How Does Amazon Search Engine Optimization Work?

A lot of effort and thought goes into how to appease and, to a certain extent, attempt to reverse-engineer Google’s algorithm. However, Google isn’t the only search engine around. Amazon is also effectively a search engine as well. People selling on Amazon must know how SEO on Amazon works in order to sell more of their products. Ignorance of this means that you will certainly fail.

Acknowledged experts in the area of Amazon SEO have a wealth of information to give about this. Here is a summary of the advice that they have offered.

Amazon’s algorithm is conversion-based

Whereas Google looks for relevance followed by apparent excellence on top of that relevance, Amazon’s algorithm seeks out conversion rate. The days of trying to game Google are largely over as they have made their algorithm super-smart to those who wish to try. Keyword stuffing is so 2004. Try anything even close to that today and you may find yourself at the receiving end of one of the many updates that Google rolled out over the last couple of decades which will punish your efforts, and show you that you can’t expect to do that and win.

Amazon’s preference for conversion over relevance makes perfect sense: such a strategy will end up selling more product. The upshot here is that you can get away with putting as many keywords as you like into your title and description (as long as it reads well) so that it will have a greater chance of displaying when someone does a search for those keywords.

Some aspects you should concentrate on if you want to do well on Amazon include the overall health of your Amazon account, the feedback you get, low returns rate, and so on, your product reviews and your product pricing.

Blank Page

The one way that the Amazon and Google algorithms are similar is that they are both highly protected secrets. Amazon SEO specialists will sometimes refer to this as a blank page or a black box, a complete unknown.

The same specialists would probably agree, however, that there are certain things that influence the performance of your product listing. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The number of product reviews you have
  • The number of positive product reviews you have
  • Product information and format; description and bullet points
  • The number and quality of your product images
  • Relevant keywords used in your product listing

Relevance together with performance

Of course, relevance isn’t discarded as a criterion for product ranking. Amazon will put conversion performance over relevance, but relevance has to be there to start with. So you should pay attention to the following when considering both:

· Title

· Store Name

· Description

· Keywords

· Reviews (the more the better, and the more positive the better)

· Price

· Images (number and quality)

· Conversion

Your product reviews

The reviews that your product gains is of huge importance. It will often be the case that people go straight to the review section and look for feedback from existing purchasers. You need truly great reviews for your product to gain good rank and to keep it.

You should have a policy which looks after the customer from the moment they buy so that they are most likely to write a positive review. You should actively engage with customers who leave reviews and try to get the most out of this relationship. Remember that your negative reviews are valuable as well because they comprise market intelligence which you’ve just been provided with. Foster good relations with customers right from the start and this will help the quality of the product reviews which they choose to leave.

So your on-page SEO, taking care of the various elements of your product listing as described above, is important, and so is taking care of your customers in a qualitative sense, because doing that will enhance the product reviews which in turn lead to better ranking which lead to more sales.

Your product information

SEO has an important role in Amazon ranking, and it should be viewed with the same seriousness as you would approach SEO with Google. The higher ranking your product achieves, the more it will sell and the greater your revenue. That really is the bottom line, and it all stems from good SEO policy.

Amazon’s own algorithm is based on conversion; in a page full of widgets, the one at the top will be the widget which sells most units. You should choose your keywords very carefully, as not all widgets are created equal. Some widgets will have attributes which attract people because other widgets don’t feature those attributes: play to those differences as strengths and make sure you use keywords related to those attributes prominently. Always test. You want more people to click on your product than your competitors’ products. Amazon will count those clicks and they will in turn inform the algorithm that determines product rank.

Your product description and all the information that goes with it will play an important part in ranking as well. Think about the format of this information, how it is laid out. Consider using a mixture of bullet points and short paragraphs. Always use high definition (HD) images. Always think of quality and what your customer expects. Check your spelling and grammar, as poor presentation will be a turn-off for prospective buyers and will impinge on your product ranking.

Customer queries

Amazon is responsible for about half of all current online sales. Clearly they have a system that works. But what enables this to work so well, and what are the details that makes Amazon SEO excel? What follows are some pointers about Amazon Search Engine Optimization.

Amazon has an algorithm which seeks to match customer search keywords with the item within their database which matches the intent of the search most closely. It’s all very well to say that. But what exactly goes into enabling the Amazon algo decide what those best matches are?

Is this close match based on the seller with the highest ad spend? Is it the seller with the largest brand presence? What about the prominence given to Amazon’s own internal brands? Is preference given to the product that has the greatest incidence of search keyword phrases within its listing?

The answers are known to some of these, and with others the jury is still out. What is known for certain is that you will find success by testing and more testing. Use A/B split testing, use more complex testing or make use of the services of people who know how to do this really well.

One method that was successful a few years ago was to list a product as free at its launch; this would always get reviews from buyers, of course, because it was free. The idea was that after this free launch the product would be placed at the top ranking position and would then keep this pre-eminence.

However, Amazon caught on to what was happening and banned it. It was back to the drawing board as far as cracking Amazon SEO was concerned.

Amazon seeks to match the search query with the best item. The product listing has a ranking based on its keywords which is a better match than other items which are similar. So in order to rank in a better position your products must have higher sales in relation to that specific keyword search term than competing products.

To be able to have those sales, as a result of that prominent listing, you need those precise search term keywords in all the elements of your product listing. The keyword phrase must feature in:

· Product Title

· Description

· Bullet point lists

· Alt tags in the image

· Back-end search keywords

· Enhanced Brand Content pages

In addition, your sales copy must do all the other things that traditionally great sales copy does: it must attract the user to want to buy the product. The keywords must be placed within great copy which persuades them to buy.

Amazon’s PPC can play a prominent part in Amazon SEO. We can use its analytics to track conversions based on a number of observable factors. By looking at everything which comes into play we can make actionable decisions about how to improve our Amazon SEO strategy. Which keywords work best, which to jettison from our campaign, and so on.

Also, if a PPC ad results in a click which leads to a purchase, Amazon will know to rank our product higher as a result of that conversion. We know this to be true by observing that the rank after that purchase is higher than the rank immediately before that purchase.

Those who know about how Amazon SEO works will tell you that everything in Amazon’s sales environment is related to everything else. The ad which leads to the first click, the image which is able to attract the buyer and which is related to the ad itself, the price of the product and the product reviews are all related in Amazon’s complex system.

The very complexity of all these elements working together is what is at the heart of how Amazon SEO works. Understanding all this is what determines Amazon SEO success. Patience and experience are important. Keyword relevance and diversity, where they should go, how they should be distributed at certain points in the copy, together with the endless testing of these various elements in combination with each other, are all necessary for ultimate success.

Amazon SEO keyword optimization

Similar to Google SEO, successful Amazon SEO is centered around keyword optimization. There are plenty of elements within a listing where these keywords can be used to best effect.

Perhaps the most obvious element is the product title. It is considered that placing the right keywords in the title is the biggest single ranking factor. Sellers should, where possible, use branded keywords here and also in the description and other elements.

It is known and accepted among SEO experts that people who search for specific brand and product names (brand keyword + product name or product number keyword) are at the final stages in the purchase process. The brand name + product name combination is known as a buyer keyword. The research into what they need has already been done; these people, at this stage, know the specific product item that they want.

This is especially true of a search process which doesn’t seek information (like Google) but only products. Amazon is a buyer website, not an informational or advice website. The user is there for one purpose: to see products which are for sale. They’re here because buying is already their intention.

It makes sense that, if you optimize for these buyer keywords, then you will have a much greater chance of making a sale.

As well as the title, you can place keywords in other elements of the product listing as well. There are plenty of opportunities to put your keyword phrase in:

· The product description

· The back-end data in your seller account

· The alt tags in all images

· The seller username

Also don’t forget that there are other factors which affect ranking of your product in Amazon, apart from the way it is listed.

The product price will play its part as well. The overall impression and quality of the presentation will have a psychological impact on the potential buyer. Also the conversion rate, which plays a huge role in the product’s ranking. For why would Amazon waste valuable space at the top of the results for a product which didn’t sell?

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