Amazon SEO is an entirely different animal as compared to Google SEO. And FBA sellers with an Internet Marketing background oftentimes bring with them a Google optimization mindset that doesn’t necessarily apply to Amazon’s playing field. But why is Amazon SEO so much different than Google SEO and why should we care?
Well, in order to answer that question we must first examine the motivation of each platform. And the two are not the same. Both platforms intend to give the visitor a great user experience but for very different reasons. The main difference between Google and Amazon is that Google’s intention is to sell ads and Amazon’s intention is to sell products. Google wants to show you the most relevant results (i.e. popular results as indicated by things links backlinks, social shares, bounce rate, etc.) in order to increase their opportunity to show advertisements to you. They know that the more relevant their search results are, the more likely you are to utilize them as your go-to resource for search. The more you use them for search, the more likely you are to click on an ad and subsequently they make money from the advertisers who pay Google to show their ads to you.
This is a little different from Amazon. In Amazon’s case, the more relevant their results (i.e. keyword relevance, click through rate to the listing and sales velocity), the more likely your click is to convert to a sale and the more money they make.
That is why is vitally important that your on-page Amazon SEO, better known as your product listing, has its fundamental optimization factors in place. This is where we must first start. A lot has been written on this topic but it bears repeating so I will summarize it here.
In order for you product listing to be optimized and give you the best chance for success in being found in Amazon’s search results, you must include certain key elements. This is not the time to be lazy and ‘skip over a few things’ because it might take longer to flesh out the details or you’re just eager to get the listing up. You’ll regret it later when you see that a listing for what in your opinion is a subpar product, is outranking you and outpacing you in sales volume.
Key On-Page Optimization Factors To Boost Your Product Listing Visibility in Amazon Search Results
Images: Ideally you’ll want to utilize all of the image slots allowed. But at minimum, include 5-6 high quality images. The main image should be on a clear white background and at least 1000 pixels wide by 1000 pixels high as per Amazon’s guidelines and not include any text, badges or illustrations. Just a clear shot of the product.
Granted, you will see some listings that sidestep this rule so use your best judgement but do know that Amazon does not take kindly to those that try to usurp their guidelines. Many an account has been suspended or revoked, and with Amazon being the number one online retailer, you do not want to jeopardize your opportunity to play in their sandbox.
Title: Here is where you want to include your keywords in the most logical order that sounds natural to a human reader. If your product is technical or has color variations, it is okay to include those keywords or pertinent details that would be helpful for a searcher to see at a glance thus aiding them in their buying decision process.
Bullet Points: We can borrow from the copywriting greats here in adopting the old adage of “listing benefits, not features.” You want your bullet points to answer the question “so what?” If you do list a feature, follow it with the corresponding benefit so that the customer can immediately see how that feature will provide value to him/her.
Product Description: Here is an opportunity to showcase your products’ winning attributes. Why should the shopper purchase your product over another listing? If possible, weave a story into the product listing rather than just write a laundry list of what the item is or does. Not only will this give your listing more for the Amazon search algorithm to pull from, it will also draw in the potential customer and increase your likelihood of converting to a sale.
Here is also where you will sprinkle in more of your keywords as well. However, it is not necessary to repeat keywords or include ones that you’ve already listed in the Title and Bullet Points above. Amazon has already accounted for those words so don’t waste space by including them again. One best practice is to include a Call-to-Action at the end of your product description. It may seem obvious, but tell the visitor exactly what you want them to do next, like “Add the super deluxe gizmo thingamabob to your cart now.” Always remember to create compelling descriptions that entice the browser to buy and then ask for the sale.
Keyword Fields: This area of your seller listing causes some FBA sellers much confusion and it is my hope to clear it up here. If you’re coming from the Internet Marketing and SEO world, you may be very tempted to use keyword phrases in this field, separating them by commas.
But it is not necessary for Amazon’s algorithm. Amazon’s search is based on individual keywords and not keyword phrases, so place your keywords in the most logical order and let Amazon take care of the rest. Also, it is important to note that Amazon ignores commas, quotes and plurals but it does take note of related keywords and synonyms. So for example, it is not necessary to include both the words ‘purse’ and ‘purses.’ However, you would want to include both words ‘sunscreen,’ ‘sun screen’ and its related term ‘sunblock.’ Makes sense?
Customer Satisfaction: It is reported that only 10% of customers actually leave feedback on Amazon and by our very nature we are more apt to leave feedback when we are unsatisfied than we we are merely satisfied or even pleased with a purchase. So this is an area where you’ll have to be a bit more aggressive. Particularly, if you are in a competitive market, passively waiting for customers to leave a review on their own volition may leave your listing dangling on page two or three while your competitors soar to the top of of page one results simply because they have more customer feedback than you do.
There are programs that help you with this such as email auto-responder services that will solicit feedback follow-up on your behalf when an order is placed. You can also reach out to your customers directly via the messaging center in your Seller Dashboard a long as it directly relates to the fulfillment of the order. Actively monitor your listing for customer comments and be sure to reply to any negative feedback in a positive, helpful tone. Even if you cannot recapture the unhappy customer, potential customers who read your replies will appreciate your proactive stance on customer service and trust that if they are unsatisfied you are available and willing to resolve any concern. The Q&A section is also relevant to your rank in Amazon search results as well, so be sure to respond to all questions posted on your listing.
So now that we have mastered our Amazon SEO, why should we care about the Google search results?
Two of the main metrics that Amazon uses to determine your position in its search results is conversion and sales. Other factors include price, number of reviews, and inventory levels. But the bottom line is that the higher a listing converts to an actual sale, the more money Amazon makes so it makes sense that the products with a higher sales velocity will naturally rise to the top.
With that being said, we want our products to have high visibility in order to increase our odds of being seen and increase our chances of converting to a sale. Especially now that we have an awesome, optimized product listing after addressing all of the on-page factors mentioned above (you did complete that step, right?).
This is where Google search results play an important role. In Amazon’s keyword section you are limited, thus limiting your opportunities to appear for various keywords in Amazon’s search. However, there is an ocean of opportunity to rank for your keywords in Google’s waters.
Meaning that when you perform keyword research and rank your Amazon listing for those keywords, you now have created more opportunities for your listing to be seen by potential customers. This carries an even heftier impact if you are not yet of the first page of Amazon’s search results. More visibility leads to increased sales. Increased sales leads to higher rank in Amazon search itself. See where I’m going here?
You already have an advantage in that Google naturally gives weight in its search results to Amazon.com simply because of its popularity and page authority. So with a little search engine optimization applied to your listings, you can quickly rise to the top of Google search results, even ranking on page one for your listings. When you do reach page one, you will see a healthy boost in sales for your items.
It’s important to note that when doing your keyword research using tools such as Google Adwords, SEOBook’s Keyword Tool, and Amazon related search you want to be selective in the keywords that you optimize for. Pay attention to the intent behind the search term. Most relevant to the Google Adwords and SEOBook Keyword Tools, you want to ask yourself if it is a search term that leans more towards information gathering or is it a term that clearly has a commercial intent? Quite naturally, you will want to optimize for keywords that have a commercial intent in order to increase your chances of that click leading to a sale.
There are quite a few options when optimizing your Amazon listing for Google. You can employ them all, or pick a few strategies that resonate with you and monitor your results with a keyword tracking tool such as Market Samurai. This list is not exhaustive, I am only highlighting the top tactics that have been successful for my listings reaching page one of Google, coupled with a natural affinity for these tactics based on my skills and interests. Quite frankly, there are a countless number of rankings factors that Google uses and we can only scratch the surface in discovering which ones are most powerful and effective. That is why it is imperative that you test and tweak as you begin this journey of SEO.
Each of these strategies can serve as a blog post all by itself. But just note that with Google’s latest algorithm updates, it’s not necessary to stuff your keywords into your SEO efforts, as you can actually be penalized for doing so. Meaning that your links will be suppressed in the search results, or be completely de-indexed (i.e. erased) altogether.
Today’s SEO is the complement of being proactive while appearing like a natural progression of activity and popularity to the search engines. I often say that search engine optimization is a delicate balance of art and science. You constantly have to stay on top of changes and adjust course as necessary, but if you have a technical or analytical affinity, that’s part of the fun.
This is by no means meant to overwhelm you. If you are not ready to layer in Google search results into your overall marketing strategy for your Amazon business, do not fret. You can start with something simpler like Amazon PPC ads and be off to the races. However, the benefit of ranking your product listings in Google is that the effects of organic search results are long lasting. The listings will maintain their position long after you’ve stopped your link-building efforts. Whereas with paid advertising, your exposure is gone as soon as you turn off the ads and any previous efforts, gains or benefits are now null and void. This offering of Amazon SEO for Google is merely presented as a way to gain competitive advantage. As your Amazon business continues to grow and blossom, you will naturally look for more ways to increase sales and this is but one powerful way.
Go ahead, try a technique or two and let us know how you fare. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about Amazon SEO and I’ll stop by from time to time to help out.
To Your Success!
K. Hill is an Internet Marketer, SEO Strategist & Product Designer who stubbornly refuses to live life by default. If you’d like to stay in touch, or get more tips & tricks on how to optimize your Amazon listings for more visitors and sales, visit her over at http://www.AMZSellerSEO.com