May 2, 2019
Let’s face it, modern retail lives online. That’s not to say that the concept of a brick a mortar location is outdated or going away anytime soon.
Far from it.
But to ignore the effect of online retail in 2019 is to not only shoot yourself in the foot but burn your entire company down in the process.
It’s no secret that online retail is popular and effective in appealing to a modern audience. And there is no more popular online retail platform than Amazon.
But with thousands of businesses competing on Amazon, how can you make sure that your company is able to stand out among the crowd.
The answer is simple.
But what is Amazon SEO? How does it work? And how can you optimize your listings to ensure maximum conversions?
Read on to find out!
As the name implies, Amazon SEO allows you to optimize your Amazon retail listing. This is done in a manner similar to regular search engine optimization, wherein Google or another search engine (like Bing) will rank your website based on an algorithm that crawls over your content and takes note of what you do before making a judgment on where you should go.
Amazon SEO works in a lot of the same ways. As you’ve likely guessed by now, Amazon SEO determines where your product will fall on Amazon’s retail listings.
To give a real-world example, someone who is shopping for a new chair for their office might type “computer chair” into Amazon. If you are an optimized office furniture retailer, your Amazon SEO score will determine where that user will find your company’s listing.
Amazon products are displayed in two ways.
List views show 15-16 product listings per page, whereas gallery views have 24 to 25 products per results page.
The ultimate goal of an Amazon listing is to receive more clicks. More clicks equal more successful conversions. The more conversions you get, the more you can increase your product’s overall visibility and hopefully conversion rate.
Once you’ve managed to score well for one of your products, it will inevitably draw shoppers to the rest of your wares, starting you down the road to brand loyalty.
But how important is Amazon SEO?
Pretty darn important.
Take a look at these figures.
If you’re the office furniture retailer we spoke about before, let’s say you’re listed on page two of Amazon’s search results for computer chairs.
That means you’re missing out on 80% of all the traffic coming through looking for the specific item that you’re selling.
Then, let’s say that you manage to work hard on your Amazon SEO and that takes you up to rank 17. This makes you visible to gallery customers, but not those who are looking at their results via a list.
If you reach rank five, then you’re visible on both platforms but you’re still missing out on 60% of the clicks that come through every day, which never get past the third listing.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re number one.
The Amazon SEO process is driven by a system known as A9.
A9 is Amazon’s proprietary algorithm for determining what order it lists items. While Google tends to take a lot of different matters into consideration, A9 is a lot more focused.
A9 is driven by conversions, not keyword density. That’s not the only thing that this algorithm cares about, but it is very conversion-centric, placing a value on a product’s ability to sell above all else.
There are several Amazon SEO parameters which also determine your product’s ranking. For instance, product reviews come into play. They want to not only see a large amount of reviews, but they want to see that they are mostly positive.
Two other issues that help raise your rank are Amazon Prime eligibility and Amazon Choice badges.
Conversions, however, rule all. When a product converts for specific keywords, it is then ranked higher for those searches.
That’s because the A9 is designed specifically with customers in mind. It wants to reward its customers by helping them find the best and most relevant products, according to their wants and needs.
On top of that, Amazon wants to push quality products, and typically higher converting products with positive reviews are going to keep customers coming back for more.
As we briefly mentioned in the last section, Amazon’s A9 algorithm is driven by a number of different factors. These factors are determined by a set of criteria which we will go into more detail on here.
Sales performance history is the biggie, and that is valued first and foremost over all else. Amazon wants to ensure that you have the ability to produce a high number of conversions.
But you also have to be relevant to the search. You won’t be beat out by an unrelated item just because it converts at a higher level than you.
Google lives and dies with keywords, and while they’re not as important in the world of Amazon SEO, keywords and search queries have to be relevant to the product in question.
This is determined through a text match system which involves both your product descriptions and title optimization.
Price is also a factor when determining SEO rankings. A product needs to be priced fairly in order to convert. If you’re charging an arm and a leg and greatly exceeding industry norms, the system will ding you for it.
Availability is also a huge issue when it comes to SEO scoring on Amazon. The company wants to make sure that you have enough stock to meet demand should you hit a large surge in conversions.
There are also a number of indirect factors, which contribute to your overall score.
So why does Amazon care so much about conversions? That’s not something Google cares about, so why does it matter to Amazon? It’s because Amazon gets a cut of every sale made on its platform.
As such, they want to ensure that the product they’re listing will sell and increase profits for years to come. When Amazon lists a product on their site in the number one position, it is giving that product the Amazon seal of approval. Amazon is one of the largest and most respected companies on the planet, so their reputation is tied up in the products that they list.
Hence, they want to make sure that you’re not placing wrapping paper around a rock and calling it candy.
Google is not concerned with conversions because more clicks on organic search results don’t equal money for Google.
Amazon, however, lives and dies off of its top sellers, and sees the connection between seller and platform as a profitable partnership that will work to the benefit of all.
Now that you understand how Amazon SEO works, it’s time to start talking about what you can do to make the A9 algorithm work for you. Remember, you could have the best product in the world, but the only way your visibility and Amazon SEO rating will increase is through careful optimization of your listings.
Understanding what the A9 algorithm wants from you will help you appeal to it better. For starters, think like a shopper when optimizing your listing. What is the first thing that you see when you’re browsing through products. Likely, it’s the title, and that’s the first place where you should start optimizing.
People search for specific products when shopping on Amazon. A great example of this would be someone shopping for a black jacket by typing “black jacket” into the Amazon search bar.
According to Amazon Seller Central, significant increases to your product ranking are possible by adding one additional search term to your title, provided it is both compelling and relevant.
Your titles should be always concise and unique in nature. That will help it stand out and appeal to the ever-evolving A9.
Typical Amazon title format calls for different bits of information to be listed. Some of these include:
Obviously, not all of these items are going to be relevant for every product. It’s important to include as much information as possible while also remembering to insert specific relevant keywords from your keyword research in the title.
Remember, your title is your first and best search field.
Depending on what category you’re listing under, your title can be restricted to anywhere between 50 and 100 characters, so use them wisely.
The details section is where you list a number of informational points about your product. It is another opportunity where you can appeal to the A9 algorithm.
The details should have at least five, if not six different bullet points that are informative and feature defining keywords.
The descriptions of your products should also be accurate and provide details on all of the major features that you want to highlight. Make sure you’re also including some of your primary search terms.
When writing out your descriptions you can select to enter either regular product descriptions or enhanced brand content. Make sure that for the purposes of Amazon SEO, you’re using regular product descriptions for your keywords.
That’s because A9 does not index EBC. That doesn’t mean you should include nothing in the EBC field. While Amazon does not index this information, Google does. So use some keywords in there to help out your Google ranking as well. It couldn’t hurt!
After the title, the next thing you’re likely to notice about a listing will be images of the product.
Images should always be included. Notice I said “images,” plural. These visual aids provide a clear picture as to what the actual product looks like from many different angles.
When you’re compiling your list of Amazon images, make sure that you’re using a mix of posed product images and actual images and videos of people using the product. It also helps to include some diagrams that show the product’s dimensions.
When optimizing search terms, you can include up to 250 characters, including spaces. Try to use as much of that space as you can.
This is where you should include all of the terms that were not used in your title.
One important point to remember when creating search terms, don’t repeat keywords you’ve already used. Variation expands the potential audience, and repeating yourself is a waste of valuable online real estate.
You should also include your top three search terms in the product features section. If at all possible, try to keep it to one term per feature.
It’s also important to keep optimizing your listings constantly. Much like regular SEO, Amazon SEO is an ongoing process that must be constantly maintained.
If you’re hoping to make a splash in the online retail world of Ecommerce, you should be listing on Amazon. And if you want your listings to get traffic (who doesn’t?) you need to optimize your content.
Appeal to the A9 algorithm and stay on top of updates that it might undergo. Doing so will give you the chance to remain competitive and increase your conversions, making both you and Amazon happy in the process.
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