eCommerce SEO vs. Amazon SEO: What’s the Difference?

Did you know that 44% of people go to Google first when they want to buy something online — or that search engines drive one-third of all traffic to eCommerce sites? No wonder online sellers are prioritizing SEO.

SEO — or search engine optimization — is a marketing strategy aimed at organically boosting your ranking on a search engine results page (SERP). The higher you fall in results, the more traffic — and sales — you’ll likely get. If you’re an eCommerce seller with an Amazon storefront, you should be focusing on two types of SEO: your traditional eCommerce SEO (on sites like Google) and your Amazon SEO. So what’s the difference?

For starters, search engines rank results based on what sites most closely match a given query. Amazon, on the other hand, is strictly a buying platform and prioritizes listings that they are confident will convert to a sale. When someone goes to Google, they are more likely in the research phase of their buying journey, whereas on Amazon, they are more ready to make a purchase.

With that, here’s how to think about your SEO strategies:

  • eCommerce SEO: Focus on optimizing your website so that when someone searches for a product you sell, Google will be able to see that your website has that product as well as any additional information that will satisfy the searcher’s query. This will get you a higher ranking AND a better chance of converting a visitor once they get to your site.
  • Amazon SEO: Make sure your listings encourage sales — and have a track record of getting them.

All in all, optimizing your website and product listings will make it easier for Google and Amazon to find you, which means you’ll rank higher in results. To help make your website and listings more “findable,” we put together the following guide with everything you need to know about eCommerce SEO and Amazon SEO. 

What is SEO in eCommerce?

Your eCommerce SEO refers to where your website ranks in search results on sites like Google. 

These days, the majority of consumers (88% in fact) do product research online before buying, and, as we mentioned above, 44% go to Google first. What’s more, the top three search results get 75% of all clicks

Needless to say, you want to rank high so you can get those clicks and make conversions. To do that, you need to show Google that you have the authority and relevance for a given search. Continue to the next section to learn how to get that authority and relevance.

How to do eCommerce Website SEO?

At a high level, your eCommerce SEO depends on your keyword strategy, site architecture, product descriptions, and website performance:

  • Keywords: Your very first step should be on keyword research — i.e. finding out what words or phrases prospective customers are actually typing into the Google search field. Once you have these keywords, you need to strategically place them on your website and product pages so they properly index on Google. What do we mean by this? Well, when someone types something into the search field, Google crawls the internet to find pages that they think will include all the information that person is looking for. So putting your keywords in H1 title tags, category names and descriptions, body copy, alt-image text, and meta descriptions will tell Google that you’re a match, giving your website a boost in SERPs.
  • Site Architecture: This is how your website is built — i.e. where each page sits in relation to your homepage. To improve your eCommerce SEO, you want to have a clean site architecture with product pages that are easy to find. In fact, every page should be three clicks or less from your homepage. Not only that, linking to relevant pages from other pages (i.e. not just the homepage) is a way to get backlinks and boost authority. All in all, doing this makes your website more user-friendly and keeps product pages front and center for your potential customers to find.
  • Product Descriptions: Believe it or not, your product pages should have at least 1,000 words. Fortunately, these words are broken into different sections, like your product title, features lists, in-depth description, and reviews — so you won’t necessarily have to write a 1,000+ word essay about each product. That said, you want to be thorough and include any relevant information about your product(s) so visitors don’t have any lingering questions before making a purchase decision.
  • Website Performance: Your site speed and overall functionality (like user-friendliness, mobile-friendliness, etc.) can impact your SEO ranking. If your site takes too long to load, Google will have to work harder to understand what your site is actually about — which means you’ll fall in their rankings. You might want to do an audit of your technical SEO with a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to see if there are any errors or areas of improvement.
  • Rich Snippets: Add thumbnail images or ratings as part of your search result. These assets, known as rich snippets, help prove your authority to Google, draw attention to your result, and are pretty simple to set up

For a deep dive on all of this — including how to do keyword research, where exactly to place keywords throughout your site, how to format product pages and consolidate underperforming pages, how to set up your site to increase authority, and more — check out our guide on How to Improve Your eCommerce SEO.

What is Amazon SEO?

Amazon SEO refers to where your listings rank in Amazon search results. You should care about where you rank because most shoppers use the search bar (and not category filters) when looking for a specific product.

Your placement on Amazon SERPs depends on Amazon’s SEO algorithm, A9, which predicts and ranks product listings that will actually convert to sales. How it does this is based on a number of factors, including keywords, product performance, and price. This means that you want to use relevant keywords in your listing, optimize your listing to drive conversions (i.e. sales!), and have a consistent and high sales velocity.

In the next section, we break this all down so you can have an Amazon SEO strategy that works.

Amazon SEO Strategy

To improve your Amazon SEO, you want to have a smart keyword strategy and strong, consistent sales. Because Amazon is purely a buying platform, A9 prioritizes listings that have a history of converting well for a given keyword. Of course, to increase conversions on your listings, you need to optimize your product detail pages, solicit reviews, and keep your eyes on the Buy Box. 

With that, here’s our 5-point Amazon SEO strategy:

  1. Keywords: Similar to your eCommerce SEO, your Amazon SEO requires keyword research. To save you time, take the keyword list you created for your eCommerce SEO and use a tool like Helium 10 to see how the keywords perform on Amazon specifically. This should help you decide which keywords to put in your listing and which ones to use as backend keywords. 
  1. Visible Keywords: For your listing, include keywords in the title (the closer to the beginning of the title, the better), in your key features list, and in the in-depth description. Don’t go overboard on keyword usage here — it’ll come off as spammy and hurt your SEO (not to mention your credibility with potential buyers). 
  1. Backend Keywords: Save your keyword stuffing for backend keywords — i.e. the “invisible” keywords that don’t show up on your product listings but are still indexed to give you a rankings boost. Your backend keywords can include alternate spellings or word order, long-tail keywords, semantic or relevant keywords, misspellings, even other languages or competitor products/keywords if relevant.
  1. Product Listings/Product Detail Pages: Be thoughtful in how you create the content for your product listings. To help you get started, Amazon offers a Quick Start Style Guide with tips on formatting them — here are the highlights:
  • Product Title: Make titles concise, readable and “Amazon-optimized”. They should follow a format like “Brand Name – Product Line – Key Features – Product Type – Color – Size – Packaging/Quantity” and of course include your keyword towards the front.
  • Key Product Features: These are bullet points that cover the most important product info, like the top five features a buyer might consider. They appear right below your title and next to your image(s). They are “above the fold” and should be descriptive yet concise.
  • Product Description. This is the in-depth description that covers everything a buyer might need to know to make a purchase, including features, benefits, specs, care instructions, etc. This will likely be a few paragraphs long.
  • High-resolution Product Visuals: Include photos and videos so customers know exactly what to expect. Photos should have an all-white background, be a square shape at least 1000×1000 pixels in size, and with products filling up 85% or more of space.
  1. Solicit Reviews: While reviews themselves won’t be traced for keywords, they can help impact sales. And the more sales you make, the higher you’ll rank in A9. If you don’t already, put a system in place to automatically ask customers to leave you a review. Learn more in our guide on Amazon customer feedback.
  1. Win the Buy Box: You should always strive to win the Buy Box — after all, that’s how you get the lionshare of sales on a product that other sellers also sell. For SEO purposes, the Buy Box can help in two ways:
  1. Amazon aggregates content that sellers produce for the same ASINs or UPCs and then pulls the best title or bullet points into a single listing/search result. If that’s the case for one of your products, you’ll want the Buy Box so that YOU get the sales on that particular listing when it comes up in search.
  1. When you own the Buy Box, you get more sales. When you make more sales, the A9 algorithm rewards you with a better ranking.
  1. Amazon Brand Registry: To gain more control over your content (and avoid the aggregated content issue we just mentioned), you might want to consider Amazon Brand Registry. This service is for verified brand owners with a registered trademark who want to protect their brand and prevent fraud. Not only that, it unlocks enhanced brand content for sellers and A+ Content for vendors — while these content upgrades are not indexed by A9, they can help your listings convert better, which DOES impact your Amazon SEO.

Next Steps

By now, you should have a solid understanding of what you need to do to improve your eCommerce and Amazon SEO rankings. Just keep in mind that their respective algorithms change often — and without warning. So you might want to consider supplementing your organic SEO efforts with Facebook ads or sponsored product listings on Amazon. If you’re ready to take that next step and need a cash flow boost, check out Payability Instant Access. We help marketplace sellers get next day access to their payouts — every day. If you sell on Shopify, learn how you can get 70-150% of your monthly sales in 24 hours with no credit checks with an Instant Advance for Shopify

Victoria Sullivan
Victoria Sullivan is a Marketing Manager at Payability. She has over eight years of social media, copywriting and marketing experience. Prior to joining the Payability team, Victoria developed social media content and strategies for top technology brands such as Skype and Samsung. She holds a degree in Advertising from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She can often be found in a yoga class or working on her fashion blog.

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