EP 18: Should I Be Adding Keywords To My Amazon Listings?

Does adding keywords to a listing really increase sales?

Amazon tells us that people find products primarily through search.  Adding additional keywords gives your products more doorways for customers to find your product.  Adding keywords to the backend of a listing or to the existing bullets or title of a listing can make a significant difference in the sales velocity and potential advertising costs for a product.  

You can add additional keywords for your product in the title, bullets, and backend keywords for a product.  The impact these changes will have on your sales velocity will depend on:

  • How the listing was before being optimized
  • Amount of research that went into the keywords
  • Competitiveness of the keywords added

In this episode, Nate and Robyn share about adding additional keywords to your listing, what type of keywords to prioritize, and what you should avoid when updating your product detail pages on Amazon.

How do you add keywords to an Amazon listing?

There are a lot of ranking factors that Amazon’s search engine takes into consideration. Still, one of the biggest is the relationship between a keyword, a product, and how frequently it can generate a sale. Amazon’s search engine is capitalistic, so we need to focus on having highly relevant keywords, not just keywords with a lot of search traffic that don’t translate into sales.

You can add keywords using several methods.

Flat files

 We strongly recommend you learn flat files and use them when adding keywords; they’re a genuinely potent tool. Listing changes are more likely to take on the first try, and it’s easier to get support when they don’t. Furthermore, if something happens to that listing or it gets deleted, you can restore it from the flat file and have documented proof of the changes made. So whenever possible, if you’re going to add keywords to a listing, start with a flat-file.

 Interface

The other way that you can make those changes is through the Seller Central or Vendor Central interface. However, Seller Central can be a little complicated, especially if you’re not the brand owner, you are more than likely going to have to show proof for these changes. This method can derive in a time consuming back and forth with Amazon support. 

Tools such as Seller.ly or EasyKey

Using these tools can help you generate your keywords. Still, you need to review each suggestion, make sure that they’re relevant keywords, take out the irrelevant ones, and remove anything that could potentially be considered IP infringement.

For listing optimization, you can focus on single keywords

For Amazon SEO you do not need to optimize for each search combination.   As long as all of the single keywords are in the listing in the structured data of the listing you do not need to repeat keywords to produce specific keyword phrases.  Once you begin your advertising, then is when you look at driving sales for specific keyword phrases.

As we do keyword research for the listing, we look specifically for highly relevant single keywords that we can utilize in the listing to help with the number of terms our listing can index for.

Even though we might farm 30,000 keywords, we would never try to utilize or optimize for 30,000. The reason we look at just the single keyword is that Amazon’s algorithm puts together the combinations. For example, if you are optimizing for a blue garlic press, as long as garlic, blue, and press are in there, the algorithm will do the rest.

 Does it help my competitors when I optimize a listing?

Product detail pages on Amazon are community property.  Any changes you make to the listing will benefit all of the sellers on that listing.

It is going to help your competitors on the same listing. If they’re selling on the same product page, that may mean that your competitor’s sales will increase because of your optimization, but it also means that your sales are going to grow as well. All listings are community property, so you will benefit from their optimizations as well.

When is it not recommended that to add keywords to a listing?

Just because you can optimize a listing doesn’t mean you always should.

If you have inventory that’s not going to be replenishable or you’re no longer going to carry a particular item, then going through the time and process of getting the listings updated, and doing the keyword research, might not be worthwhile.

It doesn’t cost you anything to update a listing, but it does cost time, and it can take multiple seller tickets to get those listings updated.

The other reason why we may not optimize listing is if you’re not the brand owner. If you are a reseller, you need to consider retail contributions. If, at some point, Amazon sold this particular product directly, getting those listing changes can be very difficult because they have to be manually overwritten, and that can take a lot of tickets.

If a product is already selling reasonably well, it might not be worth the time to go through all of that work to get the listing changed because you’re going to have to get those manual overrides for retail contributions. In that case, you might want to focus more on advertising and trying to get those words to index through advertising and traffic patterns.

Words of Caution for Updating Listings

Do not use or copy images without permission. It’s essential that you do not use or reproduce any text or any images without written consent from the brand. Furthermore, you want to make sure that if you’re using images, they’re images that you’ve created.

Avoid keyword stuffing or focusing on keywords with high traffic volumes versus highly relevant keywords.

If you’re using stock images, they’re images that you have the right to use or that you’ve purchased. Amazon has been cracking down on IP infringements, so we want to make sure we’re not violating anybody’s intellectual property.

Most importantly, do not use any of your competitor keywords in your back end search terms.  This can get your listing, or even your account suspended.

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