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Amazon FBA Case Study: Spy On Your Competition & Steal Their Best Keywords

In our last episode, we dove deep into the gritty details of shipping and logistics and we now have product on its way to us from China.

(If you missed it, click HERE)

In this episode as well as the next, we’ll be doing a deep dive into keyword research and listing optimization. We’ll be going over:

  • How to find the keywords that give the best chance at sales
  • How to analyze competitors to find out what’s working and not working for them
  • How to leverage reviews to get into the minds of buyers
  • How to get a head start on PPC with overlooked keywords

The Method

The concept is “keywords.” If you actually sell a product on Amazon, you are selling a keyword. It doesn’t matter how awesome your product is, if no one searches for keywords on Amazon and ends up finding your product, it won’t sell.

Our method then, is to take a keyword-centric approach to product selection and then double down on that for listing optimization.

A quick note…what does “optimization”l even mean?

When someone finds their way to your listing on Amazon, this is known as “traffic.” When that traffic purchases, this is called a “conversion.” In Amazon language (in seller central) these two metrics are referred to as “sessions” and “unit session percentage.”

Optimization is the act of finding the right combination of search engine friendly keywords, sales copy, imagery, and everything else that lends to the customer experience to maximize their chances of buying.

The How…

First, we must define the two types of keywords we’ll be discussing in this episode and why they matter.

  • Long-tail keywords 
  • Short-tail keywords 
Amazon keywords

If we look at this illustration and have a product in mind (any product you might find on Amazon) then we can illustrate the meaning and importance of these keyword concepts. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s use the common product “garlic press.”

The exact keyword is “garlic press.”

The “long-tail” section at the bottom of the illustration represents all of the keywords that represent the SAME device, but are less common. For example:

  • Garlic crusher
  • Garlic mincer
  • Press for garlic
  • Silicone handled garlic press

As you can see, each of those are less common terms (as in, not as searched as “garlic press”) but they may represent the exact same garlic device.

Exact keywords vs long-tail keywords

The exact keyword gets the most search volume. The long-tail, more specific keywords get less search volume. The illustration above shows the relationship between the exact keyword and the long-tail keywords. 

Remember, they all represent the same product. That means that multiple long-tail keyword search volume can add up and have a similar impact to the exact keyword with the most search volume.

What does that mean?

It means one keyword with 10,000 searches a month is essentially “worth” the same as ten keywords with 1,000 searches a month.

Why is that good to know?

amazon keyword ranking

The more highly searched exact keyword is also the one with the most competition (other sellers attempting to be visible for the same keyword).

The long-tail keywords usually have far less competition on Amazon.

The logic here is, you could potentially get as much sales volume from being highly visible on multiple long-tail keywords as you would from being highly visible for an exact keyword. However, ranking for long-tails should be easier, require less time, and less marketing.

amazon PPC cost for keywords

Along the same lines of thinking, focusing on long-tail keywords helps lower PPC costs as well, since long-tail keywords cost less per click than those high volume exact keywords.

This does not mean you should ignore exact keywords. Those are obviously very important. This simply illustrates why both are important and the functions they might have in your listing.

amazon keywords list

*Bradley’s Pro Tip

Think like a buyer.

When a buyer discovers they have a need, they have an image of whatever that need is in their mind. Your job as an Amazon seller is to accurately help depict your product to fit their mental image (if what you sell is what they need).

This is achieved with much more than just imagery. Your keywords are the customer’s gateway to finding that need.

Buyers translate their images into keywords. Amazon translates those keywords into search results. THAT is the name of this game.

A note on relevancy…

It is important for your listing and keywords to be relevant to Amazon (as in, the platform recognizes that your products fit the keywords you’ve chosen). This is because if your listing isn’t relevant you could lose rank or even have keywords de-indexed or even get your listing de-listed.


It is equally important to be relevant to the buyer. In most cases, you’ll achieve both with the same strategy. Just keep these two different goals in mind so you don’t focus more on one than the other.

Our Results

Today we’ll focus on the wooden egg tray product.

The first step in optimization is to identify keywords that maximize the chances of a sale. To do that, we should have an idea of the competitive landscape. So we need to run a search on Amazon for the key term “wooden egg tray.”

amazon products

The next step is to take the best sellers (however few there are depending on how ahead of the trend you find yourself) and analyze them in Helium 10’s Cerebro.

We’ll filter to see what these competitors are specifically ranking for on page one. We’ll also filter to only show the keywords they are ranking page one for that have at least 100 searches per month.

amazon keyword ranking

This reveals to us a number of keywords that are likely making these competitors actual sales. We can then grab a handful of these, whose search volume is low, and attempt to index and rank for them, stacking up on those long-tail keywords.

Another thing this reveals is keywords we may not have thought of, that maybe only one competitor is ranking for but that ultimately has no competition hardly at all.

Just be sure to look at the search page for the keywords you identify to make sure they are relevant.

The next strategy is to identify other direct competitors based on having the same customer.

For this, we run an Amazon search for the more generic term “egg tray” and then used Helium 10’s Xray to look at price points to see what products customers were spending close to the same amount of money to buy to store their eggs.

helium 10 xray - amazon product research

Here we identify a competitor selling a double-decker covered plastic egg tray. This is definitely NOT the same product as we will be selling. However, this is a $23.99 product.

We will be selling our wooden egg tray for around $25. That means, customers of this plastic egg tray are spending close to $25 to store their eggs. This means we will likely have the same customers.

We’ll want to run this competitor’s ASIN in Cerebro as well (and repeat the above process).

So that we have a few more ASINs to add, we also run a search for “egg tray” in Helium 10’s Magnet, which is a tool that finds additional keywords related to a keyword search.

helium 10 magnet

Here, we look at the search page for some of the new keywords we find in Magnet.

Then, we find similar products (products specifically for egg storage) that are selling close to our price point (or much higher) and add their ASINs to our next Cerebro search.

The idea here is, to identify products whose buyers are the same as ours.

After these exercises, we have quite a few keywords to work with. However, it is important to keep in mind the most important aspect of a listing, with regard to keywords, is the title.

We’ll have plenty of places throughout the listing to add many of these keywords, but the title needs to be the most impactful. For title keywords, we are looking for moderate to high search volume terms (at least 1000 a month).

helium 10 cerebro

From here it’s important to choose the best “title-worthy” keywords that are also highly relevant. We don’t want to be too generic. In this way, crafting a title can be as much art as it is science.

We’ll add our top keyword choices directly to Helium 10’s Frankenstein.

A quick note on keyword phrase relevance…

If you have all the components of a keyword phrase somewhere in your listing, you will likely still index for that phrase. For example, if we put “egg” in our title, and then “tray” in our bullet points and “wood” in our description, our listing will still index for the phrase “egg tray wood.”

But, the listing won’t be as relevant to Amazon for that phrase as it would be if we included the entire phrase intact.

So, for this reason, it is important to keep key phrases intact within the listing.

To continue identifying important keywords, we next turn to our PPC search term report. We run the report on our previous PPC test campaigns.

amazon PPC campaign

Here, we’ll identify more relevant keywords directly from Amazon. These keywords have gotten impressions, and possibly clicks and sales as well. The information in this report reveals key phrases that are driving customer activity.

Ultimately the goal is to continue to identify keywords using Helium 10’s Magnet and Cerebro, playing around with different filters and search parameters, and gather a large list of keywords so there is plenty of information to build the listing from.

After we gather our keyword list, now we need to gather context. The best way to do this is to dive into the mind of customers. So the last step (before creating the actual listing) is to find a similar product with a lot of reviews.

Run Helium 10’s Review Downloader and extract all of the reviews.

helium 10 review downloader

Next, click the analysis tab. This reveals all of the commonly used phrases in reviews so we can see exactly why customers are using these products. This allows us to get into the mind of customers and discover what they are thinking when using these items.

amazon customer reviews

This should give us all the info we need to craft a great listing that includes important keywords as well as true customer sentiments.

In the next episode, we’ll go over how to put all of this together and create that listing.

Until then, let us know, have you ever bought an egg holder?

Anthony Lee was the training and content manager for Helium 10. An author, consultant and worldwide presenter, Anthony has earned a reputation for rigorous study and data analysis, and how to use that to scale your business in the Amazon seller space.

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