The Ultimate Amazon Backend Keywords Guide

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Introduction

When most people think about selling on Amazon, a lot of things come to mind like what products to sell, fulfillment options, etc. But it’s safe to say that Amazon’s backend keywords are far from their minds. Some vendors aren’t even sure how it works, or that it even exists.

Right off the bat, you may think of Amazon as simply a selling platform and it’s easy to believe that to succeed as a seller your priorities must revolve around competitive pricing and aesthetics.

True, such aspects are crucial factors for ranking in Amazon’s perspective. However, Amazon is also a search engine. And with search engines, using relevant keywords in your content has a huge role to play in how pages or product listings in this case gain visibility to the intended audience.

Definition of Amazon Backends Keywords

Amazon backend keywords are keywords that Amazon hides from public view and uses them only in the backend section of your Seller Account.

They give Amazon additional data about your listing, and the platform uses it as a ranking factor for the said listing. It determines which products Amazon will pull up as a result to show the searcher when they submit a query in the search bar.

Like the once vital “HTML tags” for blogs or websites, Amazon backend keywords aren’t visible to users viewing an Amazon page. But their importance in aiding a listing rank organically is as crucial as a listing that has an excellent description section and well-formatted title.

Why Amazon Backend Keywords are Important

 

 

The first primary importance of backend keywords and one that I’ve already mentioned is that they work like HTML tags, also called “meta tags”. Years back, webmasters extensively used meta tags to gain better visibility.

Amazon backend keywords serve the same purpose, which is to inform Amazon’s search algorithm that your listing is targeted at a particular keyword.

The next aspect is regarding your listing’s aesthetics. Previously, vendors would stuff many keywords in the description and title sections of their listings, which made them unreadable.

It worked back then in terms of SEO, however; it resulted in providing a terrible buying experience for customers. Gladly, such days are behind us.

So with Amazon using the description and title sections as ranking factors, the backend keyword section gives sellers a way to submit keywords that are aesthetically displeasing.

For instance, if you’re selling a king-size bed, you would use “king size bed” as a keyword in your product listing. But what of other relevant keywords like “bed for overweight or fat people”? It describes the product you’re selling perfectly, right?

And if it’s a keyword phrase that has a lot of search volume, would you still use it for your listing’s title or description? Most likely not.

Such keywords or phrases that customers may find offensive or that doesn’t make for a positive buying experience can be placed in the Amazon Backend Keyword section of your listing.

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Amazon Indexing Basics

Keyword indexing has to do with SEO. When a user submits a search query, Amazon’s search algorithm determines the results they see.

Amazon figures out what product to show to the customer by analyzing the bullet points, description, backend keywords, and title of each listing. Through these factors, Amazon can figure out what each listing is about. Therefore, ensure that you optimize your listings when creating them.

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It’s a best practice to place more relevant keywords at the beginning of your title, as the search algorithm uses titles as the most important factor with regards to indexing, then bullet points, the description, and your backend keywords.

If users search on Amazon for a shoe, the search algorithm knows to pull up shoe products. That’s why when you search for a pen you don’t see ceiling lights.

So if you have a badly keyword-optimized listing, your listing will not show up as a result when a relevant phrase is searched.

Amazon Ranking and Indexing Explained

Your Amazon ranking is the position your listing will appear in the search results. While the search algorithm uses various factors, the position where your listing appears mainly depends on the daily sales velocity of the keyword inputted in Amazon’s search bar.

Your product listing competes with the sales velocity of other listings in your industry. Which explains why during a product launch, you need to get sales for your listing to rank on the first page. Otherwise, your listings end up on the last pages of Amazon’s search results, where users hardly navigate to.

Think about it. Data reveals that 54% of all product searches begin on Amazon’s first result page.

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So if you want to scale up your sales on Amazon, ensure that you create a deeply optimized listing, so it gets indexed for all relevant keywords and shows up in the results pages.

Keep in mind that the keyword phrase you use can affect your product listing rank. Amazon monitors each keyword’s conversion rate. Meaning that, if particular keywords pull in more sales, then you’ll have a higher rank for those specific keywords.

For instance, if the keyword “lava lamp” pulls in 20 sales, and “blue lava lamps” 300 sales, then “blue lava lamps” will rank your listing higher in the search results. It’s not possible to track which keywords perform best for organic sales, but you can identify your best-converting keywords using your advertising reports.

Plus, advertising your offer builds sales velocity, which means that your primary keywords will gain strength from conversions, and that translates into your product listing ranking high and gaining more awareness.

How to find the Right Amazon Backend Keywords for Your Listing?

Now that you know how Amazon’s ranking and indexing work. The next step is keyword research. You should start with keyword research as it gives you an idea of which keywords are frequently used to describe your product and the search volume of such terms.

Using that information you’ll be able to make the best choice regarding which keywords to include in the backend field to boost your product’s visibility.

You’ll want to use more than one research source to assist you to get a wide range of relevant keywords from which you can pick the best ones.

Tip 1. Download Your Search Term Report

You can begin your keyword research using your search term report if you are already advertising on Amazon and getting sales. If you haven’t, you can skip this step. The Amazon search term report helps you to understand the keywords customers are using in searches to find your offer.

The major reason you need to access this report is that it is actual customer data. It isn’t search-term data based on theory; it is exactly what your customers have been searching for to locate your products.

What is Amazon’s Search Term Report?

Amazon’s search term report shows you which keywords Amazon shoppers used to find your offers.

The report is inclusive of raw keyword data that can be connected to particular ASINS if you segment your report accurately.

Here’s an example of the report and the data it includes:

  • CPC
  • Impressions
  • Sales and Conversion rate for the particular keyword during a specific time frame
  • The search term used by the customer
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Impressions
  • Spend
  • Keyword Match Type
  • Keyword targeting

How Do I Download the Amazon Search Term Report?

You can access and download the report from your seller Central homepage.

From the Seller Central main page click reports on the header navigation menu. Next hit on advertising reports in the drop-down menu:

 

 

Then click campaign, report period (over 7 days is recommended), and type. Then create a report.

 

Lastly, download the report.

Using the Amazon Search Term Report for Keyword Research – Best Practice

It’s best practice to use the Search Term Report as the primary source of finding keywords to improve the quality of keywords you find. Third-party keyword services can lead you to valuable terms, but they work better as a supplementary tool for this report.

To get the best out of the Search Term Report:

Organize Your Catalog for Better Keyword Attribution

Years back, using the Amazon Search Term Report, you could see the exact product SKU related to a particular search term, which was valuable data. But Amazon doesn’t identify which item is associated with each search term anymore.

For instance, even though vendors can still see via the report that the keyword “eyeliner” converts well, Amazon doesn’t identify what SKU it’s associated with, leaving you in the dark.

So it’s best practice to build your ad campaign with 1 SKU to an Ad group. Meaning, if you have a catalog of 1000 SKUs, you need 1000 ad groups. Using this strategy you can attribute the result of the keyword (example: eyeliner) directly to the item purchased or clicked.

Select Effective Keywords

It’s recommended to generate your Search Term Report only after at least 7 days (depending on your traffic volume).

The idea is to gather sufficient data to enable you to make an informed decision about which keywords to go for. Once you’ve got enough data, you can then select the best performing keywords out of the report.

Tip 2: Use Third-Party Keyword Tools

To help you with your keyword research, there are many paid and free Amazon backend keyword extractor solutions online that you can use to find out what keyword or phrase is right for your listing.

Here’s a few of them:

Free Tools:

  • Soovle
  • Competitor Source Code
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest
  • Wordstream’s Keyword Tool
  • Keywordtool.io

Paid Tools:

  • SEMrush
  • SpyFu
  • FreshKey
  • SECockpit
  • Market Samurai
  • AMZtracker

A few of the paid keyword solutions listed above have a trial period that lasts for some days or a month, or a free version. So if you’re just starting with keyword research, it’s a good idea that you begin with a free tool till you figure out the entire research process. Or you could outsource it.

With that said, let’s use UberSuggest to perform simple keyword research for Amazon.

The first step, visit UberSuggest, then input the main keyword, say eyeliner, then hit search.

 

Next, scroll down to “Keyword Ideas” and pick the keywords with the highest cost per click (CPC) and highest-paid difficulty (PD). In our example, that would be “eyeliner”, “eyeliner best”, and “eyeliner white”.

 

The reason for this is that the CPC shows you the monetary value of a particular search term. The higher the cost, the higher the value of the term. Then the paid difficulty reveals the estimated competition of the keyword in terms of paid ads. This means that most of your competitors think this term is valuable enough to pay for it, which means it has monetary value.

Tip 3: Find Powerful Keywords Via Reverse ASIN Lookup

To use this method for Amazon keyword research, you’ll have to find your competitors ASINs and then put them into a research tool.

To start, find your competitors ASINs by scrolling down their product page that’s similar to or is the exact product you want keywords for and click it on the product description:

You can also find the ASIN on a product’s Amazon page URL:

Next, visit a tool called Keyword Scout and input the ASIN into the search field. Then hit enter:

After hitting search, Keyword Scout will show you a list of keywords that you can select terms from based on their monetary value.

With that said, let’s summarize the best Amazon keyword research approach:

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Amazon Backend Keywords Best Practice

There are certain things you need to consider before you create backend keywords:

The Length of your Keywords or Search Terms Attribute Should be Less than 250 Bytes

Backend keywords should be a list of words written in lowercase and should be separated using spaces only.

Do not exceed 250 characters (which corresponds to bytes). Fill up the space given as much as possible but don’t go over the set limit. Normally, you should have roughly 40 words if you use the available space. However, if your keywords exceed 250 characters, none of the keywords or search terms for that specific ASIN will get indexed.

Keep in mind that bytes equate to 1:1 for alphanumeric characters. For instance, A-Z, 0-9, and a-z. The length only becomes variable when dealing with complex characters like Umlauts in German (for instance, ä), which may be two bytes for each character.

For other complex characters like Chinese or Japanese characters, they may equate to 3 or 4 bytes. There are also situations where keywords can include a mix of multibyte and single characters, which makes the estimation of character count difficult.

In calculating keyword length, Amazon doesn’t count punctuation or spaces. So for readability, separate search terms with spaces. You can use punctuation, but it isn’t a requirement.

Avoid Duplicate Keywords You’ve Previously Used on Your Product Page

Amazon’s algorithm indexes all keywords in your product listing content. Meaning that you don’t have to duplicate search terms that are already in your product description, title, or bullet points.

The backend Search Term field should be used only for new relevant keywords. Don’t forget that your ASIN getting indexed means that your product is eligible (but not assured) to show up in the search results for related search terms.

Adhere to Amazon’s Guidelines

Amazon provides detailed instructions for including backend keywords, some of which I’ve outlined already. However, there are other rules that you must ensure you follow as not adhering to them could mean that the particular ASIN doesn’t get indexed for those specific keywords.

Here is a screenshot of Amazon’s guidelines:

 

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Implementation of Amazon Backend Keywords in Seller Central

Once your backend keyword list is ready. You can proceed with implementation.

To begin, click on “inventory” and then in the drop-down menu, click on “Manage Inventory”.

 

Locate the ASIN you want to update or add backend keywords to and click on “EDIT” on the right side.

 

You’ll see a new window pop up with all the backend fields that need to be filled to enable Amazon’s algorithm to understand your product’s purpose better.

Next, click on the “keywords” tab, and you’ll see 6 empty text fields. Input your keyword list in the empty field labeled “Search Terms” and hit “Save”.

How Do I Know if a Backend Keyword is Indexed?

To check if a keyword is indexed, type in your products ASIN and then the phrase or keyword you want to check for in Amazon’s search bar.

If that keyword is indexed you’ll get the message “1 result for ASIN Keyword”.

If the keyword is not indexed you’ll get a message stating “Use fewer keywords or try these instead”.

For a holistic approach, that doesn’t involve you checking keyword by keyword you can paste your entire backend keyword list in the search bar. If they come up in orange like in the screenshot below, they’re indexed.

However, if one keyword in the list isn’t indexed you’ll receive this message instead “Use fewer keywords or try these instead”. In such situations, you can check the keywords one after another to identify which one isn’t indexed.

You can also use solutions made for checking if your keywords are indexed. A great one to use is the WordTree Google Chrome extension.

Using this tool is simple. Type in your ASIN and select a marketplace (for example, if you’re searching for the United States, choose Amazon.com) and then input your keyword list. Tick the “keywords” box beside the “Check Now” button.

You may discover that one or a few of your keywords aren’t indexed and others are. That could be a major problem, as Amazon will not pull up your products in the search results for those terms if you aren’t indexed for the keywords. And that’ll result in lost sales.

There’s a solution to a particular keyword not being indexed though, and we’ll cover this in a bit.

Backend Keywords Subject Matter Field

One section that most sellers are confused about is the Subject Matter field. The reason being that you don’t find any meaningful instructions on it in the Amazon Help Center, and even when you ask your Amazon rep for help on the section, you’ll most likely be told to check the Help Center for details.

That’s a painful cycle to work with. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect it. The Subject Matter field is useful as it indexes all keywords or phrase combinations 20 minutes after you type them in and submit. The “Search Term” field on the other hand may take up to 24 hours to get its terms indexed.

Remember, when I mentioned that there’s a solution for certain keywords that aren’t indexed? Well, using the Subject Matter field you can have your listing indexed for those terms. Just add the particular keyword to the Subject Matter field and check after 20 minutes. There’s a high probability of that keyword getting indexed.

You can use the Subject Matter field just like the Search Terms field. And if you look at it that way, it means that you have an extra 250 characters to use for indexation.

To use the Subject Matter field here are the steps to follow:

  • You can include 5 Subject Matter fields. Each one of them should have only 50 characters.
  • Include words, one after the other, that you want indexed and separate them with space.
  • The same rules for the Search Term field apply.

So with the Subject Matter fields, you get an additional 250 characters for indexation and extra keywords for your product listing. Irrespective of whether the keyword used applies to your product listing, there’s a high possibility that it’ll get indexed.

But with sales velocity being the first factor of Amazon’s A9 algorithm mystery, and keyword relevance being the second factor, the more relevant a keyword is to your product listing the greater the possibility of your offer ranking for the term. However, there’s no relevance without indexing first.

With that said, there are other fields in the backend section like:

  • Platinum Keywords
  • Intended Use
  • Other Attributes
  • Target Audience

It’s a superb idea to fill them out, but they aren’t as important to visibility on Amazon’s search results like the others we’ve looked at. Let’s have a look at them, anyway.

Platinum Backend Keywords

The Platinum Keywords field only serves a purpose if you’re an Amazon Platinum-level seller. If you try filling the field out as a non-Platinum level merchant, the keywords won’t be taken into consideration.

But if you’re a Platinum Merchant, here’s what you’ll get filling those fields with your keywords.

Platinum Keywords allow you to maintain a child-parent relationship with your chosen keywords. A child product uses Platinum Keywords, which are assigned to the corresponding parent offers.

Backend Intended Use Keywords

Amazon takes the “Intended Use” field into account to understand in what conditions, events, locations, or activities the product intends to be used. The Intended Use field is available so you can tell Amazon what your product is created for.

Using an aftershave, for example, the use of the product would be “clean shave” or “rash-free shave”.

Other Attributes Keywords

Certain products have specific usage or attributes, which is is why it may be tricky for Amazon to target a relevant audience. Hence, Amazon asks you for additional information about the item. If you give them the information. There’s a greater possibility of your product getting shown to the right buyers.

You can answer these questions below to figure out what you should include in the Other Attributes fields:

  • What common or generic attributes does your offer have?
  • What are the extra attributes of your product?

Using aftershave, for example again, the other attributes could be “shaving relief”, “mild aftershave”, “alcohol-based aftershave”, etc.

Backend Target Audience Keywords

For the simplest approach to filling this backend keywords section, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who needs your product?
  • Who was the product created for?

By answering the above questions you can define your ideal target audience.

Using our aftershave example once more, the Target Audience field could have “men”, “bearded men”, etc.

Optimization of Backend and Subject Matter Keywords

Okay, so far we’ve gone through how to perform in-depth keyword research and we inputted all applicable and available keywords in their respective fields. So is our listing optimization process over? Not quite.

For backend keyword fields like “Target Audience”, “Other Attributes” and “Intended Use”, you can view them as static fields. When you include keywords into those sections, there’s usually no need to change or update them.

But regarding the “Subject Matter” and “Backend Search Terms” fields, there’s always the possibility that you’ll need to improve or optimize them.

Late 2019, Amazon unveiled the Brand Dashboard feature, and using it you can gain adequate feedback on the Backend Search Terms to make them more effective.

To locate the “Brand Dashboard” click on “Performance” in your Seller Central account and then select “Brand Dashboard”. Next, click on “Traffic” on the left side and you’ll see feedback to all of your product listings.

 

If you’ve properly optimized the backend keywords, you’ll see a check mark under “Optimized Search Terms Recommendations”. Meaning that your “Search Terms” satisfy these 3 parameters:

  • No duplicates
  • Void of superfluous terms
  • Lower than 250 bytes

 

However, if your listing doesn’t fulfill the above requirements, then you’ll receive a notification that the “Search Terms” aren’t optimized. And if you select “View Details” below the “Action” column, you can see why and which of the 3 requirements you need to satisfy.

 

You want to do this check 24 hours after submitting your backend keywords as it’ll enable you to be sure that you choose the best keywords.

Conclusion

Keywords are at the core of finding anything on the web, and that includes your Amazon product listing. And if you put up the right keywords to describe your product, you’ll gain visibility.

A rightly optimized listing that gets indexed for relevant keywords will help your offer appear on Amazon’s search results.

Filling out the backend keywords is just a start. You need to ensure that you fill them out in the proper way and that you continuously optimize them. This will boost the chances of your listing appearing in the search results for various related terms.