Integral to the process of rising to the top of your niche as an Amazon seller, is your ability to recognize and then act upon every opportunity afforded you that can help to give you an edge over your competition.
One such area often ignored or not given the type of focused attention that it truly deserves, is optimization of the Seller Central backend information.
Many Amazon sellers make the mistake of not spending the quality time necessary to optimize their backend information because they feel their time is better spent on figuring out the best strategies for optimizing all of their Sponsored Products campaigns.
However, both are important to the overall process that drives the sales engine of your Amazon business when using PPC ads. Just because potential customers don’t see the Seller Central backend information of the product listing, doesn’t mean you should neglect optimizing it.
Your backend information plays a major role in the keyword search optimization and is critical.
Because it’s an opportunity for you to provide Amazon with some additional information in a number of places, that can play an important role in optimizing your product listing. (This is where you list everything that you think is relevant. These keywords should be seen as important to buyers and only contain information, which is relevant to the product listing.)
Amazon Limits Backend Seller Central Characters to 250 (what you need to know)
Recently, Amazon decreased the Seller Central character limits for the characters indexed in back-end keyword fields. The backend limit is now 250 characters. This is a significant change from the 1000-5000 previously believed to be the limit.
According to Amazon, the Amazon search term character limits change was made for two reasons: a) merchant listings will be found by shoppers who are more likely to buy and b) so that customers will have a better experience finding the items most relevant to their searches.
Now that only the first 250 characters (approximating about 40 words) matter, make sure that those 40 words consist of only the keywords that you could not fit smoothly and sensibly into your title, bullet points and product description.
(Note: ‘characters’ are standard alphanumeric characters [a-z, A-Z, 0-9] and some special characters could count as two or three ‘characters’.)
How to create a backend listing that keeps Amazon happy (do’s and don’ts)
Backend Optimization Do’s:
- Use a single space to separate keywords
- List alternative names: body wash, shower gel
- Include synonym versions of your keywords
- Use popular abbreviations: Game of Thrones – GoT
- Include any features that a user might search for
- Where possible enter a phrase in the most logical order
Backend Optimization Don’ts:
- No commas, semicolons, or carets are required
- No inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant info
- No plurals or misspellings, unless it’s super uncommon
- No redundant information meaning keywords already captured in title, description or bullets
- No temporarily true statement “new,” “on sale,” “available now”
- No subjective claims: amazing, good quality, trendy, best seller, etc
- No use of multiple languages
Testing Your Backend Search Term Keywords
Now that you have assembled your backend search term keywords, following the guidelines from above, you need to put them through a period of trial and error in order to get your search terms updated and working well for you.
Start by testing the new keyword string approximately 24 hours after making the change to see if Amazon is now indexing your product for the change.
How to test your search term string for indexing
To test whether your search terms are indexed or otherwise; copy a string (the entire search term row) of characters from a field and try searching it in Amazon.
You will be indexed if your product shows up in the results.
If no results are available for that string, or your product wasn’t one of them, which means this search term field was not indexed completely.
This means you may have done something incorrectly, which caused all of your keywords not to work when the string was searched. (You may have already used a keyword in your title, or perhaps there is a duped keyword that you missed.)
If your string is not passing muster, you probably have an irrelevant or inappropriate term listed, which may block the rest of the terms. It’s not a sure bet that this is the case or not, but what the majority of Amazon sellers do agree upon, is that when you give Amazon the information they desire, in the way they want it, your rankings seem to improve.
Try testing for some blocked words; it’s just going to take a little time, and some trial and error. To solve the problem of dud keywords, try searching for your ASIN in conjunction with a word, phrase or set of words.
If your listing shows up on top that means your product is being indexed for that keyword. But if the listing doesn’t appear or it shows as other found results minus a few keywords, it could mean that one or more of the words or phrases are not associated with your product.
If you tried this using a single word and it was a no-go, then Amazon is suggesting the keyword used as ‘irrelevant’ for your product. Drop it, and if possible find a different variation that works.
Repeat the search process on each keyword until you determine which are ok and those that are a bust. Now you should be set to go back into your Seller Central backend and clean up the search term fields.
How to Become a Backend Optimization Ninja
It’s Drop the Mic time.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be one step closer to rising to the top of your niche, another competitive edge created…for you will be a Backend Optimization Ninja.
>Remember keep everything relevant and keep Amazon happy – If used correctly, this upgraded character limit will bring more benefits to any Amazon seller who takes advantage of it correctly. However, if used incorrectly, sellers can expect to achieve lower conversion rates and risk action from Seller Performance.
- don’t fill in all available characters with just any word you can think of…you are only potentially diluting your valuable keywords with hundreds of unimportant one’s, which certainly is not a winning strategy
- You should separate your keywords into 5 lines instead of filling all your 250 characters to your first field of your search terms. Amazon actually puts an equal weight on each of the five lines. If you are only using one line, then you are wasting 80% of the opportunity.
Don’t bother wasting your valuable 250 characters on variations – this should include variations on spacing, punctuation, capitalization, pluralization and capitalization of plural forms.
- “Normalize” your keywords because Amazon’s search engine automatically includes different case forms, word forms, and spelling variants for searching.
Obtain a long list of relevant keyword – PPC Entourage is an ideal Amazon keyword tool to assist with this process.
Filter the list of keywords in accordance with Amazon’s Do’s and Don’ts – get rid of words that aren’t needed
Sort the list of keywords in order of relevance and natural phrases.
Remember, the most important or valuable keywords go into the top 2 search term rows.
Add your new keyword list in your Seller Central backend.
Place keywords into a logical order of what a potential customer may search for.
After 24 hours, test each of the 5 new keyword strings for indexing.
Problem solve any strings which don’t return your product in the results.
Adjust your keyword list in your Seller Central backend.
Sellers should keep in mind the importance order: Title> Bullet Point> Search Term> Description
- Review each of your current listings individually, making sure the most relevant of the search terms you want to attribute to them are dispersed, as keywords, among your title, bullet points and description.
It is vital that every Amazon seller optimize their Seller Central backends to make the most of Amazon’s policy change. When all your backends are optimized for the most relevant keywords, you may experience fewer overall customers visiting your listings, but you will likely experience higher conversions from those who do.
If you have additional questions about how to optimize your Seller Central backend, contact us to discuss consultation or coaching services to help you with all aspects of your Amazon brand.
Michael Zagare is a serial entrepreneur, a recovering physical therapist, and the founder of PPC Entourage.
Mike has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in all things Amazon, and loves sharing that knowledge with other sellers to help them take steps towards personal and financial freedom.
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