When you think SEO, most people think of Google. Obviously you want high rankings in search engines. But if you are selling products through your website, there are other places you can sell through too.
If you have a product page up on Amazon, you want it to be found by customers. Just like you would like to rank highly in Google, ranking highly on Amazon can be lucrative.
Why? Well because you’ll have access to Amazon’s massive customer base.
Seriously, it’s a giant! 44% of all product searches begin on Amazon (sorry Google). And it doesn’t stop there, Amazon prime has a whopping 10 million more members than Costco according to a study by Bloomberg:
So how do you rank on Amazon?
Just like with Google, it’s all about the algorithm.
But when it comes to improving your products visibility on Amazon, it’s worth keeping in mind that customers will have different search habits when compared to searchers on Google.
On Amazon, a customer can only find your product if the search enquiry is matched (via Amazon’s A9 algorithm – but more on that later) to one of your product keywords.
So you want to master Amazon SEO?
I’ve written this comprehensive guide to help sellers learn and continually improve their product’s organic rankings (on Amazon).
Let’s jump in.
What is the Amazon Sales Rank?
Amazon Sales Rank shows a product’s popularity in a specific category:
Simply put, Sales Rank is how well your product is selling compared to the category it’s in.
For example, if you sell tents (in the Sports & Outdoors category) then your tents will be ranked against all other sports & outdoors items in that category.
Oh and it’s a reverse ranking system.
This means that the worst selling products have a higher number, and vice versa. It updates hourly and the more frequent the purchases, the better the rank is.
Want to see the sales rank? Just go on a product and scroll down to the additional information section:
Check out this tent, 12,395 in the category as a whole but an impressive #2 in Frame Tents:
Wouldn’t it be cool though to see exactly how many of these tent’s sold each month?
Well there is thanks to Jungle Scouts Amazon Sales Estimator. Just enter the sales rank, marketplace region and product category and the tool does the rest:
For seller’s standpoint, Amazon sales rank is a simple way of seeing how well your product is selling compared to competitors. It also has the highest correlation with search success. Just check out this ranking factor chart:
What determines Amazon sales ranking isn’t known for sure. But there are a few things every Amazon seller should remember:
- Amazon is basically a search engine. So it goes without saying: good SEO strategies boost your sales;
- Customers search for your product before they find it amongst loads of other similar products. So you need a higher rank to improve your visibility;
- Your competitors use Amazon, so you better start implementing Amazon SEO strategies right away.
But how do you do that?
First, we need to understand exactly how the Amazon A9 Algorithm works.
A9 Search Algorithm Explained
There are 3 main ranking factors that Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm takes into account:
- Conversion Rate – This is to do with the amount of traffic your product listing gets to the number of people that purchase. So images, customer reviews, and price are a big influence in your conversion rate.
- Keyword Relevancy – This is to do with the keywords you choose to rank your products for. Your title and product description are two of the main sections the A9 Algorithm uses to figure out if your listing is relevant. Your product can rank for multiple keywords but only a few keywords with buyer intent. It’s important to know the difference when doing your keyword research.
- Customer Satisfaction – This is one of the ranking factors the A9 Algorithm uses to rank your product. Seller feedback and return rate are key here.
If you’re going to create an SEO strategy then you need to optimize for these 3 pillars.
How to win
friends Amazon and influence people
Amazon isn’t like Google where they go to great lengths to hide the factors that they use in their algorithm. Inside Amazon’s Seller Central, they’ll blatantly tell you several of their top ranking factors. You can also visit the official Amazon Seller Support Blog for some great insights.\
Amazon rankings are influenced by a handful of both direct and indirect factors.
Let’s explore them:
Direct Ranking Factors (aka relevancy + keywords)
Let’s talk about the direct factors first, chief among which is text match relevancy, since pricing and availability of stock can be easily handled.
- Text match relevancy: Starting with the product title, this extends to description and product copy.
- Availability of stock: If you’ve run out of stock, the listing ranking may decrease or disappear. Always plan accordingly.
- Price: If your pricing is much higher compared to competitors, your competitor might take the cake.
1. Titling Your Amazon Product
The product title is one of the first things that potential buyers will see.
So it goes without saying, for the best SEO and UX, include your most important and most relevant keywords in the title.
Add the most important keyword first (ideally the name of the product).
Checkout this style guide (from Amazon) for sellers. It recommends having the following elements in your product titles:
- Product line
- Packaging quantity
- Material (a key feature that’s most important)
- Product type
If you think that sounds like a lot of info to include in a title, don’t worry. Just checkout this title:
It’s got the brand in, what it is, some keyword variations and dimensions. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of leeway with filling up your page titles, but don’t over do it.
Just remember to make sure your product follows the guidelines. It would be best to describe the product without keyword stuffing, like this:
Looks messy right?
2. Research Product Copy Keywords
Let’s rewind for sec.
Before you can start writing your sales copy, you need to do some keyword research.
Just like for ranking in Google, you want choose and target keywords that are going to get you to the top of the search results.
A good method for Amazon keyword research is reverse engineering your competitors. Here’s how to get started:
- Find your most successful competitors (hint: just look at the number of the reviews they have).
- Select the three top-ranked competitors for your product with the most number of reviews.
- Analyse the product copy and title descriptions to discover the keywords they’re using.
- Clean up your keyword list by removing any that aren’t relevant.
Now you’ve got a list of keywords to target on our Amazon listings. Nice.
Now, with that list of keywords…
3. Do your keyword research
You’ve heard it a thousand times: keyword research is super important. And Amazon SEO is no different.
Head over to Site Explorer and run through a Amazon product page.
You’ll see the keywords bringing in visitors to the page from organic search.
Now you can reverse engineer these to use these keywords to drive traffic to your own products.
Pay close attention to
- What position the page holds in the SERPs for each keyword;
- How much traffic it generates;
- How many times users search for it per month;
- The Keyword Difficulty – in order to help you identify terms that are easy (or at least easier) to rank for.
There’s also Amazon specific tools out there for you to use.
Enter the MerchantWords Keyword Tool
MerchantWords estimates Amazon product search volume and other details for keywords.
Researching your product name with a tool like MerchantWords will then help with selecting the keywords that have the most volume.
So you’ve got your keywords, now what?
Keyword placement plays a big part in Amazon SEO. After all, some keywords will be more relevant for your product than others.
Amazon is uber aware of shopper behavior. It has taken this into account in its algorithm.
Keywords that are featured in the product title have the highest weight for rankings, followed by Seller Central backend search terms, and finally bullet points & product listing description.
Here’s a suggested order you should place your most relevant keywords:
- Product title: The most relevant keywords for your product will go here in your product title as it’ll be the first thing customers see.
- Seller Central backend search terms: Further keywords can be placed here. Just make sure you don’t go over 250 bytes of keywords in order to comply with Amazon’s restrictions.
- Bullet points & product description: Any further relevant keywords that you didn’t manage to squeeze into the title and backend keywords can be placed here. Make sure it doesn’t mess up your content and/or conversion rate though.
Indirect Ranking Factors (aka high sales velocity)
So if direct factors influence rankings, then anyone who’s done some keyword research and optimization should be able to rank their products right?
Enter indirect factors.
Amazon takes into account many indirect factors when it comes to ranking products.
Here’s a not so secret secret:
High sales velocity is key to your Amazon ranking.
It makes sense when you think about it. After all, the e-commerce behemoth is here to sell as many products as it can and will promote and push products up that sell well.
Higher conversions and frequent sales spikes your product ranking, which fuels another cycle of sales. It’s a snowball effect!
So here’s how to increase your Amazon sales velocity….
1. Additional Contextual Information
Include additional contextual information in your Amazon listing to help increase sales.
For example, just take a look at a search for ‘dslr camera’:
If you type the keyword “dslr camera”, you can see loads of additional keywords as suggestions. Now you’ll be able to take these and produce contextual information for potential customers.
Think about how these suggestions can help flesh out your Amazon listing:
- Are there additional products that your camera is compatible with? Things like bags, straps, tripods.
- Can they be used with tripods?
- What are the advantages of using a stabilizer?
Answering these questions in your product copy pre-empts customer concerns, which helps to increase conversions.
2. High-Quality Images
Using high quality images should be obvious really.
People want to see what they are buying. So make sure to use high-quality images that enable the zoom function.
Here’s what Amazon recommends:
Images should be 1,000 pixels or larger in either height or width, as this will enable zoom function on the website (zoom has proven to enhance sales). The smallest your file should be is 500 pixels on the longest side.”
Customers want (and need) to be able to zoom in for a closer view of your product. They also want to see more than one image.
Still not convinced? Check out these image stats:
- DueMaternity saw a 27% increase in conversion when they added 360-degree rotating images.
- Golfsmith saw conversions of between 10% and 40% when they added a spin feature to their product images:
- Medalia Art saw a whopping 95% increase in click through rates when they swapped paintings of artists with real photos of the artists.
3. Use Bullet Points in Product Descriptions
Bullet points don’t directly impact your rank in the search results. However they are an opportunity to influence two very important factors:
Conversion rate & product relevance.
Bullet points offer a fairly easy opportunity for you to increase conversions.
They are quick and easy to read so your customers are going to focus on this area. Because they naturally stand out and make content easier to read than a block of text, they’ll help increase conversion rates.
Using bullet points also helps to clearly present features and benefits of your product to customers. They are great way to tell your customers about the benefits of your product without overloading them with information.
It’s a great way to include critical bits of information like, ingredients, dimensions or other requirements.
Working relevant keywords into these bullet points (naturally), is a great way to add value to your product listing page. And, just like the title, words used in the bullets will be indexed by the Amazon A9 algorithm and used to help identify your product when customers use the search bar.
4. Use Amazon Enhanced Brand Content
If you are a Brand, you can use Amazon Enhanced Brand Content to help make your listing stand out.
Basically, it allows brands to modify description fields of their products so that rather than just adding a description, brands get to tell their story visually.
Brands can enhance images and texts, and add differentiating design aspects to their descriptions.
According to studies, this saw a 45.21% change in conversion rate!
5. Encourage (genuine) product reviews
Reviews on Amazon are the ultimate conversion tool.
In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends IRL. And customers trust businesses with positive reviews more.
Amazon knows customers rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions as they help to get an insight into product quality as well as build social proof.
Reviews also help products rank on Amazon. A product with reviews will often rank higher than one with few or no reviews.
Just don’t use underhand tactics to increase reviews
Just like with Google, getting good at Amazon SEO comes down to knowing what the algorithm wants from you.
Which ultimately comes down to making users/customers happy.
Your product pages can be optimized in a few different ways, but they all come down to two factors: relevance and performance. Keep these in mind and you can’t go far wrong.
Try this simple strategy on your listings:
Focus in on your top sellers, and optimise.
Not only will you see results faster, you’ll also learn more about the way your customers seek out your products on Amazon.
If you optimize with customers in mind, you should eventually see positive movements in your search rankings, conversion rates, and sales.
Apply this knowledge to your other listings and you’ve got a solid Amazon SEO plan.