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Keyword research is (probably) more important than ever on Amazon. Here’s why.

Dec 18, 2018

It’s no secret

Change is the rule – not the exception – on Amazon.

 

As you’ve now likely heard, Amazon has recently made inaccessible the resource with which many platforms were capturing real Amazon traffic data. This has caused a major uproar in the keyword research space as this was understandably considered the ultimate in traffic/demand insights on Amazon.

We’re only days removed and as the dust begins to settle, it has become abundantly clear that keyword research may be more important than ever.

The reality is keywords are still the puzzle pieces and potential market share for the largest commerce platform to ever exist.

That’s the truth.

What are some potential risks and missteps you could fall prey to with this recent change? Let’s cover a few important points…

You could start relying on Autocomplete

First, it’s important to understand that autocomplete is unique to each user/account. This is telling in and of itself, but also requires you to run your search in an incognito window (not logged in) when you’d like to leverage autocomplete.

Next, let’s run through an example to address some of the shortcomings.

I used to sell Argan Oil with a brand I used to own.

Argan Oil is an obvious main keyword, so I could plug that into autocomplete to see what results I get.

Amazon business strategy

Keep in mind autocomplete is sorted from highest to lowest (top down) so you can effectively prioritize top results assuming a higher demand.

And this is great – it’s giving me a few keywords as a starting place.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But let’s isolate the challenges.

First, with autocomplete, your results are only as good as your inputs. Capturing a broad array of inputs requires time – your most finite resource,

As you’ll notice, I only get subsequent words and phrases from inputting ‘argan oil’ in my search.

So I’ll only getting outputs of…

  • argan oil shampoo
  • argan oil for hair
  • argan oil for face

Which keywords (that actually made me money) am I missing out on?

Keywords like:

  • organic argan oil
  • pure argan oil
  • certified organic argan oil
  • moroccan argan oil

I share this example in particular not only because of its to-the-point simplicity but also because these were also keywords where conversion rates were exceptional.

Why?

Because it was a far warmer, more specific keyword (or search) driving traffic to my product.

My argan oil’s unique features and benefits were showing up in the search phrases and customers were all to happy to search, find and buy with these keywords.

Shame on you autocomplete. You could’ve cost me a few digits to my bottom line 🙁

You start relying on Search Term Reports

Search term reports can be invaluable to find those hidden gem keywords that weren’t previously on your radar.

They’re so accessible that you may find yourself spending a lot of time and energy scouring your reports often.

The challenge?

They are ‘pay to play’ insights. Would a customer have clicked, interacted, converted, etc. on your organic product listing through the same keyword or phrase?

It’s your best guess. (Emphasis on guess)

The distinction is actually pretty important.

The organic and paid relationship on Amazon is roughly 50/50 as an approximation (and from a theoretical perspective).

We would never deter you from making the most of ‘50%’ on the paid side of things, but by simply understanding this nuance you can make more informed decisions as you harvest keywords and build out the keywords you’re managing.

So yes, Search Term Reports are powerful, but inherently incomplete. We need to do more if we want to do keyword research better than the next brand. It’s that simple.

You begin to de-value automatic index visibility

Indexing for a keyword is the foolproof way to capture ongoing visibility.

Suddenly lose index status on a keyword? Say goodbye to sales.

So it goes without saying somewhat obsessing over index status for all the keywords making up your product line makes complete and total sense (and is highly recommended).

Now it’s true that some sellers are still manually and sporadically checking index. These are typically sellers who first lose a few thousand dollars in sales before realizing, uh-oh, some (or in a worse case all) of my keywords are suddenly de-indexed.

As the competitive landscape gets fiercer, malicious sellers are shifting their competitors to other categories which serves as the impetus for de-indexing. That means, without notice, you could be in a new category with zero keywords indexed. Yikes. If you haven’t heard the horror stories, consider yourself grateful.

So yes – manually checking index is not only an extremely poor use of your valuable time (given that you should do it nearly daily and for thousands of keywords) but it’s also an archaic process. Seller.Tools shines in this regard remaining on the forefront of what’s required for index visibility and giving this information to sellers instantly, automatically, and for tens of thousands of keywords.

Time saved. Money saved.

You manage (or have visibility) into far fewer keywords

What gets measured gets managed.

That’s never been truer for keywords to an Amazon seller.

Because the reality is that if you’re only managing 100 to 200 keywords it better be for only 1 product. And even then, understand the concession you’re making.

Without visibility, the lack of ability to make informed decisions is a foregone conclusion.

Again, we are talking about visibility on Amazon. Is there anything more important to an Amazon seller than that? People can’t buy what they can’t find, and the bottom drops out on the leverage Amazon is supposed to provide you as a seller.

What’s worse is paying for a software platform to ‘manage’ this abysmal set of keywords. Simply don’t do it – you (and your business) deserve better.

You start relying on quantity over quality when it comes to metrics or tools

This mistake is not so obvious but it’s omnipresent. Which makes it all the more worrisome.

Let’s take an example to make this real.

Say you run your basic Reverse ASIN search across 3 of your top competitors for 1 keyword.

On the other side of this search you get the keywords those 3 products rank for.

Depending on the tool and logic applied you may get an expansive and hard to interpret list, OR you might get a really dialed in and insightful list of keywords.

A quick segue….

Here’s a crucial point that must be made due to a fair degree of misinformation being spread.

A Reverse ASIN search DOES NOT give you visibility into the keywords a product is receiving sales from.

It is intended to display the keywords a product ranks for.

If you’ve followed FBA Kings or any of our past content we’ve made clear that page interactions (as reinforced by Popularity Score insights) are as much, if not more, important than optimized (kw-driven sales).
What does that mean?

That means a product could rank highly for a specific keyword simply by welcoming more page interactions (even without and potentially in lieu of any optimized sales).

Again, this is something we’ve highlighted before.

It’s why blackhat tactics have shifted and changed and will continue to do so. From adding to wishlist, to printing product detail pages (yes, that’s a thing) to add to cart and the list goes on and on. To the tune of 220+ potential interactions/actions making up the Popularity Score.

What do each of the aforementioned steps not include? Keyword attributed sales.

So do not be misled here.

Ok, back on track to the results of your prior Reverse ASIN search.

If the tool you’ve used offers any sort of density metric, you can begin to see if there’s potential insights.

This should provide some value if, let’s say, all 3 competitors are ranking for a specific keyword.

Awesome, great to know.

But now what?

Our example before highlights that we don’t know at the keyword level if those competitors are getting none, some or all of their sales from that given keyword phrase.

Hence the mention (and potential pitfall) of viewing quantity and not quality.

Let me share another super simple example.

Let’s say you’re selling foam rollers.

You take your top 3 competitors and boom – they have all keywords like ‘foam roller’ in all their listings – effectively a 3/3 or 100% occurrence across the 3 listings.

Awesome.

Now one of your competitors is Triggerpoint foam rollers – a massive brand and presence in the space. Little did you know (based on insights from your basic Reverse ASIN search) that they get more than 50% of their sales from ‘triggerpoint foam roller’.

This is effectively insight into the quality of that keyword, not it’s occurrence, as a measure of quantity.

And we see this over and over again in hyper-competitive spaces. Keywords can first show up because of trends or market opportunities and then become essential. BUT, before they become essential they are often blue oceans for the savvy seller to capitalize on.

 

In Health & Personal Care this can show up as branded ingredients.

In Sports & Outdoors it can be unique uses to tried and true sporting equipment.

In Beauty & Personal Care it could be the latest trend shared by your favorite TV doctor.

And the list goes on.

From trends (with the potential for virality), product specifics, feature specifics and more. This is really where staying tapped in means capitalizing on big opportunities driven by keywords/visibility.

Unfortunately, all of this is out and right missed by effectively weighting, based on density, the occurrence of a keyword ranking for your competitors.

Hint: I’m going to allude to fun little exclusive Seller.Tools feature soon (AMZ Report Card) that will help to mitigate the shortcomings of a ‘quantity’ focus soon. Amazon data ftw!

So yes, this type of search gives us some value and a few assumptions to wrangle with.

One last hint: This is the other glaring issue with putting a lot of weight on the number of sponsored ads for a given keyword. Quantity, not quality visibility (wholly 50% of the equation!)

Knowing what you’re getting into (and the relative value of the results) is half the battle. Go forth informed!

 

With a few of those items out of the way…

It’s important to make the absolute most of the tools currently at your disposal.

At Seller.Tools, we are extremely proud to have the freshest and most robust set of archived Amazon data on the market. Period.

Daily updates to data wasn’t just something that left users ahead of the pack previously – it’s now allowed for that same data to be leaps and bounds above the rest of the sporadically and intermittently updated alternatives.

So back to the tools at the ready…

Two of my favorite exclusive features to the Seller.Tools platform are R2A (with Cascade) and AMZ Report Card.

Let’s unpack the value of each.

R2A (with Cascade) is the only Reverse ASIN tool on the market with captures variations, hidden listings and more. For sellers tapped into the competitive landscape, it goes without saying that an understanding (and visibility) into variation specific insights is crucial. Variations have quickly become the playground of sophisticated Amazon sellers.

Further, the disparity when running an R2A against your average Reverse ASIN tool is nothing short of drastic. You could have a variance of as much as 75% of the insightful data. This is far too big of a compromise if you want to be winning the keyword research and visibility game.

Next is AMZ Report Card. This is another Seller.Tools exclusive that leverages only Amazon data.

This feature effectively queries Amazon to find out which keywords they would use to describe a product listing.

Yes, it’s as immensely useful and powerful as it sounds.

This can include up to 1,000 keywords per ASIN (or competitor). With the best possible source and tremendous ease of data capture, AMZ Report Card may very well be the most impactful and efficient means of capturing keywords.

While I may have devalued autocomplete a bit before, you can see how taking data from a source like AMZ Report Card and running a few searches to autocomplete could be a great way to round out your keyword research.

Finally, there’s Last Search.

Last Search was already touted as the most powerful keyword discovery tool available – tapping into more than a billion keywords in no time at all.

Layer that now with the most robust and up to date historical data and it now, definitively, stands in a class of its own. Alternatives are left with stale or proprietary data. Both bad, bad words in our space.

We are also evaluating additional Amazon source data to supplement Last Search (more to come on this).

For simplicity’s sake, think of Last Search like autocomplete minus every single one of its shortcomings. And then on steroids.

Yeah, I like the sound of that. Non-crappy autocomplete on steroids.

Essentially, each one of these exclusive features and the unmatched data provide you with invaluable inputs.

More, powerful keywords.

The Listing Manager within Seller.Tools will continue to help you prioritize based on traffic/demand of keywords as you populate your listing. This feature is so popular and useful that its attempts to be copied in the past few months have been obvious.

It’s simply that good.

So you have the best tools and best data… what next?

With the current backdrop, many sellers run the risk of regressing to ‘old’ and outdated means of completing keyword research. This creates a very real opportunity gap for sellers who redouble their efforts into effective, expert-level keyword research.

In conversations with other sellers, we’ve discussed the very strong potential of a temporary Wild West where some sellers mistakenly think keywords aren’t important anymore, and their competitors move quickly to make them pay for their apathy.

At Seller.Tools we are currently testing 2 other Amazon sources to incorporate into the platform.

Yes, only a few days removed from this change we are already bringing more Amazon data back into the platform.

Because we don’t want you to ‘trust’ Seller.Tools when completing your keyword research.

We want you to trust the source of the data – only ever Amazon.
Our team has never been more excited to widen the moat for these features and put the best data at your fingertips – both now and in the future.

I’ll leave you with this reminder – when there’s a major market change there is always (and without question) a market opportunity. What are you going to do with it?

If you’re not a Seller.Tools customer, now is your chance to get ahead – get your access now!

Aaron O'Sullivan

Seller.Tools

Seller.Tools is a suite of optimization tools for Amazon sellers. As the only platform created by 7 & 8 figure earners, Seller.Tools leverages expertise and real Amazon data to provide unmatched insights to savvy sellers. With an extensive list of exclusive features Seller.Tools has become the de facto solution for the top, most visible brands on Amazon.

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