How to Write Amazon Search Terms | Keyword Research Tips That Drive Traffic & Sales

Today, we’re going to talk about the most underrated part of an Amazon listing: the Search Terms and exactly how to write them.

They may be the difference between 100 daily hits to your listing and 500… and more traffic means more money in the bank (and out of the bank again if your kid just has to get that English degree. Thanks a lot, Trevor).

I’m going to explain the do’s and don’ts, then write a batch of Search Terms live to give you a sense of how you can write yours.

So what exactly are they?

Unlike the title, bullets, and description (all listing content that’s visible to the shopper), search terms are not publicly visible at all.

Think of them as tags. Many platforms use words to make content discoverable, it’s nothing new. In this case, it’s a string of words (mostly nouns and adjectives) about your product. When they’re added to your listing, you tell Amazon that these terms are relevant to your product and you have a chance of showing up for them.

Zooming in a little more, we have Amazon’s moving, Academy-Award-Winning “Optimize Listings for Search & Browse”. What you need to know is that Search Terms must be...

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Example: you sell a popcorn maker, so don’t include terms like “Ice cream, cones, bakery, obama, etc.” (things really went sideways when you said ‘Obama’... I just don’t know why you did that…). More interestingly, ‘ice cream’ and ‘cones’ are food, and you have a popcorn maker… but the association is too loose.

Acceptable search terms would include, for a TON 3057 20-oz. Jacketed Fiberglass Claw Hammer: “nail pounder, nail puller, ripping tool”, as they are synonyms-- alternative names that the customer would use.


Most salient point: Amazon doesn’t reward keywords that appear more than once. So if a keyword is anywhere else (your title, bullets, description) you don’t need to include it in the Search Terms section. The same goes for pluralization and capitalization (you don’t need “Color, color, Colors, colors, etc.”) and punctuation variants (no dashes, commas, conjuctions, etc.). The system is basically looking for unique, relevant nouns and adjectives written as a string.

I should add: a string with the words in the most logical order. The article cites this example: “A customer is more likely to search for big stuffed teddy bears than for teddy stuffed bears”.

And moreover: this string of words, original in the listing, no punctuation, in the most logical order, and within character limits, which vary by category. Usually, it’ll tell you right there in Seller Central.


Example: the product is “Wood Bamboo Temple Wayfarer Sunglasses Green Frame” and you put “amazing, good quality, trendy fashion 2014, best seller, etc.”. These are subjective and not objective description, and so not allowed. Ironically, the line as to what’s subjective vs. descriptive is itself subjective, so use your best judgement.

You can, for example, list topics related to the product. Amazon says “Time travel” is an acceptable Search Term for the book “The Shadow Beast (An Adventure in Time)”.

So for the last part of this segment, let’s take our own adventure in time and conquer our own shadow beast of a listing (who writes this stuff? Oh…I do?).

I’ll write the Search Terms for a vitamin C serum, because the chances of you literally selling vitamin C serum are higher than most other products, and so hopefully I’m about to do all the work for you.

If vitamin C isn’t your product but you want me to do the work for you anyway, head over to and get the listing optimization package. Save yourself the time of learning, testing, and implementing, and go straight to getting the ROI: more traffic and sales.

Now, let’s see how it’s done...

I’ll pick a listing at random here.

Don’t want to cost anyone a PPC click…

TruSkin Naturals:

Time to do some gnarly keyword research.

First, I’m going to find simple, fundamental keywords related to the product, then we’ll branch out from there.

Step 1: Open the top 10 search results for the main keyword, copy and paste 10 titles into This gives us a top-level snapshot of the words that the winners are already using. By default, if anyone knows how to sell product in niche X, it’s them.

Put each of these keywords (and compounds, if needed) into a spreadsheet. Keep this open, we’ll need it.

We’ve got the basic terms covered, but what about those relevant synonyms and alternative names that we talked about earlier? We’ve got the fundamental words to describe what the product is, so now we think about words to describe the benefits of the product.

Step 2: start typing the main keyword into the Amazon search bar, but don’t press enter. See what it suggests.

Some add-ons for vitamin C serum include:

“For skin”
“For face”
“For acne”

Which, I think, in its simplest form gives us:

“skin cream”, “face cream”, “acne cream” and “obama”. Oh and also…
“skin serum” “face serum”, and “acne serum”

Put it all in our spreadsheet. The more the better. We’ll clean it up later.

Step 3: once you’ve got put each of these keywords (and compounds of them into Merchant Words). It’s $30/month. Again, you can just hire my company to do this once and skip the monthly fee, but here’s what to do.

Put each of the items in our spreadsheet into the Merchant Words search bar, and without thinking too much, download each set of search results as a CSV.

Step 4: Got all the docs? We’ll be working in Google Drive. So if you don’t have a Gmail account yet, go ahead and make one. I’ll see you on the other side.

Step 5: Upload the files to Google Drive. Open all of them as Google Sheets docs. Put all of the data into one spreadhseet. I’m sure there’s a more efficient way to merge all of this. If you know, leave a comment. The last time I said I didn’t know something (it was what “|” was, you guys told me it was called a pipe and now I know).

Step 6: All in 1 doc? Highlight all your data. Click Sort Range. Sort by Volume from Z to A.

Step 7: Install the Google Sheets Add-on “Remove Duplicates”. It’s free and super fun (link is in the description of this video). Remove duplicate words, but not duplicate search volumes. We just want unique words. Off the bat, eliminate any keywords that Merchant Words has assigned a ‘1’ to. Consider eliminating all keywords with 500 monthly searches or less. Just keep it reasonable. You don’t want to be scanning through this list all day.

Step 8: And then it’s just a series of human judgement calls as to which keywords are the most relevant to the particular product.

Step 9: cut it down American-Idol auditions style to fit within the character limits of the Search Term fields which, again, vary by product. I’ll assume we’re after about 1000 characters here.

And that’s it! With these keywords in your back-end, you’re helping Amazon make your product visible, which means more traffic and more sales.

An again, my company Asteroid Aim can write all of the text components of your listing for you in this kind of detail to give you the best odds of success. Invest in the service, use your money instead of your time to scale your business, and watch as it slowly but surely pays itself off in the form of additional daily clicks and conversions.

Thanks for hanging out.

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