The Ultimate Guide To Amazon Backend Keywords


November 14, 2021

One of the most important aspects of your Amazon product listings is the one your customers will never see— backend keywords.

The Ultimate Guide To Amazon Backend Keywords

In order to meet your full sales potential on Amazon, you have to be sure that your products will appear before customers as they are browsing. Sellers usually do this by optimizing their product titles and descriptions and running PPC campaigns to generate sales. But one of the most important aspects of your online listings is the one your customers will never see— backend keywords.

What are Backend Keywords?

While you may already be familiar with the keywords used in product descriptions and titles, Amazon also uses backend keywords to rank listings and help them appear in front of customers when they are searching. Backend in this case means that these keywords are not visible to customers. They simply help tie your listing to a relevant search.

Quite simply, backend keywords help sellers include terms that wouldn't fit in with clear and concise descriptions, but would still need to be used in order or optimize the listing. The backend allows you to target the relevant audience without cramming a ton of keywords into your descriptions.

Similar to the keywords used in your listing's copy, backend keywords are words that customers are likely to use when searching for your products.

However, you should keep in mind that the best backend keywords are the ones that have the highest search volume, but the lowest competition. If a keyword has a high search volume, but everyone selling that particular product is using the same keyword, your chances of appearing in front of customers drops significantly.

How to Find the Right Backend Keywords

Finding the right keywords can be as easy as thinking about how your customers might search for your products. What words would someone use if they were browsing for shoes or umbrellas? How would you go about searching for your own listing?

Many of the right keywords can be found by working backwards from the customer to the seller. If you can correctly identify how people search for a particular product, you can identify the right keywords to use.

Of course, choosing the right keywords isn't just about guesswork. There are plenty of ways to more accurately identify the relevant words to use.

Amazon Search Tools

This is the most accessible, but also the most time consuming way to identify your backend keywords.

This method basically requires you to use Amazon's search bar, typing in your desired keyword and allowing the auto-complete function to show you related keywords you could use. It's a very basic approach, but a good place to begin.

Another method that works directly through simple features available on Amazon is to browse through customer reviews and observe the ways in which customers describe the product. The words they use in reviews are likely to be the same words they use when searching for these items.

The setback to this method, in addition to the time it takes, is that you won't have any data to back it up. So, choosing your keywords in this way would be a bit of a gamble.

Using PPC Data for Backend Keywords

A more surefire way to identify the correct backend keywords is to use the data already available to you through PPC marketing.

If you've decided to invest in Amazon PPC to generate sales, you might as well use the data it provides to increase the visibility of your listings.

Amazon's PPC conveniently provides you with a report on how many customers clicked through on your ads and those who ultimately purchased your products. In addition to this, the data will tell you the keywords these customers used to arrive at your listing.

You'll want to give your campaign a couple of weeks to build up a list of keywords and return to the data periodically to check what customers are searching, but this is a very simple way to maximize your investment in advertising and it will provide you with a clear picture of the most relevant and most popular backend keywords to use.

Third Party Keyword Tools

Another option is to consider third party search tools. You're probably already familiar with tools like Google Keyword Planner, but search engine tools like this are not exactly the best option since Amazon uses its own methods and algorithms when ranking listings.

That said, there are several options for Amazon specific tools that can help you identify a range of useful data for choosing backend keywords.

SellerApp, for example, gives you a list of the most popular words by search volume, relevance and also offers the estimated cost-per-click.

Apps and services like this also offer free trials which can be useful if you're shopping around for a method that works for you.

A woman uses her cellphone to strategize backend Keywords for Amazon product listings

How to Use Backend Keywords

Now that you understand what backend keywords are, you're probably wondering, where do you find this backend? 

In order to input those backend keywords you need to sign in to the Sellers Center, then look for the drop-down "Inventory" tab and click "Manage Inventory". When you've found the product you want to add keywords to, select the "Edit" button attached to that listing. From there, click on the "Keywords" tab and the backend keywords should be found under "Search Terms".

Before you start to input your backend keywords, it's important to remember that Amazon gives you a limit of 250 bytes. This basically means that you have limited space to fill with keywords, but unlike a character limit, bytes assign a value to specific characters. So, even though customers won't see these keywords the way they'll see your descriptions, you still have to craft your backend copy carefully. For example, characters from A to Z and 0 to 9 only take up one byte and work just as any other character limit would. But certain symbols like "ü" and "$" can be worth up to 4 bytes. Luckily, symbols like this will only come into play if you market to customers outside of the largest Amazon markets in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

In addition to this, punctuation and spaces are not calculated when populating your back end, although it might be a good idea to avoid punctuation, since backend keywords are targeted at algorithms, not people.

Try to remember that this is not an exact science. What you're essentially doing is trying to pinpoint the ways in which people search on the internet, so take the time to test out which backend keywords work best and always be open to changing these keywords and keeping up with what your customers are looking for.

Keyword Indexing

Once you've settled on the best backend keywords and learned how to input them, you'll want to keep in mind that Amazon keeps track of these keywords to determine how relevant they are to customers' searches. 

This is called the Amazon index and if your listing is not included in the index for a specific keyword, it won't appear as a result when customers search for that keyword.

For this reason, you have to make sure that the keywords you've chosen have been indexed. This means that you will have to keep up with Amazon's terms which Amazon itself has said is constantly changing as they gather more data.

To make sure your keywords are properly indexed, you'll have to identify your product's ASIN number, which can be found in the product info or in the URL. It is a 10 digit code that Amazon uses to identify your product.

Input the ASIN into Amazon's search bar paired with the keyword you'd like to use. If a result appears, then your keyword is indexed for that item.

Best Practices for Amazon Backend Keywords

Now that you are ready to identify and keywords, here are a few tips to remember when populating the backend of your listings.

What to Keep in Mind

  • As stated above, no one will read your backend keywords, so punctuation is not necessary.
  • Use associated terms and synonyms to optimize the reach of your listing.
  • Choose whether to use the singular form or plural, but never both.
  • Search terms and keywords are not case sensitive.

What to Avoid

  • Always remember your 250 byte limit. If you exceed this your keywords will not be indexed and your listings will not appear in searches.
  • Do not use any offensive terms or words. Keep up to date on Amazon's policies.
  • Avoid the use of brand names.
  • Do not use words like "sale" or "new" as well as descriptive words like "best".
  • Avoid repeating keywords that you've used in the description or title of the listing.
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