Your complete step-by-step guide to Amazon keyword research

When you’re selling online, the most important piece of the puzzle is getting your product in front of the right audience. It may sound simple, but if your product isn’t being seen when customers search for it you’re not going to make any sales.

This situation is amplified on Amazon, where competition to be shown organically on the first page of search results is fierce. This makes Amazon keyword research one of the most important things that a seller does. If you can find a large selection of relevant keywords that strike the balance between traffic and competition, then the better your visibility will be.

In fact, getting your Amazon keyword research right is one of the simplest ways to increase your sales, without having to compete on price or source new products.

Understanding Amazon’s A9 algorithm

Before you start undertaking your Amazon keyword research, it’s important to understand why you are doing it. That reason is to please Amazon’s A9 algorithm which decides the order of search results on the marketplace. It takes many factors into account, including your metrics, sales history and the relevancy of your listing to the customer’s search terms.

To make sure that you’re ticking the box for relevancy, you need to have your finger on the pulse and know which keywords are popular with your customers. But how do you make sure that your Amazon keyword research achieves this? Well, there are four steps that you need to follow:

1. Find your seed keywords

2. Generate a wider list of keywords

3. Insert the keywords into your Amazon listings

4. Keep updating your keywords

#1. Find your seed keywords

Sellers need to start by generating four or five seed keywords. These are terms, usually made up of one or two words, that really describe what your product actually is. So, for example, if my product was an apple corer, that term would be my first seed keyword. I would then also have “apple slicer,” “apple cutter” and “fruit slicer.”

To generate your seed keywords, start by having a good think about your product. If you had to describe it to someone in just two or three words, what would you say? Note these thoughts down.

As a sense check, it is always worth looking at the five best selling products for your primary seed keyword. So, I would take the top five ranking products for “apple corer” and carry out a reverse ASIN search. This will then show me the keywords that it is currently ranking for on Amazon. There are a number of tools that you can use to do this including:

  • AMZDataStudio
  • Sonar
  • Helium 10
  • Keyword Inspector

You can then compare the results to your listing of seed keywords, making sure that they are both relevant and receive a good level of traffic. You may also find others which you hadn’t thought of which can then be added to your list of seed keywords.

#2. Generate a wider list of keywords

Once you’ve established your seed keywords, it’s time to build out a wider list by finding related terms. There are a few techniques that sellers can use to do this.

Amazon search results

One way to generate more keywords is to type your initial seed keywords into Amazon’s search box. As you can see in the example below, by searching apple corer, I’ve now got a further nine terms that buyers could be using to find my product. Repeat this for all of your initial keywords and note down each of the terms that Amazon suggests.

amazon keyword research

While in theory, you could insert these terms straight into your Amazon listing, it’s important to get some more data on them first. Even though we know that these terms are being searched for, we don’t know anything about the traffic they receive or how many listings are currently ranking for that term. To get this kind of information, sellers need to use a keyword tool.

Keyword suggestion tools

Whether you’ve just got your initial seed keywords or a list of terms that you’ve generated from Amazon search results, keyword suggestion tools play a crucial role.

Firstly, they will automatically generate a long list of terms that are relevant to your seed keywords. However, this is not always very helpful unless it is accompanied by a strong set of data. Ideally, you need to be looking for a tool that provides you with an estimate for search traffic and an indication of how hard it would be to rank on page one for that term.

By running all of your terms through a keyword suggestion tool, you can start prioritizing them. You need to make sure that you’re noting down keywords with:

  • High traffic but high competition
  • High traffic but moderate or low competition
  • Medium traffic but low competition

These are the terms that you want to be taking forward and thinking about adding to your Amazon listing.

It is also important to note that misspellings with a good amount of traffic shouldn’t be dismissed. These can be added to your backend keywords which buyers don’t see.

If you’re looking to choose a keyword tool, there are a vast number of free and paid for tools on the market. Some of the tools worth checking out are:

  • AMZDataStudio
  • MerchantWords
  • Helium 10
  • Sonar
  • Scientific Seller

#3. Insert the keywords into your Amazon listings

When you’ve whittled down your list using the three categories mentioned above, it’s time to put them in your Amazon listings. There are three key areas to target:

Product title

The first part of your listing to optimize is the product title. On Amazon, these have an upper limit of 200 characters, with some categories having even less. Because of this, it’s important to include only the most relevant search terms.


The information that Amazon suggests merchants include is the brand, size, color and the material or key feature. Try to keep to this formula and don’t be tempted to stuff keywords in—you don’t want to overdo it. Any keywords that you don’t use in the title can always be used in other parts of the listings.

Product description

Adding keywords to your product description and bullet points is a fine art. On one hand, both parts are indexed, so any keywords you add will help improve your search ranking. On the flip side, you don’t want to force your keywords in and dilute your brand message or confuse your customers.

Product Description

So, it’s important to strike the balance between having a listing that ranks well in search but that also converts. So, if your listings aren’t receiving much traffic, but have a high conversion rate, it may be worth looking at the other areas of your listing first. Make minor adjustments to your product description and bullets if needed.

Backend keywords

Sellers sometimes forget about their backend keywords, but just because they are out of sight, doesn’t mean they should be out of mind. Backend keywords are not seen by customers but they are still indexed by Amazon and have a direct impact on your search ranking.

Accessed through the backend of Seller Central, merchants have five lines and 250 characters to add keywords that don’t appear anywhere else in their listing. It doesn’t matter what order the keywords are entered in and don’t be afraid to include misspellings. Customers won’t see them and there is debate over whether Amazon accounts for misspellings or not, so it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.

#4. Keep updating your keywords

Amazon keyword research is not a one-time process. To achieve a consistently good search ranking, it needs to be repeated on a recurring basis. Keep putting your seed keywords and your competitors’ ASINs through keyword tools. This way you can spot any new, high traffic terms that people are using to find products like yours.

You also need to keep a close eye on your listings and see how they are performing in search. After you’ve made your initial changes, leave it a month and then compare it to your performance before you optimize your listings. If your search ranking has improved, then there’s no need to make any further changes.

Don’t be afraid to change things up. Go back through the process, see if you’ve missed any crucial keywords and make changes to your listing. Then, give it a month and see if that’s made any difference. If not, repeat the process again until you see an improvement.

Do keep in mind though, that it could be down to other factors which the algorithm is thought to consider. So, don’t forget to look at areas like your metrics in conjunction with carrying out Amazon keyword research.

The bottom line

When you’re selling on Amazon, the last thing you want to do is spend hours sourcing products to then create listings which your ideal customers can’t find. Getting your Amazon keyword research right helps you avoid this dilemma and drives more potential customers to your listings. If they convert well this should then translate into more sales too.

Finding the right keywords can seem like a daunting task at first. But, over time, you’ll learn what tools you like, which ones you don’t and the best ways to generate those all-important seed keywords. If you clearly define the process you use and repeat it on a regular basis it’ll become second nature and you’ll enjoy a consistently high organic search ranking.

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