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What Are Words Worth? The Power of Keywords.

Traffic. It’s about quality, not quantity.

What applies to your website applies to Amazon as well. It applies to any eCommerce hub. Traffic doesn’t just increase your visibility during a search query. Your traffic can determine the results of that search query.

In theory, keyword research is a simple enough process. Popularity of a term or phrase at any given time dictates the distribution of keywords, with terms falling into the top billion frequent searches accounting for an estimated 90 percent of all online traffic. But in practice, it can be driven as much by the inherent quirks in a search engine’s algorithm as it is by external popularity.

Amazon’s a great example. We’ve always emphasized that Amazon’s A9 algorithm behaves much like other search engines with the exception that paid and sponsored results are taken into consideration as ranking factors. But it’s not visibility alone that targeted campaigns on Amazon historically result in higher Click Through Rates (CTRs.) It’s also in Amazon’s best interest to promote those targeted campaigns. Control the algorithm and you can help control the ranking.

But not always. Amazon has always strived to maintain a reputation as a relatively neutral marketplace, rooted in objective customer demands. You can increase visibility on Amazon, but you can’t buy conversions. Especially if there’s no demand. That’s also true for any other search engine. What you can do is refine your campaign using best keyword practices.

Why Keywords Still Matter in 2020

Just how powerful are keywords? Let’s look at some basic statistics first:

Indexing content by words has been around with us… well, since Gutenberg introduced the printing press in the fifteenth century. Given digital inflation rates, that translates to right around the year 1993⁠—if you want to be precise about the history of search engines. But it’s 2020. And there’s probably a good chance many of you are repeating the same keyword research mistakes.

Keyword Planning Strategies: Best Practices For 2020

  • Stay topical. Your keyword search pool will be limited as much by relevancy as your time and budget. We’ve seen companies use entirely irrelevant tags during keyword audits and the result isn’t just a stagnant conversion rate. It results in an actual decrease in traffic. Irrelevant keyword results are a surefire way of telling customers you have no idea how to market a product. And if you don’t have the time to market your product, you probably won’t have the time to innovate.

  • Be precise in your keywords, not open ended. Only an estimated 8 percent of keyword searches are phrased in the form of a question. And rarely are those questions going to be product specific. You don’t necessarily want a higher volume of traffic. You want higher conversions. It’s 2020. There’s virtually no one who doesn’t understand basic search functions.

  • Use a mix of brand keywords and generic product keywords in your campaign. Brand specific queries tend to have a historically higher CTR than generic product searches. That’s great for Tesla or Apple. But you’re probably neither Tesla nor Apple. People will still be searching for you by name, however. They want to know your backstory. They want to see your reviews. And they want to scan your digital footprint prior to making a purchase. Use your brand name as a keyword, but use it sparingly and strategically. Use product specific keywords as your primary focus prior to branded keywords for more general results.

  • Context can be as valuable as content. Search engines in 2020 are growing more sophisticated by the minute, with AI functionality predicting intent and probability becoming increasingly standard. Natural language processing algorithms, such as the recently released BERT model from Google, are placing a much greater emphasis on the context of a keyword than ever before. Voice assisted searches are increasing in popularity, with over 71 percent of Americans indicating they prefer voice recognition over typing. Very rarely will the technical details of your product come up in everyday conversation. Consider both the context and relatability in which customers will be likely to search for your keyword as much as the specific term itself. You may wind up surprised at what you’ll uncover.

  • Refine your keyword pool constantly. And we mean constantly. Search terms are never stagnant. Last month's top ranking result could be buried next week; not because of a lack of sales or a lack of traffic but because of obsolete search terminology. If you’re not paying constant attention to analytic reports, you’re not just facing the potential for low-ranking keywords. You’re missing out on what really drives your customers. And as any successful business will tell you, there’s no innovation without motivation.


Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.

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