As more and more consumers turn to the internet as their primary means of shopping, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to have a presence on Amazon. In fact, more than half of consumers now begin their online shopping searches on Amazon directly.
With more than 197 million monthly users, Amazon gives sellers the opportunity to reach a massive audience of shoppers who are ready to buy. But this growth is not limited to shoppers. There are more sellers and products hitting the Amazon marketplace every day. And while this is great news for Amazon and its shoppers, it presents a challenge for sellers who are trying to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
With so many products and sellers competing for shopper attention, an effective Amazon SEO strategy is critical to ensuring that your products appear in search results for your target markets. The good news is, Amazon SEO services for sellers are fairly simple. Most of the data pertinent to your SEO standings can be easily generated and, once you have established a strong content strategy, used to optimize your SEO rankings.
Below, we will discuss our top recommendations for optimizing the different areas of your listing for SEO. Together, we will walk through a few do’s and don’ts to help you achieve more views, clicks and conversions.
Dissecting the A9 Algorithm
Amazon’s algorithm, A9, is different than those used by other search engines, like Google, and should be treated as such. No one knows the precise ins and outs of A9’s functionality, but there are a few direct factors that we know the algorithm takes into account when assessing your listing. These include keyword match, price, product availability, selection and sales history.
Of these direct factors, keyword match is the factor that sellers can most easily impact to help improve their SEO rankings. The focus of your SEO strategy should be on text match relevancy and how you can best employ relevant keywords to optimize your listings.
Getting to Know Your Product Listing
A standard listing on Amazon is made up of four content areas: product title, bullet points, product description and backend keywords. Amazon is very clear about how the different content areas impact your SEO ranking.
Titles Are Most Important
Product titles offer the most SEO value, meaning you should include your most important keywords within the title. But be careful to avoid keyword stuffing. This can result in a nonsensical mumbo jumbo of keywords that end up confusing the consumer and driving shoppers away from your listing.
Beefing Up Your Bullet Points
After optimizing the listing title, focus on your bullet points. These are the five primary product features listed to the right of your product images. These bullet points, along with the product images, are what most consumers rely on when making a purchase decision. This means that bullets are not only incredibly valuable in terms of SEO, but also in terms of driving conversions.
We recommend you begin by identifying your top five product benefits. These are the things that separate your product from that of competitors and offer the most value to consumers. It is important to be concise and to restrain from cramming every detail of your product into the bullet points. There will be plenty of time to elaborate within your product description. Once you have identified your five key features, order them by importance into your five bullet points.
From an SEO standpoint, include your most important keywords – especially those that did not make it into the title. Again, include keywords in a way that will resonate with – and not confuse – shoppers. The SEO value of keywords is diminished if they are hindering sales and conversions.
When optimizing your bullet points, stick to the following list of do’s and don’ts:
- Begin every bullet point with a capital letter
- Use short fragments that are easy to skim
- Use semicolons to separate phrases
- Use numerals to represent all numbers
- Spell out units of measurement
- Limit content to product-specific information
- Limit each bullet point to 500 characters or less
- End bullets with punctuation
- Be vague in your descriptions
- Include brand-specific information
- Call out promotions
- Mention shipping or seller information
- Focus on price
Seal the Deal with Product Descriptions
The final area of your listing content that consumers will see is your product description. This is rather far down the page, meaning that shoppers are likely coming here if they are interested in your product but did not get enough information from your title, product images and bullet points to commit to a purchase. They are still on the fence and this is your chance to seal the deal.
With a limit of 2,000 characters, product descriptions offer the most opportunity to include long-form content within your listing. It is your chance to elaborate on the features you mentioned in your bullet points, provide additional insight into the product and include information about your brand.
A few watch-outs though. Amazon carefully regulates the claims made in product descriptions in order to protect consumers from outrageous or false claims. If your product falls within a heavily regulated category, such as health care products, you will want to consult Amazon’s product detail page rules when optimizing your descriptions. If you are caught making claims outside of Amazon’s regulations, your SEO ranking will drop and, depending on the severity of the infraction, your listing could be taken down.
Do’s and Don’ts of Product Descriptions
- Limit your description to 2,000 characters
- Break up your content and highlight key sections using Amazon-approved HTML
- Follow the content guidelines for your product category
- Include your contact information
- Mention promotions or pricing
- Dwell on other products you sell
- Include any outside URLs
Optimize Your Descriptions with A+/Enhanced Brand Content
A+ Content and EBC are upgraded product descriptions available to registered first-party vendors or third-party sellers in the Brand Registry program, respectively. Standard product descriptions allow you to include up to 2,000 characters of text, formatted with light HTML. But with A+ Content and EBC, you have the opportunity to incorporate imagery and additional formatting into your description.
Unfortunately, many consumers are turned off by the long blocks of unformatted text offered by standard product descriptions. These more advanced A+ and EBC descriptions make content more digestible and compel consumers to stop and read the information instead of just scrolling right past it.
Get Creative with Backend Keywords
While titles, bullet points and product descriptions are all visible to consumers who visit your listing, backend keywords are not displayed to shoppers. This is the only part of your listing that serves solely to boost your Amazon SEO ranking. The keywords you choose to input are indexed by A9 to help increase the visibility of your product within search results.
The most important thing to remember when choosing backend keywords is that Amazon already indexes the keywords used within your title, bullet points and description. You will want to focus the precious 250 characters Amazon allocates for backend keywords on new terms. Consider alternate spellings of your top keywords and high-ranking terms that perhaps do not make sense to include within consumer-facing sections of your listing.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Photography
In our discussion of bullet points, we touched briefly on the importance of photography to a well-optimized listing. Unlike titles, bullet points, descriptions and backend keywords, Amazon does not directly asses your listing’s photography. It does, however, take click through rates and conversions into account when determining your ranking – both of which are highly impacted by the quality of your product photography. Consider the following when choosing which photos to include in your listing:
- The order of your photos
- The angles of your photos
- How the product is being used
- How size is being conveyed
- What details are being highlighted
The Order of Your Photos
Put just as much thought into the order of your photos as you do the order of your bullet points. The first image you choose is the only image shoppers will see when your product pops up in search results. For that reason, make sure your first image is a clear, high-quality representation of your product. We recommend the following:
- Focus on a single product
- Eliminate lifestyle cues
- Use a white background
- Make sure the product is well-lit
Once you have reeled in consumers with that initial photo, use the rest of your imagery to help educate the shopper on your product and give them a closer look before they decide to buy.
The Angles of Your Photos
As you consider the additional photos you would like to display, think about how you can give the shopper a comprehensive understanding of your product. Obviously, the shopper cannot pick up and examine the product the way they would in-store, so it is important to include every possible angle of your item. You want the shopper to buy confidently knowing that they have seen your entire product for themselves, and not just select features that you choose to highlight.
How the Product is Being Used
For some products, it is very clear to the consumer how it is meant to be used – a wooden spoon, for example, is pretty self-explanatory. But for other items, it may take some education to show shoppers how the product could fit into their everyday life. Think about including imagery that shows both how and where your product could be used. This makes it easy for consumers to imagine how the product could serve their own needs.
How Size is Being Conveyed
Again, consumers cannot physically interact with a product when shopping online. One of the challenges that can come with this is identifying the size of a product. Even when you list dimensions, it can be tricky for shoppers to visualize size without having something to compare it to. The solve? Give shoppers a frame of reference. Show them how your product compares in size to well-known items – something like a pencil or a hand – so they can visualize it for themselves.
What Details are Being Highlighted
If your product has many components, pieces or special features, photography becomes even more important in helping shoppers understand what you are selling. In some cases, you may want to not only offer several different angles but also label for consumers what each feature is. This could include features such as where a headphone jack is located, if batteries are required and whether or not they are included, what tools are included for assembly, etc. The idea is to eliminate any surprises for the consumer once their item arrives.
Don’t Forget to Put the Shopper First
As you employ the techniques covered in this blog, remember that Amazon’s number one goal is to sell products to shoppers. Amazon will always put the consumer first and strive to serve up listings that bring the greatest value to the shopper.
What does this mean for sellers? Don’t get stuck in the weeds of SEO strategy and forget about the consumer in the process. Amazon has designed its algorithm to reward listings that best serve consumer needs overall – accounting for more than just SEO. If you ever hit a roadblock when optimizing your listing, or feel overwhelmed by the nuances of SEO strategy, take a breath and consider the product through the lens of your consumer. Optimize with the shopper top of mind and you can’t go wrong.
Amazon Is Always Changing
While the practice of Amazon SEO optimization is rather simple in and of itself, the challenge lies in Amazon’s ever-changing SEO standards. It seems as if new updates, algorithms and guidelines are popping up all the time. For this reason, we recommend that you work with an Amazon consultant as you put together your strategy and navigate Amazon SEO services. They will have valuable insights into the most up-to-date Amazon guidelines and can help you shift your strategy when future changes arise.