What are the key points of Amazon’s < 250 character indexing?
Tips to enter Amazon Backend Keywords
Updating keywords in the search terms section
Top two ways to extract Backend keywords
Two methods to check indexing of backend search terms
What are Amazon Backend keywords?
Products on Amazon show up only when the keywords in the listing match with the search query the user enters. But many times, you are unable to add a particular keyword to your listing since it does match the description of your product. This is where the lesser-known ‘Amazon Backend Keywords’ comes into the picture.
Amazon Backend Keywords are the hidden search terms that can be added to a product listing to boost its visibility. The backend search fields on the seller central account play a crucial role in Amazon SEO. These keywords are not visible to the user visiting the product listing page. But instead, these keywords count in for the search terms that you were unable to add on the page of the product listing copy.
How do backend search terms help in Product listing optimization?
Gone are the days which required you to have unreadable keyword stuffed titles and product descriptions. There are a lot of places where the search terms can provide Amazon with some extra information that will play a meaningful role in the discoverability of your product in a search.
The backend search terms cover two aspects, the discoverability of the product Amazon as well the on page aesthetics; readability of the product listing.
The Amazon seller central search terms section is a good place to put keyword variations that aren’t visually appealing and pleasing to read, like colloquial terms, similar products, synonyms or common misspellings of certain keywords.
The Amazon backend keywords can also be used to include all the relevant keywords that are important but didn’t make it in the titles, bullet points, and product description.
For example, you may be selling a “hand lotion” which many buyers who are searching for “hand moisturizer” may also like. Or your product has a search term that is commonly misspelled. For purposes like these, Amazon provides you with Amazon backend keywords search fields.
Latest Amazon Update on Backend Keyword Limits
The latest Amazon update on seller central account about the search terms are:
The total length of the search terms is limited to less than 250 bytes. Earlier it was 250 bytes.
Amazon allows you to edit or create product listings when your search terms are within the predetermined limit.
The limit includes commas, spaces, hyphens, etc.
There have been quite many changes in the backend keyword limits. When we look at the previous updates: with the first update in Feb 2016, to increase the backend keywords’ limits from 250 characters to 5,000 characters, 5 lines of 1,000 characters giving more space for sellers to grow organically, Amazon had a re-update in 2017 mid-August stating to index only the first 250 characters, yet giving a space of 5000 characters.
All the updates have been stated to increase the accuracy of search results at the same time increase the efficiency of visibility.
What are the key points of Amazon’s < 250 character indexing?
This new update in the backend keywords length limit along with hyphens, commas, etc applies to Amazon seller accounts across the US and EU. While adding keywords in the search terms field for product listings, a warning message appears, if you exceed the given character limit.
Amazon emphasizes a few things with this update:
Remove the repeated keywords
Remove competitor ASINs and brand names
Remove duplicates present in other parts of the listing, like the title, bullet points, etc
Do not include keywords that are not closely related to the product
With the recent update, Amazon emphasizes that the backend keywords can be generic keywords only describing the product, without mentioning the competitor ASINs, products or repetition.
This must remove a whole lot of general keywords and cut short the number of characters by a great extent. While you do this, add depth and relevancy to the generic backend keywords assuring your hold on these.
Include hypernyms of the product
Keep the content length lesser than the prescribed limitUse abbreviations, common misspellings and applications of the product.
Remember, it’s less than “250 bytes” not 250 characters.
The number of bytes equals the number of characters for alphanumeric characters (e.g. a-z, 0-9) while other characters can be 2 bytes or more. Examples include ä (2 bytes), £ (2 bytes), € (3 bytes) or ❤ (3 bytes)
How to access the Search Terms in Amazon Seller Central Account?
On logging in to the Amazon Seller Central account,
Click the ‘Inventory’ tab in the top header
From the list of active products on Amazon, click on the ‘Edit’ on the extreme right.
It opens the seller backend ‘Edit Product Info’ screen and automatically you’ll arrive at the ‘Offer’ tab.
Click on the ‘Keywords’ tab. Here you will find the “Search Terms” section.
Tips to enter the Amazon Backend Search Terms
Just because the backend search terms are not visible to the shopper, do not neglect them. They make your product visible for generic keywords, common misspellings, etc.
Before we look into how to find the best keywords for Amazon backend search terms, let’s skim through a few tips Amazon provides for entering the backend search terms.
Separate the keywords with spaces. The spaces and punctuation between the keywords do not contribute to the word length.You don’t need to use them.
No need to repeat keywords; once is enough.
Do not duplicate content present in other attributes, such as title and bullet points.
Keep the length of the keywords within the prescribed limit. (The standards are mentioned above) You may not be able to save the changes if you are not abiding by Amazon’s chosen length limit.
Avoid keywords that are irrelevant, misleading. Avoid terms that are offensive and abusive in nature
Do not include brand names (even your own) or other product identifiers
You also don’t need to use stop words like ‘a,’ ‘an,’ ‘the,’ ‘by,’ ‘some,’ ‘such,’ and so on
Use singular or plural. You don’t need to use both of them
Don’t use claims like ‘cheap,’ ‘best,’ and so on
No temporary statements like ‘new,’ ‘sale,’ etc.
Now that we have covered all the ‘don’ts’. Let’s also look at what Amazon has suggested to add the backend search terms.
Use a single space to separate keywords
Wherever possible enter the phrases in the logical order of search. E.g. instead of ‘camera digital print instant’, use it as ‘digital instant print camera’
Use popular abbreviations: Lord of the rings, LOTR
List alternative names: body wash, shower gel
Do include synonym versions of your keywords
Updating the Keywords in the Search Terms Section
Let’s look at two implementations of the Amazon backend keywords. The aim is to achieve optimal backend search term coverage for a copper crisper.
Implementation 1 (Platinum Keywords)
A bad implementation of Amazon Backend Keywords and Search Terms. The first example does not show an optimal usage of the search terms. This is because of
Usage of platinum keywords. Filling the platinum search terms in the Seller Central Account does not hold any value unless you are a ‘Platinum Merchant’
The complete space was not utilized, only one keyword per field was entered
Unnecessary repetition of keywords. Repetitions of keywords in several combinations “Chef Crisper” and “Chef”
Two variations of the same keyword “Copper Chef” (“Copper Chef” and “chef copper”)
Usage of unnecessary filler words. (“kitchenware copper”)
Usage of keywords with little relevance (“good quality”)
Implementation 2 For Search Terms
The second example has a better implementation of backend search terms. This was because of the following factors
No usage of platinum keywords in the search terms
Complete utilization of the available space
No keyword repetitions
Keywords were used only once
Hyphens covered compound variations and separate spellings
No filler words
No use of irrelevant keywords
Best 2 Steps to Extract Amazon Backend Keywords
Step 1: Amazon data
The search terms ideally should contain the generic terms that are used by shoppers. And the best way to extract this data is to use the information buyers give freely on the Amazon platform every day.
What do I mean by this?
I’m talking about the product Q&A’s and the customer reviews, be it for your product or your competitors. Reading these two sections is like finding gold when you want to get inside the mind of your buyer.
What do they like?
Which features do they talk about?
What doesn’t work…?
What terms do they use to describe a product? How do they explain the product in the reviews of existing competitor products?
Read them, study them and start thinking the way that the buyer does and I’m sure you’ll soon see plenty more potential search terms to use to help make your product more discoverable in the Amazon search results.
Step 2: Amazon Sponsored Products to Find More Terms
Amazon Sponsored Products ads can be very beneficial while looking for search terms. They are proven to be one of the best methods to find search terms. It will show you the exact terms the buyer searched to find your product. These show up in your Search Terms report.
Yes, it does cost money to run ads.
But it’s better to invest money in the right places and probably win than investing money in the wrong places and definitely loss. Many experts agree that it’s worth the investment for the insights you gain in return.
If you do decide to pay for Sponsored Products ads, be sure you’re making the most out of this opportunity by regularly downloading the reports Amazon provides and analyzing them.
Also, be sure you always sort your reports by clicks and orders, not impressions. Just because a search term receives a large number of impressions doesn’t mean that it’s actually relevant to buyers. You should only be concerned about which terms lead to purchases.
Look through your keyword list and get rid of any search terms that seem irrelevant in the search. Then, apply the Dos and Don’ts we outlined earlier too. Get rid of any plural and duplicate words, etc.
Finally, plug them into your Amazon backend keywords search term and see what the results are. You’ll want to pay special attention to whether or not Amazon has picked them up or rejected them.
With just a single click, you can see different categories like keyword type, estimated search volume, CPC rate, competition intensity, indexed products etc.
You can also see if the keywords are dominating or trending i.e. if their search volume is high throughout the year or if they are seasonal.
Most importantly, it shows you the number of indexed products for that particular keyword. If the number of products indexed for a keyword is many, then your product might also get indexed.
This comes in handy while searching for the keywords and search terms for your listing. As far as keywords go, your competition has already done most of the work for you. SellerApp will actually show you which keywords they’ve worked so hard for. Then, all you have to do is plug them into the five search term fields of your Seller Central Backend to begin ranking. You can also insert keywords that your competitors are using for their PPC. Understand the keyword phrases that your competitors are using for PPC campaigns using the free reverse ASIN tool.
How often should I optimize my Amazon Backend Keywords Terms
Generally recommended following a frequency of 3-4 weeks to fine tune your Amazon backend keywords
Do look at your Amazon pay per click (PPC) keywords which are high performing; high CTR— Click through Rate & Converting keywords, every 3 weeks. Find keyword variations of that primary keyword and add them as part of your backend/listing keywords
Do a Reverse ASIN Search using Keyword Optimization tool. Extract the keywords of your competitors and add the relevant ones to your Amazon backend keywords /listing terms.
Repeat the same every 3-4 weeks to keep your listing in top ranking. Thanks to Amazon’s big change, you can always add more keywords if necessary until you hit your limit. But do it only when it makes sense.
2 Methods to test the indexing of backend keywords & search terms
Studies show that your product listing will show up in a search query only if your search terms are indexed by Amazon. Unless Amazon indexes your keywords, all the relevant and the traffic grabbing search terms in your listing does not matter. As Amazon has an indexing policy of its own, a lot of sellers faced this problem of not getting indexing.
We’ll look into two methods in which you check the Amazon keyword indexing of your backend search terms to ensure that they are indexed.
Method 1 — Manual Reverse ASIN Lookup
The first method is the Manual Reverse ASIN lookup. it’s pretty simple and basic. First, go to the product detail page if you don’t have the ASIN on hand. Once you land on the page, go to the URL and locate the 10-digit ASIN. For our example, we’ll use an octopus toy with the ASIN — B008CDR7LW.
Now, go to the search bar and paste in your ASIN and add a ‘+’ and then the keyword. To get the indexing information for a product, I would simply put “octopus toy + B008CDR7LW” into the search bar and hit enter.
If it is indexed the search results display the message “1 result for “search_term + ASIN”. If it isn’t, the search engine results page will say “Your search “octopus toy + B008CDR7LW” did not match any products.”
You can use this reverse ASIN lookup method on any product on Amazon. But it’s a manual process and only verifies whether a product is indexed for a keyword or not—it doesn’t give you any new keywords.
Or you can also bulk test the indexing of your Amazon backend keywords. Copy the first row of the backend search term from your Seller Central Account. Paste the keywords in the search bar of Amazon. If the results show your product, then you are surely indexed.
If no results are available for that string, or your product wasn’t one of them, which means this search term field was not indexed completely.
There probably was an irrelevant keyword in there which was not indexed. It is not an officially recognized technique but yet, it’s something that most Amazon sellers agree upon and have claimed to have experienced.
So you may want to experiment and figure out the dud keywords and remove them. Repeat the process and check how you went for all 5 search term rows.
Method 2- The ultimate Amazon index checker tool
So obviously this trial and error method is quite confusing and time-consuming. Checking each and every search term and keyword for indexing will drive you crazy and won’t be of much help unless you keep a note of it every day. So why not do this process of using a tool from the beginning to make your life easy.
With SellerApp’s Amazon keyword index checker, copy and paste the backend search terms from your Seller Central account. Take a coffee break. SellerApp has all your data up and ready. The indexing is checked and updated at regular intervals to keep you informed with the most accurate data.
Choosing the right keywords will make or break your business on Amazon, so it’s important to take this step seriously. Now, you can do all of the above and more. But if you really want to start ranking on Amazon without spending a ton of time and effort in the process, tracking your keywords and testing them regularly is a crucial part of keeping it organized and Amazon SEO Optimized.
Arishekar N has over five years web development experience and is the senior digital marketing strategies at SellerApp, Specialist in SEO, SEM and best conversion rate optimisation strategies that deliver industry leading ROI. Arishekar has helped companies through more effective search engine marketing and SEO strategies. He is most passionate about working with e-commerce companies.