Backend Keywords for Your Listing: the Ultimate Guide to Amazon SEO

May 9, 2024



Any Amazon seller understands the importance of finding the right keywords – but how many understand the importance of backend keywords in Amazon SEO? So many sellers choose to prioritize frontend keywords, and totally ignore hidden keywords, which is a huge waste of the real estate you’re given. Other sellers don’t know how to find the right backend keywords, underestimating their importance in ranking and indexing.

This week, we’ll go over updates to Amazon backend search terms, how to find the best ones, and the impact they have on your product listing. We’ll also talk about why backend keywords are important for global expansion, and what you can do to optimize the backend of your listing to attract target customers in the cultures you sell in.

Read on – let’s boost your visibility and stay ahead in Amazon’s ever-evolving landscape.

Understanding Amazon Backend Keywords

So, what exactly are backend keywords? Let’s put things into perspective first. When you conduct Amazon keyword research, search volume is important, sure, but relevant keywords are way more vital. That’s because relevant keywords drive conversions more, and are more aligned with how the A9 works. When customers key in a keyword in the Amazon search bar, the search engine will make sure to put relevant products matching that search in front of those customers. If you are selling a “biodegradable kitchen sponge,” and you prioritize a broad keyword like “kitchen sponge” – which has pretty high search volume – you’re competing with all the kitchen sponges out there. If you try to rank instead for “eco-friendly biodegradable kitchen sponge,” for example, you’ll be playing with fewer other products, and the likelihood of getting seen – and indexed! – is much higher. In other words, relevant keywords increase visibility among the most relevant audience.

Now, the next thing you’ll want to do is to stick the most important keywords in your front end. These are the popular keywords that customers use to describe products like yours. It’s crucial that your front end is customer-friendly: easy to read, with keywords that make sense, and grammatically sound, with no typographical errors.

So, given we now understand the front-end and the importance of relevance, we look at backend keywords on Amazon. These are search terms that you can use to optimize your product listings, without displaying these keywords directly on the product page itself. These keywords are important because they help Amazon categorize your product in front of interested customers, but you keep them out of the front end because of the user experience. These might be common misspellings, synonyms, abbreviations, alternate names, and even the same term in another language, like Spanish or French. Putting these backend keywords in the front end will detract from the customer experience, but they’re still important to the algorithm.

Why are backend keywords important? By effectively utilizing backend keywords, you can significantly increase the chances that your product will appear in search results for related queries. As a result, you drive more traffic and potential sales to your listing.

Recent Updates to Amazon Backend Keywords

So, now that we understand the importance of backend keywords to Amazon, let’s take a look at recent developments and their implications for sellers.

Increase in Character Limits for Backend Search Terms

Heretofore, you were only allowed 250 bytes for the search terms. That’s 250 bytes, not characters – so that includes spaces. In 2024, Amazon increased this to 500 bytes, giving you 2x more chances to optimize your backend keywords. So, you can now describe your products using a broader range of keywords behind the scenes, without affecting frontend visibility or cluttering product listings.

This new update is part of Amazon’s ongoing efforts to refine search algorithms and improve the accuracy of search results. By allowing more extensive backend keywords for your Amazon product listings, Amazon hopes to make it easier for customers to find products that match their search queries more accurately.

As a result, make sure you optimize your Amazon listing by using those 500 bytes to the best of your ability!

Implications of this Amazon Backend Keyword Increase for Sellers

Here’s what this means for you:

Increased Keyword Diversity

  • Broader Reach: Sellers can now include more synonyms, related terms, and even common misspellings, which helps to capture a wider audience.
  • Comprehensive Descriptions: With the ability to use more keywords, sellers can more accurately describe their products, including various features and uses that may not fit within the title or bullet points.

Enhanced Relevance

  • Improved Search Matching: More keywords mean greater chances of matching with a customer’s search terms. This relevance is crucial for appearing in search results where the intent of the searcher aligns closely with what is being offered.
  • Algorithm Optimization: As Amazon’s search algorithm (A9) prioritizes relevance in ranking products, having more targeted and varied keywords allows for better optimization and alignment with what customers are searching for.

Boosted Competitiveness

  • Level Playing Field: Smaller sellers or those new to the marketplace can use the extended limit to compete more effectively against established players by targeting niche markets or specific search queries.
  • Strategic Advantage: Sellers can strategize more effectively by using a combination of high-volume and long-tail keywords, thus optimizing their listings to attract both broad and niche customer segments.

Adaptability to Trends

  • Quick Updates: Sellers can quickly update backend keywords to adapt to emerging trends, seasonal demands, or changes in consumer behavior without needing to overhaul the visible listing content. So, don’t put “Christmas gift” in your title if your product isn’t just a Christmas gift. Stick Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and so forth in the back end.
  • Market Responsiveness: This adaptability helps sellers stay relevant and maintain visibility despite shifts in market dynamics or consumer preferences.

Localizing Backend Keywords for International Markets

Okay, now we get to the importance of Amazon keyword research – and how important it is to find Amazon backend keywords for international listings.

First of all, market-specific keyword strategies are crucial if you plan to make a splash in new markets. Consumers have different behaviors and ways of calling things, so search terms will also differ across regions. The good news is, many an Amazon keyword research tool now has geo-specific keyword generation. You can generate lists in German, Spanish, French, and so forth – and, yes, new keywords need to be generated for English-speaking markets, as well.

It also helps to look at what your competitors call their product. Jana tells this story in many of her guest appearances at conferences or in podcasts – one seller was selling baby diapers and doing quite well in the USA. She decided to expand to the UK, and copy-pasted her US keyword research in to her UK listing, thinking that both markets spoke English, so what’s the harm, right?

She ended up ranking for adult diapers. That’s because “diapers” in the US is synonymous to “nappies” in the UK – and “diapers” refers to the stuff your great grand uncle uses so he doesn’t interrupt his Pinochle game at the nursing home. So, yes, generating new keywords for your Amazon listing per culture is absolutely crucial.

Now, let’s say you’re expanding to Amazon Canada, and you’ve done your keyword research. You’ve put the relevant and high-ranking front-end keywords in your title and bullets, you’ve written your Alt-Text for your A+, and everything’s going well. Now, you’ll want to add backend keywords to your listing. You could go ahead and choose the often-repeated irrelevant words from your list of keywords, but don’t forget to put French synonyms as well. Canada being bilingual, and French being the predominant language in certain provinces, French keywords play a big role in improving conversions. However, don’t make the mistake of creating a “Frenglish” listing. If your front end is in English, stick the French keywords in the backend.

The same goes for German in Denmark, Spanish in Mexico, and so on.

Every time you employ YLT Translations to help you localize your listings for new markets, not only do we find seller keywords for your front end, we also point out the best backend keywords to maximize exposure. Thank goodness our translators are all native speakers, so they’ll know which terms to put in the backend – English, French, Spanish, German, and so on.

This exercise reaches a level of complexity with accents and umlauts, because some of these characters may add bytes or affect your ranking depending on how they’re spelled. That’s why using Amazon-trained teams to localize your listings is your key to expansion success.

How to Find and Choose Effective Backend Keywords

Now you know what backend keywords offer to your indexing potential, let’s go over the tools and resources you can use to find backend keywords to boost performance.

Tools and Resources for Identifying High-Performing Keywords

1. Amazon’s Advertising Search Term Report

  • Purpose: This report provides insights into the search terms that have led to views and sales of your advertised products. It is crucial for understanding which keywords are actually converting and leading to sales.
  • Usage: Access this report through your Amazon Seller Central dashboard under the advertising tab. Analyze the data to identify the keywords that not only attract clicks but also result in purchases.
  • Benefits: Helps refine your PPC campaigns by focusing on keywords that drive revenue, allowing you to optimize your advertising spend efficiently.

2. Brand Analytics’ Top Search Term Report

  • Purpose: Available to sellers registered in Amazon’s Brand Registry, this report gives a detailed overview of the most popular search terms on Amazon over a given period.
  • Usage: Find this tool in the Brand Dashboard of your Seller Central account. Use it to see ranking data for top search terms and the click-through rates for products that appear under these searches.
  • Benefits: Enables you align product offerings and keywords with the most current and popular search behaviors on Amazon.

3. Brand Analytics’ Search Query Performance Report

  • Purpose: This report dives deeper into how specific search queries perform in terms of page views, add-to-cart rates, and sales conversions.
  • Usage: Also available in the Brand Dashboard, this report helps you understand not just what customers are searching for, but also how these search terms translate into actual shopping behavior.
  • Benefits: Provides actionable insights into customer intent and purchase patterns, helping you to further refine their keyword strategies based on performance metrics.

Best Practices in Selection and Usage of Backend Keywords

Okay, now you’ve found your backend target keywords. What are the best practices when adding backend keywords to your Amazon listing?

Understanding Keyword Relevance

  • Match User Intent: Choose keywords that accurately reflect the product’s features and customer intent. This means understanding why and how potential customers would be searching for your product and aligning your keywords with these reasons.
  • Product Specificity: Utilize specific keywords that describe your product’s unique aspects rather than generic terms. This increases the likelihood of attracting more qualified traffic.

Balancing Keyword Types

  • Mix of Keywords: Include a balanced mix of high-volume keywords for broad reach and long-tail keywords for targeting specific customer segments. Long-tail keywords often have lower competition and higher conversion rates because they capture more precise customer intents.
  • Seasonal and Trending Keywords: Adjust your keyword strategy to include seasonal trends or emerging terms. Keeping your keywords up-to-date with market trends can help maintain visibility and relevance.

Optimization and Maintenance

  • Regular Reviews: Keyword effectiveness can change over time. Regularly review and update your keywords based on performance data and market changes.
  • Testing and Refinement: Employ A/B testing with your keywords to see what combinations work best for your listings in terms of visibility and conversion rates. Use the data from Amazon’s reports to continually refine your approach.

Compliance and Best Practices

  • Adhere to Amazon’s Guidelines: Follow Amazon’s rules for keyword usage to avoid penalties. This includes avoiding the use of irrelevant keywords, competitor brand names (unless they are common nouns that could ostensibly be used in regular sentences without triggering copyright infringements), or misleading terms.

Adding and Optimizing Backend Keywords in Your Amazon Listings

Now that you know, here’s a guide to help you in adding backend keywords on Amazon:

Step 1: Log into Seller Central

  • Access your Amazon Seller Central account with your login credentials. This is where all modifications to your listings will be managed.

Step 2: Navigate to Your Inventory

  • Go to the ‘Inventory’ tab on the top navigation bar and select ‘Manage Inventory.’ Here, you’ll see a list of all your products.

Step 3: Select the Product

  • Choose the product to which you want to add backend keywords. Click on the ‘Edit’ button, which is typically located on the right side of the product listing.

Step 4: Access the Keywords Tab

  • Within the editing interface, locate and select the ‘Keywords’ tab. This section is dedicated to inputting various types of keywords.

Step 5: Enter Your Backend Keywords

  • In the ‘Search Terms’ field, enter your chosen backend keywords. Remember, these are not visible to customers but are used by Amazon to index your product for search.

Step 6: Save Changes

  • After entering your keywords, make sure to save your changes. It is essential to review the keywords for any possible errors before finalizing.

Easy, right? To further add value to your Amazon search engine optimization, here are some tips to keep your backend keywords nice and optimized:

Prioritizing Relevant and Strategic Keywords

  • Focus on Relevance: Choose keywords that directly relate to your product’s features, uses, and the benefits it offers. Relevant keywords will attract the right customers and lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Strategic Thinking: Consider not only what your product is but also related needs and problems it solves. Use keywords that potential customers might use when seeking solutions that your product provides.

Regular Updates Based on Performance Analytics

  • Monitor Keyword Performance: Use tools like Amazon’s Brand Analytics and your advertising reports to track how different keywords perform. Look at metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates.
  • Iterate and Optimize: Based on your analytics, regularly update your backend keywords. Retire those that aren’t performing and experiment with new terms that might capture additional traffic or address emerging trends.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

  • Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Refrain from overloading your backend keywords with excessive, irrelevant terms. Not only does this practice not fool Amazon’s algorithms, but it can also lead to penalties.
  • Prevent Duplication: Do not repeat keywords that are already used in the visible sections of your listing (title, bullet points, description). Amazon’s search engine is sophisticated enough to consider all text on your product page, so duplications are unnecessary and waste valuable keyword space.
  • Use Comma-Free, Space-Separated List: Enter keywords in a list separated by spaces, not commas. Amazon ignores commas, and they take up valuable character space.

Just keep in mind that frontend and backend keywords all combine to enhance your Amazon SEO. The right mix will give that much-needed visibility on Amazon, wherever in the world you happen to be selling.

Monitoring and Updating Backend Keywords for Optimal Performance

Now that you’ve put in some nice juicy relevant backend keywords in your listing, you need to monitor the backend keywords in your product listing to make sure they’re indexing your product the right way.

Here’s how to check if backend keywords are indexed:

Step 1: Use the ASIN and Keyword Search Method

  • Find Your ASIN: Each product on Amazon has a unique identifier known as an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). Locate the ASIN for the product you want to check.
  • Combine ASIN and Keyword: In the Amazon search bar, type the ASIN followed by the backend keyword you want to verify. For example, if your ASIN is B012345678 and you want to check the keyword “organic dog food,” you would enter “B012345678 organic dog food.”

Step 2: Analyze the Search Results

  • Indexed Keyword: If your product appears in the search results after you have entered the ASIN and keyword combination, it means that the keyword is indexed. Your product is being recognized under that search term.
  • Not Indexed: If your product does not show up or if Amazon returns a message like “No results found,” then the keyword is not indexed, and you may need to reconsider its relevance or accuracy.

Step 3: Use Tools for Bulk Checking

  • For sellers with extensive catalogs or those who regularly need to check multiple keywords, using third-party tools like Helium 10, Jungle Scout, or SellerApp can streamline the process. These tools offer keyword tracker features that can check the indexing status of multiple keywords at once.

So, why is it important to keep your backend keywords updated? Backend keywords are equally important as your frontend, and lend a lot to visibility.

Adapt to Changing Search Trends

  • Consumer Behavior: Search trends can shift based on seasonal demands, new product developments, or changing consumer preferences. Regularly updating your keywords ensures that your listings remain relevant and visible to the right audience.
  • Keyword Evolution: New keywords may emerge as market trends evolve. Staying updated with these changes can help you capitalize on new search traffic and potential sales opportunities.

Improve Search Ranking and Visibility

  • Algorithm Updates: Amazon frequently updates its search algorithms. Keeping your keywords updated helps align your listings with the latest algorithm changes, optimizing your products’ search visibility and ranking.
  • Competitive Edge: Regular updates allow you to stay ahead of competitors who may not be as diligent in updating their keywords. This can give you an advantage in highly competitive categories.

Increase Conversion Rates

  • Targeted Traffic: By updating keywords based on analytics and performance data, you can more effectively target consumers who are most likely to purchase. This leads to higher conversion rates as your product matches more closely with customer search intent.
  • Feedback Loop: Regularly revising keywords based on customer reviews and feedback can also help improve product listings and customer satisfaction, which in turn can boost sales.

Respond to Market Feedback

  • Customer Insights: Regularly reviewing and updating keywords allows you to respond to insights gained from customer feedback and queries. Integrating these insights into your keyword strategy can enhance the relevance of your listings.
  • Product Updates and Launches: When launching new products or updating existing ones, keyword revisions are necessary to reflect the changes or new features accurately.


Now, wasn’t this interesting? It’s always great to find new ways to increase visibility and put yourself in front of your customers’ search queries. Given the algorithm changes as often as ice melts on a summer day in the tropics, it’s good to stay abreast of the best practices to help you stay ahead. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep getting new insights about Amazon SEO and how to succeed at global expansion.

So, the big question now is, are you using Amazon keywords the right way for your global expansion? Why not check out the YLT Translations free listing audit to see where you can improve and where you’re already winning? Then you can see which of these backend keywords best practices you need to implement to gain even more ground on Amazon.

Lots of luck – and happy selling!