Every product on Amazon has a listing and each listing can be found in a number of places across the Amazon platform. In order to grow your sales, you want your listing to discoverable in as many places as possible. It’s important to constantly work on increasing the number of different pathways that can lead a customer to your product online. A solid Amazon SEO strategy is critical to doing this.
Listing optimization and the Amazon A9 algorithm
The Amazon A9 algorithm dictates where your product listing is placed in search results, in recommended products or in the top selling lists. In some areas, your products are placed based solely on sales numbers (bestseller ranking). In other areas, products are ranked based on what’s included your listing copy.
To clarify this, we need to discuss two very important aspects that determine your placement on Amazon: indexing and organic ranking.
Organic ranking refers to where you are placed in any given search that a customer on Amazon creates. The more people who find your product after doing a specific search and then end up purchasing your product, the higher your organic ranking goes on that specific search term.
So, having a compelling product page with product descriptions that engage is critical.
Indexing is based on which search terms you are “eligible to rank on” based on the keywords that can be found within your listing.
It’s important to note that indexing is the foundation for future organic ranking, which leads to sales growth and an increase in your “real estate” on Amazon. This means that your future success begins with the way that you optimize your product listing.
Search terms, keywords and keyword research
A search term is any combination of words that a customer on Amazon types into the search bar with the goal of describing and eventually finding what they wish to purchase. A keyword is any word or multiple words that can be a part of any search.
Because you have limited space in your listing, you can’t be expected to include every single possible search term. In fact, a well established product on Amazon can be ranked with thousands, or even sometimes tens of thousands of keywords.
You can use software tools, such as the AMZScout Reverse ASIN lookup tool, to provide you with a list of every product’s indexed search terms:
In order to understand how these tools work, we need to understand short tailed and long-tailed keywords.
A long-tailed keyword is simply a keyword that is a short phrase rather than a single word.
A short-tailed keyword is a single word or only a few words.
Generally, the best idea is to include mostly short-tailed keywords so that your product is indexed and ranked on a broader range of search terms that contain them. This is why proper keyword research is a must.
An effective way of doing keyword research is to discover which ones your main competitors rank for, as we saw using the AMZScout reverse ASIN lookup tool.
You can also research which short-tailed keywords are the most popular, which is something you can do with another AMZScout tool, the Amazon keyword search.
For example, if you’re selling books on Amazon, you’ll look for relevant keywords:
Simply enter a short-tailed keyword and you can see all the various other long-tailed keywords that include it, as well as their monthly search volumes.
This is extremely useful information. Knowing how often a keyword is searched can help you in deciding where in your listing copy the keyword should be placed. This is an important decision since different parts of your listing copy have differing impacts on your indexing effectiveness.
If you find long-tail keywords in your search that are especially relevant and valuable to your listing, don’t be afraid to include them too. These can often be a bit easier to rank for if you optimize your product copy for them, and they also include the short-tail keyword you’re targeting as well.
We’ve listed the various mechanisms that the A9 algorithm uses in order to rank products in a search result., However, while the function of the algorithm is important to consider in your listing, you also need to consider the customer who is actually viewing and hopefully buying your product. Thankfully, Amazon has designed their algorithm to help customers locate exactly what they are looking for.
This is a great example of Amazon’s customer obsession policy. The art of a well constructed product listing is in finding the balance between placing the relevant short tailed keywords while still offering compelling product copy. This balance tilts one way or another in relation to how heavily any given element of the listing weighs on your indexing.
You can include anywhere from 80 to 250 characters in your product title. It’s arguably the most important element in terms of indexing. When you write your title, include your most important high search volume keywords, and make sure that they’re arranged in a somewhat understandable order. Most Amazon product titles don’t really make sense in terms of syntax or grammar, but they do make sense in terms of what the product is.
In your listing, you have five bullet points with 500 characters each. This provides ample room for keywords so that you can educate your customers about your product. This element of the listing is where you need to strike a balance between using all the keywords and keeping the customer engaged. The best way to do this is to come up with the five most important aspects of your product and enter them at the very beginning of each of your bullet points. You can use capital letters or lines, or even brackets, like in this listing:
After you lay out the most important features of the product, you can use the rest of the text to add more detail about each aspect of the item as well as to incorporate some keywords.
The product description
The product description operates differently from the first two listing elements. First, it provides you with 2000 characters of space to use. However, you cannot use regular text. You have to write out your product description using HTML, which is actually really simple to do.
There are a few different ways of doing this step. You can enter all your markup manually – bold font, bullets, paragraphs, etc. Or, you can write out your product description the way you want and simply find a free online text to HTML translator. Then you will have the right code to enter into your product description.
Supposedly, the description has the lowest bearing on your indexing results. Because of this, you can focus primarily on providing useful information to customers and just add a few keywords here and there.
The backend is a unique part of the listing, mostly because it is not visible to the customers. The backend exists to guide the A9 algorithm. It gives sellers exactly 250 bytes of text, which means that the spaces count as 1.
In the backend, it’s all about keywords. There is no need to make any grammatical sense. Use this space to include any keyword that you weren’t able to include in the rest of the listing, or keywords that would otherwise not make sense in the front end.
Additional Amazon SEO strategy tips
Now that we have examined the basic elements of an Amazon listing as well as the mechanism of the A9 algorithm, let’s go over some useful tips that can help you to maximize the effect of your SEO efforts.
Use your brand name
It might seem counterintuitive to include your brand name in your listing, especially if you are launching a brand-new product. After all, a brand name of a new product is not a keyword that people search for. However, if you include it at the very beginning of your title, the chances increase of customers using your brand name as a search term. You definitely don’t want to have a situation where someone is looking for your product and cannot find it by typing your brand name, or even worse, some other listings show up at the top of a search for your product brand.
Misspellings and foreign phrases
It’s very common for people to misspell things when they type. And, it’s also common for people to live in a specific marketplace country where the main language is actually their second language. You can discover the most common misspellings and foreign phrases using keyword research tools. Logically the best place to use these keywords would be in your backend, since it’s invisible to shoppers. It would seem sloppy to intentionally misspell keywords in your visible product listings and it’s not common to use multiple languages in a single product listing.
Adjust your PPC accordingly
SEO is what gets you indexed, PPC is what gets you ranked higher. A sale made from a sponsored ad is worth just as much as an organic sale in terms of the impact on rankings. This is why it is crucial to make sure you are advertising on keywords that you are indexed on. It’s also one of the main things you can learn through your keyword research.
Don’t forget about Google
Amazon listings rank well in Google for millions of valuable search terms, so doing things that help your rankings there makes sense too. While you’re probably mostly focused on Amazon SEO, take time to review what you can do to help your product listing’s Google SEO.
A few quick tips to consider:
- Be aware of the search terms in Google you need to rank for; often they are similar to Amazon’s
- Place your keywords prominently in the page title, the bulleted list, and in image alt text
- Look at the top rankings for the search terms in Google you want to rank for and evaluate their content – make sure yours is better
Provide great visuals
Keep in mind that the names and alt text of the images you include in your listing can sway Amazon’s rankings, as well as Google’s. Plus, visuals can have a huge impact on conversions which can help your Amazon SEO too.
Amazon SEO is all about planting the seeds of potential growth for your listings’ exposure. It all starts at the listing optimization stage. Later on you can cultivate your products potential through PPC and organic sales. Based on the results of your PPC reports and on regular keyword research, you can adapt your listing for even more growth as time passes.
These practices along with regularly optimizing PPC is an ongoing process that all successful Amazon sellers eventually master.