Search Engine Optimization for Amazon
eCommerce has long since become an established form of shopping. Not only clothes or books, but also food, cosmetics, furniture and other imaginable goods can be purchased online. Which channels are used by shoppers for online shopping? On which platforms would you, as a buyer, abandon your search by entering a keyword? More and more keywords are entered directly via Amazon in the Amazon search bar. For this reason, the Amazon search engine optimization for dealers is now of great importance and is in the year 2018 not to think away.
Google SEO vs. Amazon SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is known at the latest when one has points of contact with online marketing. The first association is Google. Rightly, because Google is the most widely used search engine for the German-speaking countries. Nevertheless, behind any search engine there is an algorithm according to which search queries are sorted within the respective search engine. Similarly, Amazon uses its own ranking algorithm. While Google’s SERPs are very broad (general search, image search, video, shopping, etc.), Amazon’s search results focus on the virtual sale of products distributed by Amazon itself or its distributors through Marketplace.
Target of Amazon
Before we go over what can get your merchandise on Amazon’s initial search results pages, it’s important to understand what Amazon is actually pursuing. That’s the only way we can understand why one product ranks better on Amazon than others.
The goal of Amazon is to increase sales, that is to sell as many products as possible. Accordingly, Amazon positions those products higher which have better chances of being sold. In the increase in the purchase probability play some factors or ranking criteria in: sales rank, buy box, bullet points, product title, image and more.
For a product to be sold, it must match the search query as best as possible or be relevant in relation to the search query. Anyone looking for a T-Shit expects the best possible SERPs to be displayed on a T-shirt. Best value for money, high quality, with fast delivery times etc.
Ranking factors for the Amazon search engine optimization
The Amazon ranking algorithm takes into account two overall ranking factors:
1. Performance factors
The performance stands for those ranking criteria, which are responsible for the successful sales of products. In order to increase the performance one should work on the product optimization. The basic question is:
“How is the product selling?”
Among others, the following marketing KPIs are included in the purchase probability:
- CTR (CTR)
- Conversion rate
CTR or CTR (Click Through Rate) indicates how many times a product has been clicked. Clicking is the first step in the buying process. The prerequisite for a good CTR is first and foremost the visibility, because if a product is not visible in the SERPs, it can not be clicked. Of course, CTR can not be generalized because it varies from product to product and from industry to industry. The ranking factors that can boost the CTR are those fields that are visible in the preview of the Amazon search results pages.
The following OnPage factors can improve the product appearance:
- product Title
- Amazon Prime
- sales rank
- Star ratings
- color selection
- Free delivery possible, etc.
The title and the picture are the decisive factors according to experience. So think of an apt and meaningful product title and a picture that represents your product well recognizable and appealing.
The conversion rate tells you how many people have finally bought the product and measures the success of your marketing on Amazon. The conversion is measured on the product side itself. The page is the trigger for the purchase process, as you get by clicking on the preview of the article.
These information fields can be seen on the product page. You have a direct influence on whether the product is purchased or not:
- Multiple product images (slider)
- Zoomable main picture (picture resolution)
- product Title
- Bulletpoints (bullet)
- Amazon Prime
- delivery costs
- delivery time
- Number of customer reviews and answered questions
- product reviews
- color selection
- Product description
- Product information etc.
The product description (as well as the star ratings) is visible only when scrolling and therefore not responsible for the first purchase impulse. These fields are used by rather undecided interested parties or will be read when buyers “want to know exactly”. For this, it must first be worth the candidate, the time to invest in reading the product description. Increase the value of information fields “above-the-fold”, which are visible on the product page without scrolling (pictures, delivery costs, availability, etc.)
The Buybox is the ultimate for increasing the conversion rate. This is not relevant to you on your own product page but on the competitor’s product page.
The Buybox is located on the product page in the bar on the right. There is often a box with the title “Other sellers on Amazon”. Under the title is a button “Add to cart”.
This allows interested parties to place a product directly into the shopping cart without having visited it. The trust here is very high, because here are presented by Amazon selected products that have the maximum relevance to the product, which was currently called.
Influence on qualifying for the Buybox have the following criteria:
- price range
- delivery time
- Returns rate and accuracy
- Reviews and trust etc.
Further performance factors
The user experience also plays a major role in Amazon SEO.
For example, the length of stay on the product page depends on product image quality, appealing bullet points, and a detailed product description.
Also, the returns rate, warranty, merchant ratings, product ratings, and merchant reactions to the ratings may increase the ranking on Amazon.
In order to test the performance, Amazon is constantly testing A / B with different products and observes all user signals such as the CTR, the conversion and the interplay of both key figures. Nevertheless, a high CTR does not necessarily lead to a better ranking. Conversions are low compared to CTR, indicating poor product optimization. Such a product will probably be “down-ranked” again.
The goal of Amazon is maximum sales. This leads to the buying experience. The image in the preview and also the image sliders on the product page are one of the biggest factors that can increase the buying experience. Therefore a main picture should be present. Ideally in high resolution to use the zoom function of Amazon. The same applies to a wide range of sliders, which represent the product clearly, clearly and truthfully.
Sales Rank as SEO Goal
The Sales Rank (also Amazon Sales Rank, Bestsellers Rank) tells how well a product in its category, compared to the other products in its category, was sold off. The best-selling product in a category thus has the sales rank 1. For this, the precise categorization is important.
A higher conversion leads to a higher sales and thus makes a higher position possible. The higher sales rank leads to a higher conversion thanks to the visibility in the search results.
The sales rankings are updated every hour, providing all traders with the opportunity to gain a better ranking.
Also on Amazon OffPage SEO plays a crucial role. The basic idea of Amazon is based on the reviews and ratings. Make sure your buyers have every reason to rate you positively. Respond to comments and solve the questions of your prospects quickly and reliably.
Make sure you also have backlinks: Sharing on social networks like Facebook or linking to relevant portals can bring traffic to your product. There is a possibility that any relevant visitor could convert to buying what your ranking on Amazon is.
2. Relevance factors
The product should have written good sales to appear higher in Amazon’s search results. For this the optimization of the performance factors is necessary.
The prerequisite for the sale of products is the relevance of the product in relation to the search query. The higher the purchase probability, the higher your product will be ranked.
The relevance is, in contrast to the performance criteria , responsible for the content:
“How well does the product match the query?”
The placement of the keywords is responsible for this. The information fields should be used for the meaningful use of keywords (eg titles, bullet points, keywords in Seller Central). Weighting varies from field to field. Experience has shown that titles and bullet points are one of the most important factors for relevance. Of course, the other information fields are by no means excluded, but should also be optimized.
The criteria of relevance are:
- Keywords selection (keyword research)
- Correlation of keywords
The title should not be too long and precise. If the potential buyer is looking for a “blue T-shirt”, the product titled “Blue T-Shirt” will rank higher than a product with the title “Blue T-Shirt with a white inscription”.
Of course, all other factors are included in the product search and can improve the ranking. In the end, it is possible that a less accurate page title will be ranked over a more precise page title. This is because other factors were rated positive.
Bulletpoints, along with the title, are among the most important Amazon OnPage ranking factors of relevance. Bulletpoints should contain the relevant keywords and, like the title, be precise and aptly worded. A case study has found that bullets should be less than 250 characters per bullet point to increase indexing success. Include here your most important sales arguments, but pay attention to the character limit.
The description is intended for buyers who want to know very well about the product. This can be the decisive impetus for the final product purchase. Formulate the product description exactly and in detail. Position your sales arguments here.
The product description provides plenty of space to accommodate relevant keywords. Use this!
In the backend you have the possibility to enter a maximum of 5 keywords which have the highest possible relevance to the product. Use the potential of different keywords, such as synonyms and related terms. Repeatedly using a keyword is not effective, because repetitions in the input field for the general keywords are simply ignored by Amazon. If you enter the keyword “T-Shirt” five times, it will only count as one. Instead choose synonyms and related terms.
Keywords can be entered without a comma, separated only by a space. The order of the keywords, on the other hand, does not matter.
Since the A9 update here also a maximum of 250 characters (bytes) are available. Be sure to stay within the 250 bytes. Exceeding this can lead to the complete ignoring of all backend keywords.
Also note that NON-ASCII characters are often counted as multiple characters. Thus, for example, the umlaut “ä” is worth two characters (ä = ae). Emojis are mostly worth 3 bytes. So be sparing and targeted with the general keywords.
Attention: Do not confuse the general keywords with the “Platinum Keywords” field below. These are only relevant for merchants who have Platinum status and can be left out and on first.
Use keyword variants
Keyword variants are responsible, among other things, for categorization. There are currently four variants:
Target Audience, Subject Matter, Other Attributes and Intended Use.
Keyword research for Amazon
The keyword research for Amazon is quite similar to the Google keyword research. Here are the best sources for research:
Own experiences and empathy
Put yourself in the position of your potential buyer: what would you look for yourself if you needed a similar item? You know your product best, so put your experience to use and use synonyms and related terms.
Amazon Auto-completion and related keywords
Similar to Google Suggests, Amazon suggests relevant and most searched keywords. Enter the first letters of your keyword in the search bar and you will be rolled out more suggestions under the search bar. These are the most searched similar search terms. These can also be read, for example, with the free Keyword Tool SONAR.
Competition Analysis – Spitting allowed
Analyze your biggest competitors: what keywords are they still using? If the competitors were ranked on the first search results for a relevant query, they seem to have done something right 🙂
Google Keyword Planner
To get your ideas, you can also use the Google Tool Keyword Planner. Of course, the search volume on Google does not match the search volume on Amazon. Note that Google is not just specialized in shopping, Amazon is. Not all keyword ideas from Google are useful for Amazon. Nevertheless, it is obvious that products, which are searched on Google, are searched on Amazon.
Then check the keyword ideas on Amazon in the ways above.
Search behavior and target audience
Selecting the keywords requires a bit of empathy with the potential buyer: what would you type into the search bar when looking for an item that matches your product? How about your search behavior?
If the search intention is to be a lawn mower, the seeker will hardly look for “M Y Brand X model Y year Z”, unless he is a professional. According to Amazon Auto-completion, the search would be more like this: “lawn mower with drive” or “lawnmower oil” (as of February 2018).
So first, you should set your audience. Is your target group “professionals”? Then you optimize your product to the exact details of the model, the brand and other specific information.
If hobby gardeners are your target group, then you are more likely to use synonyms and alternative phrases. In the backend keywords you could in this case include keywords such as “Lawnmower Oil Drive Grass Mower”.
There are some terms that could be spelled differently. For example, the word t-shirt is often written without a hyphen (TShirt).
You do not have to put all spellings in the backend keywords. For the 250 characters would also rarely enough and can be used much more meaningful for synonyms and related terms. The spelling with hyphen covers the following combinations (on the example “T-shirt”):
- Shirt T
- Shirt T
- TShirt (but not ShirtT)
Note that some terms can also be spelled with spelling mistakes, such as Billiards and Billiards. Fix common spelling mistakes in the backend keywords and other information fields.
Housing the keywords
Your product must contain all the keywords that contain the search query.
Keywords should therefore appear in at least one of the information fields in order to be listed at all for the search query. The more relevant the keyword usage, the higher your product will be ranked.
If someone is looking for a “Blue T-Shirt with print in white”, your product must contain the keywords T-Shirt, Print, Blue and White. Stop words are ignored by Amazon during the search.
Exclusion criteria from the Amazon search results
For example, the lack of an image can often lead to the total exclusion of the goods from the SERPs. Amazon has put together a few minimum requirements which, depending on the category, must be met for indexing. A product in the Clothing category will not be indexed unless an existing dress size is specified.
In return, hidden products can be shown again by certain measures.
Here you will find a list of criteria that lead to the removal of your product from the Amazon Index as well as a guide for identifying and displaying the hidden products.
There are some tools and rank trackers that monitor your performance on Amazon. You can use the monitoring tools Uberseller or Marketplace Analytics for this purpose, for example.