Amazon is essentially a large search engine.
In fact, research indicates that it consistently has a large role to play in shopping and product discovery. Amazon is the starting point for 56 percent of people looking for products, while 22 percent won’t look anywhere else if they first find something suitable on Amazon. Another 51 percent will look to Amazon for price comparisons and alternative options before making a purchase decision.
As an Amazon seller, you need to grab a piece of that product discovery action in order to be successful. This means that you need to be aware of how SEO works on Amazon and take steps to optimize your own listings.
Here are some SEO tips for Amazon:
#1. Don’t treat it like Google
“SEO” is a term associated with search engines like Google, however, the Amazon platform does not operate in the same way.
While Google’s algorithm is updated 500 – 600 times each year and aims to deliver the best possible search results and searcher experience based on the keywords used, Amazon’s A9 algorithm is different.
Amazon’s main concern is the likelihood of the searcher making a purchase, so products are displayed in search results by looking at performance (better sales history will rank higher), and relevance for the keywords used in the search query.
Keywords are still important as they are for Google SEO, but it is a mistake to think that keyword data you get from Adwords will work for optimizing your Amazon listing. Searchers on Google may have completely different intent and you would risk that your keywords are inaccurate.
Remember the bottom line – Amazon is about buyers. Optimization is about buyer searches and preferences.
#2. Be thorough with keywords
Keyword usage and search is another thing that has been evolving over time with Amazon. If you have listings that have been around for a while and you haven’t done anything to update them, then there’s a good chance you might need to revisit them.
You can find Amazon’s seller guidelines for keywords here. It’s important to note that they recommend you put words in a logical order when entering a search term. Previous advice that was quite widely spread was that Amazon counted each word individually anyway, so order didn’t necessarily matter.
There are a number of free keyword tools you can use to help with your search (Keywordtool.io, Google Keyword Planner, etc.), and in fact, you might want to use a combination. Google can be useful for narrowing down potential terms, but remember, you’re looking for buying intent. You might find tools such as Keywordtool.io helpful because they use autocomplete from Amazon data to come up with suggested terms.
As a general rule, use the fields that Amazon provides you with to put in as many relevant terms as possible. As they state in their guidelines, Amazon reserves the right to not use all supplied keywords anyway.
“Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.”
If you’re a serious Amazon seller, though…
You will want to use an Amazon keyword tool that pulls data straight from the source. Your best bet is Keyword Scout offered with the Jungle Scout Web App suite of tools. Keyword Scout actually gets broad and exact match search data from Amazon. It also shows you headline search ad, and pay-per-click costs (broad and exact). Plus, it gives you product giveaway unit recommendations to help with promotional giveaway campaigns.
Here’s a screenshot:
You can learn more about Keyword Scout on Jungle Scout’s Keyword Scout page.
#3. Prioritize your keywords
You get a number of different fields to fill out on your product listing, but Amazon’s algorithm works by placing more priority on the keywords in the product title. This is where your most relevant keywords should go – think of those which a customer might actually type into a search.
Priority and fields go like this:
- Product title – your top or most relevant keywords. Use Keyword Scout to find your best keywords.
- Bullet points – keywords related to product use and benefits.
- Product description – this is the place to persuade the customer that your product is a good match for what they were searching for. You can include more detailed information to back up the keywords you’ve used.
- Seller Central backend search terms – these keywords are not visible to the customer but should include all those important keywords you couldn’t put into the title or bullet points.
#4. Improve your click-through rate
Getting a better click-through rate for turning up in a keyword search is a good way to boost your search ranking. This sends signals to Amazon that your product does match what buyers are looking for when they search for the particular term.
How can you improve your Amazon click-through rate?
Here are a few tips:
- Be an FBA seller. That “Prime” badge is a drawcard for the millions of Prime shoppers out there, who want that two-day shipping. To become a Prime seller, you simply need to sell via Amazon FBA program, as a vendor, or as a Fulfillment-by-Merchant seller who is approved to sell Prime.
- Optimize your pricing. Price is often a big factor, with shoppers looking for the best deal. Stay on top of pricing, both to get the click-throughs and hold the buy box. Sometimes, pricing can be tricky. You might be selling products for too high or sometimes even too low! Use an A/B testing application like Splitly to find your product’s optimal pricing.
- Use high-quality images. That hero image tends to be the first thing shopper’s eyes are drawn to.
- Have a clear title. Use the keywords the shopper is likely to be looking for and avoid lengthy titles that are difficult to read.
- Boost your reviews. You’re not allowed to influence or incentivize reviews, but you can do your best to collect more of them. Shoppers will often look at the average star rating and number of reviews as they are displayed with your search result.
- Earn a best-seller badge. Okay, this is not a simple ask, but doing so is a good look for your products.
#5. Improve your conversion rate (unit/session percentage)
Click-throughs are one thing, but you also need to have the sales coming as a result. In fact, sales are a key factor in search ranking and Amazon SEO – getting more sales than the competition can push you ahead in search results.
Of course, this is not an easy task, everyone is trying to drive more sales. One of the first things to do is to ensure that your listing is complete and that all relevant information is included. A customer may not buy if they click on a listing, but don’t find the information they need within it.
The other thing is to ensure that your product description and bullet points clearly match up with your product title and photo. Is the buyer getting what they expect?
One strategy to drive more sales is to send more traffic to your listing. It’s a good idea to do this both internally, through advertising or promotions with Amazon PPC, and externally, such as through Facebook or Google advertising. You may experience a spike in sales which helps to drive up your sales ranking, but you’ll also have to work to maintain your sales momentum.
Getting more reviews and ensuring that you are priced competitively are also good strategies for conversion rates, as well as those click-throughs.
Amazon tends to fulfill the dual roles of marketplace and product search engine. With so many millions of people turning to Amazon first for product searches, or even second as a comparison, it’s important that your listings are optimized for those searches.
Unlike Google, which makes algorithm changes 500 – 600 times per year, Amazon tends to be a bit more stable. Make no mistake though, they do make updates from time-to-time, and it’s important that you’re paying attention when they do. Look for the key impacts – will you need to make any changes to continue ranking?
The bottom line of Amazon is that it’s about making sales. Amazon wants to optimize for buyers because that’s how they make revenue too. Selling quality products with well-researched and optimized listings will go a long way toward helping your ranking.