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Amazon SEO: How to increase your visibility on Amazon

07/24/2020 • Reading time: ca. 24 min • by Trutz Fries

In this article we would like to explain to you exactly what "Amazon SEO" is, how you as a seller or vendor can use Amazon SEO for yourself and increase your visibility and therefore your sales. We will explain how Amazon's search tool works and how you can use that knowledge to optimize your products accordingly in order to improve your chances of being found. At the end we will also introduce you to some tools that will help you implement Amazon SEO for many products.

What is Amazon SEO?

If you want to market a product on Amazon, you have to make sure that your product can be found by potential customers. Often different people with different terms search for one and the same product. It is therefore essential to find out what search terms are involved so that these terms and combinations of them can then be integrated into the product title, highlights, product description or search term fields.

This procedure is usually referred to as Amazon SEO, where SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Usually the term SEO is used by website operators when they try to increase their visibility on Google. In the meantime, however, it is increasingly being adopted by Amazon sellers and transferred to the Amazon marketplace.

Amazon SEO is part of the marketplace optimization. In the context of marketplace optimization, one often speaks of the so-called "onpage optimization" and the "offpage optimization". Both terms originate from the classic area of Google SEO.

Amazon SEO usually refers to the onpage optimization of an item. The aim here is to optimize the directly influenceable factors of a listing in such a way that the item can be found using all relevant keywords.

The offpage optimization on Amazon is about e.g. the structure and maintenance of reviews or customer questions. It is not about the item itself.

Before we go deeper into the topic, we will explain how Amazon's search works. Understanding this is important in order to grasp the bigger picture.

How does the Amazon algorithm A9 work?

The Amazon Algorithm A9 is at the heart of the product search engine. Its task is to know and make all products listed on Amazon searchable.

Image of the Amazon search field with the keyword yoga mat typed in as an example

When a customer enters a search query in the search slot, the algorithm checks the customer's search query word by word and compares it with the existing product listings. Only if terms contained in the search query also appear in the respective product listing the product becomes relevant for the algorithm. Filler words such as "and" are ignored in the product search, as are upper and lower case letters. The algorithm also tries to understand singular and plural.

Once the algorithm has filtered out the relevant products, they get sorted. Amazon sorts in descending order of purchase probability: products with a high probability of being purchased are at the top, products with a lower probability are further down. Amazon uses historical data for this. After all, Amazon knows what customers have searched for in the past and have then purchased.

Amazon therefore differentiates between the relevance of a product and its performance. Let us take a closer look at these two concepts.

Amazon relevance factors

The relevance factors show how well a certain product matches the content of the customer's product search. Amazon compares the search query with the texts available in the listing. This is advantageous for you as a seller, since you can directly influence the search terms and thus directly influence the relevance of an item.

Amazon evaluates in particular the information in the following areas:

  • Product title
  • Product attributes (also called "bullet points")
  • Stored search terms (also called "Hidden Keywords")
  • Product description

Furthermore, Amazon weights the contents of these areas differently. As we know from monitored experiments, the title as well as the keywords are of particular importance. Therefore it makes a significant difference in which fields you place which keywords.

In addition, you should take into account to what extent search queries consisting of several words and product keywords match. Ideally, the search terms should all appear in the same order in one information field. If, however, the individual terms are divided up among different information fields, this product is less relevant than a product where these terms are closely related.

Amazon Performance Factors

For Amazon, it makes sense to present products that have been successful in the past and thus have delivered “a good performance" at the top of the search results. The performance of a product can be measured easily using the following three key indicators:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion Rate (CR)
  • Sales

The following applies:

Impressions x CTR x CR = Sales

Click-through rate

The click-though rate measures the frequency with which a product is clicked on by users in the search results. The click rate of a product varies depending on the keyword and ranking. A wallet will inevitably have a significantly higher click rate for the keyword "wallet" than for the keyword "rucksack". In the same way, the product on position 1 of the search results will have a higher click rate than the product on position 9. Accordingly, the Amazon algorithm always determines and compares the click rate specifically for the keyword and ranking.

Let's have a look at a typical search result:

mapping of tables on Amazon as a search result on the desktop

A look at the search results for the search term "table" shows which elements potentially influence the click-through rate of a product:

  • Main image
  • Title
  • Price (and strike price if applicable)
  • Number of reviews and ratings
  • Availability (free shipping, Prime)
  • Bestseller or Amazon-Choice Badge
  • Discount information

Amazon SEO starts right here, because without the click in the search results, no sale will take place. You cannot influence all elements directly. The number and amount of ratings as well as the presence of an Amazon Choice or bestseller badge can only be influenced indirectly and are usually the result of many sales.

However, you can influence the picture, the title and the price.

You should not only look at the search results on the desktop, but you should also look at the search results displayed on the smartphone. The majority of purchases are made here:

Display of tables on Amazon as search results on the smartphone

The same elements are also displayed mobile, except the title is much shorter. You must take this into account when formulating the title. But more on that later.

Conversion Rate

The Conversion Rate measures how many customers have actually bought the product after visiting the product description page. Products with a high conversion rate meet the customers' expectations. This is usually rewarded with a higher ranking by the Amazon algorithm.

In contrast, it is a bad sign if a product is never bought after customers have visited the product page. This means that users have received information on the product page that has discouraged them from making a purchase or that there was too little information to make a decision for the product in question. This could be, for example, an insufficient product description or negative reviews.

In order to positively influence the conversion rate of a product, you must ultimately optimize all elements of the product detail page. This goes beyond pure text elements. Especially important are the elements that are "above-the-fold", i.e. at the top of the page.

Where does the term "above-the-fold" come from?
The term "above the fold" finds its origin in the newspaper industry. This term describes the part of the newspaper which is visible above the fold and thus is visible at first sight.
.

Amazon customers often scan a site just to get a first impression and to decide whether to give a product more attention or return to the search results page.

Display of above-the-fold product listing on Amazon

The following elements play a major role "above-the-fold":

  • Main image and additional images
  • Title
  • Bullet Points
  • Number of reviews and rating level

All these elements are used almost unconsciously by the potential buyer to evaluate an item with regard to his purchase intention. The customer asks himself the following questions:

  • Is this what I'm looking for?
  • Can I / Do I want to afford the product?
  • Were others satisfied with the product?

Only when all questions have been answered consciously or unconsciously with "yes" or at least with a "maybe" the customer begin to scroll down to take a closer look at the product. If she or he does so, then other elements play a central role:

  • Product description (if available)
  • A+ Content
  • Top reviews

These elements are all found "below-the-fold".

Sales

Sales is one of the strongest user signals available to Amazon for evaluating a product. Turnovers reflect the sum of all decisions that customers have made about a product.

A product with a comparatively higher sales volume seems - assuming the same price - to meet the needs of the customers better than a similarly expensive product with lower sales volume. Sales are therefore never absolute, but always relative to the competition.

It can be assumed that Amazon places the user signal "sales" in relation to the preceding search query. It is therefore possible that a product with a very specific customer benefit (e.g. oversized shoes) only represents a small turnover in absolute terms compared to the competition. However, if the search query contains the term "oversize", this product will generate above-average sales.

For Amazon, sales represent an important indicator for business management reasons. After all, Amazon is earning with every sale. But in the end, the purchase only comes about if the customer's needs are met. Amazon and the customer therefore have the same interests.

What is the connection between relevance factors and performance factors?

Together, the relevance and performance factors described determine the Amazon ranking of a product. It is important to understand that the two factors do not influence the ranking independently of each other, but are in a mutual interaction.

Sometimes the factors have the same effect. For example, well-chosen and well-placed keywords not only increase the relevance of a product, they also increase the click rate at the same time, since users usually click more often on products that contain their entered search terms in the title.

However, the factors sometimes also have an opposite effect. With regard to the keywords, it would make sense to place as many terms as possible in the title or the bullet points. In terms of good performance, however, this makes little sense, as a long, complicated title is unattractive to users and therefore generates fewer clicks.

Therefore, the interaction of relevance and performance factors should not be ignored and a good balance of both factors should be the goal of Amazon SEO.

How does Amazon SEO work?

Determining which products to optimize

At the beginning you should determine which Amazon products should be optimized. At this point you could quickly think of "all" of them and that is basically correct - but especially with larger portfolios you often have to prioritize certain products.

If it becomes complicated, a simple scoring procedure helps, which takes into account e.g. the current turnover, the strategic significance, the competitive environment and also the current status of the listing. In the latter case, a separate scoring model is also useful.

In AMALYTIX, we evaluate each product with our Listing Quality Index (LQI).

Elements of the Listing Quality Index in the AMALYTIX tool

In addition, you can define in AMALYTIX yourself which demands you require of your products listings. All products that do not receive the full score are good candidates for optimization. You can then further evaluate them, e.g. according to turnover, and work your way from top to bottom.

Settings of the listing quality index in the AMALYTIX tool

Performing an Amazon keyword research

First of all it is important that you get to know and define your target group. Only by knowing what makes your target group tick and how they search for a product can you effectively find the relevant keywords that your customers use to search for a product. On the other hand, with the right keywords, your Amazon ranking optimization and your overall success stands or falls.

Let's assume you want to sell a wallet. Then you should first do a Amazon Keyword Research to understand what potential customers are looking for when they want to buy a new wallet, for example. Because even with such an everyday object there are countless variations of possible search terms:

  • Wallet
  • Money purse
  • Purse
  • Pouch

In addition, you can also orientate yourself to the competition: Which terms are used by the products in the first five positions of the search results?

Since different users have individual vocabulary, you should also look at related search terms, misspellings and synonyms.

The ideal Amazon product title

The product title is undoubtedly one of the most important element of your product listing. After all, it provides information about what the product is about. In most cases, a potential customer decides whether a product is suitable for his needs based on the title alone. The perfect combination of keywords, brand, product features and good sales arguments is crucial here. It is important to optimize the title for both the search engine and the seeking person. Search terms that appear in the title of a product are evaluated as very relevant by the Amazon algorithm.

A 200 characters title is the upper limit. If you have already said everything important, you should not overload the title with unnecessary keywords. In addition, extremely long product titles are a deterrent to many customers and therefore generate fewer clicks. Caution: Titles that are too short are also clicked less often. Amazon now advises a title length of 70 to 100 characters, since the title in the mobile Amazon app is usually trimmed according to this number of characters.

Amazon has published so-called Amazon Styleguides for each product category, which set clear guidelines for each category, including the structure of the product title. Although not all sellers adhere to these guidelines, excessive deviations from the guidelines may result in suspension of the product listing.

With our free Amazon Title Checker, you can check whether you are complying with Amazon's specifications such as length and format of the product title: Go to our Amazon Title Checker

Use of highlights or bullet points

A special feature of Amazon are the so-called bullet points, which are also called highlights. Following the title, bullet points are the second most important source of information for potential customers. Since only a few Amazon users read through the product descriptions hidden below, the bullet points placed directly next to the product image often decide whether a product is purchased or not. As a seller, you do not have to provide detailed information here, but if you don't, you are giving away a great opportunity to convince potential buyers of your product.

Bullet Points keywords in Amazon Seller Central
Managing the Key Product Features in Seller Central

The keywords in the bullet points are also of great importance. However, it does not matter for the relevance whether a keyword is further up or down in the bullet points. It is also irrelevant whether it is at the beginning or end of a bullet point. What is important is that the keyword is generally present.

In any case, the bullet points should contain the most important product features, especially the unique selling points. In addition, the most frequently occurring customer questions about the product should be answered so that prospective buyers have the feeling that they are well enough informed to buy the product.

You should not use more than 200 characters per Bullet Point. You can use more, but then you run the risk that the Bullet Points will not be fully indexed.

Special characters such as emojis are acceptable, but are not popular with Amazon and should be used carefully.

Use of "General Keywords"

The use of search terms (also known as "general keywords") is also very important for the ranking, although these are not visible to users either on the website or in the source code. You can and should place all keywords that did not make it into the title or bullet points. Typical candidates are e.g. misspelled words of the own brand or product.

General keywords in Amazon Seller Central
Managing the General Keywords in Seller Central

In this example, different spellings were used for the material "terracotta" and placed in the search terms.

A maximum of 250 bytes are available in this area. You can upload longer texts via the Amazon Flatfile, but they will not be indexed anymore.

What is a byte?
The reason why Amazon uses bytes instead of characters is probably due to technical reasons. It is important for you to know that umlauts like äöüß count as 2 bytes.

Try it out and enter any text to see how long it is in bytes:
Byte-Counter
Bytes: 0

You do not gain relevance by repeating keywords, so you are only wasting valuable space with unnecessary repetitions. You should use this area as much as possible to be filtered out for as many search queries as possible.

According to Amazon you should consider the following points:

Recommended Not recommended
A single word is enough Use of filler words
Separate keywords with spaces Separate keywords with , or ;
Synonyms Repeated keywords
Different spellings Brand names
Advertising statements
More information about keywords
Further tips on this topic can be found on the help page of Amazon.

Selecting the images

The conscious or unconscious influence of images on the purchase decision of potential customers cannot be underestimated. If two products are very similar, the product with the more attractive product images usually "wins".

Since products cannot be touched in online shops, the product images must replace the visit to the shop as best as possible. Therefore a product should be photographed from as many different angles as possible and with many details. Sharpness and good exposure should be given. For the main image, the product must also be isolated, i.e. the product stands out on a clear white background. If image and product do not have much in common, this can lead to increased returns, which has a negative effect on the Amazon ranking.

As a seller on the Amazon marketplace, you are allowed to add up to 9 images to a product listing. A distinction is made between the main image and additional images. The main image is always the first image that is displayed, even in the search results. Depending on the category, Amazon has different requirements for the product images.

Further information about product images
Further tips on this topic can be found on the help page of Amazon.

The ideal product description

On Amazon, the product description is located relatively far down on the product page. So a potential customer has to scroll down properly to see it at all. The product description plays a rather secondary role for the ranking of an item. However, it can be used to place keywords that could not be placed anywhere else. You cannot rely on these keywords being indexed. In this section you can describe the product details which are less relevant, so that they don't have to be mentioned above. Up to 2,000 characters are allowed in this area.

You can also use the Google Index
However, the product description is also indexed by Google. If you want your product detail page to be included in the Google index, the product description should be unique. In this case, it does not help to simply take the text from the online shop or the description of the manufacturer.

Although few customers read through the product description, those who do have a strong buying interest. This section therefore offers the last chance to convince fluctuating prospects to buy the product. You should therefore go through the product description again in detail and work with a strong emotionalisation.

Amazon A+ Content

A+ Content is also known to Sellers as Enhanced Brand Content and Vendors as Enhanced Marketing Content. The name has been unified for both to Amazon A+ Content and provides companies with a premium content feature that enables additional images and text in the product description of branded products. The product detail pages can thus be designed in a much more attractive way, which leads to a clear sales advantage compared to a standard product description.

Examples of different modules in the Amazon A+ Content
Examples of different modules in A+ Content

However, unlike Amazon's normal product description, A+ Content is not indexed, i.e. the content is not being crawled by Amazon. On the other hand, the images and texts of A+ Content are in turn indexed by Google and can therefore possibly lead to a higher Google ranking.

Ranking and content monitoring

Especially if you have put a lot of effort into creating your Amazon SEO content, then you should monitor it continuously from now on. Nothing is more annoying than when another Seller or Vendor suddenly overwrites your carefully created content.

In AMALYTIX, for example, you can monitor your products on a daily basis and be notified by email if any changes are made to the content.

Example of Amazon Content Monitoring with AMALYTIX
AMALYTIX Content Monitoring

You should also control the success of your measures by monitoring rankings of your products. This can almost only be achieved by using appropriate tools where you store the keywords. The tools then regularly monitor the search results for these keywords, show the current position and the changes of the last few days in tabular and graphical form.

Example of Amazon Ranking Monitoring with AMALYTIX
AMALYTIX Ranking Monitoring

Which Amazon SEO tools can help me?

Whoever wants to do search engine optimization on Amazon should be aware that this is not a "one day wonder," but a long and intensive process. Not only the one-time optimization of the product listing, but especially a continuous monitoring and the constant repetition of the Amazon SEO process is the basis for sustainable success.

To make search engine optimization on Amazon easier for you, there are a few tools that can help you.

Amazon Suggest

Amazon already tries to guess what users are looking for when they enter their search terms by adding matching keywords to their search terms. This process is called Amazon Suggest.

Image of the Amazon Suggest results using the search term Yoga Mat
Amazon Suggest using the example of the Yoga Mat

You can use Amazon Suggest in the following ways to optimize your product listing:

  1. Enter a search term in the Amazon search bar that is relevant for you or your product listing.
  2. The algorithm now displays matching, closely related terms that are often related to the search term you specified which are also searched for. If the search term is "purse", for example, it will be extended by the terms "men's purse", "ladies' purse", "leather purse", etc.
  3. You will get a first overview of keywords that you can include in your listing. You should then list and save these terms separately.
  4. You can continue this process by also entering the extended terms in the search bar and thus gain more specific search terms.

To make this process easier for you, we have included a sophisticated Keyword Research Tool in AMALYTIX, which you can use to analyze the Amazon Suggest results, among other things.

Example of the Amazon Keyword Research with AMALYTIX
AMALYTIX Keyword Research Module

In AMALYTIX you can easily gather keywords from different sources, prioritize and - finally - monitor them. Once you have obtained a list of potential keywords using this method, you still need to find out which keywords are most relevant to your product. This is where the Google Keyword Planner comes into play.

Google Keyword Planner

The**Google Keyword Planner** not only determines additional, matching search terms for certain keywords, but also shows how often they are searched for. The displayed search volume allows you to rate each individual keyword according to its relevance and priority for your product listing. In order to use the Google Keyword Planner, you only need to have an active Google Ads account on which ads have been or will be displayed.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner using the example of the Yoga Mat

By the way: If you are interested in the differences and similarities in search engine optimization between Google and Amazon, we have prepared the following exciting article for you: Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO - Differences and similarities

AMALYTIX

Our tool AMALYTIX supports you in different stages of the Amazon SEO process:

  • Selection of the appropriate products
  • Keyword research
  • Keyword monitoring (Amazon visibility index)
  • Content monitoring
Free trial period
Simply register for a 14-day trial and we will show you how AMALYTIX can help you optimize your Amazon SEO process.

AXOLIST - Das Amazonas Content Tool

Image of the listing editor in the Amazon Content Tool AXOLIST

Screenshot AXOLIST Listing Editor

Keyword research, briefing, copy-writing, AI-supported translation and an integrated feedback process reduce the work involved in optimizing an Amazon product listing to a minimum: To the Amazon Content Tool

More free AMALYTIX tools

Conclusion

Studies show that most buyers will click through to the second search results page at most. All products that do not appear on the first two pages of the search results page generate significantly fewer sales.

If you are involved in selling products on Amazon, there is no way around Amazon SEO. Only with an optimized product page will you have a real chance to get to the top of the Amazon ranking in the organic search and ultimately generate more sales.

Amazon SEO helps you optimize your product pages so that they can be found more easily and quickly by customers. The sooner you understand the various factors of the Amazon ranking algorithm and the relevant connections, the better you can develop your own ideas and strategies for optimizing your product listings.

But be careful: Do not rest on your achievements. Continue to follow the current developments in search engine optimization on Amazon. Due to changes in guidelines or direct changes in algorithms, ranking positions can change quickly. Do it just like Amazon: Keep the needs of your target group in mind and let the most urgent wishes of your customers influence your products and product listings.

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