords friendly, so to speak. In fact, using only short tail keywords is still going to get you ranked. Even if you break up your target keyword phrases and use parts of them in the title and another part in the description, A9 will pick it up, index it, and rank you for the entire phrase. This gives you more options and helps you diversify your A9 SEO efforts.

External Linking - Google SEO includes link building. The more websites with high domain authorities link back to your website, the better the rank. Google deems this as a sign that your website is valuable, relevant, trustful, and resourceful.

Amazon SEO has no love for external linking. This is because A9 is developed to rank products within the platform itself. It takes into the account the keywords used by shoppers and cross-references them to the indexed products. If the product contains them, it will be in the search results. Your external Google SEO efforts will help your brand become recognized, but it won't affect the ranking on Amazon whatsoever.

 Keyword Density - Stacking keywords in your copy is no longer a viable Google SEO effort as it was just a couple of years ago. But it still works to some extent. SEO experts advise placing your targeted keyword phrase in the title, the first 100 words of your copy, and in the first header. You simply can't rank for the targeted keyword if you use it only once in your text.

 Amazon SEO is not based on the repetition. It is advised to put your keywords in the product title as well as in the listing. But A9 will still rank your product even if you use your keyword just once. Keyword density is not a heavyweight factor here.

The Benefits of Doing Keyword Research on Amazon

If you want to succeed on Amazon and sell more products, you will have to do keyword research. How many times have you heard this phrase without any given explanation? Here is why you have to base your Amazon SEO on your keyword research.

Become More Competitive

By selling your products on Amazon, you are becoming part of a huge eCommerce industry. You will also enter a highly saturated and volatile market where the competition is harsh. If you want to be able to capture sales, you will have to become more competitive.

 One part of keyword research on Amazon is competitor analysis. You will be able to see which seed and long tail keywords your main competitors use, and devise a smart strategy to rank your products better. You will be able to identify a keyword with high volume that is not targeted by your competitors and get your own slice of the market.

Increased Product Visibility

This benefit of Amazon SEO is practically the same as with Google SEO. If you target keywords by only using your logic, the chances that you will hit the right one are very small. In order to sell your products, you have to increase their visibility. Imagine the Amazon as this huge warehouse with a very small shop window.

By listing your products, you will be placing them in this huge warehouse. But when you do keyword research, you will be able to transfer them to the Amazon shop window; in this case - search results.

Increased Possibility of Sales

The last benefit comes from the previous one. To be able to sell products on Amazon, you will have to do everything in your power to make them easily discover-able. Online shoppers that use Amazon to look for and research products type in specific keywords.

 By doing a keyword research on Amazon, you will discover which keyword phrases customers use to look for products in your category. This will significantly increase your product visibility especially for customers who are specifically looking for it. Ultimately, this significantly increases the possibility of sales.

How To Do Keyword Research for Amazon Products

Keyword research for Amazon products may appear as an overly complex thing to do. To help you master it, we had to break up the entire process into several easy to follow steps. Let's start with the most basic one - finding the right seed keyword.

Identifying the "Seed Keyword"

Identifying the seed keyword is the bread and butter of every successful Amazon keyword research strategy. What is the seed keyword? It is a broad term relevant to the product(s) you are about to list on Amazon. Where do you start? Identifying the seed keyword is very easy and you should start on, well, Amazon. Just type in the product name you want to sell without anything attached to it. We are going to use the broad term “office pencil holder”.

Search results for "office pencil holder"

The Amazon search result page contains listings relevant to the keyword we have just typed in. Let’s not look at them for now. What interest us is located on the left side of the screen. Especially the “Search results for” section in the upper left portion of the screen.

This section can help you identify more options for your seed keywords. As you can see in our example, some of the seed keywords may be:

  • Desk Supplies Holders
  • Desk Supplies Dispensers
  • Supply Organizers
  • Pencil Holders
  • Pen Holders

Amazon is a very good keyword research tool that you should always use when you start doing keyword research for your products. From this point on, you can use these seed keywords to generate more keyword ideas.

Generating Keyword Ideas

Your next stop on the keywords research train on Amazon is the Amazon search bar.

The Amazon Search Bar Suggestions

Look what happens when you type in our example from above - office pencil holder - in the Amazon search bar.

Search queries suggestions by Amazon for "office pencil holder"

In order to help shoppers, Amazon has introduced a sort of autocomplete search option. Which is great from the shoppers’ point of view, but it's also valuable from your point of view. You can use the suggestion to expand your list of keywords. You can even start typing words one by one and see which of the keywords are relevant for your product listing.

Keyword Research Tools

At this point, you have a list of several viable seed keyword candidates. But a keyword search wouldn’t be one if we didn’t have to use a keyword research tool. For this purpose, we suggest you try DataHawk - an Amazon analytics tool equipped with powerful Keyword Research, Keyword Rank Tracking, and Keyword Generator features.

Once you sign in to your DataHawk account, you will get to a dashboard. Click on the Create New Project button located in the upper right corner and fill out the form. Make sure to select the proper Amazon Marketplace. Once you create a project, you will land on the Project Overview page. In the midsection of the screen click on the Go to Keyword Page button. You will land on the Tracked Keywords page. To get more keywords ideas, you need to start tracking your keywords. Click on the Add New Keyword to Track Button and type in your keyword. We used “office pencil holder”.

Tracking a new Keyword on DataHawk

DataHawk is tracking keywords based on powerful semantic analysis of related words powered by our Artificial Intelligence. DataHawk needs a minute or two to analyze the data on several million products in the database. Upon completion, you will be able to see some very valuable metrics for the keyword you’ve decided to track. In the products column, you can see how many products appear in search results on Amazon if the shopper uses these keywords exactly. You can also see the median price, rating, and review metrics.

Click on the Keyword Generator button to access this feature. Here is how it looks for our keyword.

List of hundreds of Keywords suggestions related to "office pencil holder"

The table is very easy to read. All of the displayed keywords are related to the office supplies keyword and should belong to the Office Product category. In the third column, you can see the search volume value for each of the suggested keywords. And in the 4th one, you can see the Cost per Click if you decide to invest in an Amazon PPC campaign. Feel free to scroll down and explore all the other suggestion. A quick mouse over the Search Volume figure will tell you the Annual average and last month search volume, along with how competitive the keyword is and the cost per click. You're also able to export the results to Excel.

Complementary Products

Digging deeper into complementary products will help you discover what you are up against. From the standpoint of Amazon SEO, you should be looking at how frequently competitors change titles, listings, bullets, images, and descriptions. This will help you identify new keywords and improve your Amazon SEO game. In any case, it won't be a waste of time. You will get your hands on more keyword ideas that you can run through DataHawk.

Competitive Research

Your competition can help you a lot in your keyword research on Amazon. The best way to find who your competitors are is to leverage the track keyword functionality of DataHawk. In the keywords tab, click on any Keyword you tracked (added to your project).

This will open the detailed page of the Keyword, starting with a tab that contains the actual search results for that search query, in terms of products sold by your competitors. Just like in the picture below.

Search results for "office pencil holder"

While you are looking at your competitors’ listings, you want to check which keywords have they been using. Make sure to cross-match the ones that appear frequently among top competitor listings. This will help you pinpoint seed keywords and long tail keywords that will benefit your rankings the most.

Actually, DataHawk can show you which words top-performing products are using the most. It can also track changes in title, bullet points, and description for any product on Amazon. To unveil those insights, track a new product on DataHawk, click on its detailed page, then head over to the Listing Analysis tab.

Product listing analysis on DataHawk

Adding keywords

Once you have identified the keywords you want to use to get your Amazon product to the top of search results, you will have to use them properly. Fortunately, this is not rocket science. Putting them in the right places will get your products right where they belong.

Product Title

Learning how to incorporate your keywords in the product title is very important. Especially now, when Amazon is advising sellers to use shorter product titles. Amazon help files specify that the most optimal product title length should be anywhere between 180 and 200.

The most important thing here to do is to give your best to keep the product title as natural as possible. It has to be able to generate those clicks that you need so much. To do this, you can divide the product title into two sections. The first section should contain your seed keyword and the second section should contain a long tail keyword and a few details about the product.

Description

The description is seed and long tail keywords friendly. Make sure to incorporate one keyword here to see the best results. Make sure no to over-stack your keywords. Remember, this is not Google SEO. Amazon help files specify that you are allowed to use up to 2,000 characters to describe your product.

Don’t get carried away with keywords.

You are not writing product descriptions for A9 but for your customers. Your product description should be work towards improving conversions. This is why you should make it informative so that it truly showcases your product.

Bullet Points

Keep in mind that some product categories also allow sellers to describe a product with five product features, each able to contain 100 characters. Make sure to point out the features of your product via bullet points.

You can also use a keyword here. Bullet points are suitable for seed keywords. The description won’t appear as clunky and you will be able to stay within the character limit.

Back-end Search Terms

Don't forget to place your keywords into your Seller Central Back-end Search terms. There are certain rules here that you have to abide by to get the results.

The order of keywords has no influence whatsoever - you can type in the keywords with no regards to a specific order in seed and long tail keywords. Don’t use any quote signs, commas, or any other special characters at all - all you have to do is enter your keywords one by one and separate them with spaces.

There is no need to repeat yourself. To achieve the results, you only need to enter keywords just once. If you stack them or repeat them, it won't help nor hurt your rankings whatsoever. This also applies to the keywords you used in your product title and bullet points. If you used them there, there is no point to repeat them here. Use back-end search terms to add unique relevant keywords.

Capitalizing the first letter in the word has no effect. But if you want to increase readability and make things easier for yourself, we suggest you stick to one writing style and keep it consistent.

Make sure to use singular and plural versions of keywords. You can also use filler words to make sure to appear in searches where natural keywords are used. In our example, enter holder and holders, pencil and pencils, pen and pens - you get the picture.

When it comes to filler words, you can do it like this - holder for pens.

Back-end search terms are there to help you increase your chances to rank better. This is why you should seize it and enter as many keywords as possible. Just make sure to keep them relevant. This is why keyword research matters. Here, you can use all the keywords that you didn't use in your listings. There is a limit here though. Only the first 249 characters (including spaces) will be indexed by A9. Make them count.

Google Keywords to Deepen Your Keyword Game

Google offers an excellent tool to help you deepen your keyword game and identify trends in your target market. In order to do keyword research on Google, you will have to use the Google Keyword Planner. This tool will help you get an insight into keyword click and performance forecasts for the upcoming period, trends for all chosen keywords, and search volume data. Actually, DataHawk's Keyword Generator leverages some of the suggestions offered by Google.

All you have to do is create a Google AdWords account and access the Keyword Planner Tool. It is located in on the left section in the drop-down menu, under the Planning column. You can access it by clicking on the wrench icon located in the top right corner of the AdWords Dashboard.

Google Ads Tools

Google Ads Keyword Planner tool

Once the Google Keyword Planner opens, you can access the features you need under the “Find new keywords and get search volume data” label. The keywords that you identify here can help you step up your Amazon SEO game and rank your products even higher.

Finding new keyword ideas with this tool is very easy. All you have to do is type in the keyword you want to start with and get the suggestions. Use the metrics in the table to decide whether the keyword idea is worth pursuing.

Google Keyword Planner keywords ideas

Using Keyword Analytics to Improve Your Decision Making

It is important to note that Amazon SEO is not a once in a lifetime activity. You will have to stay on top of your A9 game at all times if you want to see your products ranked on the very top. To achieve this, you have to use keyword analytics.

The product’s keyword position changes over time. Once you lay the foundation of your strategy, you can track your products, keywords, and competitors’ products on DataHawk. For a more detailed guide on how to do this, check out our comprehensive Tracking Product Keyword Ranking on Amazon with DataHawk guide.

How can this help you? First, you will be able to check whether you Amazon SEO strategy provides any results. Improved keyword position equals more sales. And you will be able to see whether you placed it in the product title, description, or bullet points. With analytics, you can identify the best strategy for each of your products and reach results faster on your next product launch.

By tracking your competitors, you will be able to get an insight into how they conduct their Amazon business. Discover how their keywords are ranked and cross-reference them to yours.

In addition, by looking at the keyword’s position and estimated monthly sales, you can discover patterns. Take a look at your keyword’s position as this will help you estimate monthly sales. Thanks to this insight, you will be able to restock in time and never run out of supplies.

Grouping Keywords Based on Priority

Sadly, not all keywords are created equal. Some of them provide more opportunities for Amazon sellers, some less. This is why you should learn how to group keywords based on priority. How do you decide which keywords have more priority over others?

This is a straightforward task but it requires you to spend some time looking at all keyword ideas. Trying to rank for high search volume and high competition keywords is a hard task. Especially if you are a newcomer to Amazon.

You have to hit the sweet spot somewhere in between medium to high search volume and low to medium competition. You can identify these by looking at your Google Keyword Planner keyword ideas. Look for the opportunity score and compare it against the search volume and competition.

 Form several groups of keywords based on priority. And use keywords from one priority group in your listings. You can add the others in your backend search terms. SEO experts usually break group keywords in 3 tiers:

  • Highly profitable keywords
  • Keywords with promising potential
  • Long-shot keywords

Track Keyword Success

Increasing ranks of your products in Amazon search results is a long-term effort. You won’t be able to succeed by targeting specific keywords and incorporating them in your listings in one go. This is why we stressed out the importance of using keyword research and tracking tools.

To turn your Amazon SEO into success, you will have to track keywords and their success, or if you prefer, performance. This can be easily done with DataHawk since it allows tracking both keywords and products.

If you notice a sales increase for one of your products, make sure to check which keywords you’ve used and how you incorporated them in the listings. At the same time, check the metrics for the tracked keyword. This can help you learn how to succeed in selling your other products.

At the same time, if nothing happens, or if your sales drop down, make sure to check the keywords. The keywords are not static. Shoppers with purchase intent can easily start to use different keywords. Your job is to identify them by combining the power of DataHawk and Google’s Keyword Planner.

Adjust Keyword Priority Over Time

As we have stated earlier, some keywords that perform well today might end up performing poorly in the future. This is why you should keep prioritizing keywords. In the long run, this is the only way to consistently achieve good results.

Forecasting your options in Google Keyword Planner can be a great thing to do, but don’t sleep on it. It is always better to check the performance of all the keywords you are tracking. This will give you time to act and make adjustments to your listings according to the changes in the keywords’ performance.

Hopefully, this information will help you devise the best Amazon keyword research strategy. Your product visibility directly affects sales. Finding and using the right keywords in your product listings will significantly boost your product rankings.

On top of that, with all those fancy tools, you will be able to keep tabs on keywords and sales performance at all times.