Amazon is to products, what Google is to websites and Youtube is to videos. With more and more people landing on Amazon to find solutions to their day-to-day needs in the form of physical products, Amazon has evolved itself in a big way. It’s more than just a marketplace. Now, it’s a search engine!
And when it comes to search engines, it is no more a one-handed game. The engine needs more data to gather intelligence and make decisions.
Why does it do so?
To give the best and most relevant results to the seekers.
Search engines survive on the user experience. Thus, it becomes an important factor for its functionality.
But the weight of best user experience cannot be solely put on the shoulders of search engines, in this case on Amazon. The sellers should fulfill their responsibilities too. Here is where the product listing optimization comes into play.
Thus, if you are someone who is thinking of becoming a seller on Amazon, you cannot ignore this. Ignoring optimization will lead to Amazon ignoring you, resulting in your products not appearing in the search results, eventually leading to less or no sales. Every sellers’ nightmare, right?
Thus, in this article, I am going to cover all the necessary factors you must consider while listing your products and the best practices that will help you optimize your listings which both Amazon and your potential customers will love.
But before we begin, we need to become someone more than just a seller. We need to enter into the minds of Amazon users. We need to understand the factors that Amazon takes into consideration while delivering the best results to its users.
Let’s begin by diving deep into A9. The ranking algorithm for Amazon!
How Does Amazon Rank Your Product Listings?
In technical words, Amazon does that with its complex set of rules called the A9 Algorithm. But in simple words, the A9 algorithm just takes into consideration a few factors to decide which listing should be prioritized for what search query.
The main two areas in the product listing from where the A9 algorithm gathers its intelligence are the Keywords and the Performance. How does it work? Let’s take a look below.
These are the combination of words in textual format. Keywords mainly give information to the Amazon search engines about what actually the product details are and try to recommend the most relevant one as per the search terms entered by a consumer.
Following are the places where relevant keywords are to be included –
- Title of the listing.
- The product description.
- Bullet points where you explain the benefits of your product.
This is the most important factor when it comes to the listing which is already listed for a while. The algorithm studies whether the product listed is doing well on Amazon or not. If it isn’t doing well, it reduces the reach.
Following are the factors the A9 algorithm studies when it comes to product performance.
- Sales Velocity ie. how many sales the product has got based on the number of clicks.
- What is the click through rate (CTR) of the product based on the number of impressions.
- Other factors like – does the product keep up with the availability of Stock, how are the Reviews, etc.
Now that we have a basic understanding of how Amazon decides what product to push ahead and what to recommend to its users, let’s take a look at how we can optimize our listings to get the best possible traction.
Let us start by doing some SEO keyword research. No, not for Google. Specifically for Amazon.
Amazon SEO Keyword Research
The way Google works when it comes to keywords is slightly different from Amazon. On Google, people are at different stages of their buying journeys and the content available on websites is crafted as per the different stages of the funnel.
Whereas, when it comes to Amazon, the intent is clear. People want to make a purchase. Their buying search queries are more about a definition of a product that best fits their needs. Thus, if you want to make your listing appear in front of them, you need to research what keywords to use wisely.
Following are the 2 different methods that you can use to conduct research and come up with the perfect keyword ideas to include in your listing.
In this method, all you need to do is, come up with ONE single keyword which best describes your product. Got it? Now all you need to do is, keep on expanding the keyword by adding more words to it. Nope, not the random words. The words that describe your product best in detail.
Let me give you an example. Suppose the main keyword for your product is ‘Coffee Mug’. Now, go ahead and expand the keywords by filling up the details of your product. If your mug is made up of ceramic, then add and make it ‘Ceramic Coffee Mug’. If your product also has some cute design on it then add it as well to make it ‘Cute Ceramic Coffee Mug’. This way you will have a more detailed and well-defining title for your product.
Do not forget to brainstorm the keywords in the same manner for product description and bullet points as well.
Competitor Keywords Layering
Amazon is all about outperforming the competitors and winning that ranking. You don’t have the luxury of proving your uniqueness on the basis of your content.
There are hundreds of similar rankings armed up against you to win that ‘attention’. Thus, you need to make use of your competitor keywords as well and layer them up with your own keywords.
Didn’t understand? Ok, let me explain you practically.
Enter the main keyword that you are desiring to rank for in the Amazon search bar. Now take a look at only the higher ranking products with already a good number of reviews.
Find all the keywords that the listings have in their title as well as description. See whether any of those are relevant to your products. If you find any, just pick them up and layer them in your listing. Don’t use the keywords as they are. Mix, match and layer them naturally.
Validate Your Keyword Ideas With Product Research Tools
Simply coming up with the keyword ideas through the above 2 methods does not make them usable. As you know, keyword research for Amazon SEO is all about the numbers game. If it has worked in the past for other products, it will work in the future. If no one is searching in the way you brainstormed, then the chances are it won’t work at all.
You can not only validate the keyword ideas but also generate new ones using the amazing tools available out there.
Optimizing Amazon Product Titles
Product titles in Amazon listings are one of the main factors when it comes to recommending the most relevant results as per the customer search. To be frank, from customers’ point of view, titles have a lesser impact on CTR as compared to images.
But remember. You are not writing titles to make customers happy. You are writing them to make Amazon search engines happy. How do you do that? There is a way.
How do you get a perfect Amazon product title?
- Include as many details of your product as possible in the title including the colour of your product, dimensions, material, category, etc.
Ex. Don’t simply put ‘Sony LED TV’. Instead use – ‘Sony 22 inch 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)’.
- Don’t keep your title too short. Use the keywords that we researched above. There is a limit of 200 characters (including spaces). Use the entire limit for your benefit.
- Titles that mention sub categories like TV, DSLR Camera, Toys, etc. perform better on Amazon than titles that simply have the name of the product.
- Avoid including promotional keywords in the titles like Discount, OFF, Free Shipping, Guarantee, etc.
- Use capital letters for every new word and verify the spellings before publishing.
- Don’t use words for stating numbers. Ie. Use ‘7’ instead of ‘Seven’.
Now once you get the titles right, it’s time to head for the next most important factors. The description and bullet points. Let’s get them right.
Optimizing Product Description and Bullet Points
This is a factor that both the Amazon search engine and your potential customers should love. Once people land on your product page after getting hooked by your product image and quickly gazing at the product title, now it is the responsibility of the description and bullet points to convince people to hit that ‘Add to Cart’ button.
While they are on their duty here, on the other side, the Amazon search engines too analyze the keywords included in them and making decisions to rank the listing. It is one of the most important ‘relevance’ factors as per the A9 algorithm.
Thus you should not ignore optimizing the product description if you want your product to appear in the relevant searches and get more sales. As for the title, there is a way here too.
How do you get a perfect Amazon description?
- List both, the benefits and the features in description. But focus mainly on the benefits. Features can be listed in the bottom part.
- Don’t make your description lengthy for the sake of it. Keep it detailed but to the point.
- Use bullet points, numbering or listing wherever necessary.
- Include the competitor listing keywords that we researched. But avoid copying things as it is.
- Try to include as many details as possible. No point should remain unanswered in the minds of the potential customers.
- Include at least one infographic or if possible, a video explaining features or benefits of the product.
Now once we have all the textual parts sorted, it’s time to head for one of the most important key factors that will get you the most clicks on your Amazon product listing. The product images!
Best Product Image Practices for Amazon
We made Amazon search engines happy. We fed them with a lot of textual information. Now it’s time to make people happy. Product images are going to make them become one.
Here is a fact. People remember 80% of what they see and 20% of what they read. And when it comes to the eCommerce stores, visuals play an important role in not only attracting the ‘scanners’ but also feeding them the details.
Now, optimizing your product listing with apt images might not be an A9 ranking algorithm factor. But using best practices will definitely result in getting more CTR leading to purchase. And yes, they are the ranking factors.
What are the best product image practices for Amazon listings?
- At least have 6 images and if possible, 1 video per listing.
- Using white background images from multiple angles is a must on Amazon.
- You can combine the white background images with lifestyle and infographic images.
- At least 85% of each image should be covered by your product.
- Have good lighting while clicking the images and be minimistilic in your shots.
- Do not forget to include the Amazon ASIN in the image file name.
- Upload high resolution images in JPEG, PNG or TIFF file format.
If you need a detailed guide on how to get the product images for your Amazon listings and the guide to best practices, refer to this article.
Once you get your images optimized, you have just climbed one step ahead. Now, the main game begins. The game of improving your listing performance to get a boost in the ranking.
Best Performance Practices for Amazon Rankings
Remember in the beginning I stated that Amazon’s A9 ranking Algorithm takes into consideration 2 factors mainly. Keywords and Performance. We looked above at how to make the best use of keywords to optimize our listings. Now, it is time to dive into improving our performance.
Yes I know you must be thinking that we are talking about optimization just to improve our performance, right? Then how come performance itself would be the factor to improve the performance?
Well, here is the matter. When you optimize your listing with the keywords, Amazon first pushes it in front of a few people when relevant searches are made. Then it observes how people are interacting with the listing. Are they clicking it? Are they bouncing off? Are they making a purchase? Or are they simply leaving it abandoned?
Now when Amazon has all the data gathered by this activity, they decide how good the product is doing. If the performance is good enough, it pushes the listing ahead and ranks it higher.
In order to improve the performance, there are several other ‘indirect’ factors as well. Let’s take a look at what they are and how to use them for getting the best results.
No matter on which public platform or marketplace you are present, we all know the value of getting good customer reviews. But do you know, it affects your ranking too?
Yes! On Amazon, if you are getting consistent product reviews, your listing is seen as an active listing. But more than that, if you have highly positive reviews and ratings, it is the most valuable listing for Amazon. Thus, Amazon boosts your ranking and pushes your listing more when relevant searches are made.
Thus, next time customers make a purchase from you on Amazon, do encourage them to give you a review or a rating. And be good with your product and service. Bad reviews and lower ratings will actually kill your ranking big time.
Stability In Stock Availability
It is simple. If people are landing on your listing and finding your product ‘Out of Stock’ again and again, it gives a bad user experience. And you know what a bad user experience means? It means lower rankings!
Makes sense though. Why will Amazon waste the time of their customers by recommending things that are not available every once in a while? And what will you do with all the traffic when your own products go ‘Out of Stock’ again and again?
Thus, if you want to maintain a good ranking and keep Amazon search engines as well as the customers happy, you have to maintain the stock consistency. Going ‘out of stock’ again and again, will take away the traffic from your listing all at once.
FBM vs FBA
Now, this is debatable. But not difficult to predict. There are 2 types of sellers on Amazon. FBM and FBA. FBM sellers fulfill their orders by themselves whereas orders for FBA sellers are fulfilled by Amazon.
Now when it comes to the rankings, Amazon is damn sure about the process going to take place after order in the case of FBA. They are confident about the service. But when it comes to FBM, things are not in control of Amazon. And if things go wrong, it is not the merchant but Amazon who is going to be blamed.
Thus, there is a slight impact seen on the rankings when it comes to Amazon FBM vs FBA. The products which are going to be fulfilled by Amazon get leverage in the rankings and get a slightly better impression.
Now, this doesn’t mean that all the FBM sellers should all go for FBA for better optimizations. If FBA is something not for you as per your calculations, it’s completely fine. You have to pay attention to the other factors as well. But if it’s possible for you to go for FBA, you might get that slight edge over your competitors when it comes to product rankings.
Optimize Your Amazon Product Listing Today
By now you have a complete strategy for optimizing your product listings to get higher rankings on Amazon. Let us revise the key points once.
- Do keyword research using keyword expansion and competitor keywords layering strategy and use tools like Merchant Keywords, Helium 10, Jungle Scout, etc. to validate and get more ideas.
- Optimize your title, description and bullet points by including relevant keywords.
- Use the best practices and Amazon guidelines for getting better results with product images.
- Work on performance indicators like bringing in positive customer reviews, always keeping products in stock, considering selling with FBA, etc.
When it comes to Amazon, it’s not just about the algorithm or just about the customers. You need to make both of them happy. Only if you are able to create a win-win situation for both, you will win the game of better rankings, better traction leading to better sales!
So what do you think about this approach? Also, if you already have your products listed on Amazon, have you started optimizing them? Let me know about it in the comment section below.