Updated: Mar 7
Are you looking for the best keyword research strategies for Amazon Advertising?
Well, you are in the right place.
Keyword research best practices change according to the objectives you want to achieve on Amazon.
In this ultimate guide, I’m gonna explain two keyword research techniques that tackle the two most important scenarios when it comes to making your way up in Amazon organic ranking.
I’ll focus more on the advertising side, but keep in mind that the keywords on Amazon product pages and those in ad campaigns should be related. If you target different keywords with advertising, you won’t perform well. So, the following keyword research strategies will help your listings optimization as well.
You will learn how to find profitable keywords to improve your Amazon listings and ad campaigns, leverage insights from competitors’ top selling items and use Helium 10 like a boss!
Yes, you got it right.
Helium 10 is my keyword research tool and you should use it too.
Why? Keep reading.
Table of contents
BEST AMAZON KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOL
Before we start with the actual keyword research techniques, it’s important to make an introduction about the tool I’ll use in this guide.
What is the best keyword research tool for Amazon?
Without any doubt, the best Amazon keyword research tool is Helium 10.
If you follow me on YouTube or here, on my blog, you know that I’m very picky and selective with the tools I use for digital marketing.
And I’ll be very blunt: if you do business on Amazon, Helium 10 is a must.
In this guide, I’ll show you my best practices for keyword research by using Helium 10. It has a free forever version, so you can just start with it and eventually get a premium subscription later.
Specifically, I’ll teach you how to master and leverage:
Xray - Amazon Product Research. Helium 10 crawls Amazon products feed and returns amazing insights about the listings displayed, like sales, revenue, reviews, Amazon fees and so on;
Cerebro - Reverse ASIN Lookup. A tool that scrapes information from a listing and returns a list of keywords with related useful insights;
Magnet2 - Keyword Research. Starting from a seed keyword, this tool generates more connected alternatives.
You might substitute Helium 10 with JungleScout which has similar features to Helium 10 and is still a powerful tool. But it doesn’t have a free version.
For the advanced keyword research techniques that I’ll show you here, you can’t use 100% free software like Sonar by Sellics, because they don’t have the necessary features.
HOW TO STEAL AND LEVERAGE PROFITABLE KEYWORDS FROM TOP RANKING COMPETITORS’ LISTINGS
As an Amazon seller, you want your listings to be found in the first page of the Amazon feed. But when you launch a new product, it’ll probably take a while to get there.
There are many factors that determine your listings’ organic ranking like the IPI (Inventory Performance Index), sales velocity, reviews, keywords, seller history (the more time you are on Amazon as a seller, the better) and so on.
Not all these factors can be commanded.
For example, there is nothing you can do to increase your history as a seller. If you joined Amazon yesterday, you can only wait.
You should make a difference by acting on those factors which you can control. And keywords are one of them.
What keywords should you target on your Amazon listings and ad campaigns?
Assuming that a listing can’t rank number one for every keyword, you must choose the most important one.
What is your most important keyword?
It is a keyword that perfectly describes your item and drives a lot of traffic. In other words, it needs to have tons of monthly searches (possibly, more than 10k/mo searches).
For example, if you sell a shampoo for men, you may want to rank number one for the keyword “men shampoo”.
If you are new to the marketplace and have a low budget, you may want to start small and pick a long-tail keyword instead. “Vegan shampoo for men” for example.
This step is very important, because this keyword will represent the compass for the whole keyword research strategy I’m about to show you.
Let’s call it the “pilot” keyword.
If you search for your pilot keyword on Amazon, you will find a list of competitors’ products on the first page.
You should always copy what top ranking competitors do.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Follow this step by step guide to steal the most profitable keywords from your top ranking competitors.
Step 1. Identify the pilot keyword for your listing
Identifying your pilot keyword can be difficult sometimes.
Maybe your item has cross-product features and is not easy to describe or maybe, you just can’t come up with the perfect keyword to define it.
And, in any case, you want to be sure that this keyword has traffic potential.
So, I recommend using Magnet - Keyword Research by Helium 10.
From the Helium 10 home page, use the side navigation menu and click on Magnet in the Keyword Research tab.
Pick the right Amazon marketplace (in this guide, I’ll just focus on Amazon US) and input the seed keyword in the search bar.
You can eventually analyze multiple seed keywords if you are not sure what to pick. The AI will find all the related alternatives.
In this example, the seed keyword “vegan shampoo for men” has just 18 searches per month which means we need to find a better pilot keyword for our listing.
In the filters section, select Organic as a Match Type and apply the filter. Helium 10 will now display only organic keywords.
Remember that pilot keywords are for organic ranking, not necessarily for advertising. I’ll show you what to do on the Amazon Advertising console in the next chapters.
Take a look at the entries and order them according to the Search Volume.
In the example above, the most relevant results are:
“mens shampoo” with 33,907 searches;
“shampoo for men” with 18,375 searches;
“natural shampoo” with 16,542 searches;
“mens shampoo and conditioner” with 14,262 searches;
“hair thickening products for women” with 10,855 searches.
Number 1 is too competitive, number 3 is too general, number 4 and 5 are not in target (we are selling only shampoo for men without conditioner).
So, I would opt for number 2: “shampoo for men”.
Don’t be scared by competitiveness. It’s not important in this phase.
Remember that this is the “wannabe” keyword. It represents the compass of your ranking strategy.
Before you are able to rank in the first page for such a keyword, you need to rank higher for a multitude of other related long-tail keywords.
Step 2. Find your competitors’ top ranking products
Now, it’s time to find out who are the best Amazon competitors for your pilot keyword.
Head to amazon.com and search for your pilot keyword. In this example, I’ll keep using “shampoo for men”.
Attention: install Helium 10 Google Chrome Extension before you begin (here is the download page).
Click on Helium 10 Chrome Extension and select Xray - Amazon Product Research.
As you can see from the image below, Helium 10 has found in depth information about the products listed in the feed.
Also sponsored products are included (they have a blue box with the letters "SP" before the title), but you don’t need them for this keyword research, so click the garbage button at the beginning of the entries.
In this way, you’ll clean up the list and get a clearer outlook on what your real competing products are.
I usually select my competitors according to two factors:
The first point is important, because you want to be sure that the competing product considered is very similar to what you are selling.
The second point is important, because you want to copy only successful listings.
Proceed in this way:
Look at the Sales column and identify the products with more sales. Remember that entries are ordered according to the organic position for your pilot keyword, so you can’t look for best sellers in the second page of the feed. For each Amazon page, there are more or less 45 organic results (it depends on different factors). Consider results that have more than 2,000 - 3,000 monthly sales. Depending on your product category, you might have competitors that sell less than 2k monthly units. In this case, just identify those with most sales;
Then, look at the ASIN column and hover the cursor on the best sellers identified in the previous point. Helium 10 will display their product image. Verify that the product image and title are relevant for the item you are selling (eg: similar features, same product category...);
Optional: if you are undecided between one competitor or another, check the Review Count too. You want to select the crème de la crème.
Follow these guidelines and select from 5 to 10 items.
Warning: don’t select more than one product which belongs to the same brand otherwise this keyword research strategy won’t work!
Step 3. Use Cerebro to steal the most profitable keywords from your competitors
On the top right corner, click the button Run in Cerebro.
Helium 10 will open another tab on your browser and crawl the ASINs selected in Xray to find juicy keywords.
Cerebro will return a tremendous amount of keywords. In the example below, it found 63,246 keywords.
They are too many!
You want to filter them and consider a list of about 50 keywords.
Because you will use those keywords in your Amazon ad campaigns and in your listings for Amazon SEO.
Head to the filters section and input 150 as a minimum Search Volume.
It means that all results with less than 150 monthly searches won’t be displayed.
You can eventually be more aggressive with this filter, but remember that keywords with low traffic are usually less competitive and can represent an opportunity for your business.
Imagine to rank for a keyword that has 200 searches per month and convert 80% of the time. It means you make 160 sales per month.
Not bad as a starting point, ah?
Don’t edit the Match Type filter this time. You are interested in both organic and sponsored keywords.
Extend the control panel by clicking on Advanced Filters and use one of the latest released features by Helium 10: Advance Rank Filter.
Helium 10 describes this filter as the min/max number of ASINs you want to be appearing in a certain range of organic ranks for a keyword.
I find this definition confusing, so here is my explanation:
The first two slots, labeled “AM”, represent ASIN Minimum and ASIN Maximum respectively. Basically, you are telling Helium 10, show me the keywords that minimum X and maximum Y ASINs have in common. The AI will analyze the ASINs input in Cerebro and match all the common keywords.
The second two slots, labeled “RM”, represent Rank Minimum and Rank Maximum respectively. You are telling Helium 10, show me only the keywords that rank from position X to position Y.
In the image above, I input 4 as a minimum number of ASINs and 1 to 10 as a ranking range.
In other words, I’m telling the AI to find the common keywords among at least 4 ASINs which rank from position 1 to 10 in the Amazon search feed.
Apply the filters.
As you can see from the screenshot above, I found 32 keywords which is perfect. If you found too many keywords, increase the minimum number of ASINs in the Advance Rank Filter. If the system returns too few keywords, decrease the minimum number of ASINs.
If playing with this filter doesn’t allow you to find around 50 keywords, feel free to use other filters like Search Volume or Cerebro IQ Score for instance.
Do you want me to manage your Amazon Advertising and organic listings? Schedule a free digital marketing assessment with me!
Now, go through the keyword list and clean it up. Remove all the keywords that are not in target with your product (click the X icon at the beginning of each entry).
Then, select all the remaining keywords and copy them to the clipboard.
Just scroll the page all the way up, click on the button Export and then Copy to Clipboard.
Step 4. Use the top ranking keywords in your Amazon Advertising campaigns
If you are able to rank for the keywords you have copied to your clipboard, you’ll be able to rank for the pilot keyword as well.
Do you know how an Amazon super URL works?
If you don’t know what it is, you can read the related section in my Amazon product launch formula article.
If you do know what a super URL is, you must be aware that advertising takes advantage of its super power as well.
That’s why inserting these keywords in your ad campaigns will help your listings rank higher in Amazon search.
How is it possible to increase your ranking for a pilot keyword, “shampoo for men”, while you’re targeting “menthol shampoo” or “mens organic shampoo”?
The answer lies in the semantic SEO.
Clearly, “menthol shampoo” and “mens organic shampoo” have a meaning connected to “shampoo for men”. A9 (Amazon algorithm) is able to recognize this connection and if it thinks that your product is relevant for those alternative keywords, it must be relevant for the pilot keyword too.
With that in mind, go to your Amazon Advertising Console and create a new Sponsored Products campaign.
Do you want to learn how I advertise products on Amazon? Buckle up. My Amazon Advertising Bible is here.
Create an ad group, add your product and insert the new keywords.
As you can see from the image above, I like to organize my ad groups as silos. I don’t like to mix different match types together.
In this case, I labeled the ad group Phrase match, so I know that all keywords are within a phrase match type.
If you want to be more flexible with the findings of this keyword research, you may use a broad match type.
Attention: phrase match and broad match ad groups are explorative and require maintenance. They might trigger your ads for search terms that are not in target or not profitable. So, remember to clean up the campaigns often and funnel profitable search terms in an Exact match ad group. If you want to learn more about this, follow my Amazon Advertising Bible.
The keywords inserted in this ad campaign will help your listing acquire sales velocity and, thanks to the super URL ranking boost, climb Amazon feed.
Step 5. Insert the top ranking keywords in your Amazon product page
If you want to climb the organic rank fast, I recommend inserting the top ranking keywords in your listing text.
The first reason why you should do this is to increase your ads quality score.
Amazon Advertising works very similarly to Google Ads or Facebook Ads. In fact, Amazon AI assigns to your ads a score according to the relevancy. If your sponsor keywords that are not included in your listing, you may receive a low quality score resulting in lower performance and higher CPC (Cost Per Click).
The second reason why you should use the top ranking keywords in your Amazon product page is for SEO purposes.
If you want to rank for a certain keyword, why wouldn’t you include it in the listing, right?
Now, you know one of the best Amazon keyword research techniques to climb the feed and stay the course with your optimizations.
HOW TO FIND PROFITABLE KEYWORDS WITH LOW COMPETITION
While being in the first organic position for a keyword that has tens of thousands monthly searches is everyone’s goal, you must be smarter and aim for low competitive keywords.
Targeting keyword alternatives with low competition and low monthly searches can help you get easy sales.
Step 1. Use a seed keyword to find similar alternatives
Log into Helium 10 and select Magnet from the Keyword Research tab in the side menu.
Insert the seed keyword in the search field and hit the Get Keywords button. In the example below, I used “shampoo for men” as a seed keyword and found 11,022 related results.
Step 2. Select the keywords with the highest sales potential and lowest competitiveness
You should look at two metrics in particular:
Magnet IQ Score. It’s a Helium 10 parameter to determine a keyword’s attractiveness. The higher, the better. It is based on the ratio of estimated search volume versus number of competing products. A high score means a relatively high number of searches compared to the number of competitors. A low score means the opposite;
Competing Products. It is the total number of products returned in a customer search using a certain keyword.
Basically, Helium 10’s AI has already done the job for us.
Order the entries according to the Magnet IQ Score.
Go over each keyword and determine whether they are in target or not.
Some keywords may not make sense to you, but I recommend clicking an entry’s link to see what Amazon search results are before you exclude them.
Feel free to use Helium 10 filters to refine your keywords list. For example, I like to filter the search with a minimum of 150-300 Search Volume.
It is true you want to target low competitive keywords, but you also are doing business on Amazon: you can’t be too cheap.
You can’t pretend to be successful by targeting keywords that have less than 150-300 monthly searches.
Select around 50 keywords and copy them to your clipboard.
This time, you won’t insert these keywords in your listing, but only in your ad campaigns.
Step 3. Target alternative keywords with your Amazon ad campaigns
Well, now you know the drill.
Sponsored Products campaign, ad group, phrase match.
If you have time to check the campaign often, you may opt for a broad match instead.
Keyword research strategies vary; there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Be honest with yourself and determine what objectives you want to achieve.
If you need a long term strategy, pick a pilot keyword, find your competitors and steal their top ranking keywords.
If you want to make sales while saving budget, pick a seed keyword and search for alternatives.
What’s your favorite keyword research strategy? Share it with me in the comments below!