Amazon is an eCommerce giant, currently boasting over 200 million products on their site. If you are one of the many merchants that sell on Amazon, then you need to be focusing on Amazon SEO. You want to make sure that your products are served when someone searches for a relevant keyword. You might think that Amazon SEO is just the same as search SEO, but that isn’t true. Amazon is a completely different beast.
Unlike on search engines, people aren’t looking to do product research on Amazon—they are ready to buy. They aren’t browsing Amazon to do research or find some random information. No, they have a product in mind and are trying to purchase it. The fact that searchers are already in the buying phase makes it even more important to rank high in Amazon. The first couple of positions not only get a click but, normally, also a sale. Because of this, we sellers on Amazon need to make sure that we optimize our posts correctly to help shoppers convert more frequently.
Amazon’s Algorithm – A9
Before we get into exactly how to optimize for Amazon, we first need to understand exactly just how Amazon’s algorithm works. It’s is known as A9, and it is a very mature algorithm that continues to become more complex. To understand it, you need to think like Amazon.
Amazon isn’t looking to send traffic to another site like Google would be. Instead, Amazon is looking to find the best product that will provide the best sales conversion. Currently, A9 doesn’t have much regard for how closely the product matches the search query—they just care about making the sale.
Let’s make sure we understand some of the most important variables that go into Amazon’s rankings:
1. Immediate Sales
One thing that you need to know about A9: It doesn’t care about the overall number of sales that a product has; it only cares about the number of sales that it has had recently. A product can overtake another product if it has a huge number of sales in a short amount of time.
However, if it is going to maintain this position, it has to continue to make sales. Think about it this way—say it’s October, and you search Amazon for “Candy.” You are more likely to get results for Halloween candy because that’s what is popular leading up to the 30th. But if you search “Candy” in February, you are probably going to get Valentine’s Day candy.
2. Verified Reviews
A verified review on Amazon is a review that is created by someone who bought a product and also used their Amazon account to leave the review. Amazon views this as an honest evaluation of the product and considers this very important.
3. CTR vs. CTS
Click Through Rate is very important in all types of optimization for SEO—for Amazon and search engines. Having a high CTR means that the searcher must have found what they were looking for. However, when it comes to Amazon, they take it a step further and also look at CTS—Click To Sales—which means “Did the click result in a sale”?
4. Sales Page Content
Just like any other search engine, Amazon is dependent on words on the page to help them figure out what the page is about. However, when it comes to Amazon page content, it is a little trickier because you don’t have as much control as you would have on a blog or on your website. Because you are limited, your content structure and placement is even more crucial on Amazon.
On Amazon, you have six places in which you can place your keywords:
Product Picture File Name
Name of Author
5. Sales Rank
This is something of a vicious cycle, but Amazon is starting to rank product listings based on the number of sales. This is a new feature that they are testing wherein they automatically attach #1 Best Seller to the best-selling product in the category. This means that those with more sales will rank higher, but, as we’ve already discussed, those with the higher rankings already have more sales.
6. Customer Reviews
One important factor that Amazon takes into consideration is the customer review. This includes not only the number of your reviews but, also, how positive and/or negative your customer reviews are.
Images are imperative on Amazon. The size and quality of your product image are things that you can’t overlook. In fact, some results won’t display if they don’t have at least one image that is 1000×1000 pixels or larger. This is the size that allows customers to hover to zoom—Amazon has found this to be a huge factor on conversion rates.
Price is another huge factor when it comes to Amazon. They know that customers are searching for the best deal. You want to make sure that your prices are competitive and fair.
9. Parent-Child Products
Amazon has a built-in parent-child product functionality which allows you to combine similar products to a single primary page. From a UX standpoint, this makes the most sense since it allows you to keep customers on one page, which makes it more likely they will buy a product.
10. Time on Page/Bounce Rate
Time on page is a measure that tracks the amount of time that a customer spends on a listing. The higher the time on a page the more likely it is that the customer is interested in the product. Bounce rate is similar—this is the time it takes before a searcher bounces back to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages—the initial page in your search for a product). Both of these help Amazon determine how relevant a product listing is to the search.
11. Negative Seller Feedback
Amazon claims not to track positive seller feedback, but they do track negative feedback rates. They don’t care how bad the feedback is—it all counts the same against you. Therefore, you want to do everything in your power to limit your negative feedback.
12. Order Processing Speed
Amazon knows that customers want their orders ASAP—that’s why they value order processing speed. A seller who has shown efficient and steady processing is more likely to rank higher than one who has slow or unreliable orders.
Keyword Research Is Key
The very first thing that you want to do when looking at Amazon SEO is keyword research. You want to find out which keywords are most relevant to your products. There are several tools out there that you can use to help you do this, like Sonar. Keyword research is imperative—your products aren’t going to be found in a search query if the listing doesn’t contain the proper keywords.
When it comes to Amazon listings, 97% of customers click on the results in the first page. This means that searchers are normally pretty happy to find what they are looking for quickly. Why is this? Because 70% of searches are done with long-tailed keywords. This means that searchers are using longer searches that are somewhat like phrases instead of a short one- or two-word search queries. Because of this, you have to be very thorough in order to know what keywords you want to use.
Amazon SEO Tips
The goal of Amazon SEO is to increase the chances of searchers clicking on your product listing and purchasing your product. In order to do this, you need to be on the first page of the Amazon SERPs. I mean, really, when was the last time you went to page 10 to buy something off Amazon? Here are a few tips on how to optimize your listings for Amazon SEO:
Your title is the most valuable part of your listing. Amazon knows that many shoppers only look at the title to make a decision on clicking on the listing. Therefore, a lot of weight is placed on this one area.
Therefore, you want to make sure that you have your search query terms in the title. However, make note that repeating the keywords isn’t going to help your rankings. Your title should include:
The Product Line
That’s a lot of information to put in one title. The secret here is how you order them. You want to place your most relevant keywords first. Amazon recommends leading with the brand name. After that, you want to use your keywords as early in the title as possible. Get as many as you can in the 80 characters, while still trying to let the customers know what it is you are selling.
The features of a product are displayed as bullet points right below the pricing information. Amazon no longer allows listings not to have features. You want your listings to give customers as much information as possible. This is a place to expand on your title while trying to use as many keywords as possible.
3. Product Descriptions
Your product description is where you can expand upon your features. This is also the part of the listing where you have the most control over your information. Don’t worry about trying to repeat your keywords—this is where you want to put as much information as possible that will engage your customers. Make sure it is inviting, thorough, and easy to skim.
4. Brand and Manufacturer Part Numbers
Make sure that you always include any brand names or manufacturer part numbers so that your product will show up when customers are searching for a particular brand or part.
The specifications part is where you need to list the physical details of the product, like size, color, weight, tech specs, etc.
6. Category and Sub-Category
The category is a very important feature on Amazon because, once a customer enters into a category on the site, every other search that they perform will default into that category. Therefore, you want to make sure that you put your product in the most relevant and narrow category that you can.
There are so many topics about selling on Amazon, that it all can’t fit into one blog post. (Check back for more Amazon blog posts!) But, now you should know a little more about Amazon’s A9 and have an understanding of how it works. The factors that go into Amazon SEO are quite different than other search engines, but with these tips and tactics, you can optimize your Amazon listings to help shoppers convert.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.