Amazon. We all know this legendary online retailer sweeping the nation. Consumers continuously choose this growing giant as their go-to resource when they’re ready to buy. In fact, a study from BloomReach found that in 2016, 55% of consumers started their buying journey on Amazon. Why should you care? Well, in layman’s terms, not optimizing for Amazon could be detrimental to your company’s growth. Ecommerce brands need to create a proactive Amazon strategy in order to become visible to the growing consumer pool.
Amazon is the largest search engine where the main search intent is to buy. But unfortunately for sellers, along with this opportunity for new acquisition, Amazon also presents a vicious battle of high competition and low visibility. This is primarily why you should be thinking about how to optimize your Amazon listing to ensure you are easily seen, and more importantly, chosen by consumers.
Amazon’s A9 Algorithm
Optimizing for Google is an ongoing project for all SEOs. But, now that Amazon has entered the playing field, the game has changed. Optimizing for Amazon follows a slightly different set of rules. The framework is fairly similar to a typical SEO approach, but the details differ in crucial ways. This means SEO’s need to shift their mindset when they begin optimizing for Amazon.
The first step to optimizing for Amazon is to get familiar with A9. If you are a seasoned SEO, you are thoroughly familiar with the Google Algorithm and are always anticipating it’s constant updates. Well let me introduce you to Amazon’s search algorithm, A9. Although not as intricate as the Google Algorithm, A9 is continuously adapting to help buyers find and purchase items quickly. Amazon is primarily a buying platform, which suggests A9’s sole purpose is to determine the purchase likelihood of a product and display the most relevant products front and center.
Amazon Organic Ranking Factors
You may be wondering how the Amazon algorithm ranks products. Luckily, this is very simple. Amazon ranking factors can be classified under two categories: Performance Factors and Relevance Factors.
Performance Factors represent how your product has performed historically. By dictating how a product has performed, Amazon can then display the most popular products at the top of the search results. The main performance factors include:
- Click Through Rates
- Conversion Rates
Relevance factors indicate how well a product fulfills the specific search query. These are the typical ranking factors that revolve around extensive keyword research. Amazon will determine the relevance of a product through the:
- Featured Bullet Points
- Product Descriptions
- Backend Search terms
Amazon Product Listing Optimization
When beginning your optimization process, it’s important to remember that Amazon SEO is not a one size fits all process. The following Amazon optimization tips are only suggestions to help your product rank better and increase conversions. The end goal of Amazon SEO is to increase product visibility, CTRs and relevance in order to increase transactions and revenue. Here is how to optimize your Amazon listing:
1) Begin with Extensive Keyword Research
Before making any changes to your product listings, you have to know what you’re optimizing for. Typically, Amazon users have already done their product research and are going to be searching for very specific products. Therefore, you need to be utilizing keyword research tools to gain insights on these specific keywords, along with all other relevant results. A few online tools to utilize for Amazon SEO include Keyword Tool and Sonar Tool. Using these tools to conduct extensive keyword research before optimizing your Amazon listing will help save a lot of time down the road. Compile a thought-out extensive list for easy reference later on.
2) Optimize your Product Title
By far, the most valuable aspect of an Amazon product listing is the title. The title is the first impression with a potential customer and it is your chance to explain what your product offers. If the title does not appeal or satisfy the customer’s query, your product will not be clicked. Therefore, having an optimized product title with long tail keywords will have the greatest impact on your product’s performance.
Although the product title character limit may change depending on the category, the order in which you place your keywords should not. For Amazon SEO purposes, always place the highest valued keyword towards the beginning, and work your way down to the least important. The A9 algorithm correlates higher relevance with keywords that appear earlier in the title. Although, this does not mean you should keyword stuff your titles. Jumping back to SEO 101, keyword stuffing offers a horrible user experience and could negatively impact your CTRs thus negatively impacting your rankings.
Keeping all of this in mind, Amazon suggests incorporating the following when optimizing your product title:
- Product Line
- Material or Key Feature
- Product Type
3) Optimize Product Descriptions, Bullets and Features
Similarly to the product title, an optimized description helps users and Amazon fully understand the value of the product. Therefore, this crucial real estate on your Amazon product listing should not be an afterthought.
Both the features and description fields appear underneath your optimized title, and should comprehensively explain the benefits in detail to entice consumers. Utilize the keyword research conducted earlier to continuously describe the relevance of your product.
Amazon Product Feature Optimization Tips:
- Choose at least 5 unique features that consumers would benefit from (i.e. warranties or dimensions)
- Be as specific as possible to thoroughly explain all the features, virtually leaving little room for confusion or disappointment when the consumer receives the product.
- Separate each thought with a new bullet to keep the content digestible and inviting.
- Avoid including any promotional content or pricing information. This section should specifically focus on the features of the product displayed.
Amazon Product Description Optimization Tips:
- Be as descriptive as possible. Product descriptions should be a few paragraphs long.
- Break up the content for “easy-to-skim” paragraphs while incorporating bolded text for emphasis,
- Utilize long-tail keywords and a persuasive tone to encourage purchases.
The end goal is to explicitly tell a story through your product description and encourage the consumer to take action through the extensive list of features.
4) Utilize Enhanced Brand Content or A+ Content
In addition to simply optimizing the product descriptions, Amazon also provides a way for sellers to enhance the appearance of the content. Two of the more popular formats are A+ Detail Pages and Enhanced Brand Content (EBC).
A+ Content is currently only available through Vendor Central. It provides vendors the opportunity to integrate comprehensive product descriptions with rich media such as images, charts and videos. There are up to twelve different modules for vendors to choose from that incorporate different animated functions, header options and images. These engaging multimedia aspects of A+ content tend to increase user engagement and more importantly, conversions.
Enhanced Brand Content is currently only available to authorized and registered third-party sellers. EBC allows sellers to provide additional information about the product and incorporate images into their listings. There are five different layouts for sellers to choose from in order to test and boost sales.
Both A+ pages and EBC enhance your product to help drive sales through additional rich images and text to your listing. By utilizing these methods to enhance your content, conversion rates and revenue typically increase.
5) Optimize for Backend Keywords
Lastly, Amazon provides the opportunity to record a list of “invisible” keywords that will help your product be discovered by different search queries. These particular terms are only visible to Amazon, but gives your product the essential boost of relevance to appear more often. Backend keywords are easy to overlook and if you’re not careful, you may do a poor job optimizing them.
Back in 2015, your backend keywords could not exceed 50 characters. But now, each field can hold up to 250 characters. This is your opportunity to provide important search terms that consumers will find applicable to your product. Think creative and think out of the box, but think relevant.
Ultimately, when optimizing your Amazon product listing, the focus should be on increasing conversion rates. Amazon solely cares about the buyers and identifying new ways to make consumers buy more frequently. Therefore, when you help Amazon with this process, you are essentially helping yourself.
Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help managing your Amazon SEO.
-Ruby Bartolomei, SEO Analyst