How To Use Keyword Research to Optimize Your Amazon Product Listing

You’ve performed product research and found the perfect product to sell. You found the right manufacturer. You’ve created your Seller Central account and are ready to start your FBA career.

Now what?

It’s time to get down to business on your Amazon marketing strategy! That begins with making sure your product listing is set up for maximum visibility and able to convert shoppers to buyers.

We consider your product images and copy to be the foundation of a successful Amazon marketing plan. Every aspect of your selling experience will benefit from high-quality images and sales-inducing copy optimized for search.

Although many don’t think of Amazon as a search engine, that’s precisely what it is.

Amazon is responsible for roughly half of all e-commerce sales, and nearly 90% of Amazon’s product views come from searches.

Is your listing optimized to take advantage of this humongous audience?

Those who do not optimize their listing to reach all the customers for their product are not only leaving sales on the table; they’re encouraging customers to buy from competitors, resulting in ranking changes that further minimize your visibility.Whether you’re creating a new listing or looking to enhance your existing listing, Viral Launch’s Keyword Research and Listing Builder tools are all you need to maximize visibility, increase exposure, and most importantly — boost sales.

STEP 1: Find your seed keyword

First, we’ll need to determine our seed keyword. In the Amazon world, this would be the most relevant keyword that has the highest search volume. In other words, the most popular term that customers are using to find your product on Amazon.

Think about the product you want to sell. If you were a customer, what would I search for my product to show up as a result?

For some products, this is as simple as it sounds. But for others, it can be trickier than you’d think.

Consider soft drinks. Is it soda, pop, or are you like me and use “Coke” as a catch-all for every fizzy beverage? This likely depends on where you’re from or where you currently live.

From this example, you can see how colloquial language can change depending on where you’re at and how the same product may have a few different primary keywords associated with it.

Finding the right seed keyword is just one of the many reasons why Viral Launch’s Keyword Research tool is a must-have when it comes time to writing your listing. Filled with years of search volume data, Keyword Research makes the process of finding a seed keyword and knowing what your primary keywords will be a simple one.

For the remainder of our SEO-boosting exercise, Keyword Research will play a huge role in not only what keywords we use, but how we place them. The proprietary keyword metrics such as Priority Score, Relevancy Score, and Opportunity Score provide valuable insights for us to draw from and prioritize our keywords.

Dig around with keyword research before deciding upon your seed keyword. You may be surprised at what keywords fetch the most searches for your product.

Step 2: Find Relevant High-Volume Keywords

Filter out keywords that aren’t relevant or accurate to your product. Use the filters to customize your keyword list and remove competitor brand names and any keywords that do not apply to your product.

After you’ve found the right seed keyword, you’ll have a comprehensive list of related keywords along with helpful data points such as Viral Launch’s exclusive Priority Score and Relevancy Score. We recommend sorting by search volume estimates, as these are going to be where much of the traffic via search.

Sort this list by search volume estimates to get an idea of what keywords or phrases people are using to find your product. Since search volume estimates are an incredibly powerful indicator of consumer demand on Amazon, we can quickly see which keywords are being used to find your product and the depth of the market.

Ensuring that your product is indexed for the majority or all of your keywords are the first step in making sure your listing shows up for customers. Being indexed also means that as sales trickle in through search, you’ll see your organic rank rise as a result. Without indexing for these keywords, achieving sustainable sales is an uphill battle to say the least.

As you filter through your list, you’ll find keywords that don’t apply to your product, such as competitor brand names. Unless you’re selling one of these brand names, it’s best to filter these keywords out and remove them from your keyword list until they’re all gone. 

We recommend using the “Keyword Excludes” filter to take irrelevant or inapplicable keywords for maximum efficiency. Due to the robust nature of Amazon, it’s impossible for a machine to automatically pull a keyword list ONLY related to your product. But the “Keyword Excludes” filter allows you to take out keywords and phrases that do not apply to your product so you have a keyword list made exclusively for your product.

In the image listed for this step, you’ll see I’m filtering out “La Croix” since that is a competing brand. Further down the list, this brand name is mentioned multiple times. Filtering it out just once will get rid of all mentions of “La Croix” with that exact spelling.

For the same reasons we remove results with competitor names, you’ll want to eliminate other results that aren’t relevant to your product, such as size, color, dosage, or product specifications that don’t apply to your product.

Once you’ve finished filtering, it’s time to put these keywords into action by adding them into your listing’s copy. You can either do this yourself OR you can use a tool like Viral Launch’s Listing Builder to make the process much more streamlined, simple, and quicker.

STEP 3: Piece It All Together

The beauty of Listing Builder is that it allows for experimentation with your listing’s copy and enables real-time feedback for you to see how each tweak affects your listing.

Creating a listing can feel a lot like putting a puzzle together, and Listing Builder empowers you to move the pieces around to see what works.

You’ll see your filtered-down list of keywords on the left side, sortable by search volume estimate, priority score, and opportunity score. On the right, you’ll see the fields for an Amazon listing that you can use without affecting your actual listing.

As you type each keyword in, you’ll notice that each keyword will be crossed off your list. This feature assists you to be as space-efficient as possible with your listing. Amazon doesn’t place extra weight on keywords for repeated use, so once you’ve used it once, there’s no need to add it again for indexing purposes.

  • Know your (character) limits

Your product listing has a character limit for your title and bullet points, typically between 50 and 200 characters for each. Your limit depends on what category Amazon recognizes your product as, and this can play an enormous impact on how you execute your strategy.

If you include your brand name in your title to align with Amazon’s style guide, 50 characters become even less.Product listings with 50 character titles will have to be more “meat and potatoes” while more extended character limits allow more room for sales-inducing, descriptive language.

Across all listings (except for listings with Enhanced Brand Content capabilities), you will have up to 2000 characters to use at your discretion.

HOOK CUSTOMERS IN WITH YOUR TITLE

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and your title is the first impression on the shopper. A thoughtfully crafted title and a professional quality main product image are a recipe for you to get customers to choose your product over the other search results.

Amazon Style Guidelines recommend starting your title with your brand name, and we always recommend meeting their style guidelines to ensure you don’t get your listing suppressed.

Staying within their guidelines can be a pain and stand in the way of the keyword or phrase you’re just dying to fit within your limits. But we must remember this is only part of doing business since not following the guidelines can defeat the purpose of optimizing the copy in the first place.

  • DON’T BE A BOT

A common mistake that sellers make is keyword stuffing, including as many keywords as possible without regard for readability or sense. Not only is keyword stuffing against Amazon style guidelines, it’s not shopper-friendly.

Nobody wants to read your keyword list, so don’t make it your product listing! All too often, sellers use various keyword stuffing methods and see great optimization scores, but wonder why their product isn’t flying off shelves.

Writing a keyword-optimized listing is both an art and a science. It requires the science of search data and combines it with the art of integrating these keywords into your listing in sales-inducing language.

Ideally, your listing is indexed for each and every keyword on your list. Depending on your character limits and how many keywords are relevant for your product, this might not be possible, so it’s important to be strategic with which keywords get left on the cutting room floor.

Our end goal is to increase rank, which occurs when you achieve sales through searches for keywords that you’re indexing for. Don’t get too caught up writing to the algorithm to the point that you forget about the reader you’re trying to convert to a customer!

MAKE SURE YOUR BULLET POINTS HAVE BITE

Once your title has been expertly crafted, the bullet points should be next up on your order of operations. This is where customers get to know your product. What’s unique about it? What sets it apart from the competition?

The bullet points are an excellent place to showcase your product, boast about its selling points, and add essential keyword phrases that couldn’t be squeezed into the product title. Most listings will include five bullets, so think about 5–7 selling points of your product, prioritize them, and place them in a way that makes the most sense.

Sticking with our fictional soda example, let’s highlight a few of the selling points to start it off.

  • TASTE THE TROPICS: Quench your thirst with a can of our refreshingly sweet, all-natural orange soda

Within 100 characters, we caught the shopper’s attention with a catchy slogan, informed the customer that it comes in a can, and highlighted two major selling points for our fictional orange soda: it’s refreshing and completely natural.

We’re answering customer questions while addressing a few primary benefits of this particular soda. We’ve used a few crucial keywords as well, all without appearing to stuff them unnaturally.

CLOSE THE DEAL WITH A KILLER PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The customer found your product and liked what they saw with your title and header image. They saw your bullet points, and they haven’t left looking for competitor products. You’ve got this customer on the hook.

Now close the deal.

Psychologically, the customer is looking for a final reason to buy or not buy your product. Answer any potential questions they may have. Show and tell the customer why your product is superior to others on the market.

Your product description likely has a 2000 character limit and offers minimal indexing weight. But do not make the mistake of ignoring this section because it won’t increase your visibility.

The longer character limit and lack of indexing weight make this area ideal for placing emphasis on your product’s selling points and answering any potential questions.

Take on the mentality of a customer. What’s in this product? How is it made? What sets it apart from Competitor X? How does this product make my life better?

How you answer those questions could very well be the difference between a customer adding to cart or starting their search over again.

DON’T SKIP THE BACK-END SEARCH TERMS

Sellers frequently make the mistake of leaving their back-end search term areas blank! Just because customers can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t have value.

The back-end search term fields are a terrific way to grab what we call “low-hanging fruit” in the form of relevant search terms containing common misspellings or search queries made in foreign languages. It’s also a great place to toss those lower relevance keywords that you weren’t able to squeeze into the title or bullet points.

The back-end search term field is a lifesaver for including keywords that wouldn’t make sense to include in a product listing such as common misspellings, Spanish phrases, and others.

Leaving this area blank willingly misses out on thousands of searches each month and the sales that come with appearing with these results.

You’ll likely see optional areas to fill out, such as Intended Use, Target Audience, Other Attributes, and Subject Matter as back-end fields. While we have found no significant correlation between these fields, Amazon has been known to tweak its algorithm from time to time.

Despite the lack of tangible benefits, we still recommend filling these fields to stay ahead of the competition in the event of these fields coming into play in the future.

  • Know your (character) limits

Your product listing has a character limit for your title and bullet points, typically between 50 and 200 characters for each. Your limit depends on what category Amazon recognizes your product as, and this can have a tremendous impact on how you utilize your characters.

If you include your brand name in your title to align with Amazon’s style guide, 50 characters become even less. Product listings with 50 character titles will have to be more “meat and potatoes” while more extended character limits allow more room for sales-inducing, descriptive language.

Across all listings (except for ones with Enhanced Brand Content capabilities), you will have up to 2000 characters to use at your discretion.

An expertly crafted product listing that is keyword-optimized to land you on the coveted Page One for search results. That comes after sales trickle through via the keywords you’re indexing for. It is then that you’ll see your rank improve so you can start receiving

Making sure your product listing is keyword-optimized and SEO-friendly is something rookie and experienced sellers alike should be doing. Trends change, so it’s worth monitoring your keyword performance and optimization score every few months to stay on top of your game and give your product detail page an edge over the competition.

With Keyword Research and Listing Builder, it’s never been easier for sellers to create their keyword-optimized product listing. If you have any questions about what’s allowed or not allowed within Amazon, their product page style guide comes in handy. Additionally, our customer support team is always willing to help provide clarity. Sign up today and select a plan that includes our listing optimization software bundle to maximize your listing today!

Why Search Volume Data Is Crucial For Finding Winning Products

No matter where you’re at in your FBA journey, conducting intensive product and market research is absolutely critical to your success. 

With each stage of the Amazon selling process, the key performance indicators (KPIs) you rely upon will change, as each phase presents unique challenges and opportunities. Knowing which data points to observe and consider during any decision-making process plays a significant role in your ultimate success or failure, especially for FBA beginners.

For most sellers, search volume data doesn’t enter the equation for product research until you’re building an SEO-friendly listing or exploring pay-per-click (PPC) advertising opportunities.

But waiting until after you’ve found a product to start paying attention to search volume data may be a major mistake!

How does search volume play such an important role in the decision-making process? Easy. It’s a significant indicator of one of the most fundamental aspects of any business.

Search volume represents demand.

Outside of Amazon, businesses invest an abundance of time and money into research for demand validation.

What are people looking for? Where are they going for these items? How much inventory should we have in stock? What are interested customers willing to pay? Can I expect steady sales all year-long?

With the right research tools, sellers can not only answer all of those questions but can actually reverse engineer product ideas based on years of exhaustive market data. Every metric tells a unique story, and search volume estimates tell the story of demand.

We can safely say this due to the nature of Amazon being a search engine solely for commercial purposes. Others may recommend utilizing Google search volume data for research, but there’s a huge part of the equation you’d be missing out on by not using search volume from Amazon.

Searches on Amazon are made with the intent to buy.

Check out your recent search history on Google. How many of those searches were made with the intent of buying something? Chances are, not many. On the other end, it wouldn’t make much sense to search for something on Amazon without some level of interest in buying something.

So why make a business decision based on searches made with no intent to buy?

If you sell outside of Amazon, Google Keyword Planner and AdWords are incredible tools for seeing what’s generating buzz and increasing your visibility through PPC advertising outside of Amazon. But Amazon and Google serve two entirely different purposes as search engines. 

Google was created to organize information and make it universally accessible. Amazon is much more focused on commerce and making transactions as frictionless as possible for sellers and buyers.

By utilizing search volume data for Amazon instead of Google while conducting product research, you’re able to eliminate the guesswork of buyer intent and focus on the level of interest in your product market directly from your audience.

Viral Launch’s search volume estimates (available with any plan with access to Keyword Research) display search volume history ranging back years to keep an eye on product seasonality.

Every product is bound to have peaks and valleys in sales, but not paying attention to seasonality is an all-too-common rookie mistake.

For example, let’s take a look at the above chart for the search volume history of “kettlebell.” If you were only to look at the most recent search volume estimates (194,592 searches over the last 30 days) and eschew historical trends, you might source the product thinking you’ve hit a grand slam.

But from this graph that displays years of search volume data, we can safely assume that traffic for kettlebells skyrocketed as gyms closed due to COVID-19 and gym rats being resigned to get their lifts in at home as a result.

As more people receive their home workout gear and gyms re-open, searches have seen a downtick in the previous two months and will likely continue regressing to the norm. While “kettlebell” receives a significant chunk of (15k — 25k monthly searches), it’s a far cry from the 194k searches last month, or it’s all-time high of 292.5k searches in April.

Think of using current search volume as a snapshot of the moment, and historical search volume data being a full picture or video. Using historical search volume data allows us to increase the sample size we’re drawing from for more accurate data to inform your decision better.

Use search volume estimates to find and validate your niche.

As more and more household brands flock to Amazon and top-selling third-party sellers continue to mature, achieving prominent rank for highly searched, high sales products is increasingly difficult due to saturation.

By no means does this mean that highly profitable products aren’t out there, it just means the strategy for finding them has been updated to fit the current landscape of Amazon as it continues to mature as an e-commerce giant. And for aspiring sellers, it only intensifies the need for astute strategies and well-informed research.

Because of that, we recommend avoiding the oversaturated, uber-competitive markets that are difficult to compete within. While it’s not impossible to find success entering a saturated market, there is elevated risk that comes with more barriers to entry and can be a cash drain.

You can find our comprehensive deep dive into our recommended strategies for finding niches and performing product research in today’s FBA climate here.

In a nutshell, finding niches is beneficial to sellers because they have an increased likelihood of success and an opportunity to own a segment of the market as both Amazon and your brand grow.

With this strategy, you’ll want to avoid overly crowded markets while also making sure you have an audience. If you have a subscription that includes Keyword Research, you can quickly ensure this by utilizing the Estimated Search Volume filter and setting your search parameters.

Utilizing the Estimated Search Volume filter in Product Discovery’s Keyword Search is an excellent way to hunt for niches and customize product ideas to your resources and goals.

Once you’ve narrowed down your filters to match your goals, just click Show Keywords, and you’ll be provided with a sortable list that includes estimated search volume as well as data including the average price, sales, reviews, and revenue in that keyword market. Those on annual plans will also see a Product Idea Score, which incorporates multiple metrics into one score on a 1–5 scale for quick and easy validation.

Using your search parameters, you’ll see a full list of keywords on Amazon that meet your criteria, allowing you to evaluate some of the most important elements of product research at once. 

As you sift through the results, be sure to use market research tools such as Market Intelligence to further validate or invalidate product ideas with quality data, estimates, and insights.

Search volume data is one of the most useful, yet overlooked metrics for FBA rookies when hunting for the right product to source and sell. Without tracking current and historical search volume for a product’s seed keyword, you’re making yourself vulnerable to critical oversights in your research.

At Viral Launch, we believe the most-informed decision is the best decision. Having reliable and accurate search volume estimates in your arsenal is an essential element of making the most informed decision possible.

Don’t miss out on the valuable insights that can be gleaned from Amazon search volume estimates! Add Keyword Research to your research plan today to access accurate and reliable search volume estimates to get a leg up on the competition.

6 Things to Remember When Optimizing Amazon Product Listings

Amazon is a search engine first and foremost. Customers will inevitably find any product you list by using search queries, so optimizing Amazon product listings is vitally important to your success as a seller. That means knowing not only which keywords to use, but also where they carry the most SEO weight.

For example, your listing’s title has the biggest SEO impact, followed by the bullet points, description, and back-end keyword fields. Because it functions like a search engine, Amazon indexes all of these fields for its SEO purposes. 

You should prioritize Amazon’s keyword best practices to find the most relevant keywords and give each listing the greatest exposure.

How to Optimize an Amazon Listing

Having a comprehensive SEO-based keyword strategy is important, but optimizing Amazon product listings is about more than just choosing keywords. For instance, there are also Amazon title best practices to consider. We strongly recommend writing a title that begins with about five words followed by a colon. This establishes an ideal canonical URL to help with external SEO efforts (such as Google listings).

In addition, your listing’s click-through rate, conversation rate, and other audience engagement metrics have a definite impact on organic SEO ranking. To help maximize that impact, follow these tips when optimizing your Amazon product listings:

1. Start with a keyword tool.

Choosing the best keywords to optimize your Amazon listing takes research. Fortunately, you can make keyword research and analysis much easier with help from a comprehensive keyword research tool.

Our tool is unique in that it offers historical keyword data alongside current data, which shows you the full scope of the keyword landscape. You can get insights into Amazon-specific search queries with highly precise breakdowns of keywords relevant to your product.

2. Infuse relevant language in your keywords.

It’s critical to describe your product and form your keywords using the exact language that customers use in their search queries. For example, plenty of people will discover the stereo headphones you sell by using the term “headphones,” but thousands of others might also search for earbuds, headsets, and other variations of the same keyword. Make sure you adjust your listing not only for the main keyword, but also for other relevant terms your audience might be using.

3. Make sure to categorize your listing correctly.

The descriptions and keywords you use will go a long way in defining your product, but you still have to assign categories and subcategories that will determine its placement on Amazon’s website. If you’re not sure which categories or subcategories to choose, search for your product in Seller Central and see which categories similar listings fall under.

4. Use plenty of high-quality photos.

According to a 2018 e-commerce survey, 73% of U.S. consumers who shop online say they won’t consider a product that has fewer than three images. To stand out, then, use multiple high-quality images of your product.

A mix of studio and lifestyle shots that feature your product in the most attractive light can help consumers envision themselves using it. Our photography resources can help you learn how to capture the perfect product photos to catch potential customers’ attention.

5. Optimize pricing to fit the market.

No matter how keyword-rich and image-heavy your listing is, you won’t get much engagement or many sales if your prices are too high for your market. For most new sellers (and even most veterans), it’s difficult to sell any product at a premium price point. Fewer conversions also mean a less favorable keyword ranking. Instead, try slowly increasing your prices as your listings perform better.

6. Keep everything you do within Amazon’s terms of service.

No matter what you try to optimize, do so while staying within the bounds of Amazon’s terms of service. Its terms place strict rules on actions that can have a direct impact on SEO rankings, particularly regarding customer feedback and reviews. For example, sellers are prohibited from compensating users for favorable reviews and ratings.

To be a successful Amazon Seller, you have to approach optimizing your Amazon product listings as you would with any other search engine. Take the time to research which keywords best support your product and use them to create an attractive, informative, and optimized listing. For more information about how to optimize your Amazon listings and their overall performance, speak with one of our experts today.

The Viral Launch Software Suite Just Got Sweeter: Here’s What’s New

As the Viral Launch community grows in size and strength, our team is more and more dedicated to equipping you with the tools, guidance, motivation, and support you need to build the life you dream of. After being in the Amazon community for over four years and helping drive over $10 Billion on Amazon, we’ve developed the most comprehensive suite of Amazon seller tools with one goal in mind: your results. We are excited to announce a few improvements we’ve added recently – all of which come free of charge for Viral Launch users.

PPC Rule Flexibility

For those who want to run smooth Amazon PPC automations without overspending, we’ve added Risk Multipliers. Whatever you’re aiming for – whether it’s profitable campaigns or increased organic sales – you can increase the accepted spend in a controlled manner, allowing you to hit your goals more frequently. Spend less of your day worrying about Amazon ads, and let Kinetic’s flexible automations do the tedious work for you.

Example: If your goal is 30% ACOS, but you’re willing to go to 45% ACOS to try and find useful keywords by casting a wider net, you would set your Risk Multiplier to 1.5x.

Kinetic

Keyword Rank Comparison

Have you ever wondered how one keyword’s rank changes affect another? To help Viral Launch users see their keyword performance on a macro-level, we’ve introduced Bulk Compare. This new feature makes it really easy to understand which keywords rank better than others over time. Plus, you can see how one keyword’s success is correlated to another’s. Choose 10 keywords in Keyword Manager or Competitor Intelligence, and run a bulk action to compare.

Keyword Manager and Competitor Intelligence

Top Seller Sales Breakdown

Do you ever wonder how a top seller is driving so many sales? With our new “Track” button, you can see exactly where a product is ranking for every relevant keyword. Now, you can understand where all those sales are coming from. And with this knowledge, you can implement the same strategy for your business… prioritizing their winning keywords and taking advantage of the ones they’re missing. 

Market Intelligence and Competitor Intelligence

Market Averages at a Glance

For Viral Launch users who want to make efficient, smart decisions during their product research, we’re happy to announce it is now easy to view market averages without any extra clicks. With this addition, you can quickly understand how the products on page one are performing. Now, you can determine your potential for success and make informed sourcing decisions at the click of a button.

Market Intelligence

New Sections in Search Results

If you have noticed more and more sections popping up in Amazon’s search results, you may find our new highlights quite useful. In your product research, it’s important that you’re aware of sections such as “Top Rated from our Brands,” “Editorial Recommendations,” and of course “Sponsored Brands.” Our highlights ensure you’re aware of the section’s presence, and they give you information about that product’s performance. This means you can avoid markets where Amazon’s presence is strong, and you can understand how these positions are affecting sales for the selected products. 

Market Intelligence

Streamlined Keyword Research

Sometimes basic metrics don’t quite cut it when choosing which keywords to prioritize in your PPC and organic rankings. You can now evaluate a keyword’s potential directly in Keyword Research. Quickly find markets growing in opportunity or declining in demand with keyword trend data. And see how competitive each keyword is with information on page one products. It’s never been easier to understand which keywords to prioritize for your products.

Keyword Research

There’s More Where That Came From

Selling on Amazon gets more complex with every week that passes. As more brands recognize the enormous opportunity, you must be more strategic with management and growth. It can be tough, we know. But our team of 80+ is obsessed with researching, analyzing, and building tools that support you in the process. Just like you’re committed to building your business, we’re committed to you. If you have any suggestions or questions, we’d love to hear your feedback! After all, we couldn’t do this without you.

New to Viral Launch?  Start Your Free Trial

Already part of the crew? See the New Features in Action

The Science of Search: Advanced Amazon Keyword Research Tactics

We are taking a deep dive into the foundation of every successful strategy on Amazon: keyword research.


When looking to private label a product on Amazon, it’s extremely evident that the markets are flooded. Now more than ever, it can be an incredibly difficult feat to drive sales for a new product with no reviews and no sales history. That said, there is still a (literal) wealth of opportunity in the Amazon space for savvy sellers who package a well developed strategy with their product offering.

At Viral Launch, we’ve seen one recurring fundamental reason for a product’s failure on Amazon… lack of strategy. It’s not good enough to source a product, throw up a listing, and wait for the sales, and (perhaps unfortunately) focusing on sourcing a product that’s objectively ‘different’ or ‘better’ than your competition doesn’t matter much when you’re given one image and around 100 characters to draw the attention of shoppers.

Everything on Amazon comes down to strategy, and strategy is the result of thorough research. Sourcing the right product and ensuring that it’s positioned correctly in the market is the key to driving success on Amazon. While we have recently published two lengthy posts which cover how to generate product ideas and how to launch and rank products, due to ever increasing importance, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the foundation of every successful strategy on Amazon: keyword research.

The Strategy Behind a Well Crafted Listing

It’s important to recognize that while many people think of Amazon as more of a digital store, the reality is that Amazon.com is first and foremost a search engine. For this reason, when creating a product listing, it’s important to understand that your written content must serve dual purposes.

The first purpose is to produce an attractive listing. Like an advertisement for your product, you need to ensure that you’re using persuasive language and providing a value proposition to help sell your product. If your content doesn’t make sense, doesn’t read attractively, or doesn’t adequately explain the tangible value of the product, shoppers will inevitably be inclined to choose a different product.

The second purpose of your listing is to appeal to Amazon’s search engine. Because your product is inevitably found through customer search queries, ensuring that you’re understanding the keywords that shoppers are using to find your product (and understanding how to prioritize them in your listing) is critically important for driving success. With this, diversifying your keywords as much as possible helps you to index within the results of more searches, thus widening your listing’s potential visibility.

Ultimately, a well optimized listing (a balance between keyword rich content and sales language) is the cornerstone of a successful product. If you focus too heavily on making  a persuasive appeal to your shoppers, there is a good chance that you’ll end up limiting the quantity of searches for which your product will be indexed. On the other hand, if you focus too heavily on overloading your listing with high value keywords, it may show up in more searches but it’s likely that the product’s conversion will be low. Even if you can get your listing in front of people, if it doesn’t read well, or draw people in, you’re not going to be able to maximize your sales perspective.

Great listing content is a fusion between art (sales language) and science (keyword research). The art of this equation is something that comes from understanding your product and the benefits, differentiating factors, and qualities that can persuade buyers. The science comes from market research, data analysis, and in most cases, a quality set of tools to help your pursuit.

This article will be addressing the science of keyword research.

Keyword Research

While the purpose of this article is educational and not a sales pitch, and while there are several tool suites that can be utilized to help you conduct research, this article will be referencing the Viral Launch research tools for ease of reference.

While some of this should even be done prior to sourcing a product, when beginning to analyze keyword markets, Keyword Research should be the foundational reference point for building your listing content. To start, you’ll want to search for your product’s primary keyword. This is logically the keyword that you would search if you were looking to buy a product in your market. From there, Keyword Research will populate a list of associated keywords along with key metrics such as search volume, relevancy score, etc.

This list of keywords of populated keywords contains many of the important search terms that you should seek to prioritize in your content. Because Keyword Research is algorithmic, however, you’ll need to review these results to pull out the best keywords to include.

For starters, sort your results by search volume. This should give you the most competitive keywords in your market. These are the terms being searched most heavily by shoppers and have the potential to drive a large volume of sales. That said, they’re also going to be difficult and expensive to rank for, meaning that while it’s important to include these terms in your content, you’re going to want to target some quick-win keywords as well that can help you to drive sales early on.

It’s important to note that you’ll also want to remove any ‘branded’ keywords from consideration. For instance, if you’re selling socks, keywords like ‘Nike socks’ may have high search volume, but since you’re not Nike, these keywords can’t be targeted by your content.

Once you have identified a good selection of high volume keywords, it’s important to now look for keywords with high opportunity. A high opportunity keyword is a keyword that is not included in the content of many/any competing listings. Within Keyword Research, opportunity is scored from 0-1000. Keywords with a 1000 opportunity score means that no listings on page one have this exact phrase keyword included in their content. The lower the score, the more listings include this term.

To identify high opportunity keywords, it’s recommended that you sort by opportunity score, and look for any keyword with an opportunity of 750-1000 with a search volume of at least 1000 searches per month. There are typically plenty of keywords that have high opportunity, but if no one is searching for them, there isn’t much potential to drive sales. Because each section of a listing has a character limit, it’s important to prioritize keywords that have better potential to drive sales (i.e. keywords that have search volume).

Finally, performing a quick review of high priority and high relevancy keywords will help you to catch any other terms that may have been missed. Particularly, priority is determined by assigning a score based on search volume and opportunity, meaning that it will help to show keywords that are easy to rank for while having some degree of customer audience.

It’s also recommended that you repeat this process by searching several high volume keywords within Keyword Research. Though the majority of the keywords should overlap, ensuring that you’re not missing any other valuable keywords can be helpful.

As you collect these keywords, you are able to move them over to your keyword bank, allowing you to create your listing within Listing Builder. You’re also able to copy and/or export your list to a CSV file. It’s highly recommended that you keep an organized record of your targeted keywords for reference for tracking and advertising purposes.

Competitor Intelligence

While using Keyword Research is a great way to understand your market and build a collection of high volume keywords, it’s also important to understand your product market within the context of the competition. By understanding what keywords your competitors are running ads to, driving sales through, prioritizing, and/or ignoring, you can begin to build a strategy around how to position your product within a market.

With Competitor Intelligence, you can review your competition’s keyword data and use their data to your advantage. Through keyword analysis on several market competitors, you can construct keyword lists based on a few different considerations.

Primarily, Competitor Intelligence can show you what keywords are driving sales for your competition. The tool is able to present any listings, organic ranking for each keyword, ad placements, and keyword search volume, allowing you to review and monitor the keywords that correlate to a bulk of your competitor’s sales. Through this, you can start to build a profile of the keywords that drive the most sales for listings in your market and prioritize your listing content accordingly.

Additionally, using Viral Launch’s Reverse ASIN 2.0 technology, Competitor Intelligence will also show relevant keywords for which your competitor is not indexed and/or ranked for. Comparable to opportunity score, if there is little to no search volume for these keywords, they may not be worth prioritizing. However, if your top competitors are missing a few quality keywords in their listing, it may create opportunity for you to drive sales with little competitive resistance. Especially early on in the life of your listing, understanding how to drive easy sales by capitalizing on the missed opportunities of your competition can be a useful tactic to begin building visibility, sales history, and reviews. This data has the power to help you drive sales through opportunities that your competitors don’t even know that they’re missing.

Ultimately, through viewing the keywords that your competitors are using to drive sales, as well as the overlooked keywords which have the potential to drive sales, you can ensure that you’re not missing a single opportunity!

Listing Analyzer

For Existing Product Listings:

If you have an existing product listing that you’re seeking to improve, the best strategy is to start by using Listing Analyzer. By linking your Seller Central account to your Viral Launch account, you’re able to seamlessly pull your product catalog into the Viral Launch interface.

From the Listing Analyzer tab in your Viral Launch dashboard, you can run an analysis on your product. Our software will pull metrics and keyword data from your listing, presenting you with an overview of your product in comparison to the market, along with a listing quality score. Through this tool, your listing’s images, reviews, competitiveness and copy are analyzed and you are also provided with a list of competitive and comparative products.

Additionally (and most importantly within the context of this article), Listing Analyzer will also provide you with an extensive list of keywords which are relevant to your product market. This data is relatively similar to Keyword Research (with regards to the metrics provided), however you are also able to review whether or not the keyword is being utilized in your listing.

From this list, you are able to select keywords that are relevant to your listing and move them into Keyword Manager to monitor, track, and/or incorporate into your listing.

On a final note, it’s important to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to optimizing your listing with the strongest keyword spread possible. That said, if you are working with an older product, particularly if it’s selling relatively well, changing your listing content can create a ‘reshuffling’ of your keywords within Amazon’s system. Because of this, you can sometimes see a short term detriment to ranking and sales as your listing is reincorporated into Amazon’s SEO structure. Therefore, while it can be beneficial in the long term to fully optimize your listing, you may need to weigh this against the potential setbacks to determine if and when to change your content. Ultimately, while this can be a good tactic for working with a new listing, altering your content becomes more complicated as your listing ages.

For a New Product Listing:

If you are beginning your keyword research prior to having an active listing on Amazon, you will want to begin your process by building out your keyword list through the use of Keyword Research and Competitor Intelligence.

Once you have a listing on Amazon, it’s advantageous to run your product listing through Listing Analyzer to further ensure that you’re maximizing your keyword/ranking potential.

While you do need an existing listing in order to run an analysis, it’s worth it to think of Listing Analyzer once your product listing is up on Amazon as a final check to verify listing quality. At this point, you can review the provided keyword data through the tool and make any final adjustments if you notice any missed terms.

Note: If you are running an analysis on a brand new listing, it’s unlikely that you will have a perfect score, as review quantity, revenue generation, etc. in comparison to the market factor in to the assessment. While you want to note these data points as a means of knowing what’s needed to maximize competitiveness for your market, early on, the best use of Listing Analyzer is to verify your keyword list and review competing and complementary products for the purpose of product targeted advertising.

Keyword Manager

Now that your keyword bank is compiled (and hopefully added to your listing), it’s time to start benefiting from your research. Keyword Manager helps you to track your keyword bank and understand how and where you’re driving sales.

Considering it’s almost impossible to go a single day without encountering the immense reach of Amazon, it’s obvious that the largest e-commerce marketplace is also an insanely saturated e-commerce marketplace. While employing thorough keyword research into your listing is a critically important element of success, it is very unlikely that you will magically appear at the top of the search results. Amazon favors products that perform and as a new product, you have to prove that you can get sales in the market in order to gain visibility. Driving sales is not always easy, especially with a new product with no reviews or sales history, but with the proper strategy around marketing and advertising, you can begin to generate sales and improve keyword ranking (thus driving organic visibility).

By utilizing Keyword Manager to track your relevant keywords, you can monitor your progress to better determine which keywords are producing the most growth, and which keywords you’re having more trouble with. You can use this data to develop a strategy to continue building momentum, and you can ensure that you’re not missing a beat by establishing notifications and hourly tracking on your most critical search terms. If your ranking fluctuates, or your ad positioning changes, you’ll be able to respond quickly and efficiently to address the situation.

While Keyword Manager isn’t explicitly a keyword research tool, it’s a great resource for helping you to fully capitalize on your keyword strategy. With the ability to review organic and sponsored positioning, prioritize by opportunity and search volume, and track your movements in your market, Keyword Manager gives you the tools you need to harvest the fruits of your (keyword research) labor.

Conclusion:

As more sellers enter the Amazon marketplace at an accelerating pace, the importance of thorough research and a deep understanding of your product market is crucial for driving success. Robust keyword research is the cornerstone of any successful strategy for launching a product on Amazon. Developing a well prioritized bank of keywords helps you to establish a wide breadth of searches through which you can gain visibility and sales, while also enabling a deeper understanding of how to use PPC and marketing to effectively grow your product.

Ensuring that you have the broadest range of keywords possible, and knowing how all of your keywords interact with the market informs you on how and where to drive sales and ranking. Through adequate keyword research, you can understand where your competition drives sales, which keywords generate the most sales for your market, and which keywords you can most easily gain ranking traction for.

The importance of performing your due diligence when performing keyword research cannot be overstated. Implementation of this process will ensure that you’re well positioned to take on the competition and achieve success with your business. To learn more about how to successfully launch and rank products, check out our blog post here.

The Surprising Data Point that Influences Search Volume

The Surprising Data Point that Influences Search Volume

There has been a lot going on with Amazon lately, so join us for a recap of the latest news.  Casey discusses Amazon fee changes, Amazon search volume updates, and sponsored ad placement.  You won’t believe the data point that influences search volume change!      

FBA Fee Updates Blog Post: http://bit.ly/AZchanges2019 

Amazon API Blog Post: http://bit.ly/future-of-search-volume 

Sponsored Ad Placement Webinar: http://bit.ly/keyword-tracker  

Sponsored Ad Placement Blog Post: http://bit.ly/ad-placement 

Listen on iTunes Listen on Stitcher 

Amazon Search Volume & Relevance Change: The Future Of Search Volume

What change did Amazon make? If you’ve been in the Amazon seller space for any longer than a month or two, you should be no stranger to change. This past weekend was a reminder of how frequent and inescapable this change can be.

Mid-day on Thursday Dec. 13th, Amazon pushed a code change upgrading the technology behind some of their internal APIs. One of the APIs that was recently updated had been feeding a few software providers (including Viral Launch) with exact and broad match search volume, as well as product relevancy data. This change removed these metrics (search volume and relevance) from the API, leaving software providers without the ability to grab fresh search volume data directly from Amazon.  

Did Amazon remove these metrics in spite of software providers? While there is no way of knowing for sure, my assumption is that through the process of upgrading this API, Amazon found no need to continue sending these specific metrics, as they were not being shown in any of Amazon’s user interfaces. It seems unlikely Amazon would change the technology behind their APIs simply to remove the data. My guess is that they decided to stop showing any “unnecessary” information through the upgrade process.

What Does This Mean For You, as an Amazon Seller?

While it’s no question that the lack of access to updated search volume is disappointing, the playing field has been leveled as your competitors have also lost access to fresh search volume.

The opportunity now exists to find the new advantage and best solution to identifying and prioritizing your keywords. With change comes opportunity.

The best solution to identifying and prioritizing keywords comes in two forms:

  1. Using software capable of leveraging historical data and sophisticated means of forecasting and estimating
  2. Using PPC and organic performance data to understand how buyers respond to your product.

I think it’s important to note that we will never try to downplay the importance of search volume on our listing optimization, PPC, and SEO/ranking strategies. With that said, search volume alone has never been the complete answer.

Understanding metrics per keyword – like PPC conversion rate, average selling price and review quantities for top ranking products, etc. – have all played a significant part in our keyword strategies in the past and will continue to in the future. Being able to understand and interpret this data actually becomes that much more important.

How This Impacts Our Tools & How We Can Help You Gain an Advantage

The Viral Launch data science and engineering teams have been working incredibly hard to bring a sophisticated, data-driven solution that is capable of accurate forecasts and providing the transparency you need to logically get behind our new models.

A major focus of this new solution is transparency.  In order for you to trust our new estimates and feel comfortable making informed business decisions, we want to help you understand how we are arriving at our numbers. And it’s this level of transparency that we are integrating into our new solution.

With sales estimates, sellers can validate or invalidate the accuracy of the data by comparing the estimates to their own product’s real sales. But with search volume, there is no absolute way to validate or invalidate the data. When a tool provides a search volume estimate, it is more or less saying, “Hey, trust us… this is good!” I want to shift that ask of trust to, “Hey, here is the process we’re using, and this is why we believe this is the right number.” In essence, don’t trust what we are telling you, trust what we are showing you. Allow us to walk you through it.

The Future of Search Volume Estimates

We are beyond excited to share that our current models are forecasting at 75-85% accuracy depending on the keyword. (I’ll talk through our validation strategy here)

At the conclusion of this blog we added a Deep Dive section where we go into the specifics of our new search estimation process. We want to help you understand what we’re doing at a high level to be able to achieve such great results.

One of the major saving graces here is that we have a full year of historical search volume data for many keywords! (We started tracking volume on Dec. 12th 2017 and things closed down on Dec. 13th 2018).

This historical search volume is incredibly important for a couple of reasons:

  1. We will consistently show sellers the historical search volume trend so you can see what the exact volume was at the same time last year. This way you will always be able to use “exact” numbers in your decisions versus our in-house estimates.
  2. It will be the baseline for our search volume estimates moving forward, as typically the best indicator of what will happen in the future is what has happened in the past.

While historical volume is a good indicator of the past, it would be foolish to think that search volume is going to remain the same in 2019. For this reason, we will use other data sources to help us estimate the amount of change in consumer shopping behavior.

One data source that improves our forecasting models is change in estimated sales volume for a keyword’s top ranking products. We are not looking at the number of estimated sales. We are looking at the trend in estimated sales month to month.

For some keywords, Amazon search volume and sales volume are highly correlated, making changes in sales a great indicator of changes in search volume. Here is a simple illustration (not the actual model):

We’ve overlayed the graphs of Amazon search volume for “sprinkler” and estimated sales volume for the same keyword. They trend very similarly throughout the year for the same keyword. In this case, it means we would use Amazon sales behavior as a means of forecasting, while also using our historical data for this keyword.

In other instances,  the trends of Amazon search volume and sales for the top ranking products are not statistically correlated. (basic example, not a statistical model):

We take this same approach for other data sources such as Google search volume trends, etc. Using our massive swath of historical and real-time data, our data science team is capable of using machine learning to programmatically discern which data sources are good and which are bad for each keyword at scale.

The beauty of this approach is it allows us to figure out which data sources are reliable predictors on a per-keyword level, so we never use a data source that would be misleading.

Here is what the new user interface looks like:

As you can see in the image above, transparency is the focus. We show the changes in external factors so you can begin to understand how we arrived at our new estimates. You are also capable of comparing our new estimate with the historical exact volume.

Versus keeping our new search volume algorithm secret, our hope is that this allows you to make the most informed decisions possible by seeing historical data along with how we’ve arrived at our new estimates!

As we continue to identify additional data sources, new statistical/forecasting models, or come up with new and clever ideas, we will continue to improve our search volume estimates with full transparency.

This is a large scale engineering and data science effort, so you will see this change rolling out in our Keyword Manager and Keyword Research tools beginning at the end of next week and propagating over the next few weeks to all words within our database.

The Future of Relevancy Score

We are extremely sad to see this metric go as it had wide-sweeping implications for some of our tools and our ability to help boost sales for our customers. Our short-term plan of action is to show historical relevance score for products we’ve already analyzed, while removing it for those we have not.

While we are sorry we will no longer be able to show you this metric for now, relevancy score is a just a proxy for an even more important metric you will see soon in another tool we have in the works.

Looking Forward

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” – Benjamin Franklin

The longer you have been in the Amazon seller space, the more change you have experienced. When building a business on top of another platform, one of the keys to success is adaptability. The sellers that focus on the opportunity that comes from change, versus those that lament over what was, will have the most success now and in the future. Sadly, I know massive sellers that were devastated by Amazon’s TOS update around reviews in Oct. 2016, where they went from making millions on Amazon to almost nothing within a year because they were unable to adapt. Conversely, I know plenty of sellers that took advantage of the newly evened playing field and have built massive 7-8 figure Amazon businesses since that same review update.

There will be plenty more changes in the future. Your success will be dependent on how well you’re able to leverage your network, team, and resources to turn the new dynamics into a competitive advantage! And we hope we get to help you do that!

Validation Strategy

When building any type of model, whether it’s sales estimates, inventory forecasting, or search volume estimates, you should use 70-80% of the data to train the model. This is what the machine learning model uses to “learn” and then test the new model against the reserved 20-30% data set. This ensures that you are overfitting to data your model has already seen.

In our search volume validation testing, we took a subset of a keyword’s historical data (example: take 9 out of our 12 months of data), used that to train the model and understand correlations in our external factors, and then predicted out the next three months. In those predictions on the next three months, we were ranging between 75-85% accurate!

Here are a couple of forecasts where our model only knew the first month’s search volume and, as you can see, the estimated volume (blue line) is never more than +/- 10,000 searches per month off from the actual (orange line) search volume.

We’ve been incredibly impressed with the results, and we are confident these new estimates will be critical to your competitive advantage in selling on Amazon in 2019.

WE LOVE FEEDBACK!

We took a bit of risk by being the first to offer a solution; a solution focused on transparency. We’d love to know what you think! Our goal is to help you make the best data-driven decisions possible to have success in your Amazon business. Did we succeed here? Please let us know what you think in the comments!

You will be able to see our new search volume estimates starting next week for increasingly more keywords in our Keyword Research tool and powerful Keyword Manager/Tracker!

—– Deeper Dive ———

Why Not Use PPC Data, Auto-Complete, or Bing Data?

As we brainstormed potential data points that could or would lead to superior estimates moving forward, we considered a significant variety of metrics. We wanted to help you, the seller, understand why we did not use some potentially “obvious” metrics, and why we DID use others.

Why Not Use Amazon PPC Data

Amazon PPC data was one of our first candidates for data points to use in building out our new search volume estimation model. In talking with our R&D team, we realized how these metrics could be quickly misleading.

PPC Impression Data

The idea is simple. If a product’s ad is being shown at the time of search, then it should show (receive an impression) approximately the same number of times as it was searched right? So search volume and ad impressions should be pretty similar right? Hardly.

On mobile devices, a sponsored ad only receives an impression when the ad is loaded. On mobile, generally there is only one ad at the top of the search. After the first sponsored ad, ads are dynamically loaded once the shopper scrolls deep enough into the search results. Meaning, if we don’t have PPC access to the first ranking product for every keyword, then we will miss a significant percentage of impression volume.

On desktop, a sponsored ad receives an impression each time the ad’s page is loaded; however, consistency is the key. In order to get an accurate feel of impressions, we would need to have PPC access for a product running sponsored ads on the first page of each keyword, all day (doesn’t run out of budget), every single day (whole month). One search can also be counted as multiple impressions as users click in and out of listings, sponsored products shown as suggested in detail pages, and add to cart pages, etc.

Having the necessary access to data is a significant challenge. We believe we have the world’s largest set of data next to Amazon, but even we don’t have the necessary data to use search impressions at scale as an accurate indicator of search volume.

PPC Bid Data As An Indication of Volume

We originally tossed around the idea of using suggested PPC bid cost as a proxy for search volume (the more searches, the more people bidding, the more expensive it is). One of the major hurdles here is that suggested CPC can range quite a bit depending on how relevant Amazon deems your product for the keyword. Meaning that Product A with a high relevance may have a suggested bid cost of $.50 per click, while the less relevant Product B may have a suggested CPC of $1.25.

Why Not Use Amazon Auto-Complete

Amazon autocomplete is an ancient technique of using the Amazon search bar suggestions as an indicator of popularity.

The previous thought has always been that the suggested words populate in order of search volume. This would mean that suggested keyword #1 has higher search volume than suggested keyword #2, which has higher volume than suggested keyword #3, and so forth.

As we dove into the suggestions and worked to validate that Amazon was in-fact giving us suggestions in the order of highest searched keywords, we found that was not the case. In the example above, Amazon’s third suggestion is “fish oil for kids”, which has somewhere around 3,000 searches per month.

While Amazon’s fourth suggestion, which is “fish oil for dogs”, has a search volume of around 9,500 searches per month.

We found countless other examples where Amazon was not suggesting keywords in the exact order.

Disappointing.

Deep Dive Summary

All in all, I hope this helps you understand some of the logic behind why we did not go with some of the seemingly most “obvious” metrics for our search volume estimation model. Again, transparency is crucial for us during this process!

We have undoubtedly been able to prove that our model is effective and accurate at predicting/forecasting/estimating search volume, leveraging our vast amounts of historical data.

If there is anything that you think we did not consider, or something we may have overlooked, we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Again, our focus is on providing you the best data possible to make smart business decisions.

Now that we have a solution, let’s not focus on what has been, and let’s focus on the incredible opportunities that await us in 2019!

Excited to help you kill it this coming year. 🙂

Let us know what you think in the comments  below and feel free to share this post with any of the larger Amazon community!