Crafting the perfect title is by far one of the most challenging, yet important, parts of listing optimization. But, what elements are present in the perfect title? Is it keyword rich? Does it include the brand name? Does it utilize all 200 character spaces available?

We dove deep into the data to see what the title structure of top ranking listings looked like. After analyzing more than 2,000 listings, we uncovered some interesting information.

Data parameters: 215 popular keywords, 2150 listings. We analyzed titles in mobile browser and full titles. We also counted total title characters.

Should You Have the Keyword Within the First 80 Characters?

For some time now we’ve preached that you should always have your main, most relevant keyword within the first 80 characters of your title. This is because, within that restrictive space, you will display the most relevant information to shoppers on every browser. The mobile app, for example, truncates the titles on search pages to around 80 characters. So as long as you have your primary keyword visible inside that area, you will be relevant to shoppers no matter where they search.

This is a fairly obvious and logical concept. As such, of the 2,150 listings, 55% of them had the primary keyword (the one used to find the listing in the first place) within the mobile preview. Now, in all fairness, the “primary keyword” is rather subjective and likely many more had main keywords in their title, but that wasn’t necessarily the one searched. Also, we only counted it if the key phrase was used intact (as in, if we searched Bluetooth headphones, the title had to say “Bluetooth headphones” rather than “Bluetooth over the ear headphones,” for example).

What was even more telling was the fact that using those same parameters, of the 2,150 listings, 56.5% of them had that same keyword in their listing title at all. That means, of all the listings that had the specific searched and intact key phrase in their title, a full 98% of them had it within the first 80 characters. So, we can easily extrapolate from this that it is essential to include relevant key terms within the first visible area of your title.

Should You Include Your Brand In Your Title?

Here is a major point of contention. There are a lot of “experts” out there that claim that Amazon buyers don’t care about the brand they buy from. The logic is that in the buyer’s head they are buying from Amazon. For this reason, these experts advise against using the brand name in the title. That is valuable real estate you are giving up that could be used for more keywords.

But where did they get that idea? What data supported it? When we went digging for industry data, we did uncover an interesting article by Itamar Simonson, professor of marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He explains that the brand name is used as an indicator of quality. In traditional retail, this was very important. However, with online shopping, since shoppers have access to review platforms that display social proof, brands are no longer that indicator. With other means to determine quality, Itamar claims the brand becomes less important.

Hmmmm. Maybe the experts were right. HOWEVER…

Consumer research group GutCheck conducted research that uncovered that shoppers tend to fall into the same habits online as they do in the store. That means, they primarily compare prices and brands they already know of by default. This would mean that brand loyalty in online shopping is a matter of habit. But there are certain factors (mainly price) that can persuade a shopper to deviate from the norm and test out another brand. Once they have a good experience with that brand, data suggests they will add that brand to their online list of comparison shopping options.

And that assessment is supported by the numbers we gathered as well. Of the 2,150 listings we analyzed in our sample, a whopping 83% had their brand name within their title. What’s more, 80% had their brand name within the first 80 characters. This suggests that for most brands having their brand name visible first and foremost was more important than relevant keywords.

But who cares what is important to the brand? We are only concerned with what effect it has on ranking, right? Well, keep in mind all of the listings we analyzed were the TOP 10 results of each keyword phrase we searched. If our sample holds true across the entire platform, that means 80% of all top selling listings mention their brand up front in their title.

How Many Characters Should Your Title Be?

This is where the data starts to paint an interesting picture. Of the listings we analyzed, 45.5% had titles that were only 80 characters or less! That means, almost half of all top listings hardly had any more content than their brand and possibly a relevant keyword.

And these findings are supported by data we uncovered previously about how Amazon-sold products (mostly big name brands) dominate top searches. We can more than likely logically conclude that these listings are those big brands that don’t need keywords or rankings to sell.

But surely that is not all that you find in top rankings. Surely some of those are small, private label and home brands like us.

Continuing to look at the data we see that 19.4% of the sample have titles between 81 and 115 characters (mobile browsers tend to truncate at 115 or so characters). About 10% fell into the 116 to 140 character range (the length of a Twitter tweet). But the second largest segment in title lengths, at 141 characters and up, consisted of 25% of the total sample.

It’s probably safe to say those are third party seller listings. Consisting of a fourth of the total sample, this is a healthy chunk of top ranking listings on Amazon.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

While there are a lot of variables at play here, we do come closer to understanding what it takes to craft the perfect title. I’ve created a checklist for your convenience. Below are the elements found most consistently in top ranking listing titles:

  • Include a highly relevant keyword phrase within the first 80 characters
  • Include your brand name within the first 80 characters
  • Make your title over 140 characters long (unless you are a name brand)

By following these simple rules, you’ll allow your listing to grab the attention it needs to compete, and then create habits within buyers to consider your brand again and again. And ultimately, as Amazon sellers, could we ask for more than that?