Amazon customers primarily find products through search. If your product is not indexed for important keywords, you will miss out on potential sales.
Indexing on Amazon is completely different than indexing for Google.
This article will first make sure you have the basics on understanding indexing, then share best practices for getting indexed and checking keyword indexing for an Amazon product detail page.
What Is Indexing on Amazon?
With Amazon, all of the data is structured exactly how Amazon wants it to be. This means that indexing on Amazon is not about crawlability, but about making getting the data into the indexing sections of the product detail page.
The length of many of these fields is limited to a specific number of characters. This means the challenge of indexing on Amazon is to make sure that you are maximizing the most important words for potential customers to find your products.
Want to get found on Amazon, reduce your reliance on paid advertising, or take market share away from your competition?
Being indexed for relevant keywords is key to your success.
It is important to know that the algorithms for organic and advertising are different on Amazon. This also means that the algorithms for relevancy are different for paid versus organic.
If your listing is indexed for a keyword, it will show when a customer uses that search term in the Amazon search bar.
In other words, checking your keyword indexing allows you to verify which words your product will be shown as a result for a specific keyword.
As we start to learn about indexing, we first must clarify some common terms:
- Keyword: A word or phrase of words used to target potential traffic.
- Search Term: The exact word or phrase of words a customer enters into the Amazon search bar.
Learn the Amazon Indexing Basics
In general, the way customers find products on Amazon is through search.
Think of each search term a customer might use as a door to find your product. The more keywords you are indexed for, the more “doors” a customer has to find you.
Similarly, the more search terms, the more your product will be a result for customer inquiries.
When you are indexed for highly relevant keywords, it will positively impact the amount of traffic and market share you will get on Amazon.
When working on relevancy, you want to prioritize the most relevant words, not simply look at estimated search volume for that keyword or search term. Relevant customers bring in customers more likely to buy.
There is a direct correlation between being indexed for highly relevant purchase intent keywords and your revenue.
For example, let’s say you are selling a baking dish. If you are indexed for the keyword [baking dish], you will show up as a result when a customer enters [baking dish] into the Amazon search bar.
However, if you are only indexed for [baking dish] and not [casserole dish], your product will not show up as a result when a customer enters [casserole dish] into the Amazon search bar.
When a buyer is typing a word or phrase in Amazon for a product, they will get the results based on Amazon’s indexing.
Based on several factors, including past conversion history Amazon will determine which orders will rank at the top of the page.
If your product is not indexed with the right words, buyers will find a competitor’s products or will not find any products related to their search.
Without being indexed for as many highly relevant, purchase intent keywords as possible you will miss out on all the potential traffic through that keyword.
Building up the number of keywords you are indexed for increases the ways your customers find your products.
Opportunities for Indexing on Amazon
On Amazon, you have a limited number of characters or opportunities for keyword indexing.
Amazon limits the length of your titles, bullets, and back-end search terms. You need to focus on keywords that are highly relevant to your product and have search volume.
Amazon rewards conversions and sales, so indexing keywords that drive traffic and do not result in conversions will actually hurt your organic ranking.
Traffic that does not result in conversions will make your products less attractive to the organic search engine on Amazon.
Focusing on high search volume/low relevancy words in your advertising campaigns can also quickly lead to a decrease in ad effectiveness.
Keyword indexing on Amazon is not a process that you can set and then forget. You want to go back to your keywords and check them regularly for relevancy and conversions.
Some common reasons we might need to add additional keywords into a listing after it was originally optimized are:
- We became aware of new alternate uses for a product.
- We unexpectedly found a keyword performing better than expected in ads.
Even after you have created your listings, you want to go back in and check the words your listing is indexing for regularly.
The primary reason to check your keywords regularly is the potential for Amazon to deindex words you were previously indexed for on the website.
Amazon may change its algorithm or make changes to the sub-category structure data. Your data may be deleted when changes in categories or sub-categories occur on the website.
For example, if you sell paper straws, you might know you need to focus on indexing for [paper straw], [biodegradable straw], and [turtle friendly straw]. However, after talking with your customers, you might find that a large number of people are using your paper straws to make pinwheels.
You would then want to adjust your listing to add [pinwheel stick] and [wedding pinwheel supplies] to words you are indexed for on Amazon.
What Does Being Indexed on Amazon Mean?
With Amazon, you don’t have to worry about schema mark-up, crawl errors, or canonical issues.
Because Amazon asks for you to upload your data in a specific format, the focus shifts from technical SEO to maximizing the structured data you are giving to Amazon so that you can appear as a result for appropriate search terms.
A finite number of words are used for indexing on your listing. You want to make sure that you are using focused keywords to attract potential buyers.
Being indexed means that typing the keyword into the search bar on Amazon will bring up your product somewhere the search results for that query.
For example, if you index for fuzzy slippers, your product will be in the search results when a buyer looks for fuzzy slippers on Amazon.
You could be position 1 or position 257, but your product is a result for that search term.
You are either indexed for a keyword, or you are not indexed for a keyword. If you are indexed, then your product is in the results; however, if you are not indexed, then your product is not in the search results.
Indexing does not take into account where you appear in the search results.
This refers to where your product appears in the search results. Tracking for a keyword will help you determine where your product comes up in the keyword rankings on Amazon.
Your goal when looking at keyword ranking is to improve your ranking for the word or phrases that are relevant to your product.
How Do You Get Indexed on Amazon?
The primary method of getting indexed for a keyword is by including the keyword in a data structure. The data structures where you want to put your keyword include:
- Your title.
- The bullets.
- Back-end search terms.
- Remaining structured data.
Your title and bullets are where you want to put your most important keywords. Repeating keywords is not a ranking factor on Amazon, so only repeat keywords if it is needed for the customer.
The remaining structured data are fields like color, fabric type, etc. available in the additional sections of the product detail page.
You can edit with a flat-file or using the advanced mode in the product details in Seller Central.
There is a Search Terms field in the flat file. This is a great place to put keywords that didn’t fit in your title and bullets or is for an alternative use case that you may not want to highlight on your product detail page.
Amazon has said in the past that A+ (or Enhanced Brand Content) is not indexed. However, that could always change.
Uploading via Flat Files will allow you to quickly see all of your options for additional keywords like fabric type, genre, sizes, etc.
If you have an existing listing, you can also download the Category Listing Report and Amazon will send you the file for your listing.
Although the primary method of getting indexed relates to the data on your listing, anecdotally, we’ve seen that you can get indexed for words based on customer reviews, questions, and cross-product traffic.
Amazon has not confirmed that customer responses or cross-product traffic relates to keyword indexing. This occurs organically, and it needs to happen over time.
Subcategories impact your keyword relevancy by adding valid value to information or keywords in your structured data.
For example, a grocery subcategory template might have “Salt-Free” as a valid value, where an apparel sub-category template might have fabric type.
Ensuring you are in the correct subcategories allows you to be indexed for additional relevant keywords.
Although keywords are essential for advertising and ranking in search results, you must avoid keyword stuffing. Amazon is customer-obsessed, so you should be, too.
Attempts to bypass a customer focus will put you in a negative situation with Amazon. Do not keyword stuff your listings; focus on appealing to customers with relevant data instead.
Advanced Tip for Indexing with Parent/Child Variations
Parent-child variations also impact your indexing. A common misconception about a parent-child variation is that the child will naturally inherit the keywords of the parent product.
That is not always the case.
When you have a parent-child listing with the same product in different colors, you need to check each child product for relevant keywords.
Do not assume that a single child variation with proper indexing will automatically apply to all child variations on your listing.
For example, if you have socks in red, blue, and green and the red sock is indexing for [compression sock], that doesn’t necessarily mean that the blue and green sock will also be indexed for [compression sock].
Each flavor, color, size variation needs to be checked individually for relevant keywords.
Checking for Indexing on Your Amazon Listing
Once you have made changes to your Amazon listing, we recommend that you wait 24 hours before checking to see if you are indexed for the appropriate keywords. You can check keyword indexing for free manually with the following method:
- Open an Amazon page and make sure All Categories is selected.
- Type in the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) of the product and keyword you want to check.
- Hit Enter.
If the product is indexed for that keyword, it will show us as a result (see image above).
If the product is not indexed for that keyword, the product will not appear in the result.
Suppose you are looking to check indexing for many ASINs or keywords; we have found a paid tool that works well. KW Indexer is a Chrome extension allowing you to type in the keyword and check through the extension.
Watching for Changes in Indexing
There are now tools that can help you verify how your product is indexing for specific keywords.
Helium 10 has a tool called Index Checker that will allow you to upload a list of words and check to see if your listing is indexed for that specific set of words, for example.
You can also use any tool with a Reverse ASIN Search (where the tool looks and finds all of the keyword phrases a listing is indexing for). However, it is important to note that sometimes the data on these tools can be days or sometimes weeks old.
Watch for changes in your traffic or sales. When it comes to monitoring traffic and conversions, we recommend that you watch the Detailed Traffic and Sales Report by Child Product.
This report will show you pages, sessions, orders, and unit session percentages for each child ASIN. (Unit Session Percentage is where Amazon takes the number of orders and sessions you have for an ASIN to determine conversion rates.)
If the number of sessions changes significantly, it may suggest that your product was de-indexed for a primary keyword or an algorithm change that resulted in a different page ranking.
It may also relate to a merging of two separate sub-categories.
Ensuring that you are appropriately indexed is one of the most accessible solutions to make your product easy to find.
It helps increase your organic ranking and decreases your reliance on advertising or paid search for success when selling a product on Amazon.
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All screenshots taken by author, January 2019 and April 2021