Translating Amazon listings: the ultimate how-to guide

Amazon is a great place to sell products. If you have some successful Amazon listings, you have no doubt thought about translating them into German, Spanish, French and other languages.

Translating your Amazon listings is a great way to reach new international audiences. It is relatively inexpensive and very low risk. But how do you go about it?

This guide is all about translating your Amazon listings. It covers everything you need to know, including:

1) A brief introduction to Amazon listings, their key features and best practices
2) Translating vs localising (or localizing) your Amazon listings
3) Keyword research for Amazon listings – tools, strategy and what to do with the keywords
4) Keyword localisation for your multilingual Amazon listings
5) How to get your product listings translated/localised
6) Best practices when it comes to translating your Amazon listings into other languages

So, let’s start at the start. With a brief introduction to Amazon listings…


Amazon listings: key features & best practices

If you are reading this guide, you no doubt already have some product listings on Amazon and, if you are thinking about having them translated into other languages, they are probably selling pretty well or have the potential to.

Amazon is a great place to sell products – it provides you with a massive audience and is far cheaper and lower risk than having your own eCommerce website.

Translating your current listings into other languages will only serve to increase this potential audience and, if your products are already selling well on Amazon in English, it is definitely something worth considering.

Amazon listings are a unique beast. There have a strict structure and Amazon is very clear about what they should contain and how you can create effective listings for your products – you can read their guidelines here.

translating amazon listings

A product page on Amazon consists of the following four sections:

  • A concise, unique title
  • 5 bullet points conveying the most important information about the product
  • An accurate description of the product
  • A clear product image

These sections have some key features that need to be taken into account in both the original English versions and in any translations of the listings.

  1. Title
    The listing title must be specific and follow the general formula of Brand + Model + Product Type.

    Key points to remember:
    • The title should be less than 200 characters
    • The main keywords/key phrase should be in the first 80 characters of the title
    • Each word (except “and”) should be capitalised
    • All numbers should be written as numerals
    • Only include things like size, colour if relevant
    • Don’t include prices or promotions and don’t describe a product as “the best”, etc.

  2. Bullet points
    The five bullet points are used to list the main features so they are easy to read. Some customers don’t scroll past the bullet points, so it is important to include all the key information in them, such as the full contents, materials, main features & benefits, care instructions, dimensions, etc.

    The length varies from category to category, but around 200 characters per bullet point should be plenty to define the main features and incorporate your keywords.

    At the moment, Amazon only ranks the first 1,000 characters of bullet points – in other words, if your bullet points are longer than 200 characters each, your final bullet point may not be indexed. Keep your bullet points to a maximum of 200 characters and you can ensure that all five will be indexed.

    Another important point regarding bullet points is to vary the type of bullet point between:
    • attention-getting bullet points – a short, attention-grabbing phrase
    • benefit first – highlight the benefit then provide information on features/specifications
    • feature first – highlight a physical feature of the product then the benefit
    • informational – e.g. answer questions commonly asked by customers

  3. Product description
    This longer form content is used to discuss the features of the product in an objective way. They are often similar to what you might find on the product description pages of an eCommerce site, but they shouldn’t be copied word for word.

    The product descriptions should be around 2,000 characters in length. The text should be written in complete (but short) sentences and paragraphs, but should be easy and interesting to read. Use bold and simple HTML to break up the text and highlight key information.

    They should cover the major features and expand on the information provided in the bullet points, such as materials, controls and settings, accessories, dimensions, warranty information, etc.

    Product descriptions can also cover product limitations, country of origin, safety instructions, warnings, awards. Unlike the other sections, it is always better to provide too much than too little information here.

    This is the place to include some of your main keywords and key phrases to make sure your product listings appear on the right search results.

These best practices for Amazon listings are extremely important for your English listings, but they also apply to your listings when they are translated or localised into other languages.

Now let’s take a closer look at the difference between translating and localising your Amazon listings.


TRANSLATION or LOCALISATION LEaF Translations

Translating your Amazon listings: translation or localisation?

If you have been researching translating your Amazon listings, you may have come across the term localisation (or localization) and wondered what it means.

When most people think about publishing their product listings in additional languages, they think about translation. In actual fact, when it comes to translating Amazon listings, they need to be localised, not just translated.

So what is the difference between translation and localisation?

One word: keywords.

You translate text, you localise keywords. And, as keywords and key phrases are so important to Amazon listings (more on that later), simply translating Amazon listings without paying attention to the keywords can be an expensive waste of time. Just as with your English listings, if your Spanish or German or French listings don’t include the correct key phrases, they won’t be seen by the right customers and your sales will suffer.

If you want your Amazon listings to drive the maximum number of sales in all languages, you need to work with a company that can localise your product listings and not just translate them. In other words, you need a translation company that specialises in multilingual keyword research AND translation.

Spanish SEO translator

“Localising your Amazon listing is key to success. You could have a perfect translation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will bring the desired traffic. If no keyword research has been undertaken, you will fail to reach the potential of your listing, missing out on important revenue opportunities. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional that can do the required research and implement the keywords that will bring the most traffic.”

— Daniel, Senior Spanish SEO translator at LEaF

Need a hand translating your Amazon listings?

Now we have touched on the importance of keyword research for Amazon listings, let’s delve a little deeper into the world of keywords and key phrases.


Keyword research for Amazon listings – tools and strategies

Keywords and key phrases are vitally important for Amazon listings. As mentioned above, your titles need to contain the best keywords or key phrases to rank, and your bullet points and product descriptions should also be optimised to include the right keywords.

So what are the right keywords?

There are two main factors to consider when doing keyword research for Amazon listings: relevance and search volume. Your keywords must be relevant to your product. There is no point including a high-volume search term if it isn’t relevant. When people search on Amazon, they are looking for something specific and if your product doesn’t meet their criteria because you included a high-volume search term that isn’t relevant to your product, it won’t get bought. Always focus on the most relevant, high-ranking keyword or key phrase.

How do you find the best keywords and key phrases?

There are a number of different keyword tools that you can use for Amazon, but one of the best ways to find keywords is to put yourself in the shoes of a customer and consider the following:

  • Type of product
    What do you call the product? Start by searching the main terms and see what options there are, e.g. torch.
  • Product features
    As you continue your search, start to look for specific features of your product, e.g. LED, lightweight.
  • Benefits
    Why are the features good? Lightweight makes it more convenient to carry. Are there any keywords that relate to these benefits?
  • Related terms
    Look for synonyms, so light instead of lightweight, energy-efficient for LED etc.

You can also use Amazon itself to search for the products you are selling. Look at the items that show up when you search. Identify the keywords in the top listings and look at how frequently they appear in your searches.

Add all of these potential keywords to a “seed list” of keywords. The keywords should all be highly relevant and include highly descriptive key phrases. You can then use this seed list to generate further relevant keywords.

Once you have your seed list it can be a good idea to use a keyword research tool. This will help you to identify the keywords with the greatest search volume and to spot any keywords that may have slipped through the net.

There are a lot of keyword research tools available. You can use keyword tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, that are intended for use with Google, but there are also lots of keyword tools specific to Amazon, including keywordtool.io, Sonar and Helium 10. Then there are tools like Ahrefs, which can be used for Google, Amazon, YouTube, Yandex and more.

multilingual keyword research
Ahrefs – one of the most popular SEO tools for keyword research

What do you do with the keywords?

Once you have created your list of keywords, you need to use them to optimise your Amazon listing. Use your main keywords in your title and bullet points, and ensure that your product description also includes some key phrases that potential customers might search for.

Any remaining keywords that you think are relevant and will help your product listing to appear in relevant searches can be added to the Search Terms field. These keywords should be less than 250 characters in length and should not be used anywhere else.

The Target Audience field should include terms relating to your audience (e.g. children’s torch); the Intended Use field is for keywords that include the use (e.g. head torch for running) and the Subject Matter field allows you to include more general information about your product (e.g. sports, lighting, etc.)


Keyword localisation for your multilingual Amazon listings

When it comes to localising the keywords and key phrases for your translated Amazon listings, the process is very similar to conducting the initial keyword research, except you already have a list of keywords to use as a basis.

The best approach here is to provide the SEO translator/translation company with your lists of English keywords, so that they can use these as a basis from which to conduct the keyword research for each of the relevant languages.

As mentioned above – you cannot simply translate the keywords. The keywords need to be localised. In practice, this means the translator going through each of the keywords individually, translating them into the relevant language and then assessing the quality of this keyword (i.e. its relevance and search volume) – through the methods described above, e.g. using Amazon itself, using a keyword research tool, etc.

This process needs to be repeated for each keyword on the original list, so that a new list of the top keywords (based on relevancy and search volume) can be compiled and formed into a glossary ready to be incorporated into the translation itself.


Localising your Amazon listings: best practices

We now know the importance of keywords for Amazon listings and this is true whatever the language. If you understand how vital it is to optimise your English listings, you also need to understand that the same applies to every other language that your listings appear in.

If your Amazon listings aren’t optimised with the right keywords and key phrases then you won’t maximise your sales – in any language.

So what does this mean for translating your Amazon listings?

It means you need to find a translator or translation company to localise your listings and not just translate them. It also means that you cannot simply put your English listings into Google Translate or another machine translation tool – you need a native-speaker to localise your keywords and conduct the keyword research before your listings are translated.

As a translation company specialising in SEO translations, we may be biased, but we always advise customers to work with professional human translators with experience in SEO and multilingual keyword research. Professional translators who aren’t proficient in SEO will do a good job of translating the text, but they may struggle to identify the correct keywords in the first place.

As experts in the field of SEO translation and localisation, here are our top tips when it comes to localising Amazon listings:

  1. Do the keyword research before you start translating the listings
    • Hire native-speakers with SEO experience to do the keyword research for your listings in each of the relevant languages
    • Compile a glossary of keywords for each language to be used in the translations
    • Do not “translate” the keywords – languages do not match up 1:1; different cultures search in different ways and search terms can differ massively between languages. Never assume that a direct translation of a keyword will have search volume in another language or culture.
  2. Hire professional, native-speaker translators with SEO experience to translate your Amazon listings. Give them the keyword glossaries (if they are not compiling them) and instruct them to incorporate the keywords into the relevant parts of the product listing: i.e. product title, bullet points and product description.
  3. To ensure your translated Amazon listings are completely flawless, work with a translation company that employs a second professional translator to proofread the texts. Although professional translators work to a very high standard, it is always advisable to have your listings reviewed by a second set of eyes. This is considered best-practice in the world of translation.

Want to find out more about translating your Amazon listings?


FAQs

  1. What is the difference between translation and localisation (localization)?
    Translation means translating a text from one language into another, ensuring the tone and message are accurately conveyed. When a text is localised (localized), the SEO translator pays attention to the keywords and key phrases in the text and carries out keyword research for these phrases in the relevant language.
  2. Do my Amazon listings need to be translated or localised (localized)?
    Keywords and key phrases are extremely important for Amazon listings and this is true whatever language the listings are written in. Each version of the listing – be it in English, Spanish or German – needs to contain the correct keywords for the respective language and culture. Translating Amazon listings without taking the keywords and key phrases into account is the same as writing an Amazon listing in English and not doing any keyword research or optimisation – your sales will suffer.
  3. Can I use Google Translate or Amazon Translate for my Amazon listings?
    There are two big reasons not to use a machine translation tool for your Amazon listings:
    1. Your Amazon listings are like mini sales pages or sales people – they are responsible for attracting visitors and for converting these visitors into customers. Poorly written listings (i.e. machine translations) look unprofessional and reflect badly on your company.
    2. Optimising Amazon listings is vital, whatever language they are in. You cannot simply translate keywords and key phrases into other languages, as languages do not work the same way and different cultures search differently. You need to do the keyword research in the language of the relevant listing and for this you need a native speaker.

International SEO made easy

We have created an in-depth guide to keyword research for multilingual SEO – revealing all you need to know about translation versus localisation, the importance of keyword research for international SEO, keyword research tools and a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works.

To summarise

Translating your Amazon listings into different languages can be a really cost-effective way to export your products and reach new international audiences without the need to translate an entire website. But, it has to be done correctly. Make sure you work with a translation company that specialises in keyword localisation as well as translation and ensure that the keyword research is done before your product listings are translated.


About the Author

Lucy LEaF blog 2018

Lucy

Lucy Pembayun, founder of the translation company LEaF Translations and a Qualified Member of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (MITI), is a German to English translator with over 14 years’ experience. Her true passion lies in helping great, ethical businesses reach new international customers with excellent quality translations. Lucy specialises in German to English translations, including certified translations, websites, articles, sales brochures and other marketing materials.

Lucy graduated with an MA(Hons) in German from Edinburgh University before being awarded a DAAD scholarship to study for a post-graduate Masters in Germany. She has lived in Bamberg, Fulda and Berlin, and now resides in York, UK, with her husband, two children and fox red lab.

Contact Lucy directly now.