Amazon.com is a powerhouse. And everyone wants a piece of it.
But with 119+ million products listed, it’s not always an easy task to rank in the top results and get sales.
That’s why I created this guide to help you boost your Amazon SEO and improve your product rankings.
Here’s what you will learn:
- How Amazon’s A9 algorithm works
- What is Amazon SEO
- Three essential things to complete before product optimization
- How to optimize product listings
- How to measure and report your Amazon SEO results
Let’s get started.
Consumers trust Amazon.
Research says that 89% of consumers are more likely to buy products from Amazon than other sites.
Also, 66% of consumers go to Amazon to start their search for new products.
And Amazon does everything it can to keep the trust of its customers, including the fact that wants to return relevant results for customer searches.
That means that you will be able to optimize your product listing quickly. Still, the performance component plays a big role, so you will also need to have some sales to increase rankings.
That’s because there is a strong correlation between the sales rank (a public ranking provided by Amazon) and a product’s ranking in search results.
Plus, the top-selling items rank for a broader range of search queries. The top 1% of products rank for 8.7 search queries, while the bottom 1% only for 1.2 queries.
Making your product listing more relevant for customer searches and getting some traction with sales will lead to better rankings. That will then lead to even more sales.
I call this “the seller’s flywheel,” inspired by the original Amazon flywheel, which Jeff Bezos created.
And Amazon makes this very clear by publicly showing the ranking factors:
“Customers should be able to find your products before they can buy them, and searching is the primary way they can do that. Customers search by entering keywords and Amazon matches this against the information (title, description, and so on) that you provide for a product. Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales. Below are some general guidelines to improve your product listings.”
And all of this is powered by the A9 algorithm.
What is Amazon A9?
Amazon’s A9 is a search engine and advertising technology developed by a subsidiary created in 2003, based in Palo Alto and with teams all over the world.
A9’s initial purpose is to leverage algorithms, and they intentionally chose A9 as a numeronym to represent “Algorithms” (i.e., ’A’ + 9 other letters).
While over time A9 was used for different purposes, today, the search engine powers the product search for Amazon.com and several other e-commerce retailers.
The results displayed are based on a few different relevance factors (product title, bullet points, description) and performance factors (price, availability, selection, sales velocity).
You can increase product rankings in search result pages with Amazon SEO.
What is Amazon SEO?
Amazon SEO represents the process of optimizing your product listing to rank higher in the product search results.
You can accomplish this by thoroughly researching competitors and choosing relevant keyword phrases to target.
Then, you can use that research in optimizing the copy of the product title, bullets, and description as well as choosing the right backend keywords.
We will explore each of these items below.
In addition to optimizing your product listing you will also need to:
- Offer excellent customer service to get positive reviews.
- Keep your product available so your competition won’t take your place when you stockout.
- Use high-quality, benefit-driven images to increase conversions.
- Ask customers to review your products after purchase.
- Keep an eye on competitor prices to stay competitive.
“As some people describe Google as an ‘answer engine’ it helps to think of Amazon as a ‘purchase engine’ when you are developing your SEO and listing content plans. Your target audience will have a higher purchase intent – they’re in shopping, not browsing mode. Craft your listings to match this intent.
Be direct and informational in your copy and drive home the benefits of your products. Mix that with a well-researched keyword plan, and you’ll not only drive targeted traffic but also convert at a much higher rate than your competitors.”
Competitive research and analysis
Before moving forward and doing any optimization for your Amazon listings, I strongly recommend to step back and take a look at your competition.
Search for the keywords that you think your products should be ranked for and look at the organic results in the top 10 positions.
As you go through them, document everything you believe that makes them stand out.
It could include:
- The structure of their title.
- How they present benefits in the bullet points.
- What images they use.
- The type of content they use in the product description.
- Specific words used in the product listing.
- The pricing structure of their product. Do they run any promotions?
- Shipping costs and policies. Do they offer free shipping?
- The categories in which they are selling.
You could use Advanced Web Ranking to get a more comprehensive list of competitors, see what products rank better, and then analyze them in more detail.
First, you will need to add the main competitors in AWR, but once you add them and data is available, you can see all the products that rank and their position.
You can use this intel to filter the products of your main competitors that rank best, which you can then review and see what makes them stand out.
Here’s how you can create a project for Amazon in Advanced Web Ranking and add your competitors.
This exercise will give you insights about what makes other products rank at the top of the search results and drive more sales.
Successful sellers take the time to study their competition regularly and review best-selling items in the categories they target.
Then, they implement strategies that look successful and ideally improve on them.
Next, regular review mining is crucial. It can help with finding keywords and customer language that you can use to optimize the copy of your product listing.
Mining reviews for customer language is a widespread technique among copywriters, especially when customer surveys and interviews are not possible, like in this case.
That’s because it shows the exact words customers use when describing products that can help convince other people to buy your products.
Here’s an example:
You know that more customer reviews translate into a better conversion rate, which leads to more sales and higher rankings.
If you have a good number of reviews for your products, then you can start from there.
If not, then you can go back and look at the reviews left on some of your competitors’ listings.
Remember to look at both positive and negative reviews. See what works for customers and what doesn’t work about the products they purchased.
This activity could give you an edge compared to your competitors who are not doing this, as it can improve your rankings and your bottom line.
After competitive research and review mining, keyword research is the next most crucial activity that you should finish before getting into listing optimization.
It will help you define the keywords that you will target when optimizing your product listing.
First, try to note down all the keywords that come to mind when you think of searching for your product.
If you didn’t know the name of the product, what words would you use to describe and find it?
Also, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about the keywords that they would be using when searching.
Add all those keywords to a spreadsheet and keep it handy. Here’s an example:
2. Competitive research
Next, add to the same spreadsheet the words found during competitive research to the same document.
They will help you go after popular keywords that your competitors are targeting and most likely are giving them good results.
In addition to looking at competing products, also check Amazon suggestions as you type a keyword in the search bar
3. Review mining
During the competitive analysis and review mining stages, you should be able to find a lot of key terms that customers are using to find your competitor’s products.
Those phrases are valuable because they will help you target the exact language that people are using to describe products, thus searching for them before purchasing.
You may not see a large search volume in keyword research tools for all keywords.
However, I would still recommend using them if you find that they repeat in reviews.
4. Refine and prioritize
Once you have your initial list of keywords ready, it’s time to see what are the ones worth targeting.
That will give you information about the traffic potential so that you can prioritize the exact phrases that you should use for optimizing product listings.
In addition to that, they can also help you identify additional keywords that you can target for your products.
Once you finish this process, you should have a list of high traffic keywords, as well as phrases that customers use in their quest to find the best product for their needs.
Once you decide on what keywords you want to target, add them to Advanced Web Ranking so that you:
- Get some initial data on keyword rankings that you can analyze.
- Discover other competitors that you can keep an eye on.
- Don’t forget the keywords that you should track once you finish the listing optimization.
As you do that you can also get more keyword ideas, along with search volume data from Advanced Web Ranking.
Next, you will need to use all this data you have available to write content that increases conversion rates and rankings.
If you’ve taken the time to research competitors’ listings and customer reviews seriously, you will connect with potential customers easier through the product copy you create.
That will also help you address all their objections and increase conversion rates.
“Moving from 0.9% to 23.6% conversion rate is not easy but it is achievable. A proven methodology of thorough customer research, persuasive visual content, and copywriting, makes it possible to dramatically grow your conversion rate and revenue. “
Now, let’s see how you can do that during the product optimization stage.
While product optimization won’t bring the most results (sales do), it’s the part that you have the most control over.
That’s because you can always change anything about your listing, and you should take full advantage of that.
But let’s see what you can do about it.
The product title is one of the most critical elements of your listing, and it should entice people to click through to your listing in the search results.
Founder, Amazon SEO Experts
“To get better rankings and more sales, you need to create a high converting listing. If forced to optimize only one on-page SEO element, I’d go directly to the product title.
Crafting a highly optimized, keyword-rich, and click-through driving product title will yield the most significant results.”
First, add your brand and product name to the title. Amazon recommends it, and it will also help potential customers easily recognize your products.
Use title case for the brand and product name, and refrain from using all caps, as this can turn people away and decrease conversion rates.
In case they represent a trademark written in a specific format, that rule won’t apply (e.g., SanDisk, adidas, TAG Heuer).
If the item is unbranded, then you should add the seller name to the Brand field. Otherwise, you shouldn’t add the seller name to the title.
Next, add your main terms to the product title, but keep it sound natural and avoid stuffing keywords.
Also, remember to make the title compelling so that people click through and get to the product page. You can do that by adding some of the benefits whenever possible.
In addition to that, include relevant information such as:
- Product line
- Product type
To improve readability and make the title more attractive, especially if it becomes rather long, use dashes (-) or commas (,).
Also, you shouldn’t add details about shipping or current promotions to the title.
Amazon’s recommendation is to keep the title under 60 characters, so you don’t have much space available, but I’ve seen items with titles close to 200 characters on desktop computers.
On mobile, I’ve seen around 80 characters displayed, but it can vary based on the mobile screen resolution.
Finally, remember to optimize for conversion and always keep your ideal customer in mind.
With the right combination of keywords, your product will become more relevant for customer search queries, and more potential customers will discover it.
Failing to create a compelling title could affect your click-through rates and sales, even if you use sponsored products.
That’s because people won’t know what your product is all about.
Another essential element of your listing is the images section, which plays a crucial role in helping customers decide what they purchase.
They can kill or boost your conversion rate.
Images should communicate the benefits of your product and inspire customers to buy.
For those reasons, do your best to add beautiful images to your product.
You can add as many as you can upload. Still, you should add a minimum of 5 images to offer potential customers a complete view of your product.
When you create images, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- The product is easily recognizable and focused.
- Use proper lighting and white background when shooting product photos.
- Images show all the details of the product from multiple angles.
- Describe the size, color, and other characteristics.
In addition to adding images with your actual product, also add photos with people using your product whenever possible.
Plus, try to create additional images that will highlight product benefits.
Use the same benefits that you will present in the bullets section since there will be people that won’t read the entire listing.
While this effort won’t directly impact your search rankings, they will help people decide if they should purchase your product.
In turn, it will increase your conversion rates, which will ultimately lead to better rankings.
To make the most of visuals on Amazon upload images that are at least 1,000 pixels in height or width.
High quality and large images will also let customers zoom and see the products in more detail.
In addition to images, Amazon lets you add videos to showcase your product, so use that when you can to better communicate to potential customers the benefits of your product.
Product bullet points
The third most powerful element of your listing is the bullet points section. That will help you put into practice your copywriting skills.
You can use this to educate, inform, and convince people to choose your product over others.
But don’t settle with only showcasing the main features of your products.
Instead, focus on the benefits of your product and solve people’s problems with that copy, as customers don’t care about products. They care about solving their problems.
The bullet points section should address people’s questions and concerns, which hopefully you’ve discovered during research and reviews mining.
They should include details about how the product solves problems, what materials it uses, size, compatibility, use cases, colors, or package contents.
Additionally, include other details that could convince people they are looking at the best product for their needs.
But keep things simple and don’t overwhelm people with details they can’t understand or lead to even more questions.
Also, remember to add other important keywords here, such as long-tail keywords that can help you boost your rankings in Amazon searches.
While this should be optimized for customers first, you need to creatively use this section also to help the search algorithm better rank your product.
The product description is an excellent place to answer potential customer questions and list additional benefits.
Plus, adding compelling copy that can help increase your rankings in search results.
Remember to make it easy to read and avoid keyword stuffing.
Take the time to create unique copy for your product and avoid adding manufacturer content, as it’s most likely used by others, too.
Plus, manufacturer content isn’t always correctly optimized for the keywords you are targeting, and it’s not compelling enough.
In addition to presenting benefits and functionality, you can use this to tell people more about your brand and your story.
Your goal here is to establish trust with your potential customers.
Tell them more about yourself, your brand, why you are passionate about this, what’s the guarantee, how people use your product, and what problems it solves.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a trademark for your product, you will be able to add a text-only description.
That’s the small block of text at the bottom of the product listing, which is not that appealing.
However, there is a solution to that, and it’s called Enhanced Brand Content (EBC).
Enhanced Brand Content will let you better customize product description, add images, and present all the benefits of using your product more attractive:
To use Enhanced Brand Content, you will need to enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry.
The Amazon Brand Registry was created to protect the intellectual property of brands as well as create an authentic and trusted experience for Amazon customers.
The main requirement to enroll in the Amazon brand registry is to have an active trademark for your product in each country where you wish to join.
In addition to the sections above (title, bullet points, description), you can also use backend keywords for optimizing your listing in Amazon’s search results.
While customers won’t see these keywords, you can add keywords other than the ones you already used in the title, bullet points or description to increase discoverability.
They can be synonyms of your main keywords or other phrases that did not fit the other sections.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to repeat keywords that you already used and use single spaces (no quotes, commas, or semicolons required).
Amazon limits the space to 250 bytes (about 250 characters for the English alphabet), so you will need to choose these terms carefully.
Also, do not use this to provide inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information about your products.
For a complete list of recommendations for adding backend keywords, you can check out Amazon’s guidelines here.
Reviews and customer questions
Once you’ve done your research and optimized your listing for both customers and Amazon’s search engine, it’s time to invest some time in making sure that you offer excellent customer service and get positive reviews.
With almost 95%* of customers reading reviews before purchasing a product, this is something that you shouldn’t ignore.
Plus, the purchase likelihood of a product that has at least five reviews increases with 270%* than of a product without any reviews, so you need to move fast if you have a new product on Amazon.
And because reviews influence sales and sales influence rankings, it’s safe to say that reviews have an indirect impact on product rankings, so it’s something worth the investment.
However, do not offer incentives to get positive reviews, as you may get discovered, and you could risk your entire business.
What you can do instead, is to always follow-up with customers and ask them to leave a review of their purchase, good or bad.
You should also embrace negative reviews, as a perfect five-star listing could look suspicious for customers.
There are also shoppers, myself included, who specifically seek out negative reviews to see what didn’t work for others and confirm if that could be an issue for them too.
Plus, negative reviews are also a great way to get feedback and use it to improve your product and customer service.
In addition to actively asking customers for reviews, reply to their questions on the product listing to help increase conversion, and generate more content.
The additional content produced by you and your customers through questions and reviews will also help improve your rankings in Amazon’s search and make your product listing visible in other search engines like Google.
Over time, Amazon improved the customer purchase experience, so there is not that much you can do to impact sales directly.
Rui Zhi Dong
Amazon & Shopify Expert, Rui Zhi Dong
“Make sure that you have a strong product offering so that it will naturally get 5-star reviews and wow your customers.
Also, aim for uniqueness. If your listing looks like everyone else’s, do something to stand out and differentiate yourself.
You can create uniqueness through the main product image (3D images, different product angles), product bundles, or positioning (low cost vs. premium).”
One thing you can do is run a sponsored campaign on Amazon, especially if you are starting out, to get some traction with sales.
Right now, 74% of Amazon sellers promote their products with pay-per-click advertising on Amazon.
That represents some competition, but since most of the sellers are doing it, you may be missing out to stay aside.
In addition to that, you can offer a discount coupon that people can apply to the product purchase page.
Also, remember that a competitive price contributes to a higher conversion rate.
That said, you need to make sure that you are not charging more than your competitors for similar products.
During competitive research, you should have taken a look at how others are pricing their products and make sure that yours is competitive.
That will help you increase your conversion rate and sell more units.
Another way to increase sales is to have your product fulfilled by Amazon and be eligible for Prime as more than half of consumers are Prime members:
Also, out of those who answered that they are Prime members, consider the free two-day shipping as the most compelling benefit of Prime membership.
So, if moving to fulfill products by Amazon and becoming Prime eligible, consider at least offering free, fast shipping to your customers.
Last but not least, offer excellent customer service to existing customers so that they leave a positive review and recommend your product to their friends.
Answer customer inquiries fast, ideally in under 12 hours, and leave them with a positive purchase experience.
Measure Amazon rankings
Since the moment you start optimizing your Amazon products to increase rankings, you will want to track your progress so that you can see what works and what doesn’t work.
Advanced Web Ranking allows you to track your product rankings on Amazon over time and simplifies the process of monitoring changes and reporting results.
That said, let’s see how you can measure your Amazon rankings with Advanced Web Ranking.
First, you will need to create a project in Advanced Web Ranking. If you haven’t done that already, you can use this tutorial to get started.
If you track a large number of keywords, then it’s best to organize them into keyword groups.
You can use groups for the following categories:
- Branded keywords
- Non-branded keywords
- Keywords for specific products
- Keywords for different brands
- Top keywords
Once you add all your keywords to AWR, well organized, and updated, you can start seeing the evolution of your rankings in time.
To view the rankings at a high level, grouped by keyword groups, you can check out the “Keyword Groups Visibility.”
It will display multiple visibility evolution metrics for each keyword group that you select by using the column selector (placed on the left of the date picker).
Alternatively, you can use the “Ranking Distribution” report to see how your rankings compare with those of your competitor’s,
It will show how your product pages rankings fluctuate for a period of time and how keywords are distributed by positions.
If you would like to drill-down and see changes at the keyword level, then you can use the “Keywords Ranking” report.
Use the column selector to enable these options:
- Keywords and URLs — to see all your products rankings for each specific keyword
- Best position — to see how the current position compares with the best position you had on a particular keyword
- Searches — to give you an idea about the most popular keywords that you are tracking
Next, you can use AWR to keep an eye on your competitors.
By adding them at the project level, AWR will also monitor their rankings compared to yours.
A high-level report to check is “Websites Visibility.” It will show the same visibility evolution metrics you learned about above, but this time for each website that you select from the column selector.
Additionally, you can use the “Websites Comparison” report to drill-down at the keyword level and see how your rankings compare with those of your competitors for each keyword.
Also, you can export to PDF all the reports available in the browser. That can be generated with a single click and sent to your manager or customer.
Alternatively, you can create customizable reports that can even be automatically sent by Advanced Web Ranking.
Hopefully, this guide gives you a good starting point in optimizing your product listings and measuring your Amazon SEO efforts.
Moving forward, you can use Advanced Web Ranking to keep an eye on your rankings and act whenever needed.
As new competitors always enter the market, and Amazon is continuously tweaking their search algorithm, you need to stay ahead of the curve.
Founder, Web Presence Solutions
“Amazon is not a set-it-and-forget environment. Keywords and competitors change over time. In some instances, these changes can happen quickly.
- Be sure to update, vary and enhance your keywords periodically.
- Monitor and research changing keyword patterns on an ongoing basis.
- Use these changes in your product title, bullet points, descriptions, and back end.
- These changes can also help a product rank for a broader range of keywords.”
In the end, what Amazon wants is for you to provide a fantastic experience to customers. If you can do that, then you will be rewarded for your efforts.
In addition to details about your listing, Amazon also has access to performance data such as click-through rates, conversion rates, refunds, and much more.
To stay on top and keep the sales coming, provide excellent customer service, and continuously test variations of your product titles, bullet points, images, and product descriptions.
Now back to you.
Is there anything else that you would add here?
What’s your experience with optimizing for Amazon’s search, and what results did you get?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
*Source: How Online Reviews Influence Sales by Spiegel Research Center