How should I fill in my search-terms or generic_keywords fields in Amazon product feeds?
When listing new products on Amazon, sellers are allowed to provide five search-terms fields of up to 50 characters each: search-terms1, search-terms2, search-terms3, search-terms4, search-terms5 (or as of September 2013, some of the newer product listing templates are calling them generic_keywords1, generic_keywords2, generic_keywords3, generic_keywords4, generic_keywords5).
UPDATE 10-2-13 11AM: See latest guidance from Amazon Seller Support at bottom of this post.
UPDATE 10-2-13 – 1PM: Seller support notified us that commas make no difference (see bottom of post for full text)
As far as we are concerned, there is still no definitive answer from Amazon how exactly sellers can use search term fields. After thorough research, we have essentially found two conflicting viewpoints on how Amazon search terms can be used:
- Insert as many non-title keywords as you can for each search term in order of most important up to 50 characters per search term field. Do not repeat words, no commas (just use spaces to separate words).,When customers perform a search, Amazon will grab individual words from their query and if they match up with search terms you provided, display your results.
Eg. for a search-term1 or generic_keyword1: “2012 Audi A4 touchup paint Moonlight Blue Pearl”
- Use key-phrases, separated by a comma and a space, up to 50 characters in each search term field. Repeat if the overall phrase is different. Amazon will match whole search queries to the comma separated search phrases you provided and only show your result if you provided a search phrase matching the query.
Eg. for a search-term1 or generic_keyword1: “Audi A4 Moonlight Blue Pearl, Audi Moonlight Blue”
So what is the right answer?!
At this very moment, we do not actually know, but we have begun testing each hypothesis with our Amazon Ecommerce clients. We’re trying the list of single words approach and the phrases separated by commas approach on subsets of products. We’ll be sure to post results soon, but in the meantime, here is what we found from various sources when conducting our research into Amazon search terms:
The Amazon system already searches against the words in the title, brand/designer/manufacturer/manufacturer part number, and standard product ID (UPC, EAN, GTIN) so there is no need to repeat those. Instead, think of all the different words a buyer might use to find your product.
The system does not search bullets and descriptions, so those are often words to consider when creating search terms. If you sell pillow shams, for instance, you will include that in the title. It is relevant to use the word case or pillow case or pillowcase as a search term – you know what buyers want for your products!
Utilize all the search terms you can for every product, Use detailed product names, Do not re-use words in the search term fields, Don’t use quotation marks in search terms, Use only relevant search terms.
When entering several words as a search term entry, you don’t need to use punctuation - our system ignores commas. Just make sure to put spaces between your words if you want them treated as separate terms.
Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the search terms you enter for a product.
Elements used as Keywords: Here are some recommended details for Product Name, with examples:
- Standard Product ID (UPC, EAN, GTIN)
- Product Name/Title
- Manufacturer/Manufacturer Part Number (mfr-part-number)
- SearchTerms1 – SearchTerms5
- Brand and description - Laura Ashley Pillow Cases
- Product line - Sophia Collection
- Material or key ingredient - 300-Thread-Count
- Color - Blue
- Size - Queen
- Quantity - Set of 2
- Using these terms, the full Product Name might be: Laura Ashley Sophia Collection 300-Thread-Count Pillow Cases (Blue, Queen, Set of 2).
Don’t use quotation marks in search terms: Single words – including several words in a row – work better than demarcated phrases. When you put words inside quotation marks, you’re limiting the search results to customers who type in that exact phrase. For the Pillow Cases example, using the search term phrase “luxury cotton shams” means that customers searching for luxury pillow cases or cotton pillow cases won’t be likely to find the product. But if you enter the three words without any punctuation – even in the same search term field – your product will turn up in the results of such searches.
When entering several words as a search term, put them in the most logical order: A customer is more likely to search for big stuffed teddy bears than for teddy stuffed bears. This is something to consider when you enter a string of keywords into one search term field.
You don’t need to use simple stemming variations. Our search engine performs basic stemming. For example, it will treat a search for gloves the same as a search for glove.
When entering several words as a search term entry, you don’t need to use punctuation. Our system ignores commas. Just make sure to put spaces between your words if you want them treated as separate terms. The word pillowcases is a different search term than pillow cases.
Arrange keywords based on logic, meaning high volume terms first, long tail searches near the end
(From Amazon UK) Single words work better as search terms than phrases. If you use phrases, then customers must type each entry exactly as you entered it. For example, if you enter “natural baked dessert” as search terms for Allison’s Cookies, then that is what customers must type. If they type “natural” or “dessert,” your products won’t appear in the search results. However, by listing these terms separately, you allow for more combinations, such as natural, natural dessert, baked desserts, baked, dessert, and baked natural. If you aren’t getting the sales you expect, continue to experiment with your search terms until you find you have the best combination of product title and search terms for your products.
In each of the search terms fields, 1-5 you’re allowed to enter up to 50 characters and the trick to leveraging these is to use commas between each keyword. That’s 250 characters of search-for-me-find-me goodness.
His examples using ipod charger:
- Search Term 1: ipod charger,ipod classic charger,ipod mini charger
- Search Term 2: ipod mains charger,ipod touch charger
- Search Term 3: ipod nano charger,ipod uk charger
- Search Term 4: ipod charger mains,ipod wall charger
- Search Term 5: ipod 3pin uk charger,ipod 3 pin uk charger
From commenter “danny”:
- I can also add that the more specific the phrase the higher up the rankings you will be, however you run the risk of a customer not searching that phrase so it is always a balancing act between ‘best match specific’ and broad terms that will be found because unlike the title the search terms won’t pick out certain words in the phrases
- you are selling a black and decker power drill so those words are in the title – if you put the phrase “dewalt power drill” as one of your search terms you would have to be found on that exact search the word “dewalt” wouldn’t be searchable unlike black and decker is in the title
- Also another nice trick is child variations are searchable even if the product is out of stock so you can use a different tittle for the child products to the parent – or you can re-arrange the order so they will search differently
Try it. Pick one product and put a unique word in it and load it to Amazon. That will give you the answer you’re looking for.
I have been told you must leave a space after your comma in the keywords otherwise it picks the whole box up as one keyword.
The guy explained that he tested my keywords and as an example he searched “slot-in slot in” and my product came up on amazon, the keywords looked like this “slot-in,slot in”
Currently a potential buyer would have to search for “Slot in slot in 3ds stylus touch stylus pen” as an example because i have setup my search terms wrong!
What does Amazon Seller Support have to say?
I just sent Seller Support the following question, and hope to update in another post once I hear back from them:
We are updating our feeds to use the Flat.File.AutoAccessory version 2013.0903 and want to make sure we are utilizing the generic_keywords fields properly. We have read EVERY SINGLE bit of help on Amazon and in numerous online forums, but are still not sure what is acceptable in the generic_keywords fields.
Can/should we use commas to separate keywords/phrases for each generic_keywords field?
Eg. should I send “Audi touchup paint, Audi royal red” as the value for generic_keywords1? Or, should I send “Audi touchup paint royal red” for generic_keywords1? Is there any difference?
In that example, would only those exact phrases be searchable on Amazon, or would “royal red touchup paint” also display our result in searches?
Where I’ve seen confusing answers to my question:
1. Pg. 22 of the latest Automotive_Style_Guide.pdf states “Each field can contain up to 50 characters, separated by spaces.” but it shows an example of “Dark Chocolate, Apples, Cookies” for a search term. It also says “fill this space with your search terms — you should fill up all 5 lines with words — you don’t need to repeat your title words — customers search these words to find your products — word space word space word space.” So based on this guidance, my above search terms would simply be “Audi touchup paint royal red” and those terms would be searchable in any combination?
2. Flat.File.AutoAccessory states “A word or phrase that best describes the product. This will help Amazon.com locate the product when customers perform searches on our site.” in the Definitions and Use column.
UPDATE 10-2-13 RESPONSE FROM AMAZON SELLER SUPPORT TO MY QUESTION ABOVE:
- You can enter the Keywords and separate them with commas. In your example case, you can enter in this format “Audi touchup paint, Audi royal red”.
- When we give a key word as “Audi touchup paint, Audi royal red”, it is searchable with both phrases on Amazon.com and it can also be searchable with the part of keyword.
- Please allow me to inform you that a product’s placement in search results is determined not only by the keywords selected, but by other factors. In general, the first two pages of results give customers a mix of the most popular products using that search term, across various product categories. Amazon.com cannot guarantee placement of your product in the first few pages of search results.
- Factors such as the history of buyer viewings, the sales history of an item, price, and current availability all influence the location which a specific product achieves in the search results. This means that products that sell better tend to be toward the beginning of the list. Therefore, as your sales increase you can expect your products to appear more frequently toward the beginning of the search results.
UPDATE 10-2-13 1PM:
I asked Amazon Seller Support a followup question to their first response today:
Do commas matter at all? Does using a commas in search terms make any difference? Finally, should we be using any of the other keywords fields other than generic_keywords?
Their answer is:
Please note that Commas will not make difference and they are entered only to differentiate between the words.
Also, there is no other field that can be used and only generic keywords field can be used currently for this purpose.