Marketing & Advertising

SEO: Amazon Keyword Research Tools

As the largest ecommerce site and de facto product search engine, Amazon is an important place to optimize product content. However, since Amazon doesn’t share keyword data with its merchants, optimization is very difficult.

Unlike Google, which at least provides open access to its AdWords keywords tool, Google Keyword Planner, Amazon does not provide a keyword tool to help sellers determine the keywords that would be the most valuable to optimize to drive traffic on Amazon to your products.

In this article, I’ll list keyword tools to help optimize search results on Amazon.

Google Keyword Planner

Price: Free.

You can use Google’s keyword data from the keyword planner as a proxy for optimizing Amazon content. However, it’s likely that shoppers search differently on a purely ecommerce site than they do on an all-purpose search engine.

For instance, does someone searching for “mushroom farm” want to buy one of those kits that lets him grow mushrooms in his home, or does he want information on growing mushrooms in general? Maybe he wants to know which areas of the country produce certain kinds of mushrooms based on the location of mushroom farms.

The keyword data doesn’t reveal the intent behind the search — whether it’s informational or purchase-oriented — so we can’t assume that all 1,600 of the monthly average searches in the U.S. for “mushroom farm” are people looking to purchase a kit to grow mushrooms in their homes.

In Google, ecommerce searches with purchase intent and informational searches are blended together. But consumers on Amazon are definitely searching with purchase intent. So using keyword data from the Google Keyword Planner without applying some sort of Amazon filter presents a skewed picture of the types and numbers of searches conducted for products on Amazon.

Amazon Autosuggest

A new breed of keyword tools has emerged to determine which keywords are most valuable to Amazon merchants. All of these tools use Amazon’s autosuggest feature to collect the keywords that people commonly search for on Amazon. Autosuggest, as shown below, enables customers to choose a search phrase suggested based on what they were typing, instead of having to type in the entire search phrase.

Amazon's autosuggest search feature.

Amazon’s autosuggest search feature.

Every Amazon keyword tool that I’m aware of scrapes the words from autosuggest to acquire a list of keywords, and then applies some sort of numeric importance to those words. Where that numeric data comes from and how easy the tool is to use for larger quantities of data are two of the most important consideration points in choosing the right tool for your business.

Below are popular Amazon keyword tools, including their potential uses, workarounds, and downsides from a search optimization perspective.

SEO Chat Keyword Suggest Tool

Price: Free.

Developed by longtime search resource SEO Chat, this Keyword Suggest Tool provides autosuggest data for Google, Bing, and YouTube — as well as Amazon. You can choose to get data on all four at once to compare the differences in how people search across traditional search, product search, and video search, or you can select only Amazon to focus on product search.

SEO Chat uses a three-stage process. Type in a keyword, or part of a keyword, and the tool will proceed to scrape the words that Amazon autosuggests in its search box. The image below shows the first stage results for “mushroom kit.”

A report on Amazon keywords from SEO Chat's Autosuggest Keyword Tool.

A report on Amazon keywords from SEO Chat’s Autosuggest Keyword Tool.

One of the features that this tool has that I haven’t seen elsewhere is that it also prompts autosuggest for additional keywords by appending the keyword you entered with each letter of the alphabet one at a time and scraping those autosuggest phrases.

For example, in the image above at the lower left, notice that SEO Chat’s tool took my input of “mushroom kit” and added an “i” to the end. This prompted Amazon to suggest “mushroom kit indoor,” a phrase it hadn’t suggested in its original 10 recommendations. It’s possible that other tools do this as well, but SEO Chat is the only one I’ve seen that exposes the results in this manner.

When you select all of the results and click the “Run Part 2: Bulk Suggest” button, the tool runs all of the keyword suggestions back through Amazon’s search box to get a second, more specific, level of autosuggest phrases. Step 1 yielded 13 results for my very niche product search, and step 2 added 6 more results for a total of 19 results.

Lastly, the “Run Part 3: Useful Suggest” button allows you to get Google Keyword Tool monthly search data for 100 of the phrases via an SEMRush API call. I find the 100-phrase limit too restrictive, so I’d skip step three and export the data to run through the Google Keyword Tool myself.

I like SEO Chat’s Keyword Tool best because of its transparency. I have to click one or two more buttons to get the results, but I can also export the data and jump out of the tool at any time to augment it or merge it with other data. And it’s 100 percent free.

Keyword Tool Dominator

Price: Free trial with a limit of three keywords per day; $16 lifetime basic subscription; other options available.

The Amazon tool from Keyword Tool Dominator offers a unique piece of data: a rank from 1 to 10 based on where the keyword was found in Amazon’s autosuggest list. A rank of 1 indicates that the phrase is the most popular keyword suggestion, and 10 is the least popular.

The suggestions from Keyword Tool Dominator are not nearly as comprehensive, however, as SEO Chat. The same input of “mushroom kit” only yielded 4 results, as shown below, compared to SEO Chat’s 19 results.

A report on Amazon keywords from Keyword Tool Dominator's Amazon Keyword Tool.

A report on Amazon keywords from Keyword Tool Dominator’s Amazon Keyword Tool.

Still, the rank data is interesting, and I’d love to use it as a mashup with SEO Chat’s keyword suggestions and Google Keyword Tool’s monthly searches data. You need at least the $16 lifetime license to get data on more than three keywords per day, so consider that as you’re evaluating the tool.

Scientific Seller Free Amazon Keyword Tool

Price: Free, upgrade available.

Built to sell upgrades to its suite of data tools, Scientific Seller’s Seller Free Amazon Keyword Tool goes deeper than the other tools. After about an hour of using it, I paused the tool and took the screen grab below. It had found 58 keywords, almost triple what SEO Chat’s tool found. Among those that it found that SEO Chat didn’t are “edible mushroom kit” and “portabella mushroom kit.”

A report on Amazon keywords from Scientific Seller.

A report on Amazon keywords from Scientific Seller

I appreciate the feature that allows you to remove types of words. In the image above, I clicked on “kitchen” and “décor,” among others, to make the keyword set more relevant. This is a brilliant feature that all keyword tools should offer.

However, the tool goes so deep that I’m not sure it will ever complete. If it takes an hour to get to 96 percent completion on “mushroom kit,” how long would a broader keyword take to complete?

Also, I couldn’t find an export button. Perhaps a button appears when the report finishes running, but again, I’m not sure how long that would take. You can just copy and paste into a spreadsheet since all the data seems to load on a single page. But that’s clumsy and leads to formatting issues when you paste it into Excel.

Lastly, there’s no numeric value associated with the keywords. It’s just a list of phrases. Once again, you’d need to run these phrases through Google Keyword Planner to associate some sort of numerical value to each. But as a way to surface many relevant phrases, this tool is excellent.

MerchantWords

Price: $30 per month.

MerchantWords is the only major keyword tool that provides the ability to narrow the search to a specific Amazon category and reports the dominant categories in which products that match those searches are found, as shown below.

A report on Amazon keywords from MerchantWords.

A report on Amazon keywords from MerchantWords.

However, MerchantWords uses an algorithm to determine the number of searches in Amazon per month for keywords related to the word or phrase you enter. I am suspicious of the monthly numbers shown.

It’s possible that more people search Amazon a month for “mushroom kit” than in Google. Unlikely, but possible. But I can’t believe that 73,500 people search Amazon for “mushroom kit” in a month when only 1,300 search for the same phrase in Google on the average month.

If you want more than the top five results, you’ll need to upgrade to the full version at $30 per month.

Bottom Line on Amazon Keyword Tools

None of these tools provides the data we truly need: keyword data from Amazon itself. In the absence of that data, the tools above offer some insight as we work to drive as many Amazon customers as possible to purchase our products.

Each of these tools provides a piece of the data, but none provides the full picture. If I were building an Amazon keyword tool, I’d want the following combination from all five.

  • Free price and transparency of data and process from SEO Chat.
  • Deep autosuggest keyword results and ability to remove irrelevant words from Scientific Seller.
  • Autosuggest rank number from Keyword Tool Dominator.
  • Categorization feature and data from Merchant Words.
  • Monthly searches from Google Keyword Planner.

It’s possible to run the same keyword in all five reports and aggregate the data in a spreadsheet with all of the necessary pieces, but the amount of time that would take renders the task impractical. If I had to choose one, I’d go with SEO Chat’s tool for now.

Do you have a favorite Amazon keyword tool or suggestions on how to make these tools better? Tell us in the comments.

Jill Kocher Brown

Jill Kocher Brown

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