Google, Yahoo and Bing aren’t the only search engines in the world. Users are much more eager to apply dedicated solutions. Therefore, if you’re looking for a music video, you can go directly to YouTube and if you want to shop, you can go to Amazon. And this is the platform we’re going to focus on today.
Is Amazon SEO different from doing SEO for any other search engine? Well, this question can’t be answered explicitly. The basics remain the same – search engines aim at providing users with possibly the most accurate results corresponding to their queries. Keywords and content are still essential parts of the process. It’s their application, lack of links and behavioral factors that make the difference.
The potential of Amazon
Amazon is the biggest e-commerce store (or sales platform) in the world. In last year, its revenues amounted to almost $120,000 million.
As you can see, this is a very potent market which offers huge prospects of profit. However, if you don’t want to get lost among the abundance of products available on Jeff Bezos’s platform, you need to find out how it works and how to effectively reach customers.
Let’s start with some cold facts. Amazon offers a huge amount of products. Although these products are categorized, users usually browse the site with the use of the built-in search engine. This search engine displays from a few to a few thousands of results and generally, statistical users with a lot of time on their hands maybe will get to the end of the second page. If they still don’t find the products they need, they’ll simply enter a new query into the search bar.
This means that you won’t sell anything or earn any money on Amazon, unless your products are displayed high in the ranking. But don’t worry, we’re here to do something about it!
How does Amazon sales rank work?
There are three main parties in Jeff Bezos’s service: a customer, a seller and an agent, meaning Amazon itself. And each of them wants to make as many transactions as possible.
Customers enter the site to get (un)necessary products, sellers publish their offers to make money and Amazon also collects its share from each transaction or bid (depending on the applicable model) as, obviously, it’s not a charity. As you can guess, Amazon gets its share only when customers find offers meeting their expectations.
Amazon’s A9 product ranking algorithm
A special algorithm, A9 is responsible for ensuring that the three parties of the process are satisfied. When users enter a search query, A9 ranks products, it has plenty of work and a little time to do it. So how does it handle it?
The process of ranking the products has two stages. Firstly, the algorithm filters products which correspond to the search query. Then, it sorts the obtained results in a way that products which are the most likely to be bought are at the top of the list.
Keywords are the most important during the first stage of the filtering process. With their use, the A9 algorithm decides whether given products match customers’ preferences. However, it also takes into account synonyms and different meanings of words, therefore, if you enter “a phone” into the search bar, it’ll also display products described as “iPhone” or “smartphone”. The decision which products are considered as those meeting customers’ expectations is made on the basis of factors taken into account during the second stage.
Critical factors – CTR, conversion and sales
The sorting is supposed to provide users with products that are the most likely to be bought. The algorithm takes into account individual results of given products over time. It concerns behavioral factors such as CTR (click through rate informing about the number of users who clicked on given products in the search results), CR (conversion rate which means actions such as adding a product to the shopping cart) and, more importantly, sales.
The better a given product sells, the higher it’s ranked.
As you’ve probably noticed, it can create a virtuous circle – good sales results lead to products being ranked higher which consequently improves CTR, CR and sales. But what if you don’t have any sales results to boast about?
Well, then you need to use SEO.
Step 1: Choose appropriate keywords
Amazon SEO, as every SEO process should begin with finding out how users search for products on this platform. Apart from adapting to the principles of A9 algorithm, a proper keywords analysis will allow you to encourage people to take advantage of your offer.
Techniques and tools for keyword analysis
There are a few ways to check the queries entered by Amazon users. One of the most basic methods is using auto-fill. As in the case of Google, after typing in the beginning of the search phrase, you’ll see suggestions and products most frequently looked for by other customers.
Competition analysis is the second possible option. Entering a phrase that describes your product range and scrutinizing titles and content allows you to see offers of your competitors that were ranked higher. Moreover, it’s worth reading customer reviews not only under your products but also under the models offered by your market rivals. This way, you can see what terms are used by potential customers.
Scrolling the page is rather time-consuming. Fortunately, there are many tools that make keyword analysis noticeably easier. Sonar is one of them. It includes a huge database of queries that were entered into the search engine on Amazon. It also informs how often a given phrase is searched for. The free version provides access to the database and the paid one offers you a range of tools that facilitate optimization and management of products. Similar functionalities are offered by Jungle Scout.
Obviously, you can also always use Google Keyword Planner as some customers enter product pages directly from this search engine. Ahrefs may also be of much help! This tool used primarily for analyzing backlinks allows you to scan individual subpages (for example, of your products) and check which keywords led users to your site.
Key phrases in product descriptions
If you’ve already selected keywords, now you’re probably wondering where to put them. There are a few content fields. The brand name, product name (title), attributes (bullet points), description, backend keywords or product information fields. All these elements are taken into consideration by the algorithm so if they’re connected to the search query entered by the user, then your products will be incorporated in the ranking.
However, Amazon doesn’t count the so-called Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content which are available only to the owners of premium accounts.
You need to pay attention to two aspects. First of all, indexed fields are even. This means that the algorithm doesn’t really care whether you put the keyword in the title or description of your product. Even though it’s important for users and affects your CTR and conversion, the algorithm is satisfied when the needed key phrase appears anywhere.
The size of particular elements is the other aspect. While some components have clear restrictions, others are indexed only to a certain length. The size is given not in the number of characters but in bytes. For standard characters available on the keyboard 1B = 1 character, however, diacritical characters take up two bytes. This restriction applies mainly to attributes and the “keywords” fields.
Remember that keywords should sound and look natural. A9 algorithm recognizes the plural and the singular forms, with the exception of long, complex words in German. It also spots typos. Compound words, meaning expressions that can be written together or separately, should be separated by dashes.
Content is king – how to describe products?
When keywords are already prepared, you can move on to creating, or optimizing, content concerning your products. To be precise, it’s about:
- Product name – title,
- Attribute – description in a form of a list with bullet points,
- Product description
- “Additional information” field,
- Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content for owners of premium accounts.
Amazon believes that “customers are always right”. Therefore, you need to make sure that your content is as helpful and user-friendly as possible. Functionalities of products should be presented in a transparent manner and you ought to emphasize their assets. The content should be clear and understandable, don’t beat around the bush and don’t promise anything unrealistic.
Your content should also be refined visually. It’s much easier to read concise sentences and texts with headings. Amazon puts great emphasis on the quality of the content and it publishes detailed guidelines explaining how to prepare product pages on this site.
There are numerous guidelines determining what specific parts of your Amazon content should look like:
- Product name – the title should include the most important pieces of information, assets and unique features of the product. A good title improves CTR and conversion. Mobile devices display product names which are about 70 characters long, therefore, you need to include here only essential facts.
- Attribute – a description in the form of a bullet point list needs to describe the most important features and applications of the product. It also improves conversion. It’s advisable to limit the length of a single point to 200 characters to keep everything aesthetic. You’ve five points at your disposal – each should discuss one attribute. Mobile users will see only the first three.
- Product description – very often sellers mistakenly place here the same information as in attributes. If users reach this part, it can be assumed that they’ve already read about the features of the product. This is a place for additional pieces of information and brief storytelling. You can divide the text into paragraphs, add headings or bullet lists with the use of HTML tags.
- “Additional information” field – it contains different data depending on the product category, however, information here is always technical and concerns aspects such as size, colors or fabrics.
Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content
These are extra elements that enable various layouts, therefore, they can be more attractive visually and consequently improve conversion. Amazon claims that products with Enhanced Brand Content or A+ Content descriptions can have from 3 to 10% higher conversion rate.
These types of content allow you to show off your whole product range and to create more engaging descriptions interspersed with photos. It helps to make your products stand out from the crowd and to improve your brand recognition.
If you’ve a premium account, you can access more interactive functionalities such as publishing videos, sliders or product carousels. However, it’s worth pointing out that Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content aren’t indexed so they don’t affect your visibility in the search results.
Product photos on Amazon
Product photos have a huge impact on doing Amazon SEO. Although they don’t affect the rank directly, they influence behavioral elements such as CTR, conversion and sales.
Product photos are the main elements displayed in the search results and they’ve a great impact on clickability. You can publish extra photos on the product page to earn customers trust, dispel their doubts and encourage them to buy your goods. This, in turn, affects conversion and sales.
JPEG, TIFF, PNG and GIF are photo formats recommended by Amazon. The resolution should be at least 72 DPI, and the photo itself should have a minimum of 1000 pixels on the longer edge and 500 on the shorter edge. Thanks to it, it’s possible to activate the zoom – when users move the cursor over the photo, they’ll see its enlarged fragments.
The requirements for the main image are slightly more detailed. It can present only the offered product on a white background. The product itself should take up at least 85% of the picture area. It must be unpacked and fully visible. It’s forbidden to use graphics with text or illustrations.
How to maintain your high position?
Let’s assume that you’ve already prepared high-quality and attractive content with keywords, you’ve selected appropriate photos but you still aren’t ranked satisfactory high. Is there something more than can be done? Of course!
Model customer service
Positive ratings and reviews can affect your CTR, CR and sales. The better a given product is rated, the easier it is to convince users to buy it. Amazon takes into account the number of reviews and the average rating.
You can legally encourage users to leave comments and rate your products high. Ensure model customer service, fast delivery or think about including a small gift in the package, all of these can help evoke positive feelings in customers. Maybe it’s a good idea to include a leaflet asking for feedback in the package.
It’s essential that you check new comments and ratings regularly and learn how to address negative ones politely.
The product page contains a Q&A section. If someone asks a question about your offer, it can be answered also by other users, however, it should be you who does it first in a professional manner. A substantive and quick response is an important factor that affects the customer decision making process.
Amazon enables setting up paid campaigns. They work with keywords, so product descriptions should be optimized beforehand.
But how can paid campaigns affect SEO?
Sales are one the most important factors taken into account by the Amazon rank. It doesn’t matter whether the user found the product in the search results, ads or in category trees. The increase in sales improves the position in the rank! And this mechanism is particularly useful in the case of products that are new or for whom it’s difficult to stand out from other goods on the platform.
Linking individual auctions to improve their positions is pointless. However, if users get to your site from the outside, it may affect your conversion and sales which contributes to being ranked higher.
You can achieve this goal with the use of PCC advertisements, newsletters, social media or influencers’ recommendations.
Price is one of the main factors affecting the customer decision making process. It’s natural that users prefer cheaper offers if they can choose from a few products of similar quality. However, you need to be careful. The algorithm doesn’t really like the cheapest products as it perceives them as rank manipulation or low-quality goods that won’t meet customers’ expectations.
Nevertheless, a competitive price can help improve your CTR and sales. It needs to be matched to the product, therefore it’s a good idea to test and compare different possibilities.
Warehouse and shipping management
If you want to be ranked high, take advantage from Amazon’s logistics facilities. Using the Fulfillment by Amazon option enables free shipping to users who subscribe to Amazon Prime. And in many cases, it doesn’t really make a difference whether or not products are having the Prime label.
In most cases, the FBA option equals the shortest delivery time which will certainly be appreciated by customers and consequently they’ll be more willing to leave positive comments.
You should constantly monitor your stock levels. If a given product is unavailable for a longer time period, its position in the rank will decrease. When such a situation occurs, it’s best to regain the position by increasing sales through Amazon’s PPC advertisements.
Amazon SEO – conclusion
Achieving the best possible results on Amazon is possible thanks to taking into account all factors that can improve CTR, conversion and sales. Proper management and correct optimizations will enable creating a virtuous marketing circle whose results can be boosted with the use of paid advertisements.
The effects can be really spectacular!