One of the most common questions we get here at SixLeaf is, “how do you suggest choosing keywords to target in our promotions?”

It is a pressing question. When trying to determine what keywords to focus on for the purpose of ranking, it is a critical one too. I mean, we all want to know what keywords and phrases will lead to the most sales. That’s a natural inclination for any online seller.

The problem is, there’s no one right answer. To be honest, if I could predict with 100% accuracy what keywords would lead to how much in sales when a  listing reached page one, I’d be a multi-millionaire (and possibly not inclined to share my secrets….please forgive).

Fear not, ye e-commerce soldier. There are strategies that you can employ. I will share with you, both my own experience and that which we’ve seen work for countless clients.

It Starts with Research

I know this is a no-brainer, but it is important to go over how extensive your research should be. While obvious keywords will always jump out at you (if you sell exercise bands, you’ll likely realize “exercise bands” is an important keyword) there will be a rabbit hole of relevant and semi-relevant terms you could also chase.

So, I recommend using Google’s keyword planner as well as Merchantword (MW) (or equivalent software if they track Amazon volume). In many instances, these numbers will have drastic disparity, but it should give you some idea of how competitive the term is (low, medium, high). You may have to analyze competitor websites in the planner in order to determine what Google considers low or high volume, but once you know that, you can cross reference that with MW.

Once you do this, you’ll have some idea of how much search occurs for each of your most relevant terms. This is an important place to start, but by no means is it the only piece to this puzzle.

After this, you’ll also want to use a third party software to analyze sales on page one for those terms. Tools like JungleScout or Unicorn Smasher avail to the best of their abilities sales volume for the competitors on the page.

Then, you may choose to use another tool, Simple Keyword Inspector, to run a reverse ASIN search and reveal all of the terms that your competition is ranking for and search volume for those terms. This may unveil new keywords you were unaware could make an impact, but mostly it will validate your research.

All this research should lead you to a good idea of what the most relevant terms are for your product, how much search volume they get, and what kind of sales high rankings could generate for them.

(Note, if you are being thrifty, Unicorn Smasher is, as of this writing, free, and the Keyword Inspector costs $4.95 a month).

This is EXACTLY what you need to know to figure out what to target in your blasts and PPC. Right?

Typically I suggest to go after the biggest terms first. They are the most expensive and hardest to reach, but they offer the most exposure. If you can land on page one for them, you get tons of traffic and more chances to gain sales (which keeps the engine of business running).

After that you can start focusing on mid competition terms, and so on until you dominate the front page of several search terms.

Does Page One Always Mean Big Sales?

For many, reaching page one for a major search term is just what they needed to see a giant uptick in sales. For some, however, this isn’t always the case. That is because there’s a LOT more involved when it comes to converting.

The next layer in choosing the right keywords to try to rank for is looking at relevance. Sometimes your products could convert really well for semi-relevant terms that are deeply related. For example, you may sell sunscreen, and find that ranking for “beach gear,” or even “sun visor” ends up bringing in a bunch of sales.

And truly, every product is different. You never know what your audience may respond to. So, the best way to find these gems is to run an Automatic campaign in Sponsored Products ads. This is where Amazon will generate ads for keywords it thinks are relevant, pulling from each part of your listing. It hits a large range of keywords and if you get sales from any of them, you’ll know you’ve found a term your audience likely sees as relevant.

Some Numbers and a Bit of Creativity

A lot of the research and testing you will do is simple to track because it is all numbers based. However, sometimes it will benefit you to be creative. Take a look at the reports and research you’ve already conducted, but then think up long-tail keywords that seem intimately related. Think of all the terms your ideal customer may be motivated to search. This requires a deep understanding of your target market.

When you’ve brainstormed a number of long-tail terms, toss them in a Sponsored Product ads campaign (perhaps phrase match to capture as close to your term as possible but leave room for variants) and see what happens.

Building up a base of converting long-tails will only increase your bottom line over time. Even if each term nets you only a sale a month, ranking for enough of them will give your brand massive growth and staying power.

Now you should have a solid strategy on figuring out what keywords to target for both promotions and PPC. Remember, start with the biggest and most obvious terms. Then slowly work your way into longer tail, more niched terms. Keep relevance in mind at all times (most relevant is good, but semi-relevant and related can mean sales too).

When you’ve cracked the keyword code for one product, rinse and repeat for many more.