Best Practices in Amazon Listing Optimization Translation and Localization

Jan 26, 2023



Many sellers who perform well on English-speaking Amazon marketplaces would do well to expand their listings to a European marketplace. Given that it’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket, diversification is a key component of your success. That involves localizing your Amazon Listing Optimization following the best practices of each region, something our translators at YLT are well-versed in. But where to localize to? The US market is, of course, the largest; it has contributed $315bn to the US GDP since 2010. After the US, Innovell shares the size of the top ranking marketplaces across the globe (as of 2021):

  1. USA
  2. Germany
  3. UK
  4. Japan
  5. India
  6. France
  7. Italy
  8. Canada
  9. Spain
  10. Australia | UAE | Mexico

It’s common knowledge that Germany’s potential is vast, so expanding to a German market is a great business decision. The third expansion you make could cover the commonwealth countries (UK, Australia, & Canada), although the back-end of each of these cultures will differ depending on colloquial expressions and other languages spoken. However, expanding to a Spanish-speaking audience is also wise. Spain-based and Mexico-based listings have slight differences (catch this video here for more information!), but the Spanish back-end keywords would serve you well in the 21 countries that speak Spanish – as of February 2021, 8% of the world’s population spoke Spanish. So, when considering localizing your Amazon business to another culture, Germany and Spain should be top of mind.

We asked our translators to contribute their expertise on the best practices in Amazon listing optimization. Take a look at their suggestions below.

Where to Find the Keywords for Your Amazon Listing Optimization

If you’re used to selling on Amazon.com, you’ll notice that keywords in other marketplaces are thin by comparison. The data may not be as robust as in the USA. Helium10 is a great tool for most of the marketplaces; yet, some niche products don’t get good results. Aside from Helium10, Google Adwords is another good source for data. AMZ Suggestion Expander is also a great resource. Make sure to use only the keywords that are most relevant for your product.

Long-tail keywords are best, but remember, German has compound words – several smaller words combined together to create an altogether new word. On Helium 10, most marketplaces would necessitate a minimum word count of 2, but not on Amazon.de. Because of those compound words, you’ll need to adjust the word count down to 1, or you’ll lose out on many healthy compound words that double as relevant keywords.

Optimal Bullet Length for Europe

Generally speaking, Europeans prefer a more serious tone compared to their American counterparts (check this video out for more on this!). As a result, many bullet points play around 250 characters. As one of our translators very accurately said, “Enough space to describe some important features in a context avoiding needless explanations.” Avoid flowery salesy language for European markets; they like making their minds up on their own.

Granted, keeping bullets to 250 characters can be challenging. Spanish tends to be “longer” than English; it can be flowery and expressive, making bullets longer than 250 characters. German is also complicated, thanks to compound keywords. Even Amazon recommends that all 5 bullets should be under 1,000 characters. Also, Europe is less strict in terms of style. You can definitely use all caps to emphasize your bullet headers, unlike in the US marketplace, where this is heavily discouraged.

The Flow of the Bullet Points

A good format for the bullet points would be:

  1. Benefits in the first two bullets
  2. Brand goals in the 3rd and 4th bullets
  3. Warranties and policies in the 5th bullet

Nevertheless, this format can change depending on the type of product.

It is crucial to organize the bullets properly. A huge mistake that’s often observed is misleading information. Crucial features and benefits are missing from the bullets but introduced in the A+, or features are repeated too many times across the 5 bullet points. Adept communication is key in an optimized Amazon product listing so you make it easy for customers to make a purchase decision.

Jungle Scout’s new guide for optimized Amazon product listings suggests:

  • Point out the main feature or benefit in the first part of the bullet
  • Follow through with a more detailed explanation
  • What’s the main differentiator of the product? How can it benefit the customer?
  • Address how the product will alleviate a customer’s problem or pain point
  • Facts such as quantity, sizing, colors, and materials must be included and easy to find
  • Copywriting should be compelling and persuasive
  • Show, don’t tell! Don’t just say that your product is superior; prove why it is through the copywriting

As far as keyword placement goes, “sooner better than later” is our rule of thumb in YLT. Place the best 2-4 keywords in the title, and the next best ones in the first 2 bullet points. It’s not wise to “keyword stuff” a listing. Too many keywords makes the copywriting sound completely unnatural. A good listing balances keywords and compelling copywriting.

It’s a bit of a puzzle! Yet, it’s a great feeling when you find that happy medium between good copy and robust keyword research.

Adapt Your Style of Writing to the Target Market

German and Spanish are different from English; they contain formal vs. informal ways of addressing the target market. As a rule of thumb, we ask our customers which they’d rather use – a more formal “Sie” or “usted,” or the casual “du” / “tu.” Also, it depends on the product at hand, and your customer base. If you’re selling luxury goods, it’s definitely a good idea to use a more formal voice, to elevate the experience. If you’re selling baseball hats or toys, you might want to avoid using speech that’s too formal! Amazon’s guide recommends that you “focus sales copy on the customer.” Specifically, “try to anticipate and focus on what your customer would want to know about a product, as opposed to what you want to say about the product.” That goes for how you speak to your customers, as well. How do your customers speak to each other? Are they formal, professional, and mature? Or spontaneous, youthful, and excitable? This should dictate whether you choose a formal or informal address.

The Bottom Line on the Best Practices for Amazon Product Listing Optimization and Localization

Amazon product listing optimization can be tricky – and product listing localization is trickier still, especially when you’re localizing to a culture whose language you don’t speak, and whose customs are unfamiliar to you. This is why it’s crucial to localize, not translate; the context and nuances of your writing spell the difference between a sale and being ignored by your target market.

To over-simplify the process, optimizing and localizing an Amazon product listing would involve:

  1. Careful analysis of the keyword database
  2. Search how the competitors format their listings and see what keywords they use
  3. Employ compelling and persuasive copywriting that uses the speech patterns, colloquialisms, and idioms of your target market

The rest should flow smoothly.

Optimizing to a new culture can be scary at first; there are many factors that will feel unfamiliar to you. This is why localization is key; it will adapt the copywriting to the new culture, using the keywords, research, cultural idiosyncrasies and idiomatic expressions, and more to help your product listing convert your new audience.

Good luck; spreading your products across several different marketplaces is a sound business decision!

This blog was written with the valuable assistance of the YLT Translations team