Wait — Amazon SEO? What happened to Google?
Here’s the thing — while we’re obviously pretty big fans of, er, “traditional” Google-based SEO, the reality is that search engine optimization isn’t really just something for Google’s SERPs. Anywhere there is an algorithm that people search for things, there’s going to be a way to game the algorithm.
And let’s face it: there are a lot of people on Amazon trying to sell you things. Not only that, but Amazon’s A9 search engine outperforms Google when it comes to delivering relevant products to searchers. (Likewise, we all know where most people go when they’re trying to buy something new.)
For example, take someone who is trying to find a new phone. They’re going to find a model, go to YouTube, search for reviews — and if the reviews are to their liking — they’ll go on over to Amazon to find it there.
The same goes for just about any product — and much like with Google, if you aren’t at the top of the results, you might as well not even exist. The more friction between your products and your customers, the more likely they are to buy someone else’s products.
Here’s how to get to master Amazon SEO and optimize your product copy.
What is Amazon SEO?
Amazon SEO is optimizing Amazon’s retail listings just like regular search engine optimization targets traditional search engines. A typical SEO campaign involves a handful of individual elements: keyword selection, placement, meta tag optimization, link-building strategies, schema, and so on.
Amazon SEO is similar, but different. For Amazon, best SEO practices are all about determining where your product should be and how it should rank compared to other Amazon retailers.
The Hidden Algorithm: A9
A9 is Amazon’s proprietary algorithm that it uses for ranking products. When you search for a product on Amazon — say, an office chair — A9 is what helps decide what search results you’re going to see.
Much like how Google’s algorithm considers backlinks, content quality, bounce rate, and a bunch of other factors in ranking your website, A9 factors in a handful of factors to best guess what products will make you happiest. A9 considers sales performance history, text match relevancy, product match relevancy and product availability.
A9 also considers Indirect factors such as:
- Fulfillment method
Each of these factors plays into how Amazon’s search results are calculated. Of course, much like with Google, the exact weight of each variable is mostly unknown.
Organic Rankings on Amazon
So you get it — Amazon SEO is important. But if you want to outrank your competitors, what exactly can you do? If you want to move more product, follow the steps below:
1. Do Your Keyword Research (Amazon Style)
Just as it is with ordinary SEO, keyword research is the bread-and-butter of any digital marketing strategy. While there are tools out there to help you do your research (like Sonar or Sellics), it’s totally possible to do the research by hand, the old-fashioned way.
For example, we’re still big fans of the auto-fill method.
Using Autofill to Find Amazon SEO Keywords
Simply type in a keyword in the Amazon search box, and you’ll receive a list of related long-tail keywords. If you want to sell a white sneakers on Amazon, search the key term in the search bar. Amazon will show you similar queries that should help you narrow down your keyword search.
Your next step will be sticking those keywords in a spreadsheet, and then seeing how many products are listed for those keywords.
From there, you can research your keywords using one of the tools above — or, if you already have access to regular ol’ SEO tools (like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, or whatever tool happens to be your favorite), you can pull up your list of keywords there. While the results won’t be 1-to-1, they will be illuminating.
In the same vein, you can use Google’s keyword planner to scout out particular keywords. Remember: Amazon tends to rank pretty well for basically everything they sell, so it’s a good bet that if a lot of people are searching for a product on Google (and the results are dominated by Amazon), then you can figure out exactly what is selling (and what competitors are doing the best on both platforms).
2. Product Optimization
Unsurprisingly, optimizing a product on Amazon looks a lot like optimizing a product on Google. You’re really just trying to maximize usage of your target keyword without getting spammy, and without resorting to cheap tricks.
Optimizing Your Title
Your title is one of the most — if not the post — important aspects of your Amazon product listing. On Amazon, the optimal length of a product title is between 50-100 characters. When writing a title for your product, make sure to consider the following elements:
- Product Type
- Product line
- Key Feature
So, how do you know which element should be given the most priority?
Make a list of the keywords that are working for your competitors — find the highest-ranking products in your category and take a good look at what they have in common. Write them down, and then see if there are any obvious patterns. Does the brand jump out at you? What about a specific feature? Trust your gut here.
As a tip, when it comes to products like “vitamin pills,” or other products related to health, people rely on brand names more than whatever feature your product is providing. For clothes or apparel, your price point will determine if brand or a vague description is more important. (For example, high-end buyers want to know the brand, whereas someone looking for a white t-shirt just, well… wants a white t-shirt!)
Product Feature Optimization
Amazon indexes product features — that makes them a prime target for optimization. Add in your top 2-3 search terms into your features, and try to make it as natural looking as possible.
You have to find a balance between pleasing Amazon’s A9 algorithm and your buyer’s needs. Don’t lean to heavy on either — as over-optimized conversion copy will get you ignored by A9, and content optimized for A9 will look spammy and unnatural to consumers, making them less likely to purchase your product.
Optimizing Your Product Description on Amazon
Your product description tells your customers more about your product. That means it should be valuable for SEO purposes, right? Well, partially.
A9 doesn’t appear to give much significance to product descriptions — though Google does. That means for this part of your product copy, you should focus on content that appeals to Google more than what appeals to Amazon. Add relevant keywords here, but remember, this section is mostly about converting customers — it’s not necessarily about snagging Amazon searchers.
3. Pay Attention to Your Pricing
Price matters. There might be hundreds of sites selling products that are similar to yours, meaning that your price is where you can stand out. Always try to remain competitive, but note that price isn’t everything — especially in a fast, Amazon-based world.
Pro tip: if you can get your product to your customers faster, they might be willing to pay more for it!
4. Work Hard to Get (Real) Product Reviews
No one will add your product to the cart without reading the reviews. Amazon knows customers rely on the reviews before they make a purchase — and that’s why reviews are one of the most important factors for Amazon SEO. Likewise, this is why Amazon works so hard to remove fake or spammy reviews — think of fake reviews as the shady PBNs of Amazon.
Getting legit product reviews isn’t easy. You will have to build a relationship with your buyers first. We suggest adopting an automated email system that pings them for honest feedback. Even just one or two stellar, well-worded reviews can deeply impact how well certain products do.
5. Fulfilment by Amazon
Fulfilment by Amazon is a service where you can store your products at Amazon fulfilment centers. Here, Amazon packs and ships your product as if it were an Amazon product. Based on our experiences, Amazon tends to rank products stored in their warehouses higher than those that aren’t.
6. Don’t Forget to Optimize Your Images!
We’re not just talking about your main images, either. While those are very important (and are often the make-or-break item that really determines who buys your product), images in your description are important, too.
We don’t think it’s an accident that product pages with more robust, professional-looking images tend to have more reviews (and higher quality reviews). While high-quality images don’t necessarily impact Amazon SEO directly, they can increase your conversion rate (which will, in turn, increase your SEO).
Amazon SEO is simple: just feed A9 what it wants, and your products will rank higher than your competitors. Of course, we know the reality is a lot more complicated than that. Often, the smallest details — from keyword choice to the strength of your copy — can be the difference between selling out and barely staying afloat.
Looking for a hand when it comes to crafting copy for your Amazon product pages, or with your digital marketing in general? The Content Factory can help. Click here to contact us and get the sales party started!
Want to build your skills across the board? Our digital marketing Facebook group is a great place to start. And if you’re a femme in the industry, be sure to join Sisters in SEO – it was founded by TCF’s CEO, Kari DePhillips, and is the largest networking group of women in the industry.