Keyword research is an essential step and part of the process of creating a list of primary keywords that you will utilize in the backend keywords. Backend keywords are only a small part of the picture, you can use these keywords for your frontend (product title, bullet points, and descriptions), Amazon advertising, and other marketing strategies.
When you fill out your backend keywords fields properly and optimize them over time, your product will have higher chances of being picked up by Amazon’s A9 algorithm and shown for different search terms that are related to your product. Ultimately, this will contribute to your Amazon sales and profits.
Here’s a quick look at what we’ll be discussing in this blog.
Amazon backend keywords are hidden phrases or search terms that are invisible to buyers. These are strategically placed at the 'backend' section of a product listing and play a crucial role in targeting potential customers while also increasing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Knowledge and the proper use of such keywords are vital for success.
Indexing and ranking are two terms that are commonly mistaken to refer to the same thing. A keyword is successfully indexed by Amazon’s algorithm when it appears against user search. Ranking, on the other hand, refers to the positioning of your product listing in the search results.
Amazon’s algorithm takes into account multiple factors when deciding on how to rank products within a particular niche. Out of all of these factors, considerable weight is given to the sales velocity for specific keywords (which also includes backend search terms). A lot can be discussed about keyword ranking; however, the focus of this blog will be on backend keywords optimization.
Like product title, description, and bullet points, the backend search terms are equally important if not more for Amazon’s A9 algorithm to pick up and display your products to your customers.
They add value to a product listing by helping it rank for other important keywords. With so many high-demand and low competition keywords, it’s quite difficult to mention them all in the product title, bullet points, and description section—at least in a way that doesn’t come across as spam.
The backend keyword section allows sellers to rank for these valuable keywords while keeping the product copy clean and attractive. Optimal use of backend keywords enhances products' Best Seller Rank (BSR) while also maintaining readability within the frontend portion of the product listing.
Let’s assume that you sell a garlic press. Most people might land on your product by searching for garlic press but users could also be using search terms like garlic presser, garlic press stainless steel, garlic press crusher, etc. Incorporating these keywords in the backend lets you capitalize on otherwise untapped leads.
Another way of understanding backend search terms is to imagine them to be signposts that you set up for Amazon. These signposts guide the algorithm to your target audience. The better the signposts, the better Amazon gets at targeting key customers.
Before we go any further, to discover the best keywords to use for backend search terms, you must understand the tips, rules, and regulations Amazon has set. Here are a few important ones:
Backend keywords should be separated by spaces instead of punctuation and also be written in lowercase. The word limit should not exceed 250 bytes which correspond to 250 characters. Ideally, you should make use of all this space which roughly equates to 40 words. Anything above the stated 250 character limit will not get indexed.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these bytes equal a 1:1 ratio for alphanumeric characters. For example, a-z, 0-9, and A-Z. Using complex characters from other languages like Japanese, Chinese, or German may upset this order as a single character in a foreign language may account for 2 to 4 bytes. Needless to say, this makes the character count estimation somewhat difficult.
There isn’t any harm in using punctuation; however, it makes more sense to separate each search term with space as both space and punctuation aren’t included in the overall character count.
Some sellers try to follow Google’s SEO guidelines by cramming the main keyword in both the frontend and backend sections of a product listing. There’s no need for that when optimizing your product listing. In fact, duplicating keywords is an ineffective and even harmful practice known as keyword stuffing. The A9 algorithm indexes every keyword regardless of positioning.
The optimal way of utilizing the Search Term Field is to fill it up with new and relevant keywords acquired via the use of ZonGuru’s Keyword Spotlight (more on that later). Doing so means that your ASIN will, with time, get indexed and start showing up for related search terms.
Amazon expects sellers to adhere to certain guidelines when incorporating backend Search Term. Failing to do so may result in your ASIN not getting indexed on desired keywords which ultimately results in decreased visibility and sales. Here’s a list of some of these guidelines as stated by Amazon.
As mentioned earlier, backend keyword research is an important step as it unveils frequently used keywords that describe your product. Knowing these search terms helps give your product listing a much-needed ranking boost as well as an increase in product visibility.
There are two methods to discover the right keywords to implement into your backend search terms: internal and external. Let’s start with the internal methods.
There are two main internal backend keyword research methods. The first one is as follows:
The first method is to utilize Amazon’s tools by downloading the Search Term report if you are running advertising. Don’t worry if you are not running Amazon ads yet, you can proceed to the next step below.
If you are running Amazon ads, start analyzing the Search Term report data. It contains accurate customer information that lets you know what keywords shoppers are using to land on your product listing.
It’s worth mentioning that while Search Term reports are a valuable asset for discovering new and high-performing keywords, there is no substitute for powerful third-party seller tools especially when it comes to researching the best backend keywords.
You can download the Search Term report by heading on over to your seller central homepage and hovering your mouse over the Reports tab. A drop-down menu will appear as shown in the image below. Next, click on the Advertising Reports option.
This will take you straight to the All Campaigns section of the advertising reports. Set a report period of 7-10 days and click the Create report button. To complete the process, click on the download option.
Note: The idea behind the 7-10 day period is to gather sufficient data to make informed decisions regarding keywords that require increased spending based on performance.
If you’re viewing the Search Term report for the first time, it can feel a bit overwhelming sifting through all the rows and columns. Here are a few tips that will make the data analysis task easier:
To learn more on how to optimize your Ad Campaigns and use better backend keywords, check out our previous blog post HERE.
Another great tool available to premium sellers is Amazon Brand Analytics. It is one of the best features that Amazon has released for brand registered sellers. Brand Analytics contains valuable insights to empower brand owners to make strategic decisions about their product portfolio, marketing, and advertising activities. Now, let’s head on over to the external method.
The external method is to leverage online tools to extract competitors’ backend keywords. Keywords Spotlight by ZonGuru is the perfect tool that lets you spy on your competitor’s backend keyword data so that you can mine those gold nuggets of insight to drive the greatest possible amount of traffic to your listing.
Another online tool that sellers can benefit from is the Keywords on Fire tool by ZonGuru. Keywords on Fire performs a reverse ASIN search for top-selling products helping you to discover the hottest keywords customers use on the Amazon marketplace. Using the list of keywords with search volume, you can easily create your list of backend search terms.
Login to your Seller Central account, navigate to the Inventory tab, and click on the “Manage Inventory” option. This will take you to your list of products. Click on the “Edit” button of the product to access its backend keywords. This is also where you edit all your backend details (i.e. title, images, prices, description, etc.).
Select the Keywords tab to view the backend keywords to edit. There are 5 sections for you to update as shown in the screenshot below:
Note: Not too long ago sellers started noticing one or more of these fields (aside from the Search Terms field) vanishing from their backend keywords section. This phenomenon also coincided with the infamous rank 32 lock.
The trend has since then continued and affects listings across various product categories. Changes like these are expected to take place from time to time. It only reinforces the importance of engaging in PPC campaigns as that too is another way of keyword indexing and ranking.
In any case, the impact of these fields as compared to Search Terms with regards to keyword indexing and ranking is minimal. So if any extra fields don’t appear when creating a new listing, there’s nothing to worry about.
Using the methods mentioned above to find your list of keywords and following the tips suggested by Amazon, insert them in the Search Terms column. Here’s an example of what a good backend search term should look like.
Pro Tip: Count your search term characters using an online character count tool.
The function of this field is self-explanatory. Amazon wants you to describe the intended use of your product and the conditions it should be used in. It informs Amazon about the functionality of your product. For example, if you’re selling a water filter then the intended use would be “clean drinking water” or “safe water”.
Determining what information to input in the Subject Matter field is a common cause of confusion for most sellers. That’s because most online blogs/guides fail to offer clarity on the subject.
Lack of information isn’t reason enough to leave this field empty. We would recommend using all the extra 250 characters for indexing. According to Amazon, this field should be used to describe the visual aspect of your product.
In doing so, sellers may inadvertently target and rank for keywords that would otherwise not be used anywhere else in the product listing.
Use this backend keywords section to describe the targeted end-users for your product. If you are uncertain who your target end-users are then try to answer these two questions: who needs your product and who did you create/manufacture/source it for? The answer to both of these questions will determine your target audience.
For example, the target audience for a seller selling a “baby monitor camera” would be parents.
With certain products, it can be a bit hard to describe specific attributes or usage which, in turn, makes it harder for Amazon to target the desired audience. To solve such issues, Amazon lets sellers provide additional information via the Other Attributes field. Utilizing this section ensures your product is displayed to the right audience increasing overall conversion rates.
You can fill out the Other Attributes field by highlighting any extra or generic attributes your product might have. For instance, a “mobile phone gaming fan” would have other attributes like “smooth gaming experience” or “prolonged gaming sessions”.
As is the case with any online marketplace, sellers are categorized into different tiers based on sales performance. Even though the platinum keyword field is available to all types of sellers, it's only useful for platinum sellers. These are sellers who in addition to boasting a long and proven record, generate millions of dollars’ worth of annual sales.
Only when reaching such a milestone does Amazon offer to upgrade the account to a platinum seller.
Another benefit of Amazon Brand Registry is access to what's known as the ASIN Search Terms Optimization Tool.
To optimize your backend search terms simply head on over to the Performance tab and select the Brand Dashboard option. Here, you’ll see a link appear in the Search Terms Optimization section. Click on the link to allow the tool to inspect all your ASINs and highlight areas that require tweaking. These may include:
Select the “Run search terms optimization” option which redirects you to a new page with two important areas titled the Current and Revised ASIN Search Terms. Click the Edit option to filter out non-value keywords and also add previously unused and valuable keywords in the Search Terms field.
Once you’re done making all of these changes, hit the Publish button. It may take up to 48 hours for the revised Search Terms to take effect.
The Amazon A9 search algorithm shows products searched by customers based on relevant keywords contained in the product title, bullet points, product description, and backend keywords. Hence, it is important that you optimize and ensure that your keywords used in your product listing are indexed by the A9 algorithm.
There are two methods to check if the list of backend keywords you inserted is being indexed by the A9 algorithm: the manual and automatic method.
The manual method requires quite a bit of work which is why the automatic method is the way to go to save time and effort. To manually check if your keyword is being indexed, type in your ASIN and keyword in the search bar and hit the search button. If the keyword is indexed, the A9 algorithm will return a positive “1 result for” your ASIN and keyword as shown in the screenshot below.
Else if the keyword is not indexed, the algorithm will return a negative “No results for” your ASIN and keyword as shown in the screenshot below. You would have to check keyword by keyword to determine which one isn’t indexed and to be honest, no one has time to do that!
Let’s take a look at the automatic method which is highly recommended. Using ZonGuru’s ultimate ASIN Index Checker, all you need to do is insert the ASIN and list of keywords to check, click on the “Get Results” button, and voila! Your results are displayed and you can export the data as well.
Looking at the results page, we know that both keywords “car mattress” and “bed” are indexed but not “bathroom”. This also proved that keyword repetition is unnecessary because we have “bed mattress” in our product listing and there’s no need to repeat the word “mattress”.
Before we wrap up our amazon backend keywords optimization guide, let’s go over a few frequently asked questions.
There are numerous free and paid tools available online that can assist you in discovering the best backend keywords for listing optimization. However, the most comprehensive and easy-to-use third-party tool is ZonGuru. It enables sellers to hunt the best backend search terms, address customer concerns, optimize product listings, and enhance ranking strategies.
There’s no limit to the number of keywords Amazon allows on the frontend. The only real challenge here is to make it seem natural and not forced. When talking about backend keywords, each keyword field has a separate limit. Try to make the most out of each field by utilizing the full character count and adding appropriate keywords.
It’s hard to understate the value of backend search terms. Veteran sellers understand their importance when it comes to ranking product listings. Having the right knowledge regarding backend search can very well be the differentiating factor between failure and success.
Fellow sellers, it is vital that your primary keywords are indexed and positioned on the top page of the search result to generate sales and profits for your business. We hope that you’ve understood the importance of amazon backend keywords and also picked up on a few optimization techniques that will help you edge past the competition.
Keep in mind that Amazon is always updating its selling policies so do follow our blog posts and social media channels for the latest and greatest news. Send us a message or email should you have any questions or support needed to utilize our tools to gain the upper hand within the Amazon marketplace.
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