Amazon Search Engines – Why You Only Need One Copy of a Keyword

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Amazon Search - KeywordA lot of Amazon Sellers have questions about the Amazon Search Engines.  A lot of what we, as sellers, know is based on inferences gained from knowing how computers work and watching what happens inside Amazon.  We don’t REALLY know since we can’t see the code.

This is especially relevant right now since on February 2, 2016, Amazon released a change to the Sponsored Ad Amazon Search Routine that resulted in MANY seller seeing drastically different (almost always negative) changes is how often their Listing Pages were being displayed as ads.  With very few ads being shown (impressions), sales dropped drastically.

Regardless, this simplified explanation might help explain why duplicating words doesn’t help with the PPC Amazon Search Engine  or the Organic Amazon Search Engine. (Duplicates often Do Help when Humans read your listing).

Let’s dive in…

First Please Note:  The Organic Amazon Search Engine and the Sponsored Ads Amazon Search Systems are different

One thing that many sellers do not know is that it seems almost certain that the Organic Amazon Search System operates differently than the Sponsored Ad (Pay-per-click PPC) Amazon Search System.  One major example is that there is evidence that Bullet Points are mined for keywords by the Organic Search System and are ignored by the Sponsored Ad Amazon Search System.  When you  think about it this MUST be true.  The Sponsored Ad algorithms most include things like keyword bid, daily budget and Campaign Budget and the Organic Search Engine ignores these items.

Super Single Analogy of the Amazon Search Systems

Here is an analogy that may help some.  Think of Amazon as a teacher with 30 students (products) in a classroom.  The teacher has just graded a homework assignment and passed the graded copies back to the students. The overall scores given to each homework assignment involves a lot of different factors.  Then the teacher walks the students through these steps:

  1.  “Everyone please stand up.”
  2. “If you do not have the word ‘blue’ in the title of your paper, please sit down.”
  3. “If you do not have the word ‘slipper’ in the title of your paper, please sit down.”
  4. “Everyone still standing, please come to the front of the room and I’ll put you in a line based on the scores on your papers.”

It doesn’t really matter if you have “blue”, ten times in your title or just once.  It is a yes or no question and you either qualify or you don’t.

Slightly More Technical Overview of the Amazon Search Engines.

I wrote search algorithms years ago and this is a simplified version of what is probably happening and why you only need one copy of a word somewhere in the title or the back end search fields.

Step 1 – Amazon creates what programmers call “index files” These are VERY FAST to search. The PPC Amazon Search Engine creates its files by parseing through the title field and the back end search fields.ignoring punctuation and removing duplicates. It is possible that this is where they add the various suffixes to each word (pull becomes pulls and pulled and pulling and puller and….) It is my belief that the Organic Amazon Search Engine uses a different set of Index Files and include words they find in the bullet points. Amazon does NOT update these files in real time, sometimes it takes hours before they replace the old version with new ones that contain the changes you made in one of your listings.

Simplified Representation of an Amazon Search Index File
Amazon Search

Step 2 – A customer searches for something like “best blue slipper”. Amazon parses the customer’s search term into separate words and finds all products that have word 1. Then Amazon finds all the products that have word 2, Then word 3 if there is one, etc. .

Step 3 – (And I’m only talking broad match here for simplicity), Every product that has all of the words the customer searched for is a match and is eligible to be shown.

Simplified Representation of an Amazon Search Index File With Counts Done
Amazon Search

Step 4 – Amazon applies other parameters. The most important seems to be relevance. Then they add other parameters like conversion rate, product BSR, category, recent sales, reviews, seller rating, bid, budget and more. After Amazon has a “score” for each product they rank order the products based on the scores.

Step 5 – Amazon uses the Organic Search Engine result to show the customers an abbreviated version of the Listing Pages with the highest scores on what is called a Search Results page.  The PPC Search Engine uses their search engine to decide which Ads to Display on the Search Results Page (and later under Listing Pages the Customer clicks on.).

Example Page Displayed by the Amazon Search Engines

Amason Search - Some Orgainic and Some Sponsored Ads


The items shown with Red Arrows were determined by the Organic Search Engine.  Those shown with Blue Arrows were determined by the Sponsored Ads Engine.

A Piece of Search Engine History

It wasn’t that many years ago that the software engineers at Google thought: “The more times a word shows up on a web page, the more they must be talking about the subject related to that keyword.”   SEO experts soon figured this out and pages with hundreds of copies of the same words written in a white font on a white background began to show up.  People could not see the words, but the Google Spiders that grabbed all the words on each page could.  It didn’t take Google long to figure out what was happening.  The days of “give more credit to pages with more copies of a word” are gone and won’t be back. 🙂

I hopes this helps.  There is more information about Amazon Keywords here.


Until Next time, you have a Great Day!  Oh Hale Yes!

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Dr. Hale is an Internet Entrepreneur and Network
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