Amazon SEO: A guide to improving your rankings on Amazon

Amazon SEO: A guide to improving your rankings on Amazon
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Did you know that 55% of online shoppers turn to Amazon to begin product searches?

“Amazon has become the reference point for shoppers,” Jason Seeba, head of marketing for BloomReach told Bloomberg Tech. “Shoppers will go to Amazon first to find a product and check prices.”

If you are looking for a launching pad for your products that your target audience likes and finds useful, Amazon is it. To get the most from your listings on Amazon, however, you will need to employ some SEO tactics to showcase your products and business.

The following will serve as your guide to expert Amazon SEO and ranking your products on the largest online retail site in the world.

Understanding Amazon results pages

Knowing the intricacies of how Amazon displays products can be very beneficial to getting your products seen. They pretty much have two results page formats.

There is the list view with 15 product results covering all departments.

Also the gallery view with 24 results per page displayed when specific categories or departments are searched.

Understanding the results pages is kind of like knowing how many positions there are on a Google results page, with their own types of ads and organic results.

Other key aspects of Amazon’s results pages are the filter fields located on the left hand side of the page (sidebar).

A user that navigates the filter will get a subset of the originally search query. This makes completing all the fields in your product listing increasingly important.

For example, if you are listing a “16GB” iPhone 6, you will want to make sure that field is filled in when listing the iPhone. Otherwise, shoppers interested ONLY in the internal memory size of 16GB could possibly miss your listing.

There are also sponsored products listed in the bottom section of the results page. These products are PPC optimized, just like the AdWords ads you can find on Google SERPs.

Just like Google ads, you want to have a tight grouping of keywords, only this time you want them stuffed into your title or description bullet points.

Understanding Amazon’s query parameters

The next bit of Amazon anatomy you should take note of is the query string parameters the platform uses. Having a working knowledge of these query parameters will help get your products in front of consumers who are more likely ready to make a purchase.

If you are familiar with how Google builds URLs based on their set of query string parameters, Amazon’s will be easier to mentally digest.

The top three worth examining are:

  • Field-Keywords: This one is rather straightforward simply the keywords a user types in the search field. For example, “iPhone” or “Samsung 7 Case” would qualify as field-keywords, and Amazon will place them in the results URL.
  • Node: This is a very good query parameter to know, since this is the numeric number relevant to Amazon’s categories. For instance, if you were selling a camera, you would enter the node ID 502394 representing the “Camera, Photo & Video” category.
  • Field-BrandTextBin: This is essentially the brand field, and it can be quite useful for measuring your products with others of the same brand. If you are an iPhone reseller, than iPhone should be in your field-keywords, as well as your field-brandtextbin.

The hierarchy of nodes is also important:

To get more insight on how Amazon builds query parameters for products you can navigate the filter fields a bit. Clicking around on it will show how each category or selection can manipulate the URL.

Ranking on Amazon like a boss

To maximize your Amazon SEO efforts there are a few foundational ranking factors to put into action. Knowing exactly what to focus on when listing your products will get your products in front of more consumers.

Amazon uses data to determine what a user sees after a search query.

This data can be:

  • Product Pricing
  • Search Terms (keywords)
  • Range of Selection (color, models, etc.)
  • Product Availability (stock)
  • Sales History
  • Customer Reviews (star ratings and comments)
  • Click volume

There are two main categories the above factors fall into, Performance Factors and Relevance Factors. Performance factors are interesting, because these are what signals Amazon to rank products based on how much money they will make by doing so. Relevance factors are the relevancy the product has after a user search.

Performance based ranking factors

The following performance factors are vital, because they essentially equate to more profit for Amazon. This compels them to rank products with these optimized factors higher. Simply put, if your product sells well when ranked higher, it will be sure to get more search love.

Conversion rate

Conversions are pretty obvious ranking factors, but one of the most challenging ones to pin down. There are a few tactics you can employ to potentially show Amazon your product is converting well.

Amazon is tricky when it comes to getting a clear picture of conversions. You can see metrics such as units and sessions, but not enough data to really control, or A/B test.

First, find your conversion data in Seller Central by going to Reports > Business Reports > Detailed Page Sales > Traffic.

You will need to see the Unit Session Percentage to get the information needed. The Unit Session Percentage is (units ordered/number of Sessions) per product listing.

To ensure you are getting the most from your conversions in order to improve your rankings, you will need to adjust your buy box percentage. This is especially important if your products are in high competition.

For example, weighting your units ordered per buy box will signal to Amazon that you are converting more.

Optimized images

Images are important performance factors to improve your Amazon rankings. If you are not following their image guidelines, you may be losing a lot of potential customers.

Amazon requests that sellers upload product images 1000 x 1000 pixels or larger. Why? This will make your images compatible with Amazon’s zoom feature, and images optimized for zoom sell better.

Remember, performance factors are all about how you can provide a higher profit for Amazon. If they say zoom increases sales, then your images better be zoomable. This simple tweak to your listings can boost your rankings, and have a snowball effect for increasing conversions, which in turn will also impact your rankings in a positive way.

Product pricing

Price is another major factor in the ranking snowball effect you can leverage for optimal Amazon SEO. There is no secret that price is a major buying decision for consumers. If your product pricing is better or comparable to other sites, chances are, consumers will opt to buy your product via Amazon.

The more sales you receive on Amazon, the more sessions, the more conversions, and better rankings of your products.

A good example of comparable prices across similar products is for refurbished iPhone 6 16GB smartphones.

The market for iPhone 6 mobile devices is so saturated, sellers need to make their products as marketable as possible.

You should do a bit of Amazon product research in your category as well. You want to make sure your product price is also better or comparable to other sellers that will be alongside you in the results pages.

For instance, if you are selling refurbished iPhones $100 more than other sellers, you may find your rankings less desirable. This could happen due to low conversions based on higher pricing, or Amazon concluded your products would not fare well, thus ranking them lower from the get go.

Amazon ranking factors based on relevance

Now that you know how to optimize for the performance factors that Amazon uses to calculate its profit, it’s time to look at relevance factors. Relevance factors are all about search query relevancy, and can be easier to optimize for than performance factors.

Product listing title

The title you choose for your product listings are in fact one of the most important relevance factors. It is where you will place your most valuable keywords, as well as a few other description related search terms to help users find your products on page one and above the fold.

A few essentials to include in your title are:

  • Product Brand
  • Description
  • Line of the Product
  • Color
  • Material
  • Size or Dimensions
  • Quantity

Amazon, like Google, does advocate against keyword stuffing, but valuable keywords should be placed in your product title. A good title will influence users to click on your listing. Giving consumers a very clear idea of what the product is will secure a higher CTR.

However, a title jam packed with just keywords may have the opposite effect, causing users to shy away from your listing. Keep it clear and concise for the best results.

The smart watch listing above is an example of what to AVOID.  You want users to BUY your products – so tread carefully that line between keyword stuffing and usability.

Brand

Including the brand of the product you are selling is very important. The brand field for a product listing will be shown and it will be linked to other products by the same brand.

Think about how you would search for your product as an Amazon user. For example, if you want to purchase a new Samsung smartphone, you would type “Samsung” as the first word in the search field.

Some sellers may find themselves in a bit of a conundrum if they have a product with different brand names. The Apple Watch Nike+ would be a good example of this.

You’ll see that this top rated Amazon seller used Nike twice in their product listing:

What exactly would you enter in the brand field for this one? The best place to start would be checking the highest monthly searches for each potential brand keyword. Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer are both good platforms for keyword research. Whichever brand gets the most monthly searches wins!

Bullet points vs. paragraph descriptions

There are a number of ways you can take your Amazon SEO to the next level. Some are slightly challenging, and some, like using bullet points in your product description are super easy.

Using bullet points rather than paragraph descriptions can give your products a rankings boost. Why? People like very concise information that is easy to digest. Amazon knows this and products with bullet points tend to convert better.

Here’s a perfect example of a bullet point product description that converts:

Including keywords, branding, size, color, and any other optimization factors in your bullet points will increase your products rankings. It is a quick tactic to employ, and you may just be surprised by the results.

Rethink your search terms

Relevancy factors on Amazon are all about fulfilling a user’s search query by meeting the expectations of their search terms. This Amazon SEO tactic can get confusing, because it is unlike the search engine optimization and PPC search terms you may be more comfortable with.

For example, let’s say you were selling an unlocked iPhone 6 with charger. You have five search term fields to make the most of, so what would you list?

Your search terms may have looked like this:

  1. Search Term: iPhone 6 16GB
  2. Search Term: Apple iPhone 6 “space grey”
  3. Search Term: “unlocked” 4G iPhone 6
  4. Search Term: iPhone 6 with original charger
  5. Search Term: iPhone 6 smartphone 16GB

Now let’s look at the Amazon guidelines for filling in product search terms:

  • You have 50 characters per search term
  • There is no need to repeat words
  • Commas don’t matter
  • Quotation marks are not good
  • No need to use variations of words
  • Leave out misspelled versions
  • Word order may make a difference
  • Spelling differences and synonyms are good

With the above in mind, here’s what your search terms could look like:

  1. Search Term: iPhone 6 16GB unlocked with original Apple charger
  2. Search Term: space gray 4G international unlock with accessories
  3. Search Term: Apple smartphone 6 generation factory unlocked GSM
  4. Search Term: iPhone 6 dual core mobile device 8mp camera
  5. Search Term: iOS Model: 51-F3A8-A92R 1.4 GHz Cyclone Processor

It may be challenging at first to make the most of your product search terms. However, one easy way to get the information you need to maximize this relevancy factor is to browse a few products on page one of Amazon similar to yours.

Make Amazon SEO part of your product listings

The above tips and tactics are some of the most important factors that you can use to improve your Amazon rankings. In some instances, Amazon SEO is similar to the optimization tactics you would employ for search engines. However, there are a few factors that are quite the opposite.

Make sure you understand how Amazon ranks products in your niche to get a leg up on your competition. Get the most from your conversions, keep your products in stock, and optimize for relevancy factors to ensure you land on page one of results pages.

What Amazon SEO tactics do you have the most success with?

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