A Brief Introduction to Keywords, Part 1

Keywords are an essential part of any Amazon listing. Here at MerchantWords, we talk about keywords – a lot. You could say that we’re a little keyword crazy and there’s a good reason why.

As a seasoned Amazon seller, or as someone interested in selling on Amazon for the first time, you’ve likely heard keywords mentioned once or twice. Within Amazon circles, from novice to expert, there are a variety of opinions on the best way to conduct keyword research.

So where does all this advice and intel net out? Let’s take a closer look at keywords and how they work their magic.

Keywords are the words and phrases that consumers use to find your products by entering them into the search bar. We at MerchantWords divide them into two main categories: Research-based and Purchase-based.

The keywords used for Google or Bing we consider Research-based. These keywords help you promote your new restaurant menu, optimize an article for your website, or reach a niche for a post on your dog’s blog (we love dog blogs!). For example, when searching for something like ‘best ice cream near me,’ or, ‘corgi owner meetup’ the intention is to find information quickly; buying is often a secondary consideration, if at all.

Purchase-based keywords, however, have different intentions behind them; they are used to describe the things shoppers are looking to buy on e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon.com. Think about it: each time someone types something into the Amazon search bar, they have the desire to buy something. Most people won’t be using Amazon to search for homemade ice cream recipes but they will use it to shop for an at-home ice cream maker.

1 out of 2 online consumers start their product search on Amazon

Once you discover what words people are using to search for a product, putting those terms in your product listings creates a pathway for shoppers to find your product when they are ready to buy it. Keywords are like bright flags along the path that say to Amazon, “choose me!” The more of these bright flags you have on your listing, the more likely it is that Amazon will pull your listing into search results. To capitalize on this, you must be strategic about your use of keywords and figure out which ones are important for your listing: “top of the funnel,” or “long tail.” (Hint: You should use both.)

Top of the funnel keywords are those with a high search volume, like shoes, chair, or phone. While those keywords are attractive because of the large volume of searches they generate, they also tend to produce large amounts of products in search results. If that were the only keyword used, it would make your listing a very small fish in an immensely large pond.

Long tail keywords are usually a combination of several terms or keywords. These are phrases that tend to be specific to the product that you are selling, and will attract a much lower volume of searches. This is not a bad thing.

Let’s dig in some more: if a potential customer were looking for a new pair of heels, the search term 'heels' would produce tens of thousands of search results for heels in many different styles. Now, if this same customer searches specifically for 'black patent leather pumps' there will be fewer search results to look through. It lessens the work a potential customer has to do to find a product that matches the image in their head. While it's true the number of long tail searches is lower, the consumers that search that way tend to be more likely to make a purchase. This is because they already have a specific idea of what they want.

Black Pumps Search Amazon

Keywords have immense power. These tiny words and phrases are the bridge between a potential customer searching for a product and your listing showing up in Amazon’s search results. Performing detailed keyword research and including the most relevant keywords in your Amazon listing can drastically improve and drive traffic towards your listing. Who doesn’t want that?

To dive in deeper, let’s take a look at the second part of this introduction: listing optimization.