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Back-end Search Terms on Amazon

What are Back-end or Amazon Search Terms?

Amazon search terms are the words customers type in the search box in order to find products. These search terms are important because they determine what products will show in the search results. If you aren’t using back-end search terms in your product listings, you are likely missing out on customer search traffic. Back-end search terms are very important because they allow sellers to include keywords in their listings that are not suitable to be displayed publicly (like common misspellings or synonyms), as well as providing another spot to include relevant keywords that can help drive traffic to your listings. Optimizing your back-end search terms can greatly increase your listing’s chances of ranking organically high in search results. As such, it’s vital to spend some time ensuring that each listing has back-end search terms entered.

Search Term Limitations

In late August of 2017, Amazon officially announced the limitation of back-end search terms to 250 bytes total for all 5 lines of search terms combined. Each alphanumeric character (a-z, A-Z, 0-9) is equal to one byte, so that means you can enter up to 250 characters. Spaces and punctuation do not count towards the total character count, but words should still be spaced and there really is no need for punctuation, like commas, between words. Keywords that are over 250 characters will be ignored by the indexing system. 250 characters are equal to about 40 words, so keyword research is very important when choosing search terms. Amazon reports that this change was made in order to improve the quality of search results.

Optimizing your Amazon Search Terms

If you want to optimize your Amazon search terms, you’ll want to use keywords that are synonyms, hypernyms, or spelling variations of content that is visible in your product listing (like the title). For example, if your product title is ‘yogurt covered raisins’ then you’d want to include ‘yoghurt covered raisins’ as a search term since yogurt is commonly spelling as yoghurt. Using hypernyms are helpful to get your listing displayed in more searches. If you are selling ground ginger or some other specific spice, you’d want to include ‘spices’ in your search terms because it is a hypernym for your product.

You don’t want to include keywords that are not descriptive of your product. The amount of space you have is limited for each search term, and there are only 5 entries available for Amazon search terms, so you want to use them wisely. You also do not want to include brand names, including your own. Content that is already present in the title or bullet points of your listing also does not need to be duplicated in the search terms.

Keywords should not be repeated; once is enough. To avoid repeating keywords, use hyphenated keywords. For example, if you sell an anti-wrinkle face cream, you’d want to use the keyword “anti-wrinkle” as a search term because it covers “anti,” “wrinkle,” “anti-wrinkle,” “anti wrinkle,” “and antiwrinkle.” Singular and plural forms don’t need to both be listed as the system will automatically include both forms. This is also true for upper and lower-case letters.

Amazon suggests that you do not use subjective claims like ‘good quality’ because most customers do not use these terms when searching for products. They also recommend omitting statements that are only temporarily true like ‘new’ or ‘on sale.’

Get Creative

It’s best to split up your search terms as evenly as possible across the 5 search term boxes. Some sellers think they can get more bang for their buck by entering all 250 characters in the top search term box. Amazon puts equal weight on each of the 5 search term boxes. So if the total weight is 10 points, then each box is only worth 2 points, and each keyword within each box splits those points. This means that each keyword within in each box will account for 0.2 points. Therefore, cramming all of your keywords into the first search term box does not benefit you and you are wasting most of the opportunity that the search term boxes represent.

Updating your Search Terms

To add or edit each product listing’s Amazon search terms, go to the ‘Edit Product Info’ screen. On that screen, ensure that ‘Advanced View is toggled to the on position. Select ‘Keywords’ from the menu. On the ‘Keywords’ menu, the first box is for ‘Search Terms.’ You can click on ‘Add More’ to display up to five boxes. In each box, you can 250 characters or less for each search term.

Search Terms

Amazon Search Term Research

It’s important to do a little research often to see what keywords are indexed for your listings. This is a relatively easy task. Simply copy the ASIN of your product. Then go to the Amazon homepage and do a search for your ASIN with whatever keyword you want to check following it. If the search shows the keyword in orange in the top results bar under the navigation menu, then that means your listing has been indexed for that keyword, as shown below.

Search Terms - Search Results

If your listing is not indexed for a keyword that you’ve searched for, it will return no results, as shown below.


Search Terms - Word Tree

An easy, quick way to search for multiple keywords is to use WordTree, which is a free extension for Google Chrome. With this tool, you can easily enter an ASIN and multiple keywords to see which ones your listing is and is not indexed for.

Utilizing your back-end search terms, as well as other Amazon seller best practices, can help you grow your business faster. If you’d like more help diving into optimizing your Amazon search terms, our knowledgeable Product Specialists are here to help. You can reach them by emailing

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