What is an Amazon Product Category Tree and How You Can Use This To Optimize Your Amazon Listings


Amazon’s US marketplace sells over 606 million products. If that statistic isn’t enough to blow your socks off, worldwide Amazon sells a whopping 3 billion products. 


So how does Amazon continue to be the most successful global e-commerce site? Why aren’t consumers put off by the huge number of products listed? 


The reason for this is the Amazon Product Category Tree. Through different categories, and subcategories, products on Amazon are organized almost like a tree - branching off into specificity. Through search and browse, consumers can find the product they’re looking for on Amazon, either through a product description or keyword. The search and browse tools also allow consumers to refine their search by selecting specific product categories and subcategories. 


So how can you use the Amazon Product Category tree to optimize your listings? 


Amazon listings screenshot


One of the most effective ways to optimize your listings within categories is to use a Browse Tree Guide (BTG). Browsing is a term that Amazon uses to refer to its “Department” categories. When you enter the left column on Amazon, you can see all of these, and use a keyword or navigate from here throughout the Amazon site. A BTG document helps you decipher which sub-department - otherwise known as “node” - your product should be included in. Browse nodes can be thought of as a tree, with each subcategory another branch, leading to an endpoint where you cannot select any further (think of it as the leaf). 


Making sure you’re in the exact right node means that consumers will be able to locate your product easily just by filtering - meaning that you’re less likely to lose customers if they choose a slightly different keyword in their search terms, or if they only search from products using the Amazon Product Category Tree. 


Using a BTG is the recommended approach on Amazon Seller Central . These guides not only help you to correctly categorize your products, but they also provide you with unique keywords and numbers to use on your product listing, each of which is associated with a certain browse path on Amazon. This means your products are more likely to be optimized on the search and fit more comfortably into your branch node. 


How to Use a Browse Tree Guide (BTG) on Amazon:


You can use a BTG on Amazon Seller Central by going to Inventory File Templates and BTG and download the most relevant BTG from the link in the table. Following the instructions in this guide, making a note of the keywords and numbers, and the categories and subcategories for your product is a great place to start when thinking of how to most effectively use the Amazon Product Category Tree. 

But how else can you optimize your Amazon listings within the Amazon Product Category Tree?


"One of the most effective ways to optimize your listings within categories is  to use a Browse Tree Guide (BTG)."  -Click to Tweet-


Getting your products on the marketplace


When uploading your listings to Amazon, the way you do it is through CSV files. These can be found in Seller Central, under Inventory, and then selecting Add products via Upload. Here you get a CSV file which you need to download, complete, and then upload onto the Amazon Marketplace. Make sure that, after following your BTG, you make sure to upload the corresponding browse node IDs when you’re uploading your CSV inventory template file. 


Once your listings are on the marketplace, you can edit, view and tweak them, adapting elements of your copy or keywords each time to increase the effectiveness of your listing. This can be done by either re-loading the CSV file, or editing your product listing under your inventory tab, selecting “Manage Inventory”. Amazon logo


Never underestimate the power of a title


The title for your product listing on Amazon sets the scene for your product: it might be the first interaction a consumer has with your brand and can make or break the success of your product listing, and thus cannot be underestimated. 


Following Amazon’s BTG means that you will discover the exact Item Type Keyword  which is necessary for your product to appear in that certain search category listing in the Amazon Product Category Tree. When entering your Item Type Keywords, they should be filled in exactly as they can be seen in the BTG. Make sure they’re all written in lower-case, and separated by hyphens. Using the most detailed keywords possible is of utmost importance, as it can mean that your listing will inherit the attributes of the products listed above it in the same node. 


Once you’ve found the right keyword for you using the BTG, your other keyword research can begin. Keywords shouldn’t just be designed to occupy your appropriate situation in the Amazon Product Category Tree: they should also be the most commonly associated words with your products, that most consumers are likely to search when they are browsing. 


There are many keyword research tools that you can utilize to help you optimize your Amazon listing, such as Sonar and Kparser.


Another tip for your Amazon listing title is to include your brand name first. This is recommended by Amazon and is widely recognized as best practice when writing your title copy. Listing your brand name first also builds brand recognition and trust, and can be a useful keyword. 


When creating the copy for your title, to fully optimize your listing, remember to also include all details of your product. This includes model numbers, variations, quantity, and color. The order should be brand name + keywords found through BTG + keywords found through your research + all relevant details. Ensuring you have fully detailed your product listing means that when you’re listed in your relevant node, your product will be easily differentiated from the crowd - it also helps when consumers are searching for products via the search engine. 


Lastly, make sure your title is under 200 characters. Great branding never overloads the consumer with information: it gives them just as much detail as they need without getting put off by wordy copy. Since July 2015 Amazon has even suppressed titles over 200 characters, meaning that it won’t appear on listings, so simplicity is key. 


Online purchase visualization


Amazon Backend Keywords 


Search terms are values that are not visible to visitors of Amazon’s marketplace but allow you and your product to be seen more easily by consumers when they search. Search terms are not required by Amazon but can help you to optimize Amazon’s search listings, and be more visible for potential customers. Depending on your category you can input between one and five keywords. These generic keywords will be separated by an underscore. 


Search terms are an important part of how the Amazon Product Category Tree works. You can even select keywords that target your specific audience (Target Audience Keywords). Amazon collects a large amount of data about its customers, their ages, genders, spending habits, etc. So to fully tap into your target audience, make sure to include target audience keywords. For example, if your product is in Women’s Cosmetics, set your target as “women”. 


Include keywords in your copy


Amazon gives you 5 bullet points in your product description content . It is recommended that you fully use all 5, to draw attention to the main features of your product, and point out how it is unique from your competition and will fill the needs of your target audience. 


These bullet points are also a great place to re-introduce your keywords. This will help you to fully optimize your Amazon product listing.  Put your keywords seamlessly into each bullet point, making sure the copy is still legible and convincing and doesn’t just look like a collection of keywords. A good place to start when considering the keywords in your item description copy is Amazon’s advice on writing bullet points. This is the optimal place to begin, as Amazon even gives you different suggestions within their different product categories, helping you to be more easily locatable within that category. 


Final Thoughts 


Ultimately, using the right keywords, and using them in the right places, will help you to fully optimize Amazon’s Product Category Tree: ensuring that your product is in the right node, can be easily located here, and has all the relevant keywords and search terms to help your product get found by the consumer. This applies to keywords in both your title, search terms and bullet point (copy of your product description). After researching the right category, using a BTG, and researching and fully implementing your keywords in all the right places, you will be closer to fully utilize Amazon’s product category tree, and getting one step ahead of your competition!amazon listing optimization ebook



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