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Episode 82 – Amazon Listing Optimization 101 from Helium 10’s Bradley Sutton

Episode 82 of the Serious Sellers Podcast features a mini-workshop from Bradley Sutton on Amazon listing optimization and using Helium 10’s tools.
Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software
28 minutes read

OK, you’re out of town and you’d like to find a nice place for dinner.

How many of you first take a moment to check the reviews to see what people are saying about the restaurants that you are considering?

Though you can already see that their relative star rating, knowing the specifics of what customers are really saying allows you to truly make an informed decision.  

There’s no better way to get in the mind of actual consumers than to read what they are actually saying about a product they’ve probably just purchased. 

As an Amazon seller, you understand how important it is to market a product that buyers are actually looking for. 

If you’ve been selling for a while, you’ve probably gotten to the point where your relationship with your products might even be lacking in emotion.  

It’s just business. 

What you want instead, is to sell something that is LOVED by your customers.  

That’s how you end up making big money on Amazon. 

Today’s episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast features Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton with another mini-workshop and this one zeros-in on keywords and Amazon listing optimization. 

OK, you’ve chosen a product to sell.  

That’s step one.

Afterwards, keywords are king.  

According to Bradley, the first thing that you’ve got to do is identify your 5 best-selling, closest competitors.

That’s where selling on Amazon starts to involve detective work and rewards the ability to determine who your competitors truly are. 

As Bradley says on the podcast, just because a toy red accordion for children shows up on the same first page as the professional quality accordion you’re trying to sell, it doesn’t mean they’re going to share the same keywords.  

That’s one of the things that makes selling on Amazon so satisfying.  

You can’t just put it in “drive” and enjoy the ride.  

To really have success, you need to have your hands on the wheel. 

Once you’ve found those 5 products, you have the opportunity to put Helium 10’s tools to work.  

At this point you’ll run a reverse ASIN search with Cerebro.  

That’ll probably give you tens of thousands of keywords.

So, the next step is to employ the available filters allowing you to winnow the number down to 30-50 keywords with 10-15 of them in phrase form. 

Now you can get down to the real work of optimizing your listing.  

The next step is where this little story began.  

What do your prospective buyers love aboutverysimilar products? 

What are their complaints?

What’s keeping the product from being absolutely perfect?

Use Helium 10’s Review Downloader to filter and sort for the top mentions in the reviews, both positive and negative.  

After using that valuable information to adjust your message, you’ll move on to making sure that your images and copy exactly reflect the market’s demand, and finish by making sure that everything from the images to the backend are in tip-top shape.  

But I’m going to let Bradley tell you all about that.

Listen in today and find out more. 

In episode 82 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley discusses:

  • 01:15 – Find the Long Version of this Workshop @
  • 01:45 – 1st Step: Identify Those Converting Keywords
  • 02:33 – An Accordion, But Not the Right Accordion
  • 05:10 – Now, Helium 10’s Cerebro Goes to Work  
  • 07:15 – Get in Your Buyer’s Minds with Helium 10’s Review Downloader
  • 10:00 – Keeping Your Marketing Relevant
  • 12:30 – Split-Testing Images is Key
  • 14:55 – Putting it All Together  
  • 18:00 – Don’t Forget the Backend
  • 22:22 – Making Sure of Your Efforts with Keyword Tracker
  • 23:33 – Know Your Customer Avatar and List for Them

Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
  • Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
  • Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.


Bradley Sutton: Today we go in-depth on the four main steps to optimize your new or existing Amazon listing so that you can crush your competition.

Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10 I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS, free, unscripted, and unrehearsed conversation about serious strategies or serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. In today’s episode, this is going to be kind of like a mini-workshop about optimizing your Amazon listings, right? You could have the perfect product, you could have done the best keyword research and found amazing keywords that you want to use or your product, but if you do not have an optimized listing, all of those things are kind of for not all right. This is the third in the series. Make sure to go back to if you want to go back and see those other two mini-workshops that we did on other episodes of the pod podcasts that were about product research and keyword research. In addition, this is kind of like a shortened version of a two-hour one that I did, a workshop that I did on the Helium 10 website. You can actually see this at – There was a little bit more in-depth. Now what we’re going to be doing today is we’re going to do a really brief review about making sure that you have the right keywords and then we’re going to show you how you can optimize your listing. All right, so let’s go ahead and get started. Now the first step and optimizing your listing is finding the keywords that can convert. Now what we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be going on the premise that we already had this existing product, the hemp cream product, right? This is an actual product. It’s one of my friend’s brands that he allows me to kind of do a test on.  

Bradley Sutton: We’re going to be operating under the premise that we’ve got this listing and we kind of want to re-optimize it to make sure that we’re using the best keywords and that it’s ready, you know, to increase our sales. This same strategy though works if you do not have an existing listing and you are brand new on Amazon, or you have a brand new product and you’ve done your keyword research, you’ve done your product research, and now you want to get your listing together, it goes both ways. All right, so we’re going to use this in motion hemp pancreas as our product. Now, the first thing you have to do, and if you guys, some of you guys might already have this step done if you’re at this step is to identify the five bestselling closest competitors. Now, why is this important? Again, we go more into detail in our workshop on keyword research, but one of the examples I use is let’s say you type in accordion, right? In Amazon. Hey, now you guys can do this if you’re watching this or listening to this at home, don’t this? If you’re driving your car or something or riding your bicycle, I don’t want you guys killing yourselves, but type in according to into your desktop browser or on your phone or whatever, right? Well, if you do that, you’ll see two distinct kinds of accordions. You’re going to have these $400 $500 professional accordions, and you’re going to have these 20 $30 kids accordions. Now, here’s the thing. Let’s say accordion is the make your, let’s say you’ve got one of those $500 accordions, right? That’s your product. Now, accordion is your main keyword just because other products are on the same page as your keyword that does not make them your competitors and it’s so important that you guys have to understand that you know that $25 a kid’s accordion is not your competitor.

Bradley Sutton: They are not competing with you for sales. Why? Because somebody who is searching for an accordion that a professional would never in a million years buy that kid’s accordion, so it doesn’t matter if that’s page one, position one in your page one, position two. It’s almost as if page one position one doesn’t even register on their mind because they’re not even looking at a kid’s accordion. Okay. It’s important that you find your five closest competitors that are selling the best and what signifies your closest competitors? They’ve got to look like your product, feel like your product be priced similar. In other words, if all things were equal, a customer, typical customer has the option to buy either your product or that competition, there’s an equal chance that they would get yours as that competitor. Right. Going back to that accordion example, there is not an equal chance that somebody who would buy a kid’s accordion is going to buy your accordion, right?

Bradley Sutton: There’s probably a 95% chance, no 99% chance, no. Someone who’s looking for a kid’s accordion would never buy a $500 recording. Hope that makes sense. All right, so in this case, you know, I did some research on the hemp cream and I found a whole list of competitors that were priced similar. Two, this, my friends in motion, hemp cream and have similar functionality. I just picked five of the top sellers, right? And what I did was I ran a Cerebro. Cerebro is a reverse ease-in tool by helium 10 it allows me to just put in those ACEs or those products and it’s going to spit out to me a whole bunch of keywords, thousands of keywords that are related to those products. You know, the first thing I do is enter the in-motion product, which is my friend’s product, and then I answer four or five competitors and it’s going to give me all of the keywords that are related to those products. What you had to do at this point is you’ve got to find the top keywords or your competitors, what is probably bringing there a lot of their sales. What I would do in Cerebro is I’ll run a filter because 13,000 keywords came up, all right? That’s, that’s too much keywords. All right, I want to know what’s like the top 10 15 keywords. I do a filter where I say, Hey, out of all these 13,000 keywords, what are the keywords that at least four out of these five competitors, you know these really high ranking competitors, they’re all ranking for in the top 30 25 30 positions, meaning that they’re all on page one so this kind of like tells you this is super relevant. To your product. If your top competitors are all on page one and there’s search volume of at least 700 that’s just what I picked for this.

Bradley Sutton: It’s different for different categories and that actually came up with like 39 keywords. All right, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to take the top phrases. All right, I’m going to take these top phrases and I’m going to make sure I have some as many of these as possible in phrase form or my listing. Then after that I expand the search out, I expand those filters and I just grab whatever other keywords I want to make sure I have in my listing. There’s always a set of 10 or 15 that I want to get in phrased form and then the rest I just get all the phrases, but I know I only want to extract the individual words. Now we’re going to put that to aside for now. That was my keyword research. Again, I have a full 30 minute episode just on keyword research.

Bradley Sutton: You guys could dig deeper into there. We’re talking about listing today. Now the next step is I want to get in my buyer’s minds by studying the reviews of my competitors. What I would do is I would see some of those top competitors that have a lot of reviews. Like here’s one I found that had 3000 reviews and I’m running the Helium 10 Chrome extension review downloader. And then what I can do is I can actually filter and sort the top mentioned phrases in the reviews, right? I just do a couple of clicks and it comes up where I can see what are the top things that people are mentioning in the reviews of this very similar competitor. And then I can see here, you know the very first one is pain relief. All right, that makes sense. But then this one is back pain.

Bradley Sutton: The important thing of this step is it allows me to find what common uses there are, what common complaints there are, what common likes there are. If I see that the number two thing that was mentioned in this whole entire reviews of this competitor was back pain, actually 134 out of the 3000 reviews mention that. What that tells me is that a lot of people who are buying this product, are you using this for back pain? Now that’s significant because this, these hemp creams can go for anything. They can go for joint pain, arthritis, pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, whatever pain they have, right? But the number one thing that people are using it for seems to be back pain. And I got that from this Chrome extension. That is something that I want to kind of put in the back of my mind because I want to make sure to highlight that.

Bradley Sutton: You know, another thing I noticed a scrolling down here that there is one phrase here that had very low reviews overall that means that every time that this phrase came up in a review or most of the time there was a low, a bad kind of review rating. All right? And that was very small. I’m looking here and I dig into these reviews where it said very small. And what happens is that people are complaining that uh, the jar or their package is smaller than it looks in the picture. They don’t, feel like they got their money’s worth. There’s another thing that maybe I could use, like if my product was bigger, right? Or had more bang for the buck, that’s definitely something I’m going to want to put into my reviews because now, or not my reviews, but my actual listing is because I can highlight that, right?

Bradley Sutton: Because I could see that this is something that’s on the mind, that my concern I the customers of my competition, but maybe they bought my competitor’s product and then all of a sudden they see me and my bullet point talk about, Hey, this is not some little tiny packaged like our competitors. Boom. That’s instantly going to kind of resonate with them. The whole point of doing things like this and studying these reviews is trying to get, be able to get into the mind of my competition. Step three, all right, I need to make sure my marketing is relevant or in this case still relevant because this is an existing listing. Now, when I first took a look at my, my friend’s product, they had said their sales were way down from last year. Like last year there is selling like 50 60 units a day, and now a year later they’re selling like five, six units a day, and the very first thing I noticed, right when I just started digging into what the competition was doing is in the imagery or my friend’s product, they had these big things is, Hey, this is 300 milligrams of hemp, right?

Bradley Sutton: Now, what I did was I researched and all the top hemp creams now is using these ridiculous marketing tactics to say, Hey, their product has 15,000 milligrams of hemp or 6,000 milligrams of Hemp, 25,000 milligrams of hemp. But now those are actually BS, all right? It’s nonsense. I dug into it. Those guys are lying through their teeth. There’s no such thing as 25,000 grams of milligrams of hemp [inaudible] in one serving of their hemp cream. I mean, imagine if you had that much help, you’d be definitely pain-free because you’d be high as a kite. I don’t know how that works, but I’m just guessing. Right? But anyway, I did research into what were the top sellers like a year ago when they were selling 50 or 60 and everybody had like 100 200 300 milligrams of him, just like my friend’s product. I noticed now in the last year, there is a drastic shift in the marketing of the competition.

Bradley Sutton: They’re all doing this BS, you know, marketing that says they have thousands of milligrams of him and since my friend’s product in their title and in their image was kind of like highlighting that they had 300 milligrams. Well for most people who would see that, they would think that, Oh my goodness, this is an inferior product. It has like one 10th as much hemp as these other products. Right? That was the first thing that I noticed. I’m like, Hey, marketing has to change there, their title has to change. We’ve got to take out with the highlighting part that there are 300 milligrams of hemp. I mean we’re not going to lie about it like these other guys are doing, but we’re definitely not going to highlight that it only has 3000 another thing I did was I noticed that their images were kind of antiquated, like their imagery was kind of old school.

Bradley Sutton: Like it showed a picture of an Instagram pose and just seemed just like repetitive. The competition was doing some pretty interesting things as far as their images. One thing that I like to do is I like to split tests right? Even before, so like what you should do is you should split test your images, make sure that they’re really resonated with the customers. You could use a service like and you can actually query different Amazon sellers or I’m sorry, Amazon buyers and ask them, Hey, which image would you pick on? And a lot of times what you think is your best images, the majority of Amazon buyers don’t even like it. This service is like PickFU and gives you insight into the buyers so that you could, you could kind of make sure that the images that you are using are the best images.

Bradley Sutton: Now another thing that you would want to do is can you differentiate, right? Can you differentiate your product? When you’re optimizing your listing, you want to kind of keep the listing in line with the niche theme that’s out there, right? The niche theme is like what are the top sellers doing? Like, do they all have long titles? Do they all have a certain kind of angle for an image? That definitely works, right? Don’t rock the boat too much. You want to kind of stick with what’s working, but at the same time, you don’t want to a page full of just cookie-cutter stuff. You kind of want to stick out a little bit. Now, one thing I noticed of the top him creams out there. Is there all these kind of like twist-off jars where you stick your hand in and then you scoop out this cream.

Bradley Sutton: Then you apply it, right? But my friend’s product is this squeeze tube that you squeeze the tube and then it comes out onto your hand. I immediately was like, wait a minute, that is one way. Maybe they can differentiate. Let’s highlight the fact that they have a sanitary squeeze tube whereas the competitors’ products, you got to stick your hand in there. And what if like five, six people are all sharing and everybody’s germy hands are sticking in the same jar, double-dipping, right? But with my friend’s product, you never even touch it because you squeeze the tube right onto there. I was like, let’s highlight this as a title and let’s also send this information to a graphic designer and let’s really highlight that in a lifestyle image. But the difference between a squeeze tube and these others. Yep. [inaudible] and the graphic designer that I use actually made a great image that highlighted the difference between the competition and my friend’s product.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Then the last step is the rest of the listing optimization. That’s like, you got to put everything together, right. What do you put where the title is the most important part of elicit as far as the keywords go and the ranking and the relevancy and the visibility. Make sure that you guys have a really good title, right? It sends what the keywords that you have in your title kind of sends relevancy singles also to Amazon. If you have a phrase in your title and you’re trying to optimize for that phrase or do a launch based on that phrase later, that is going to be really important that you have that phrase and your title okay. Now, one thing here that you have to keep in mind is length of titles. No, keep it under 200 for sure. I rarely go over one 50 but keep in mind that some categories you’ve got to stick two 80 or less.

Bradley Sutton: Every category is different. Sometimes even in the same category, two different products could have two different requirements that you would have to, one might be sticky and under 81 might be sticking under one 50 or whatever. Right? Make sure you know what is the limit of the title that you are in and as far as your specific listing and make sure that you kind of go with what the niche theme is. Again, the niche steam is what’s working, what like what’s on page one or for your niche. And if everybody’s got like 50 character titles, well you probably should do 50 character titles too because you want, you know, that’s obviously what works. If everybody has 200 character titles while you’re not going to want to do a 50 character title because obviously that a typical customer is reacting well to those listings that have the longer titles.

Bradley Sutton: Keep in mind that Amazon truncates sometime the longer titles based on mobile and also desktop, like for example desktop. Usually, Amazon will cut it off after 140 to 150 characters on mobile. It’s actually truncated further. Like if you have longer than 100 characters, it’s actually cut off at about 80 to 85 characters. Kind of like make sure that where that at these cutoff places that if possible kind of have full titles or full words or full phrases I guess you could say so that it kind of makes sense because if it’s truncated at 80 and it’s like cut right in the middle of a word, you know it might look a little bit ugly in the search results. What about the bullet points and the description as well? These are also important to catch the buyer’s attention. Usually, the first one, two, three bullet points are what shows up.

Bradley Sutton: The actually shows up first on desktop, on mobile. It’s actually the first few lines of the description that shows up, so that’s where you put those emotional connection points in the bullet points. All right. Remember the, what we had found in the review downloader, you know the kind of common use of the product or things that were on the mind of the product or of the customers who buy our competitors’ products. You want to stick those in the first couple of bullet points and first few lines of description because these sometimes are the only thing that people are going to read and you want to really get their attention. Really make that emotional connection. The back end keywords are super important. They’re actually more important than the bullet point in the description and in the backend keywords. These are the search terms and in some categories subject matter, subject matter that you guys don’t have in the UK and Europe.

Bradley Sutton: Well we have that here in the U S and about half of the categories. These here you want to put in your keywords that are the most important. You could actually repeat them. Repeat keywords that were from other fields in your listing. This is actually something that even Amazon suggest to give kind of like rank juice as we call it, or you can also just stuff keywords back here. It’s never seen. Keyword stuffing is okay that just don’t fit in the front end of your listing such as you know, Spanish words or misspellings or just things that you just couldn’t fit in the front end. You’re listening. You’ll want to put these in the back end of your listing, including the subject matter. Now you’re going to use scribbles by helium 10 to kind of put everything together. Scribbles is our listing optimization tool. Well, you want to do is you want to differentiate between your phrases and your individual words.

Bradley Sutton: Remember I said in the very, very beginning of this episode, you want to have those most important keyword phrases separated. I’m going to put those as a phrase and just scribble so I can make sure I have that in phrase form in my listing. Then I’m going to go ahead and use Frankenstein, another helium 10 tool to kind of give me all the individual words, all of the individual words that made up the keyword phrases that were kind of secondary to me. They weren’t that important. I want to have it. I want to be index for them, but I don’t need them in phrase form. Well, I’m going to use Frankenstein to tell me where all those individual keywords are. So in this case, I’ve got 51 words and a whole bunch of phrases here in Scribbles that I did to remake that, that hemp cream listing, and again, I try to put my freight, my phrases and phrase form somewhere in my listing, the very most important ones I duplicate in the backend as well.

Bradley Sutton: And then I just try and without keyword stuffing, get as many of those other keywords in my listing as possible. Again, it has to make sense. You don’t want to keyword stuff. Amazon doesn’t like that. A buyer doesn’t like that. Now again, there’s more steps that are involved in the listing optimization part, so make sure to check out our H 10 listings workshop, workshop to really get even deeper into that part. Now it doesn’t end there. Let’s just say that you have all of your keywords. Thanks the scribbles in your listing. That’s not a guarantee that you’re actually going to be indexed for all of those keywords. What I suggest doing is, you know, you upload that to Amazon and then all of your important phrases you run in the helium 10 tool index checker index checker is checking if you are index, which basically means are you searchable or certain keyword.

Bradley Sutton: What you do is you enter your ASIN, you put all of those keyword phrases that you had done in your keyword research and then feeling them. Ted’s going to tell you are you index or not. If you’re not index for something that you think you should be, make, go back to Scribbles. Make sure you’ve got that raise in your listing and see, you know, see what’s going on there. The other thing is that you’ve got to do again those main keywords that you targeted and that you put in phrase for them and maybe that you’re going to use it in your launch. You want to see your path to page one, so you’re going to put those into Keyword Tracker by Helium 10 or whatever keyword tracker that you’re using, and then you want to kind of track your progress on where you’re showing up in the search results.

Bradley Sutton: It’s very important when you first start out, you’re probably not even on the top seven pages. But I’m sure you’re going to run like PPC or you’re going to do a launch. I’m actually in the middle of a launch using that’s an aisle, a launch service that helps you get ranked for keywords by Isabella. She was in a previous episode of the podcast and I was like, Hey, I’m going to try and rank this hemp cream for I F I think it was like hemp cream or pain relief and then another keyword I was targeting, but I’m paying money to Isabella or to rank bell to get that keyword ranking up by getting people to buy it if they search where a key word. If I’m paying money to rank bell or if I’m paying money to Amazon and PPC to try and get the keyword ranking up, well I want to know if my money’s doing something.

Bradley Sutton: I want to know if my money’s actually serving a purpose. Right? He word tracker is going to help me track like you know what I always say it’s like you started from the bottom. Now we’re here. I don’t know who sings that song, but I like that song anyways. You know like let’s say your rank 300 well I’m expecting to be ranked top 15 after this promotion. But if I don’t see an upward trend in where my rank is organically, well something must be wrong. The only way that you can do that is by using a keyword tracker. Otherwise you have to go every single day or every single hour and just organically like searching in the search results, you know, where your keyword rankings at. That’s another important thing. Guys I hope this was helpful for you. It’s very important again, to have a fully optimized listing.

Bradley Sutton: You want to do that from the images to your title, to your bullet points, to your description, to your backend keywords, to how you structure it compared to your competition, making sure you have the right keywords, making sure you’re a searchable. There are many different steps in this process, but at the end of the day, you have got to make sure that you are appealing to your target customer. And that is the reasoning behind or the mentality behind how you attack your listing optimization. Really make sure that you know your customer avatar, you’re a potential avatar, and then optimize your listing based on that, based on your competitors, based on your keyword, you know, based on what you know the trends are, et cetera. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode and found it helpful. And again, you guys want to check a, you know, more in depth listing optimization workshop. Make sure to check out H 10 [inaudible] dot com see you guys in the next episode. Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.

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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