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Amazon Search Term Character Limits: How To Optimize Your Search Terms

Learn about Amazon search term character limits and best practices to optimize your listings.
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Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software
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As a seller on Amazon, it’s understandable that you want your product to appear high in the search results. However, for you to achieve such a goal, you need to master Amazon search term optimization. The Amazon algorithm isn’t the same as it used to be, and the competition continues to grow. And in 2020, Amazon decided to implement an Amazon search terms character limit of 249 bytes (excluding spaces and punctuation).

That’s why, to keep ahead of competitors, you need to ensure every search term character counts! What keywords should be used? Does the search term count punctuation?  

To assist with these questions and more, we have created this Amazon Search Term Character Limits Guide to help you understand everything there’s to know about Amazon search terms and how you can start creating product listings with the right keywords.

What Are Amazon Search Terms?

Everyone who uses Amazon has typed certain words when browsing the website. Keeping it simple, Amazon Search Terms can be defined as the keywords that customers type into the Amazon search bar when looking for a product. Words like, “running shoes for women” and “warm pants for winter” are examples of words that customers may use to search for items they want to buy.  

Amazon Search Terms are also known as Backend Keywords because they hide in the backend of the Amazon listing.

When a customer types in certain words, Amazon’s algorithm matches the customer with the seller’s keywords and then displays relevant products. As an Amazon Seller, it is crucial to add backend keywords because they can help your product rank higher in the search results.

Take note; there are certain limitations surrounding Amazon search terms. As a seller, it’s recommended to abide by the “1 line, 249 bytes” rule. You also don’t need to repeat keywords that are already present in the product title, product description, bullet points, etc.

Effectively using Amazon search terms means you are doing your best to make every character count and are therefore expanding your customer reach as a seller on Amazon.

Why Is There A Character Limit On Amazon Search Terms?

The primary reason for the current 249 bytes Amazon search term character limit is relevancy. If 5000 characters were indexed, the distinction between products would become more ambiguous, and shoppers would see less relevant results for their search.

So, in a sense, the current character limit was implemented to enhance the overall customer experience. And as a seller, you need to abide by Amazon’s rules. Knowing how to properly optimize the search terms for your listings can do wonders for your business.

What Does The Amazon Search Term Limitation Mean For Me?

The 249 character limitation merely means that your Amazon search terms and keywords are even more critical to get right. Since you have limited space, it’s essential to optimize that space with the best possible content so you can lead customers to your listing and get more eyes on your product to encourage higher sales numbers.

How Can I Optimize My Amazon Search Terms?

Optimizing your full 249 bytes of Amazon search term space is crucial to reaching your target customers. Selecting the wrong keywords can harm your listing’s ranking. Fortunately, the Helium 10 software suite can help you out here! Below, we’ve included some helpful tips to optimize your listing while still operating within Amazon’s search term character limit.

1. Establish your keyword/search term strategy

Remember, relevancy is the name of the game here, so choosing which Amazon keywords to target will be critical to your success. You’ll want to research the following:

  • Broad match search volume
  • Exact match search volume
  • The number of competing products
  • Which terms competitors are already using to target their customers in advertisements

Recommended Helium 10 tools for optimal results: Cerebro

2. Choose the best keywords possible

Selecting the best keywords can be arduous, but there is software available to make the whole process easier and more effective. In addition to your primary keywords, you should also search for the following:

  • Synonyms: Customers can find their products without knowing the exact search terms. For example, a customer searching for “sandals” might type in “flip-flops”.
  • Abbreviations: These Amazon search terms are so common that they often replace the original words. For example, someone who is looking to work on a project themselves is likely to type in “DIY” rather than “Do it yourself” in the search bar.

The correct usage of keywords is what will help your listing appear in the results when such search terms are used by customers.

Recommended Helium 10 tools for optimal results: MagnetAmazon Keyword Search Tool

3. Optimize your keywords

Run your Amazon search terms through an optimization process to weed out any undesirable keywords left over. This procedure can help ensure that your product listing is as discoverable as possible.

Recommended Helium 10 tools for optimal results: Frankenstein, Scribbles

4. Figure out which backend and frontend Amazon search terms are being indexed

The reason this issue is so important is that too many irrelevant keywords can cause your intended keywords not to rank at all. Any poor keywords must be deleted from your listing so any Amazon search penalties against your listing may also be removed.

Recommended Helium 10 tool for optimal results: Index Checker

What are Some Common Mistakes I Should Avoid?    

Amazon has certain conditions you will need to follow when optimizing search terms. Breaking the rules can lead to penalties. To help you out, we have created a list of common mistakes you should avoid:

  • Punctuation: Amazon doesn’t take punctuations such as semi-colons (;), colons (:), commas (,), hyphens (-), and periods (.) into consideration. So, there’s no need for you to use them. For example, instead of writing cream for winter, you can type cream winter.
  • Repetition: Some sellers will double up on search terms hoping to one-up competition, but Amazon suggests you don’t repeat words either in the search term field or words that are already in other fields such as the title or brand name.
  • ASINs: Although it is tempting to throw the ASIN into the mix to improve searchability, Amazon does not recommend that you include it.
  • Stop Words: When plugging in your search terms, Amazon suggests that there is “no need for stop words, such as ‘a,’ ‘an,’ ‘and,’ ‘by,’ ‘for,’ ‘of,’ ‘the,’ ‘with,’ and so on.”
  • Subjective Statements: Do not use subjective terms. Examples of subjective statements would be “best,” “amazing,” “cheapest,” etc.
  • Blatant Promotional Tone: Do not have a promotional tone in your words. Examples of words with a blatant promotional tone would be “discount,” “limited time,” “newly launched,” etc.

Amazon Search Term Character Limits: FAQs

Now that you have learned the basics of Amazon search term character limits and how to use them to optimize your listing, we have created a useful Frequently Asked Questions section to address some remaining questions you might have.

How many characters are allowed in Amazon search terms?

Amazon search terms for products have a character limit of 249 bytes. When adding your keywords, you will need to add spaces between the words. It’s also recommended that you don’t use stop words including ‘a,’ ‘because,’ ‘are,’ ‘as,’ ‘be,’ etc., to use the character limit as effectively as possible.

Take note; the keyword limit is 50 characters for books and ebooks. You will be provided with 7 keyword fields when making a book available for purchase. Again, it’s recommended that you avoid using stop or filler words.

Does Amazon count spaces as characters? 

No. Even though you only have a 249 bytes character limit, Amazon doesn’t count spaces as characters. It also doesn’t count punctuation as characters. However, stop words, such as – a, because, for, by – etc. are considered characters, and are included in the character count. That’s why it’s recommended that you don’t use stop or filler words when preparing an Amazon listing.

Are Amazon search terms case-sensitive?

No, Amazon search terms are not case-sensitive. So, there’s no need for you to worry about using lower or upper case letters when creating a listing.

Final Notes

Effectively optimizing the 249-bytes limit for Amazon search terms isn’t easy as it sounds, especially for newcomers. The wrong keywords could prevent your products from reaching your target customers on the results page. And that’s why the Helium 10 software suite was created. Helium 10 offers a variety of software to properly optimize Amazon listings to assist with higher rankings and better sale numbers.

Do you have your own experience in trying to optimize your Amazon search terms to improve your product’s discoverability? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software Suite will allow you to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors as it was designed and battle-tested by Amazon's top sellers. So if you want more sales, more time, lower PPC costs, and if you want to discover hidden keywords your competitors don’t use then start using Helium 10 -- the same tools top Amazon sellers use on a daily basis.

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