When you start selling products on Amazon, doing it randomly, or based on intuition or some gambler’s system is a quick way to go broke or out of business.
It’s also extremely unnecessary, because Amazon wants you to succeed in your selling. For that reason, it makes a lot of data available to companies, who in turn build applications and programs specifically to make your life easier.
They use the Amazon data to create the likes of keyword research tools, selling-trend identifiers, calculators for profit and the cost of having your business’ deliveries fulfilled by Amazon itself.
Many of these companies sell packages or even web extensions (notably in Chrome, which has proved itself to be extremely extension-friendly). And most of them charge a subscription fee for access to the programs that make your life and your selling so significantly easier.
Sonar is an Amazon keyword tool from Sellics, and it scores over some of the more cost-prohibitive tools on the market by having the highly appealing cost of zero dollars. And, if you want to be precise, zero cents.
It’s free is what we’re saying. Free Amazon keyword searching? That has to be worth a look, no?
It’s worth mentioning a couple of downsides before we all start jumping up and down.
It’s free now. It’s also relatively new and, if not exactly still working the kinks out of its system, it’s lacking some of the data precision of the longer-established programs that are relatively justified in asking for your cash.
So will you get the ease of data display and manipulation from Sonar that you’d get from those more established packages? No. No you will not.
Again though, let’s ring the important bell for the people at the back. Right now, Sonar is free. So you have precisely nothing to lose from giving it a thorough post-Beta testing. And hopefully, using it will help you to make money from your Amazon selling.
Without a shadow of doubt, simply using the program will show you some of the things you might need to do to improve your buying and selling performance on Amazon.
So, What Does Sonar Do?
There are two main functions in the free version of Sonar. Just the two, we hear you cry, as you march symbolically round the room in disgust before buying a subscription to Jungle Scout Pro, Heliums 10s Magnet tool or Merchant Words.
Yes, just the two. Do we need to mention again that Sonar in its current form is free like Britney?
Function #1? Keyword generation.
We know that having the right keywords in your product’s title and/or description is the electronic equivalent of slapping someone’s face and telling them to focus. Sonar sorts through over 180 million keywords.
And these are not speculative, all-over-the-web keywords. One of its signature features is that Sonar works exclusively within the Amazon environment, so it’s not sucking in maybe-keywords from anywhere else. These are pure Amazon keywords, as generated by Amazon shoppers in several languages.
The second big feature of Sonar is kinda cute, kinda creepy. It’s in that zone where if you met it in a bar, you’d give it the benefit of the doubt, certainly.
The second big feature of Sonar is a reverse ASIN lookup.
You know how you normally use an ASIN lookup – type in the ASIN, boom, more keywords than you can shake an SEO-dense page at.
By using the reverse ASIN lookup, you can find – and more importantly, track – the keywords competitors are using.
We know. We said it was pretty much half and half.
The point being it’s an easy, quick, slightly sneaky but pretty cool way of getting more information on what’s likely to sell and what you need to do to make a success of your Amazon selling business.
How Does Sonar Work?
Well, quite. At the core of the Sonar program is a database. You probably figured that out from the fact that we’ve already told you that you can search for keywords and reverse search for ASINs. There are a few things that make Sonar productively different from any other keyword database in the world, though.
- Firstly, it’s continuously updated, so there’s no fear of you getting data that went out of date with the last weekly or monthly update.
- Secondly, as we mentioned, it operates entirely – and exclusively – within the Amazon domain, so it’s not dragging data in from Google searches or the like, to dilute the value of the results it returns.
- Thirdly, it’s not just a database of Amazon keywords. It’s a database of product/keyword combinations. That’s a whole heck of a lot more useful than just lists of keywords.
- And fourthly, it comes with the keyword tool.
- And of course, fifthly, if you want to dance in the dawn light of good fortune for another minute or so, it’s free.
What’s more, the Sonar tool only returns you keyword/product combinations with an ASIN ranking on the first page of Amazon search results.
That’s – to some extent at least – an explanation of the Sonar name. If products are brand new, or they’re not ranking especially highly yet, they don’t show on the ‘Sonar’ of the search tool.
You could argue that makes the Sonar tool fallible if you like, but on the other hand, you could see it as a guarantee of quality results and a simultaneous filtering out of all unnecessary noise. You want to know about products that are selling, yes?
When they’re selling well enough to be on the first page of Amazon results – you’ll see them. Till then, Sonar frees you up to concentrate on the items that are featuring on the first page of Amazon results.
This approach lets you take a more relaxed and focused approach to your selling, because you’re doing none of the leg-work to make products popular.
But as soon as they are popular, you’ll see the necessary data to adopt a buying and selling strategy for them – or indeed, to leave them entirely alone if they don’t look like making you enough of a profit.
What About Keyword Search Volume?
Well, exactly – what about it? Oddly perhaps, Amazon doesn’t provide keyword search volume data for analysis.
So… that’s that?
No, of course not. Sonar includes a prediction algorithm. That algorithm calculates the probability of a keyword appearing, as well as some other key statistical elements.
What does that do? Well, prediction is a gray business at the best of times, but what it means is that Sonar can give you at least a reasonably good idea of the actual, real-world volume of searches for every query you care to make of the database.
There’s a cuteness built into the display of this – it shows a number of bars for the increasing likelihood of search volume. The more bars, and the darker they are, the more searches there are for a particular keyword.
If you can read how strong the signal on your cell phone is, you can understand this pictographic representation of search volume in a heartbeat.
If you want to sell only on Amazon.com – Sonar’s got you covered. At the moment, it also covers you in several of the major European Amazon regions, and the UK.
Amazon EU, DE, UK, FR, ES, IT are all in the Sonar environment so far – and while Sonar’s out of Beta testing, Sellics says it intends to continually expand the scope of the Amazon environment within which it searches over time.
There’s not, it seems, a particularly rigid timeframe for such an expansion yet, but arguably that’s what happens when you drop a worldwide pandemic into a business development plan.
Things To Know When Doing Your Keyword Research
Amazon, like much else that makes up the fabric of our daily digital lives, depends on algorithms for its functioning.
In particular, the algorithm that governs how Amazon ranks products is a two-stage algorithm with the weirdly down-to-earth name of A9.
The A9 algorithm breaks your product down in two ways.
Firstly, whether it ranks at all. Whether anyone can see it, and whether it’s worth them seeing it if they do. This is where your keywords come in.
The A9 algorithm determines whether your product shows up in the results for a given search term. To make sure it qualifies, you need to make sure your listing contains all the keywords from a search query.
Yes, incidentally, that is why sometimes you’ll see listings which rank highly on the first page of results, but which have descriptions that sound as though they’ve been typed by a chain-smoking chimp in a hut somewhere in Siberia before feeding time.
These are listings where the seller has been determined to crowbar in all the keywords, and hang the sense of the English language for the eventual would-be buyer.
To do better than the chimp, you have to do both parts of the job. You have to get all the keywords into your product listing, and you have to make it intelligible so that the buyer at their computer feels like they know enough to buy with confidence.
But for the moment, let’s – as so many do – forget the buyer, and focus on the keywords. Amazon checks all the following fields of your product listing:
- Bullet points
- Backend keywords
It’s by no means a piece of cake when you start out to get all the keywords you need into these four sections. It’s a skill, and it takes practice and repetition to get better at it.
Once you’ve learned to get all the keywords into this relatively small amount of available space, then you can polish up your English presentation so ideally it doesn’t read like you’ve just strung a bunch of keywords together. That way leads to the hut in Siberia…
Once the A9 algorithm has determined that yes, your product ranks, it will cheerfully work out exactly where your product ranks.
That’s a tricky equation, based on the performance history of your product, the click-through rate your product has seen, what your conversion rate is, and the actual, vulgar data of how many sales you’ve had.
We understand all this instinctively – the better your product performs, the higher up the ranking it goes. This is actually where the quality of your copy writing and the use of effective images can actually help you translate a page view into a sale that can push you up the rankings.
The better your product performs, the better it will rank. That’s why clear copy and images can improve your ranking by improving your performance.
The thing about Sonar is that yes, as we may have mentioned once or twice, it’s free.
It’s also in post-Beta development, so as yet, it’s by no means as sophisticated as some of the programs that help you find what you should be selling and how you should be selling it. But it can give you an important first collection of steps to take.
Once you’ve taken them, with Sonar, you still have work to do.
Once Sonar has found you the target search terms to use, you can add them to your product listing. Hooray. Job done? Nooo. Then you need to make sure your listing is optimized.
Optimized for conversion from that page view to the ker-ching of a sale that is ultimately what this whole process is about.
So how do you go about optimizing your listing?
- Firstly, remember to get your keywords into those title, description and bullet point fields.
- Secondly, be aware that search terms in A+ Content…do nothing for your Amazon ranking. In fact, all the fields are equally weighted when it comes to the A9 algorithm – so you can’t overload one section, ignore another entirely and expect to get a good ranking.
- Finally, add your words to the ‘backend keywords’ field. This won’t be visible on the listings page itself.
Once you’ve done all that, don’t simply sit back and do nothing. This is the learning curve of your Amazon seller development.
Watch your listing like a flower you want to grow. It will take a while, but if you’ve done everything right – your keywords, your copy, your images, your optimization – you should begin to see your ranking rise.
Is the Sonar tool a magic wand to help turn you into a successful Amazon seller? No, absolutely not – but then, in its defence, it never said it would be.
But can it help to set you on the path to initial successful selling – and for free, at that?
Yes, that much it almost promises, and that much, if you use it well and learn as you go, it can deliver.