Amazon Search Terms Box: Complete Guide

Amazon Search Terms Box: Complete Guide

Something many sellers (including myself for a while) aren’t aware of is the back-end Search Terms box on their product listings.

This innocuous looking box is actually a very powerful tool that when utilized correctly, gives a very substantial SEO boost to your listing.

In this post, we’ll go over how to best use the Search Term box, what to put in there, and some non-intuitive tricks that will maximize how much value you get out of it.

Let’s go!

General Guidelines for the Search Terms Box

As with anything, there is actually official Amazon documentation on how to use every aspect of Seller Central.

To see the official instructions, Amazon has an article on how to Use Search Terms effectively.

In the doc, they say:

  • Maintain the text length limit of search terms.
  • Make use of synonyms.
  • Use spelling variations, but don’t include common misspellings.
  • Include abbreviations.
  • Use all lowercase letters.
  • Avoid punctuation marks such as: ";", ":", and "-."
  • Separate words with spaces.
  • Avoid repetitions.
  • Avoid articles, prepositions, or other short words such as “a,” “an,” “and,” “by,” “for,” “of,” “the,” or “with.”
  • Use either singular or plural words.

This is actually a great little guide on showing what’s allowed and what isn’t. Some sellers dance around these rules a bit when putting in keywords (some recommend adding Spanish words and misspellings, and Amazon recommends not doing that), so experiment a bit while avoiding obvious things that can get you penalized (such as using prohibited words).

Strangely enough they don’t about character limits, but that is 250 bytes without spaces. A character is 

Let’s get into a bit more detail now.

What to Put (and Avoid Putting) in the Search Terms Box

What to put in the Search Terms box

  • Keywords related to your listing
  • All lowercase letters
  • Keywords in other languages related to your product (this is typically Spanish) – Note Amazon says not to do this, so it’s your call.
  • Misspelling of keywords related to your product (Amazon says no need for this, but sellers report it helping, use at your discretion)
  • Abbreviations and alternate spellings of keywords
  • Spelling variations of the same word (color and colour, for example)

What you should avoid putting in the Search Terms box

  • Uppercase letters
  • Utilizing both singular and plural versions of a keyword (one or the other will suffice)
  • Deal-related keywords (brand new, limited time, on sale, et.)
  • Offensive keywords (swear words, adult keywords, etc.)
  • Other brand names (think Kleenex, Clorox, Dyson, Bose, etc.)
  • Punctuation or special characters of any kind (. , - etc.)
  • Some sellers say you should avoid keywords that are already in your title, but Amazon officially seems to support the idea, so this one is your call.
  • Articles and prepositions

It’s a lot to know what to put and what not to put and what’s allowed, but ultimately it’s worth it to craft an efficient list of keywords to help give your listing SEO the maximum boost.

How to Find Keywords for the Search Terms Box

Helium 10 Tools

Helium 10 has a lot of tools to help you craft a perfect Search Terms box keyword list.

Namely, they have 3 tools that will help you the most with this:

  • Magnet. This gives search data on various keywords and provides suggestions.
  • Cerebro. Competitor ASIN research tool that will provide top keywords for a listing.
  • Frankenstein. Can take lists of keywords and can format them for the Search Terms field in Amazon.

Using these 3 tools in combination will allow you to create a powerful set of keywords that are correctly formatted and ready to quickly add to your listings.

Spy on competitors Search Term Box

This is a little-known trick to see exactly what keywords your competitors are using in their Search Terms box.

To do this, you must be logged into your Seller Central account.

Follow these steps:

  1. Find the ASIN of your target listing
  2. Using this URL , where XXXXXXX is replaced with the ASIN from step one, and then enter the URL into your browser.
  3. If you’re logged into Seller Central, you will get a text document that looks like the image below.
  4. In this text document, use the find feature on your browser (Ctrl + F for Windows computers) and type in “Search Terms”
  5. Following that search you will see the list for every keyword put in the Search Terms box for that listing.

That’s it! With this list you can integrate the valuable keywords into your own listing.

How to Format the Search Terms Box

There are a few non-intuitive rules to follow when formatting your keyword list for the Search Terms box.

We went over these rules earlier in the post, but we’ll go over the most important parts in detail again:

  • 250 byte limit, bytes not characters, and spaces are NOT included. While using bytes means you can sometimes squeeze a few more letters in there, typically most letters are equal to a byte.
  • Do NOT use any special characters like commas and periods.
  • Simply put keywords and spaces. Don’t use any prohibited words, brand names, special characters, “deal” related keywords.


Following these guidelines, you should be able to craft a Search Terms keyword list that will give your listing a free SEO lift.

Many sellers either ignore the search terms box or don’t utilize it effectively.

The search terms box is just another way to optimize your listings for better SEO, and the winners on Amazon have the most effective listings, both back end and front end.