Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2017.
You asked. We listened.
In February, many of you joined ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces Services Team Lead John Bryan for an informative webinar, “7 Secrets to Successful Selling on Amazon.” During the webinar, John dispensed wisdom on selling your products through the popular marketplace giant.
We get it. Amazon can be complicated. And we’re here to help. Over the months of April and May, we’ll be posting a five-part follow-up blog series based exclusively on your questions and broken down by topic. (Read Part I on Fulfillment by Amazon and Part II on the Amazon Buy Box.)
This third installment, focused on Amazon search terms, features 13 of your most pressing search term questions answered by ChannelAdvisor experts.
Q: Do Amazon search results pertain to the product title or just the five search terms?
A: Both search terms and title factor into Amazon’s search results.
Q: Can I use other product names in the search terms? Is that okay?
A: We recommend that you use search terms that pertain to or describe your specific product.
Q: Will Amazon really suspend someone for using a third-party brand or trademark as a search term even if that brand or trademark doesn’t show up on Amazon’s site?
A: Per Amazon’s policy, third-party brands and trademarks aren’t permitted as search terms. Amazon has the ability to suspend your rights to sell on the marketplace if you violate these rules.
Q: What’s an example of a third-party search term we shouldn’t use?
A: Third-party search terms are brand terms that are different from the actual brand of the product. For example, if you’re selling Adidas running shoes, you wouldn’t want to use “Nike” as a term.
Q: Regarding a third-party name in the search terms: Can I use my old company name or product name? Customers still search for those terms, but Amazon wouldn’t recognize that they have new names.
A: We recommend reaching out to Amazon to explain your situation to ensure you’re not violating its policy.
Q: Where should we optimize the search terms? In the product description?
A: You enter your search terms in the search terms field, not the product description. Keep in mind that for search, the two most important data values to optimize are your: (1) product title and (2) search terms.
Q: So I can only use one term per line? Typically we fill the lines with terms. Does Amazon only recognize the first word in the line?
A: Using multiple search terms per line is acceptable. When adding your terms in the search terms field, You are allowed up to 5 comma-separated terms with a maximum character length of 50 per term. A term can be a single word (e.g. hose) or a phrase (e.g. retractable garden hose). Avoid using quotation marks around your terms since that indicates that the term must be typed in exactly that order.
Q: Are search terms sensitive to upper or lowercase letters?
A: No, the terms aren’t case sensitive.
Q: What’s the difference between search terms and Platinum Keywords?
A: Platinum Keywords are available only to Amazon Platinum merchants and are a way to associate your products with a custom browse structure. Search terms, on the other hand, help Amazon locate the product when customers perform searches. A custom browse structure is a way of designing the category navigation on a seller’s Amazon store.
Q: Are these terms specifically for Amazon’s search, or do they connect to search engines such as Google as well?
A: Because it’s a self-contained marketplace, the search terms are specific for search on Amazon only. Identifying and maximising your search terms (or “keywords”) on Google should be part of your paid search strategy, which we can help with through ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing.
Q: What else should I keep in mind about search terms?
A: Use search terms as an opportunity to provide additional words that you couldn’t fit in the product title. Think about buyers and how they’re searching. It may not make sense to have some of these terms in your title (or they may not fit), but the search terms field gives you the opportunity.
Check back next week for the fourth part of this blog series, which will tackle your questions about data quality.