Advanced Keyword Strategies for Amazon SEO vs Amazon PPC

Rick Wong 22 June 2024
Advanced Keyword Strategies for Amazon SEO vs Amazon PPC

The Importance of Keyword Optimization for SEO and Paid Search Ads

Keyword research is the starting point for Amazon SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Amazon PPC (more about our Amazon PPC Services). It describes the process of identifying search terms that potential buyers of your products likely use on Amazon. Once you have selected relevant keywords, you can use them to enhance the relevance of your Amazon product listings, add them as keywords to the backend of your Amazon product listing and target them via Amazon PPC advertising. Effective keyword research driven optimization will increase product visibility, traffic, and ultimately sales.

This article will help you understand how your keyword strategies for Amazon SEO (more about our Amazon SEO Services) should differ from keywords you target with Amazon PPC ads, such as Amazon Sponsored Products, or Amazon Sponsored Brands ads.

How to Conduct Amazon Keyword Research

Amazon keywords research can be conducted in several ways. You can use paid keyword research tools, such as Helium 10 or Jungle Scout, or even use Amazon’s search bar to discover frequent search queries via the auto-complete suggestions provided by Amazon. If you are already running Amazon ads, you can also identify high potential keywords in the search terms reports of your existing ad campaigns. Keep in mind that keyword research is not something to “set and forget”. According to Google, 15 percent of all daily searches on Google are new searches. Expect the percentage to be similar for Amazon and also take into consideration that many other factors, such as seasonality (i.e. search around holidays and gifting periods) will sway search behavior.

For these reasons your keyword targeting needs to be constantly refined and adjusted. For more details check out our blog post on How to Conduct Amazon Keyword Research.

Identify Competitors’ Keywords using Reverse ASIN Keyword Lookup

A very effective way to conduct keyword research is to check which keywords competing product listings are ranking for. In the video below we describe how to use Zonguru to conduct so-called “reverse ASIN” keyword research.

Differences between keyword research for SEO purposes vs. PPC advertising on Amazon

Keyword Research for Amazon SEO

The primary goal of keyword research for Amazon SEO is to enhance the organic visibility of your product listings. The objective is to surface your listings in high positions on the search results page when Amazon shoppers search for relevant keywords.

The challenge with this approach is that highly commercially viable keywords with large search volumes will be extremely competitive and difficult to rank for.

To increase the likelihood of ranking for these keywords, include them in your listing titles, listing bullet points, or the backend keywords of a listing.

Keyword Research for PPC Ads

In principle, keyword research for PPC campaigns works exactly the same as keyword research for Amazon SEO. Once you have identified relevant terms, you target them with ads. Include keywords in product titles to increase the chances that users click on your ads.

Key Differences Between Keyword Targeting Strategies for SEO and PPC

The main difference between keyword targeting for PPC and SEO purposes is that organic clicks are free, but ad clicks are paid clicks. This has strategic implementations. To maximize efficiency you need to determine which keywords present the biggest commercial opportunity.

The Keyword Prioritization Framework

Amazon Keyword Prioritization Framework

Think of your target keywords in terms of potential reach (Search Volume) and business potential (Commercial Intent).

  • Low Search Volume AND Low Commercial Intent: Clearly these keywords are neither critical for SEO, nor PPC. But still evaluate them from a qualitative point of view: Are these seasonal keywords that may become more relevant at a later stage? Or are these keywords that are just starting to trend and may grow in search volume? Examples are keywords related to product characteristics that indicate that a shopper is still in an information gathering mindset (i.e. “35L vs 45L Backpack”).
  • Low Search Volume AND High Commercial Intent: You wouldn’t want to waste limited title or bullet point copy on keywords that only trigger a very small number of searches. However, if you cannot realistically break into top spots for higher search volume keywords, then these might still be your best shot at gaining sales traction.

    In practice, most Amazon sellers aim to identify target keywords that are not as competitive, highly relevant for their products and yet have a sufficient search volume to be worth the effort. To stick with the backpack example, if you sell ultra-light water resistant hiking backpacks, then so-called long-tail search queries such as “ultra-light water resistant 35L backpack” will likely work well for your products.

    Key here is to identify true gems, to target them with your PPC ads and in parallel to also optimize your listing for these keywords. The definition of “true gem” is: a cost per click that does commercially make sense for you

    So why focus both SEO and PPC efforts on these keywords? The reason is that by breaking into a top spot for a great keyword offsets a virtuous cycle on Amazon: Amazon is optimizing its search results for products that sell well. Clearly consumers like these products and by doing so Amazon also maximizes its own revenue. So by using your PPC ads to accelerate the sale velocity of a product listing for a particular keyword, your organic ranking for this keyword will improve as well.
  • High Search Volume AND Low Commercial Intent: These are often category-type of keywords (think “hiking backpacks”). While search volume for these keywords is high, shoppers who search for these terms are likely still in the “navigational” phase of their shopping journey. If you can rank organically for these keywords that’s definitely highly beneficial, but despite their navigational characteristics these keywords are typically competitive. In most cases bidding on them with your PPC campaigns is something you want to avoid as low conversion rates will often result in poor ACoS. Things are different if you are a very well established brand in your specific niche and many shoppers likely know your brand and are in fact looking for it. 
  • High Search Volume AND High Commercial Intent: While these keywords are clearly commercially the most appealing ones, they will likely also be expensive in terms of cost-per-click. A high CPC may in the end still mean that you can not run profitable ads targeting these keywords. So running effective campaigns and fine-tuning your bids is critical to win. To help our clients scale PPC campaigns in this highly competitive territory is why we have developed our own proprietary Amazon bid management software. Its advanced algorithms automate bidding to ensure your bids are fully optimized according to your ACoS goals.

    Besides Amazon PPC, you should also try to target these keywords with Amazon SEO. Be realistic when making this decision. Do you have a realistic chance of breaking into the top 1-10 search results? Consider how your listing compares with competitors listings that currently take the top spots. Can you compare with them in terms of number of user reviews? Can you compete on price? Does your product alleviate major weaknesses of competing ASINs?

    In other words, is there a compelling reason for shoppers to purchase your item instead of the current top search result? If the answer to these questions is “yes”, then target these keywords via Amazon SEO, but if the answer is “no”, then settle for slightly less competitive keywords.

    Keep in mind that ranking in top positions is absolutely key in order to get clicks. The reason therefore is that on Amazon “the first three items displayed in search results account for 64 percent of clicks” (Source: Search Engine Journal).

How to Run Low ACoS Campaigns for Highly Competitive Keywords

How to Implement Amazon SEO and Amazon PPC Strategies

Understanding the distinct approaches and goals of keyword research for SEO and PPC on Amazon can help you develop a comprehensive strategy that enhances both organic visibility and targeted ad performance that ultimately drives more traffic and sales.

Amazon SEO Amazon PPC
Intent and Strategy Focuses on improving organic visibility for higher search volume keywords. Long-term ranking improvements will pay off. Focuses on immediate visibility and driving targeted traffic to highly converting keywords you can target at a commercially viable CPC. If necessary, work with an agency to reap the benefits of advanced bid optimization software.
Keyword Selection Prioritizes keywords that align unique differentiators of products.This will improve ranking over time and boost CTRs. Prioritizes keywords that have a high likelihood of generating clicks and conversions, even if their search volume is low.
Implementation Add important keywords to your product title, bullet point copy and the backend of the listing. Make sure to include synonyms and variations. Add the main target keyword to the title. Add target keywords to your ad campaigns. Consider that not including a keyword that you target via ads in your product title or bullet points may impact CTRs and conversion rates negatively.
Measurement and Optimization Success is measured by improvements in organic ranking, traffic growth, and ultimately more sales. Success is measured by ad performance metrics such as CTR, conversion rate, sales revenue and ACoS.

To Succeed on Amazon Utilize a Holistic Approach to Search Optimization

For a comprehensive Amazon marketing strategy, it’s crucial to balance keyword optimization for both SEO and PPC purposes. While in some cases both go hand in hand, Amazon SEO gives the option to optimize your listings for keywords that would be prohibitively expensive to target with PPC campaigns. Your Amazon PPC search ads on the other hand allow you to ensure maximum exposure for highly converting search terms.

By integrating well-researched keywords into your product listings and running targeted PPC campaigns, you can maximize your product’s visibility and sales potential by aligning your organic and paid search efforts. Start with thorough keyword research, use a combination of primary and long-tail keywords, and continuously optimize your listings. To gain a competitive edge chat with us to learn how our advanced bid optimization software can help you scale your Amazon business.

Related readings: Our tipps for Amazon retargeting ads and our guide on Amazon Ad creative best-practices.




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