Selling on Amazon: Start By Finding Words Customers Use

by Emmon Scott  |  January 15, 2017scrabble game, selling on amazon, finding words customers use

Summary: Successfully selling on Amazon means programming the words and phrases customers use into your product descriptions.

“Syllables govern the world.”
— John Selden

Recently I was watching the British TV show “Sherlock” in which the villain Moriarty danced to a catchy song I didn’t know. Later, I searched for the song online and typed in the lyrics I recalled hearing: “I want to be free.” The songs I found included a 1970s R&B tune by the Ohio Players, and several others. None were right — I had one word wrong.

If you’re selling on Amazon, you can’t afford to use the wrong words. You need to find the right ones — the words customers use to search for your type of products in the Amazon search bar.

Of course, getting your stuff to sell on Amazon involves other things. You need good products, reviews, and product pages. You need to promote things with a test-and-learn approach. But first, you must find the words customers use because if you miss this step, nothing else matters.

Why? Because few (if any) shoppers will see your pages and if they don’t see your pages, they won’t buy your stuff. It will be as if your pages don’t exist.

To Start Selling on Amazon…

Finding the right words takes elbow grease and some humility. Accept that the words your company, industry, and competitors commonly use may not be the ones customers type in the Amazon search bar. For example, if people search for “end table,” don’t call yours an “accent table.”

For our clients, we start with Google, looking for words (web marketers call them SEO keywords) related to a product that customers type most often in the Google search bar as well as words that competitors are ignoring. Find words like that — popular with customers and ignored by competitors — and you’ll be sitting pretty.

We then focus on the words Amazon customers use since most online shoppers in the U.S. actually go straight to Amazon (The number is now 55% and rising, according to Bloomberg Technology). What words are shoppers typing in the Amazon search bar for your products? Again, we look at the phrases searched most often and then which words competitors are overlooking.

Once you know these words, you can put them to work. Build your pages with them, put them in your copy and into the hidden keywords behind the page. Then use them in your promotions. If you’re using Amazon ads, your promotions are based on these words and phrases, often called “keywords” or “search terms.”

After you’ve completed this essential first step, you’re ready for the next one: build outstanding product pages. (More on that in later blog posts.)