Implementing Foreign Keywords In Your Amazon Backend

Do you have an international or multilingual audience? Are you looking to expand your business’s online presence? Do you want to better target your audience members in their own languages?


Foreign keywords allow you to reach a variety of audiences with different languages and cultures. Putting foreign keywords in your Amazon’s backend indexing allows you to rank for words in other languages, so you aren’t limited to a single audience.


What do you need to know about using foreign keywords in your backend to attract the right international or multilingual customers to your listing?


a colorful assortment of the word "hello" in many different languages on a black background


Why use foreign keywords in Amazon backend?

“Foreign keywords” give you a more expansive SEO by reaching audience members who speak different languages.


In most cases, your entire listing won’t be in another language. If you are an English-speaking business, you’ll likely want your Amazon listing and product descriptions to be in English.


However, if you have customers who speak different languages, you might want to put foreign keywords in the Amazon backend. This allows your customers to search for keywords in their native language and still pull up your listing. This is important because Amazon doesn’t automatically translate keywords.


For example, you sell red shoes on Amazon. Your English-speaking customers might type “red shoes” into the search bar and come upon your Amazon listing. But Spanish-speaking customers might type “zapatos rojos” into the bar. If you don’t have the Spanish keyword phrase in your backend, Amazon won’t recognize that they are searching for your “red shoes” listing.


You need to have the specific words listed that you’re customers are searching—no matter the language it’s in.  


You might want to use foreign keywords for two key reasons: international expansion and domestic audience languages.


International expansion

If you are looking to expand your Amazon business into other markets, you’ll need to understand that local language and culture. You may choose to translate your entire listing into that other market’s language. Or you may still want to keep your front-facing Amazon listing in English to show that you are an American brand (which appeals to some markets). You can then put foreign keywords in the backend so your listing still appears with foreign language searches.


Domestic languages

Even if you aren’t expanding to another country, your ideal audience at-home might speak multiple languages. For example, Spanish is a popular second language in America. You might have a section of your customer base that consists of first- or second-generation immigrants who are more comfortable speaking Spanish than English.


So you might want to make the front of your listing in English, but you might have Spanish keywords in your backend so the Spanish-speaking audience can still search in their native language and find your listing.


So what do you need to know about putting foreign keywords in your Amazon backend?


1. Be careful of translation.

It seems simple, but translation is the number one reason that multilingual Amazon listings fail. Not all words are a direct translation. Mistranslated words not only take up room in the backend but they can also create confused, irrelevant traffic to your listing. This both upsets your customer and creates a high bounce rate for your listing, which can damage your SAO with the Amazon algorithm.


two illustrated silhouetted heads, one with an organized line pattern in their brain, the other a jumbled line


Work with a professional translator who can ensure the appropriate message gets across. If possible, you want to hire someone who has experience in your specific customer’s local language.


Having a professional translator also helps mitigate differences in vernacular. For example, Latin American Spanish is different than Castilian Spanish.


2. Know your audience.  

You have limited space in your Amazon backend. You only have 250 characters for Amazon indexing—which is the algorithmic process of linking your backend keywords to search engine results.


Like other forms of keyword research, you want to make sure you’re optimizing on every word and character you put in your backend SEO. Filling up your backend with foreign keywords can take up valuable space if each word isn’t relevant and purposeful.


That means you should be performing thorough audience research to ensure each word you use is relevant. You don’t want to put a Spanish keyword in your backend if most of your customers speak German.


Never make assumptions about your audience. You want to know the specifics of your target customers including their languages, culture, and locations. Learn how to properly define your audience here: Demographics—Who Is Your Business’s Customer?



"Never make assumptions about your audience.  You want to know the specifics of your target  customers including their  languages, culture, and locations."   Click to Tweet



3. Do foreign keyword research.

In a similar vein, you should still be doing specific keyword research for your foreign keywords. Translation is not always exact, and search patterns may be different for your specific type of audience.


For example, English-speaking customers might be searching for “fidget spinners” but Spanish-speaking customers search for “fidgets.” Even if they’re searching with an English word, they use a different English word than native English-speakers do.


Like with any other customer demographic, make sure you perform targeted keyword research. Start by having a professional translator translate keywords that you think are relevant to your audience. Then, search for those terms in some of your favorite keyword research tools. Multilingual keyword research resources will show a list of other applicable keywords with their competitiveness and search volume.


Create a list of these options, and bring them back to your professional translator. He or she can help you understand the terms that your customers are searching more frequently while ensuring it remains relevant to and consistent with your Amazon listing.


Some of our favorite foreign keyword tools include:

  • SEMRush - allows you to search in 25 regions and countries by keyword or website.
  • Majestic - shows what your competitors’ content looks like and the keywords they’re using.
  • SuggestMrx - gives you information from Google Suggest in 11 countries and 6 major languages. This can help you get more ideas for how your target audience is searching in general.


4. Target your ads.  

If you’re running an ad campaign on social media, Google, or Amazon, you want to make sure you’re targeting the right audience. Even if you aren’t using foreign keywords in the ad itself, you can set up your targeting preferences by location and even language.  


Pay-per-click campaigns are a great way to let your multilingual customers know that your business caters to them.


Check out Amazon Sponsored Ads vs. Natural Organic Sales to learn how to utilize ad targeting to attract your ideal customer.


5. Follow Amazon’s SEO rules.

Just because you’re using a foreign language doesn’t mean you should forget the basics of Amazon’s search engine algorithm. The same search rules apply no matter what language you’re typing in.


Find some of our Amazon listing resources here:



Using foreign keywords in your Amazon backend is a great way to relate to your multilingual and international audience members. But the nuances of foreign keywords can make or break your listing’s indexing.


Don’t do it alone. You want a team to make sure you’re engaging with your audience and scaling at an appropriate rate.


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