Practical Ecommerce

To drive sales on Amazon, optimize keywords

There are three ways to sell on Amazon.

First, you can become an Amazon vendor, a first-party wholesaler of your products to Amazon, to resell. There are marketing opportunities for this through Amazon Marketing Services.

Next is Fulfilled by Merchant, wherein you list your products on Amazon’s marketplace and you fulfill the orders. This method provides more control over your products and marketing than as an Amazon vendor, but not as many benefits as Fulfillment by Amazon, which is the third option.

My preference is to use the FBA method, for several reasons, some of which I addressed in “Using Amazon to build an ecommerce brand.”

Many folks offer tips on how to market on Amazon. But, in my experience, they often do not understand the platform.

In this post, I’ll review a few of the basics for success with FBA selling.

What Amazon is not

Amazon is not Google. Yes, there are similarities to Google in search. But Amazon is a selling marketplace and Google is a search engine. Philosophically, and practically, they are worlds apart.

Nonetheless, we can (and should) use our Google information on Amazon. Keywords and key phrases provide insight into consumer behavior, and, in that respect, Google is your biggest marketing ally.

The behavior of search doesn’t change because of the platform. It is important to know your keywords and Amazon gives us far more opportunities to use them.

Unfortunately, Amazon does not have a keyword tool. We have to use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner to generate our high-traffic keywords on Amazon.

Testing keywords on Amazon

Amazon gives us clues to how valuable a keyword is. Amazon does it right in the search bar. Luckily, unlike Google, Amazon is not saving my searches. So once I begin to search, Amazon is showing me the valuable search terms. To reinforce that it isn’t saving my search history, I logged out.

My NuPeptin brand is anti-aging skin care products. I will use it as an example. Using the AdWords Keyword Planner, I know that “Anti-aging” is a popular search phrase on Google.

Once I begin to type “Anti” in Amazon’s search bar, I see the valuable search terms. When I complete the word “Anti” I see: “Anti-aging” at the top of the list with the hyphen; “Anti aging skin care kits” (no hyphen); and “Anti-aging serum.”

For those to appear before I complete the search term tells me that they are high-value keywords on Amazon.

Typing "Anti" in Amazon's search bar produces valuable search terms. Completing the word "Anti" produces “Anti-aging" with the hyphen; "Anti aging skin care kits" (no hyphen); and "Anti-aging serum."

Typing “Anti” in Amazon’s search bar produces valuable search terms. Completing the word “Anti” produces “Anti-aging” with the hyphen; “Anti aging skin care kits” (no hyphen); and “Anti-aging serum.” Click image to enlarge.

Once I complete the term “Anti aging” (no hyphen), I see the following key phrases.

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Completing the term “Anti aging” (no hyphen), produces even more key phrases. Click image to enlarge.

I produced a list of key phrases — beyond “Anti-aging” — from the AdWords Keyword Planner. I can type them in Amazon’s search bar to get ideas on how they translate onto that platform.

Using keywords on Amazon

When setting up an item on Amazon, you can use up to 250 characters in the name, depending upon the category. Use them all to make the most of this valuable keyword real estate.

The “Beauty” category allows 200 characters. Here’s how I set up one of my product names.

NuPeptin Renewing Retinol Serum – Anti Aging hydrating formula to help reduce the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles while intensely nourishing skin. This Anti-aging serum works for all skin types

Notice that I have “Anti Aging” in the name of the product with and without the hyphen.

And now, to compare, here’s a competitor’s product name.

SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5, 1 Ounce

In reality, this competitor is successful. But it’s not because of its keywords. It’s because of the competitor’s strong brand. But, on Amazon’s marketplace, a startup brand, such as NuPeptin, can overcome the larger brand by focusing on small things like the product name. I don’t currently have as many sales as my competitor. But I will in a year.

The other key areas for ranking highly in Amazon’s search results are as follows.

  • The bullet points under each product. Use as many as you can and make them keyword rich.
  • Images. Amazon allows up to 10 images. Use this opportunity to create images with text that point out features and benefits.
  • Product description text can be up to 2,500 characters. Use them all. Make the description keyword rich and focus on a problem and (your) solution.
  • Brand Registry. If you own the brand, make sure you protect it by setting it up in Amazon’s Brand Registry program.
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