The days of ignoring Amazon SEO, throwing up any old product on Amazon, and then waiting for the paychecks to start rolling in are long gone. Instead, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Amazon continues to develop algorithms to match sellers’ products with their shoppers. Your product has to be relevant.
Today, if you’re not maximizing the impact of your Amazon SEO, you’re in great danger of falling in search rankings and losing out on sales.
So, if you’re ready to boost your SEO strategy and claim your rightful share of sales and exposure, we’ll go over the ins and outs of Amazon SEO and how to start optimizing your listing so you can improve your rankings today.
- What is Amazon SEO and why is it important?
- What makes a product rank on Amazon?
- Amazon SEO: Product listing best practices
- How to optimize an Amazon FBA product listing for Amazon SEO
- How to keep track of your Amazon ranking
- Learn more about Amazon SEO
What is Amazon SEO and why is it important?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of an online search engine.
While this might seem like an odd concept considering Amazon is an e-commerce website (and SEO is often considered a Google-related need), it’s actually highly relevant.
Shoppers tend to browse both sites when shopping online: 56% of U.S. consumers start their product searches on Amazon, according to Jungle Scout’s Consumer Trends Report.
While Google and Amazon’s search algorithms are similar in some ways, Amazon’s A9 algorithm has shopping in mind—it returns the most relevant products as search results, as opposed to the informational articles Google surfaces. In this way, Amazon streamlines a shopper’s journey from search to purchase – which is why most consumers start their search on Amazon.
Source: Jungle Scout Q1 2023 Consumer Trends Report
Therefore, if you understand Amazon SEO, then your products’ visibility and ranking improve, which drives more sales!
A9: The foundation of Amazon SEO
Amazon’s search algorithm comes from a former subsidiary company called A9 and is the brains behind matching a customer search query with the most relevant products in the Amazon catalog.
This algorithm is crucial to Amazon’s business model because it powers the one primary metric that matters the most: revenue per click. And by honing in on the products most relevant to a customer’s search query, Amazon increases its chances of generating a sale — and revenue.
We get a sense of what the A9 algorithm targets in Amazon’s article on Optimizing Listings for Search and Browsing:
“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.”
What makes a product rank on Amazon?
While Amazon keeps a tight lid on the details of its A9 Search Algorithm, there are a few key factors that we know help to determine a product’s rank.
For example, when you create an Amazon product listing, you are telling Amazon: “Hey, this is what my product is.”
Then, when customers click on your product listing and make a purchase, they, too, are telling Amazon: “Yes, this product is exactly as described and precisely what I was looking for.”
Think of Amazon’s A9 search engine as the smartest person you’ve ever met. However, this person lacks confidence in their answers. It’s not until a few thousand people tell the person they’re right that they start to believe it themselves.
And that’s Amazon SEO and the A9 algorithm in a nutshell.
If Amazon’s A9 search algorithm doesn’t know what your product is, how can it make sales? And how does Amazon even know what your product is in the first place?
The answer is surprisingly simple: relevant keywords.
When you create your Amazon FBA product listing, Amazon requires a lot of information including:
- The product’s title
- The product’s images
- Bullet points offering a quick description of the product
- A longer description of the product
- Back-end keywords and categories
All of these elements are used by Amazon’s algorithm to understand what your product is (more on creating an optimized listing below).
Since Amazon is a business (and businesses want to make money), the more money your product brings into Amazon, the more likely your product will rank.
A product’s sales velocity represents how much money it’s bringing in over time. It’s a measure of the number of opportunities (in this case, page impressions) multiplied by the average sale, multiplied by the conversion rate, all divided by the sales length cycle.
Here’s an example to help clarify how sales velocity is calculated:
- In one month, your product page has 3,000 opportunities to make a sale, also known as page impressions (ie. the number of people visiting your product listing).
- The product price is $20.
- Your conversion rate is 10% (conversion rate = total order items/sessions).
- The sales cycle is 30 days.
(3000 x 20) 0.10 / 30 = 200
That means your sales velocity is $200 per day.
Conversion rate is the percentage of visits to your product page that results in a sale. It is calculated as follows:
Conversion rate = Total order items / Sessions
In Seller Central, you can see the conversion rate of your product by going to Reports –> Business Reports –> Detail Page Sales and Traffic and then looking at the Unit Session Percentages. This is what it looks like for our Jungle Creations products
The three most important factors in improving your conversion rate are:
- High-quality product images
- Competitive price
- Social proof (number, quality, and rating of reviews)
As you make adjustments to different parts of your listings, you can see the changes reflected in these metrics.
For example, if you start testing a different main product image, you may see an uptick in your click-through rate and sessions. Or, if you change the main keyword you’re targeting, you may eventually see a dip in sessions. But, as you are targeting more relevant traffic, you could also see a lift in sales.
Your conversion rate is going to be dynamic, changing based on changes in traffic, customer behavior, and market conditions in general. It is tremendously helpful to stay attuned to these changes, and proactively make necessary adjustments. This means consistently running split tests to optimize the keywords you target, the images you use, your price, and much more.
Amazon SEO: Product listing best practices
As we’ve discussed, the primary ingredient to rank highly with Amazon SEO is relevancy, and every element on an Amazon product listing helps with relevancy.
Understanding the structure of an Amazon product listing
But, before we go into the individual components of your Amazon product listing, it’s vital that you understand the actual structure of the listing itself.
Amazon’s user experience designers placed each element of a product listing in a specific position, based on common internet-user reading habits (most internet users — you and I included — read in an F-shaped pattern).
First, the user starts at the top-left corner of the screen, scanning the content. On Amazon search results pages and product listings, the first things the user sees are the product photos.
Next, it’s the product’s title (with the price very close to the top). And at the far right of the listing, still in line with the other content, is the Buy Box.
If the user does not make an immediate purchase based on the image, title, and price, they scroll further down the page and make a second horizontal movement. That means the user sees the items’ delivery options, product variants, and bullet points.
The final movement involves the pattern’s vertical movement.
As a user scrolls past ‘the fold’ on an Amazon page (the portion of the page a user sees when they first log on), they are treated to more content to convince them to make a sale. This includes competitor products, offers and promotions, a detailed product description, questions and answers, and reviews.
The most important elements of an Amazon product listing
With this knowledge of a user’s reading pattern, we can order the product listing’s elements from most important to least important.
Above the fold:
When it comes to the components of a product listing, those that are ‘above the fold’ can be seen by potential buyers when they first click through to your page, without scrolling down.
- Product images. Amazon is very much a visual website. Therefore, product photos are the first thing a customer sees when their search results come up, helping to confirm that their search terms are correct.
- Product name (title). Next, the product title makes its debut in the reader’s field of vision. The title supplies a lot of important information, for further confirmation that the product was relevant to the customer’s search.
- Amazon badges. There are a number of badges that can be associated with a product listing. First, if a product leads in its parent category, Amazon awards it a ‘Best Seller’ or ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge. Next, below the product’s rating is a badge that lets shoppers know the product qualifies for Prime. Finally, the ‘In Stock’ badge (which is not visible on all listings) lets the buyer know the product is available for purchase.
- Product rating. Just below the product’s title is the product’s overall rating, represented by one to five stars.
- The Buy Box: The Buy Box is the page’s call-to-action above the fold. It allows the buyer to immediately purchase the product from the product’s top seller.
- Variants. If the product has variants, these will appear below the product’s title and pricing information.
- Bullet points. Any details that the listing creator could not convey through the product’s images or title are placed in the bullet points. These details are less for establishing relevance, and more for helping customers make informed buying decisions.
Below the fold:
As for components ‘below the fold’, those are the listing’s elements that a shopper can only view if they scroll down the product page.
- “Customers who bought this item also bought…” This section is Amazon’s first line of defense against losing a potential conversion. Once a customer scrolls past the fold without clicking the Buy Box, Amazon ensures that other options are put in front of the potential buyer.
- “Sponsored products related to this item…” Like the section above, sponsored products work towards ensuring a sale is made.
- Special offers and product promotions. Next, the product listing might offer promotions to convert shoppers who couldn’t be persuaded to buy above the fold or to click on one of the other product listings. Amazon advertises its credit line and $125 gift card award by default.
- Long-form description. The description is closer to an Amazon product listing. If the image, title, price, and other above-the-fold features fail to get the job done, it’s up to the description to convince the shopper to buy.
- Reviews. Finally, the product’s ratings are accompanied by its reviews. The reviews either change the buyer’s mind and turn them into a shopper, or they act as confirmation bias for shoppers on the fence about buying.
How to improve SEO on Amazon: The do’s and don’ts
Now that you’re armed with a basic understanding of Amazon SEO and user experience, you should be able to optimize your Amazon product listing for relevancy and conversions (sales velocity).
What you can do to improve your listing:
Once you have a well-optimized listing, it’s time to spike your sales, as nothing will boost your ranking like cold hard sales can.
Two of the best ways to increase sales are:
1. Running Amazon PPC (pay-per-click) ads
Paid advertisements are a great source of traffic and additional sales to help rank your products. Facebook or Google Adwords can be used, but Amazon PPC is the easiest way to boost your keyword-driven sales.
Start by setting up manual PPC campaigns using your target keywords, then crank up the bids (but staying within your budget) to increase exposure and sessions.
2. Social media influencers
Social media is a very powerful way to grow your brand and generate interest in your products.
Many sellers in today’s world take advantage of TikTok and influencer marketing to promote their products in such a way that doesn’t feel like an advertisement.
Helpful optimization don’ts:
- Don’t include your competitor’s brand name or misleading information: Including keywords that are misleading are against Amazon’s Terms of Service, and can lead to product removal and account suspension.
- Don’t keyword stuff: Amazon calls this “providing redundant information captured in other fields”. With Amazon SEO, more is not always better. Don’t repeat your keywords.
- Don’t use punctuation in keywords: Only use a single space to separate keywords, no commas, semicolons, dashes, etc. Anecdotally, including punctuation, can reduce the number of keywords that your product ranks for.
- Don’t add common misspellings, variants, or synonyms: Amazon captures common related words, so no need to include those in your keywords section. For example, “marshmallow stick”, “marshmallow stix”, and “marshmallows stick” will all be captured with just one keyword.
How to keep track of your Amazon ranking
What good is optimizing your listing, working on Amazon SEO, and boosting ranking if you can’t track the results? There are two ways to check if your product has been indexed and where it is ranking for keywords: manually and automatically.
First, check your product is indexed for keywords by typing the following formula directly into the Amazon search bar:
(ASIN) + “(keyword)”
Populate the brackets with your product ASIN and a keyword you wish to check. If your product shows up, it’s indexed for that term.
Then when it comes to tracking ranking, you’ll need to manually scroll through pages to find it. Checking this every day certainly gets old quickly!
Because checking your rankings manually can be extremely time-consuming, your best bet is to find a tool that enables you to monitor your Amazon product listings automatically.
By using a tool like Jungle Scout’s Rank Tracker, you can track your product’s ranking, as well as those of your competitors. It also helps you find new opportunities while eliminating inefficient keywords.