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How to Rank Higher and Sell More With This “Hidden” Keyword Strategy

If you’re tempted to “keyword stuff” your listing copy, don’t! Instead, master the use of backend keywords to rank higher without sacrificing conversion rate.

  • Amazon Advertising
  • Selling On Amazon
  • April 4, 2023
  • /
  • Brian R. Johnson

It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur. There are so many new trends and innovations to keep things interesting. Still, there are always constants. These days Amazon sellers are spending a lot of time and energy on their Amazon SEO and listing optimization. But, as is often the case, what’s below the surface has a bigger impact than you might realize.

Amazon product titles, bullet points, and descriptions are all front and center on an Amazon listing. Oftentimes, a quick glance at an Amazon listing will tell you if you’ve done a good job or not.

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A number of eCommerce software tools can even do a pretty good job of showing whether or not your Amazon listing is well optimized.

But, even the best of these tools don’t have x-ray vision.

If you want to make sure and tip Amazon’s ranking scale in your direction, be sure to pay attention to what you don’t see. I’m referring specifically to your Amazon listing’s backend keyword search terms.

Amazon’s algorithm considers a number of factors when coming up with its search results and keywords are at the top of that list. Strategically placed keywords help make sure that your listing isn’t just visible, but right there on Amazon’s page one. It can easily be the difference between a hugely successful Amazon product and a flop.

This post details strategies that you can implement today to take advantage of the massive, unseen power of backend keywords to increase visibility, boost your Amazon sales velocity, and make sure your listing stands out from the competition.

But first . . .

What are Amazon Backend Keywords?

The backend keywords of an Amazon listing are not visible to shoppers browsing the page. Instead, these are hidden keywords that only the Amazon seller can see. Even though shoppers can’t see these keywords, they can be a massive big part of the reason why shoppers have ended up on your page.

Backend keywords are a great way for you to target keywords that for one reason or another didn’t fit in your front-side listing copy. Backend keywords are particularly helpful with your creative process. They make it easier for you to create engaging and readable content for your product page, while at the same time ensuring that Amazon indexes all of the critical keywords you need to include to rank your product.

The big question is, how do you find the right keywords in the first place?

How to Find the Best Backend Keywords

It’s actually not as hard as it sounds. You just need to determine what your customers are searching for. What are the exact phrases or keywords they use when searching for the same product on Amazon?

Here’s the catch; to create listings that sell on Amazon, the keywords that you find need to have high enough search volume to have a positive affect on your Amazon sales. At the same time you don’t want to battle against every other Amazon seller in your niche. This is where longer-tailed keywords are invaluable.

If you’re selling girls ballet shoes, a great keyword might be exactly that, “girls ballet shoes.” The keyword “girls athletic shoes” is not niched down enough, and you’ll have a lot of competition for a keyword that isn’t really bringing you exact shoppers you need to increase your business.

Developing a process to identify great backend keywords for your Amazon listing is a crucial step in improving your product’s visibility and increasing sales.

Here are the four top strategies for finding effective backend keywords:

1. Use Software Tools for Your Keyword Research

Keyword research plays a pivotal role in determining your product sales on Amazon. You may have a great product, but if customers can’t find it, you won’t be making any sales. This is why effective keyword research goes hand in hand with success on Amazon.

Product visibility drives sales.

eCommerce software companies have been busy over the last few years making significant improvements to their tools. You’re now able to use keyword research tools from companies such as Helium 10, Jungle Scout, MerchantWords, and Keyword Tool Dominator to identify popular and relevant keywords for your product. These tools can provide valuable insights into search volume, competition, and long-tail keyword opportunities.

2. Analyze competitor listings

We don’t need to tell you that you’re not alone out there on Amazon’s marketplace. A quick look at the listings of successful competitors selling similar products can give you a big head start. You can use tools from some of those same companies listed above to look into the big sellers on Amazon. Then, analyze their titles, bullet points, and descriptions to identify keywords they might be using.

While you don’t want to copy their keywords directly, using the top two or three listings as a rough guide can give you ideas for relevant terms that you may not have thought of.

3. Utilize Amazon auto-suggest

Why not go right to the source?

By typing your product’s main keywords into Amazon’s search bar, then observing Amazon’s auto-suggested search terms, you can get a very good idea of what Amazon itself has identified as the best search terms. Because these suggestions are based on real customer search queries, they can give you valuable insights into popular keywords and phrases.

In the above screenshot, I began typing the keyword, “flashlight” into the search bar. Four out of the first five keywords are perfect for an Amazon listing’s back end.

4. Amazon PPC Keyword Targeting

In an automatic pay-per-click ad campaign, Amazon’s algorithm identifies relevant keywords from your product listing. At the same time, Amazon is also using the data it collects from clicks and purchases to make adjustments to your ads to increase your conversions.

Once you’ve let your automatic campaign run for a few weeks, take a look at the search terms report that shows the keywords that are driving the most conversions. When you do, you’ll probably find long-tail keywords that you hadn’t thought of.

While this method isn’t free – Amazon PPC campaigns cost money – the benefits of an optimized PPC campaign can easily outweigh the expense.

How to Check Whether Your Keywords are Indexed

There are two ways to determine whether or not your product is being indexed by Amazon for a particular keyword. You can use Amazon (as well as Google), or you can use one of the many software tools designed for this specific purpose.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is locate the product’s ASIN. That stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number and is Amazon’s own unique identifier of 10 letters and/or numbers that’s used for product-identification within their product catalog.

Just go to the detail page and locate the 10-digit code in the URL. Or, you can find the ASIN in the product information section.

Then, enter the product’s ASIN + the keyword you’re checking in the search bar.

The Amazon result shows just one listing as well as sponsored ads by competitors running in the same location.

And the Google result:

Now, let’s use Helium 10’s Index Checker to see if a list of potential keywords that I think might be associated with an ASIN are in fact indexed for that particular Amazon ASIN. I’m also including an unlikely “control” keyword, “skateboard.”

In the screenshot above you can see that all the prospective keywords (except for the control) are in fact indexed by Amazon for that particular ASIN.

Amazon Backend Keyword Best Practices

Taking full advantage of Amazon backend keywords can quickly improve your product’s visibility and help customers find your listing more easily. To make sure to get the biggest boost from this hidden resource, here are some do’s and don’ts for using Amazon backend keywords in an Amazon listing:

Do:

  1. Use relevant keywords: Include relevant, specific, and targeted keywords that describe your product and are likely to be used by customers in their search queries.
  2. Use synonyms and variations: Include different forms or variations of the same keyword, such as plural forms or alternate spellings, to increase the chances of your product appearing in various search results. 
  3. Use keyword research tools: Take advantage of technology. Use keyword research tools and Amazon auto-suggest to identify popular and relevant keywords for your product.
  4. Stay within character limits: Amazon limits backend keywords to 250 bytes. Make sure that your keywords fit within this limit to avoid truncation or suppression of your listing.
  5. Update keywords regularly: Selling on Amazon is a moving target. Monitor your product’s performance and make updates to your backend keywords as needed, based on changes in customer search behavior or market trends.

Don’t:

  1. Don’t use irrelevant or misleading keywords: Remember that Amazon is very focused on their customers’ experience. Avoid using unrelated or misleading keywords that don’t accurately describe your product. It can lead to a poor customer experience and a slap on the wrist from Amazon. 
  2. Don’t repeat keywords: Repeating the same keyword multiple times doesn’t offer any added benefit and wastes valuable space. Use unique keywords to maximize the effectiveness of your backend keywords.
  3. Don’t use competitor’s brand names: As tempting as it is, Amazon considers using a competitor’s brand name as a keyword a violation of their policies. It can lead to listing suppression or other penalties.
  4. Don’t include prohibited or offensive words: Just because it’s the “backend” it’s not the wild west. Avoid using words that violate Amazon’s content guidelines or are considered offensive or inappropriate. Amazon can see them and it could lead to listing suppression.
  5. Don’t use excessive punctuation or special characters: You’re not going to impress an algorithm with exclamation marks! Too much punctuation, special characters, or capitalization can make your backend keywords difficult to read and may not be indexed properly by Amazon’s search algorithm.
  6. Don’t use promotional phrases or claims: Again, save the emotional content for an off-Amazon ad campaign. Besides, backend keywords are meant for search optimization, not smarmy marketing efforts. Avoid using phrases like “best seller,” “discount,” or “free shipping” in your backend keywords.

How Canopy Management Can Help

Amazon’s marketplace is designed for shopping. That’s why it’s in Amazon’s best interest to quickly connect shoppers with highest-quality products to fit their needs. Amazon listing optimization is how that’s going to happen.

By making sure that your backend keywords are fully optimized you’re putting your products right in the middle of an enormous Amazon bullseye!

Canopy Management is a full-service marketing agency for Amazon and Walmart sellers. Our team consists of former Amazonians, multi-million dollar sellers, and award-winning experts. When you consider the many ways that Canopy Management can help you grow your business, you’ll see why selling on Amazon is much easier “under the Canopy.”

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