Search Engine Marketing is a bedrock foundation of eCommerce, and it all starts with keyword research. Without optimization around keywords and search intent on Google, a website is prone to fall into a black hole of lacklustre traffic and even more abysmal conversion rates.

To a degree, the same can be said for sellers on Amazon. 46.7% of product searches on the Internet occur on the Amazon.com platform

It helps to think of your Amazon product detail page (PDP) as a “micro-website.” To sell more, your detail page will need to improve organic search ranking in the search results. If you don’t have a strategy around how to increase search ranking along the way, your product sales will remain sluggish.

Instead of approaching your keyword strategy on Amazon in the same way you would for Google, it’s necessary to consider where the two search engines diverge in both user function and algorithm.

Here's what you need to know about how to do Amazon keyword research:

How Does Amazon Keyword Research Differ from Keyword Research for Google PPC and SEO?

One of the biggest differences worth noting between keyword research performed for Amazon vs. Google is user behavior.

On Google, users have the broadest scope of any search engine as measured by search intent. They may have intent to find the weather, read the news, ask questions, research articles, shop for products, get directions, view images, navigate to websites, watch videos or simply explore, and their search query – the keyword they use – is an indicator of their intent.

Search volume on Google is massive compared to Amazon (and all other search engines for that matter):

how to do amazon keyword research

On Amazon, users search with a much narrower scope. They likely want to shop for and buy products online and as such we typically refer to them as consumers as opposed to users.

Intent is hugely important when evaluating the difference between search engines and developing a keyword strategy. If a user searches for “omega 3 fish oil for dogs” on Google, they may have an intent to research the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for dogs, whereas the same search on Amazon demonstrates a clear intent to purchase an omega 3 fish oil for dogs. That said, not all users are alike and it’s important to note Amazon consumers may not necessarily have the intent to purchase on Amazon much less online at all. Amazon shoppers may simply be looking for product information or product reviews to guide a purchase decision that they will ultimately make in a physical retail store.

Because of the difference with intent, keyword research that originates from Google will be less reliable, and therefore should not be used as a primary resource for conducting keyword research.

What Variables Matter in Amazon’s Search Engine Algorithm Versus Google’s?

The purpose of a search engine is to help the user find what they’re searching for. Search engine algorithms index massive amounts of data and use variables in an equation to determine which results are the best ones to show to the user running the search.

Google measures a broader range of variables, and is primarily guided by a combination of positive user experience signals and reliable authority signals. If a user makes a search on Google, clicks on a webpage and does not bounce (i.e., click the back button, open a new tab and run another search, etc) Google will determine that the user found what they are looking for, and measure that as a positive user experience signal.

Furthermore, Google will rank websites that have authority signals that are hard to gamify such as links from reputable websites like government sites (.gov), university sites (.edu) and credible websites (e.g., Forbes.com, Wikipedia.com, ESPN.com, etc).

Amazon’s search engine algorithm measures many variables, but more than anything its algorithm weighted most heavily by sales history. Products with more sales rank better on Amazon.

Specifically, if a consumer searches for a keyword on Amazon like “omega 3 fish oil for dogs” and buys Product XYZ, Amazon will link the sales history associated between that keyword and that product. The products that have the most sales history for particular keywords will rank best for those keywords versus other products with less sales history for those same keywords.

This is inherently much more simple than Google’s measurements, and it is a reflection of what Amazon’s perception of its users search intent on the platform.

How Relevance is Determined by Amazon and What You Can Do to Increase Search Relevancy

Amazon measures whether or not your product is relevant for a given search based on whether customers searching for that keyword have purchased your product. The more purchases your product has associated with a given keyword, the more relevance your product will have.

If your product(s) have little sales history, you will need to focus on two important steps. Step one, make your product extremely compelling for consumers who find it on Amazon. This means price, free two-day shipping Prime eligible product, images, title and other content on the product detail page. Your product probably doesn’t have many reviews if you have little sales, which means you will need to reduce price and invest in great images and copywriting. You may likely need to send traffic to your product detail page from sources other than Amazon to help get started. Ideal sources include social media and email marketing subscribers. Step two, run pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Amazon to put your products in front of customers searching. Amazon generally does not differentiate between sales that are from organic search results or paid search results which means you can build sales history even if you aren’t ranking organically for the keywords you believe you are relevant for.

If your product has sales history and you are trying to increase relevancy  for more competitive keywords, you will need to follow the same steps as above but you will also need to conduct keyword research, develop and implement a keyword strategy, and iterate that strategy over time.

Final Thoughts: How to Do Amazon Keyword Research Part One: Search Intent & Search Relevance

An important part of learning how to do Amazon keyword research involves factoring in information about search intent and relevance. Things get even more complicated when you factor in the differences between doing keyword research for Google and Amazon keyword research.

Need help navigating Amazon keyword research and other platform-specific best practices? Contact the team today and we’d love to help you through the process!