Of all the questions I get pertaining to writing Amazon product listings, the majority are about keyword research and optimization.

I’m not the only one. My friends at Seller Labs constantly field questions about where keywords should go for best results, keywords for Brand Registry 2.0, and more.

I’ve invited Tyler Henderson from Seller Labs to answer several frequently asked questions in this blog post. Interested in understanding and optimizing your Amazon PPC (pay-per-click) ads? This previous blog post from Seller Labs will be of interest to you, too.

I have all these keywords, and I don’t know where to put them! Where should they go?

Tyler: The most common question I get from sellers, after they’ve done their keyword research, is where they should put the top-ranking keywords. There is a lot of opportunity throughout the front end and the back end, but they aren’t always sure where to start. You’ll want to place keywords based on the level of importance: title, bullet points, product description, and backend keywords.

If it helps, think about it like a banana split. Start with the banana, the most important part. This is your product’s title. The title is the essence of your product and is what will drive people to click through to your listing.

Always keep conversions in mind when you are creating the product title. Use the top-ranking keywords. After all, you can’t have a banana split without a banana. Next, you’ll add the ice cream, which would be your bullet points. This is where you are really going to sell the product. Use keywords that highlight the benefit your product provides the consumer, increasing desirability. As you do, you are using that next layer of well-performing keywords.

After the bullet points, add a dollop of whipped cream with your product details. Choose your keywords here in conjunction with telling your brand’s story. Finally comes the cherry on top — your backend keywords — 250 bytes of extra information that you can add for shoppers to find your product.

How many characters do I have to fill with keywords throughout my listing?

As I mentioned earlier, your backend keywords are now limited to 250 bytes. If you exceed this limit, the whole entry will be rejected. Spaces and punctuation do not count toward that limit. Words should be separated with a space, so you don’t need to worry about adding punctuation between words.

Backend search terms should be different from the terms you’ve already used throughout your listing as a subject, description, or title. There’s no need to repeat keywords. You also shouldn’t include brand names (even your own). Instead, use this space for relevant keywords and phrases that aren’t as visually appealing or as high-performing. There is no limit to how many keywords you can put within your listing copy, but you never want to shove in so many that the copy sounds awkward.

Can you explain the new brand registry rules with reference to selecting keywords?

Amazon’s updated Brand Registry program is a step toward improving security and the overall shopping experience; it works to prevent counterfeit products from making their way to the Amazon marketplace. Brand Registry 2.0 requires your brand name to have an active trademark, along with images of your brand’s logo and products. Brand Registry 2.0 has its own user interface and separate login information from Seller Central.

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One example where you may see the new brand registry program take effect is with the term “Velcro.” While most people associate any hook-and-loop fastener with Velcro, this is a generalization referring to the most common brand name. With Brand Registry 2.0, only sellers of Velcro Companies’ fasteners will be registered to use “Velcro” as a keyword in their listing.

Another instance of Brand Registry 2.0 affecting your keyword choice would be if you were trying to apply a similar brand name to your listing. If I sell sneakers, I am not able to add “Air Jordan” to my listing just to get clicks. To put it plainly — if this isn’t my actual brand, I’ve got no business using this brand name as a keyword in my listing.

What are some deadly Amazon keyword research mistakes most sellers make? How do I avoid making the same mistakes?

Most often I see sellers trying to sell their product to everyone. By that, I mean their keywords are so broad that you can’t tell who they are actually targeting. This probably started innocently by adding a few extra keywords to their back end that were sort of related to the product, and the problem escalated from there. Suddenly, they’re falling into the trap of keyword stuffing.

An example of this would be if I were selling an apple slicer, and I added “kitchen gadget” to my back end. In my mind, an apple slicer is a kitchen gadget, so the keyword must be applicable, right? No. I’m casting my net too wide. I need to shift this mindset of vague (“kitchen gadget”) to specific (“apple slicer”) in order to home in on who is actually buying my product. Who’s going to buy an apple slicer? Not someone who is looking to cut a watermelon.

It seems silly to have made that distinction, but we do. Indexing for keywords only works when it leads to conversions. If my product ends up on the search results page but is completely unrelated to what shoppers are looking for, they are going to keep scrolling.

This brings me to the next blunder I see too often: using keywords that don’t drive traffic. Sellers get so caught up in how they think about their product, they can be myopic about what keywords are actually driving sales. Take some time to see how other people describe your product. Product reviews are full of potential keywords if you make the effort to look through them. Clean out the keywords from your listing that aren’t performing and replace them with stronger keywords.

One of the most senseless mistakes I see is when sellers don’t take advantage of all the information available to them. When you’re doing keyword research, it’s not enough to just look at your product. Use competitor research to figure out what’s driving sales. With keyword research tools like Seller Labs’ Scope, you can determine sales information and top-performing keywords to improve your own strategy.

Remember, just because you add keywords to a listing doesn’t mean you’re going to rank for it overnight. I get calls a day or two after they’ve updated their listing from sellers who are worried because they haven’t seen any effect from the changes. This is normal.

There’s a lot that goes into whether or not you rank for a keyword, so give it some time. With Seller Labs product and keyword research tool, Scope, you can track this data over time to see how keyword position changes with the Keyword Position History Chart provided on product detail pages. This is a great way to monitor your listing’s progress over a long period of time.

I see on your website that the price for Scope depends on the number of products and keywords you can track. What exactly does it mean to “track” something? Am I stuck tracking the same products / keywords, or can I change as I need?

Scope shows you the keywords that drive sales on Amazon. With Scope, you can discover new keywords from top-selling products to improve your Amazon SEO and PPC strategy. Each plan is based on the number of keywords and products you would like to track. Tracking products and keywords ensures that you have the most accurate information.

Tracked keywords and products will update every 24 hours. You can organize your tracked products into “Tracklists” to make monitoring over time easier.

If you prefer to do your research directly on Amazon, the Scope Chrome extension makes analyzing the data effortless.

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