Any Amazon seller will tell you that they would bee happy with more sales. According to Marketplace Pulse, there are 6.2 million sellers on Amazon and nearly 400,000 new sellers are coming online each year. So why does it seem like some sellers are having all the fun while others can’t get anyone to buy their products? The answer is that the top sellers have a strong understanding of Amazon product listing optimization — and they don’t want everyone else to know how to compete with them. A background in SEO fundamentals will certainly help understand the Amazon algorithms and we pull out some of the most important opportunities below.
What is Amazon Product Listing Optimization?
The goal for optimizing Amazon listings is to rank higher in the Amazon search results to increase traffic and sales. This is done, more specifically, by upgrading each product page to ensure all of the potential benefits are being utilized. Amazon ads can also be used to drastically improve sales without the need for organic ranking. Sellers have likely already researched plenty about which products to sell, how to manage inventory, etc. But, improving the ranking of a listing can keep them in business! That’s why we became SEO experts in the first place. For this reason, we take an SEO-based approach to Amazon product listing optimization.
This means we focus on keyword research, on-page SEO (which means the copy and images used on the listing), and the importance of comments and reviews. Many sellers optimize one or two of these areas by default just by putting in relevant product characteristics. But, much fewer know to look at their products holistically through an SEO lens. Let’s dive a little deeper into how these items can be improved on your listings to generate more traffic and sales.
Amazon Product Keyword Optimization
Amazon SEO is rather robust, but you have to take advantage of all of the options they give for keywords. There are several places that keyword research needs to be implemented and we will go through each one. But first, we need to talk a little more about what you are looking for when you perform keyword research. We want to look for the most broad terms to describe your product that you can, and then transition into more descriptive terms from there.
For example, If you are selling a book, that is the first keyword you should care about. Then, you need to ask yourself what genre the book is and what the topic is. As you begin to get more descriptive, you may find a large amount of search volume for a more specific term like, “coffee table books” – which has nearly 50,000 searches a month! This would be easier to rank for than “books” or “book.” You can get even more narrow and optimize for something like, “coffee table book about coffee tables”, which has a monthly search volume of 1,300.
Probably the most used method for keyword research is to start typing your primary keyword and see what populates in the search results. If a search query populates autosuggestions, you know that there is a good number of users searching that topic. So, you may want to make sure any search results that populate and are relevant to your product that you use that exact phrase on your listing.
Based on what your topic is, you want to get as many different keywords and longtail keywords that are relevant to your product. Then, you can move on to adding them to the right places in the listings. The 5 most important places to utilize the keyword research you’ve done is in the title, search terms, description, audience, and more details. We will outline some basic strategies for optimizing those sections below. But, generally, you should be thinking about primary and secondary keywords whereas primary keywords describe the product at it’s very core (like t-shirt) and secondary keywords add an additional layer of description (like men’s, women’s or children’s).
Amazon Product Copy and Image Best Practices
If you are brand new to selling on Amazon, we recommend that you review the Amazon Seller’s guide before doing anything else. Their guide will help you learn the basics of listing products and writing details about them. Additionally, there is a lot of great information about delivering the products and what to do after a sale is made. Then, start writing about your listings using the following approach to keywords.
The product ID is mandatory — Hint: everyone must complete this so there is no advantage by simply adding the Product ID (GTIN, UPC, ISBN, or EAN). Here’s what Amazon says you also need to add:
- Product title
- Product description and bullet points
- Product images
- Search terms and relevant keywords
Because there are usually multiple sellers for any item, it is extremely important that you cover all your bases to perform Amazon product listing optimization and take any advantage that Amazon is willing to give you. They specifically state that “As you’re building your product detail pages, try to think about what will best help customers find your products, discover answers to their questions, and make a purchasing decision. Aim for the ultimate customer experience by making your listings concise, accurate, and easy to understand.” Here is more “guidance” they include in their guide:
- Title: 200 characters max, capitalize the first letter of every word.
- Images: 500 x 500 or 1,000 x 1,000 pixels to increase listing quality3
- Variations: Such as different colors, scents, or sizes.
- Bullet points: Short, descriptive sentences highlighting key features and benefits.
- Featured offer (“Buy Box”): The featured offer on a detail page. Customers can add to their cart or “Buy Now”.
- Other offers: The same product sold by multiple sellers offering a different price, shipping options, etc.
- Description: Keywords improve the chances that people will find your listing.
But, there is definitely more to it…
After performing some keyword research, make sure you use the top 5 keywords directly in the product title. But, it has to be readable to humans and if it appears that you are stuffing the title, it may hurt you more (especially in the future as the Amazon algorithm continues to get more sophisticated). Above all else, take their advice and make it easy for a user to read and identify what the product is when crafting the title.
The “generic keywords” will only be indexed by Amazon if there are 249 bytes or less in the keywords you select to use in the backend. So follow the rules and run tests based on what other sellers of the same product are using.
You should definitely have both primary and secondary keywords in the description and bullet point area. But, take Amazon’s advice and make sure that you are keyword stuffing so badly that you annoy a human user. If people leave that page without buying, your conversion rate may impact you from being able to sell the product.
Keywords in Filters
Amazon product listing improvements are made when the product shows up more frequently and many times an item will be associated with a variation that can be filtered. In this case, you can also use that to further get your product to appear in search results. Never leave that info blank if a variation option is presented.
Your Amazon listings can also utilize the additional product information section to really improve your eCommerce strategy. This allows sellers to add even more descriptive language and keywords for specific user searches. And, it allows your product to populate when a shopper uses the filter or specific categorized product navigation.
If you improve the quality of the images and copy, you will quickly see better seller rankings and a higher click-thru rate and conversion rate.
The Importance of Amazon Reviews & Answers
Getting reviews is just about as important as maximizing the keyword usage properly. When a customer asks a question, that is also likely a symbol of many other people having the same question. However, many people don’t leave reviews or ask questions publicly before making a purchase. If you’re not familiar with the “Questions and Answers section, please see the screenshot below. These can be found by scrolling near to the bottom of a product listing.
Because most people don’t naturally opt to leave a review or as ka question, it is critical to build this option into your process. These are things you can actually do after the sale of a product too. For example, you can include a piece of paper in the box you fulfilled and it can remind them that if they have any questions to ask it on the product page to help others. And, don’t be shy about reminding them that you are a small business owner whose success is highly related to the number of high-quality reviews you receive. A gentle nudge for them to show others that they are happy with the product is not too much to ask for.