Amazon SEO Guide: How To Rank At The Top Of Search Results
Estimated reading time: 16 minutes.
Every year, around a million new sellers join Amazon.
With around 4,000 items selling on the platform every minute, there’s no shortage of buyers for that hefty seller base. But a competitive edge is everything, and it makes good financial sense to start with the freebies.
Search Engine Optimization is free.
You might already associate SEO with blogs or websites, but it’s just as important for ecommerce platforms. Optimizing your listings for search engines is an effective way to get people from Google to your Amazon store.
Amazon has its own algorithms, just like internet search engines. So SEO is also a great way to get users from the Amazon search bar to your Amazon store.
You can impact how you rank in Amazon search results in two key ways:
- the way you list your items, and;
- the way you operate as a seller on the platform.
Within these areas are multiple steps, tips, and tricks to ensure you give yourself the best chance of visibility without having to shell out the dollars.
In this comprehensive guide to Amazon SEO:
Table of Contents
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is all about serving human needs.
We ask the internet a question, and we expect the right answer. But that’s easier said than done.
The internet is big. There are lots of potential answers.
No matter which search engine you’re dealing with - Bing, Yahoo, Google - the story is the same. They want to give their users the best possible answers.
And to do that, they need a way to assess and rank all the websites they have indexed that could be helpful.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll use Google as a comparison.
Google is like a giant web index. It has a search algorithm that works to find which web pages best match the intent of the human searching something. It uses “spiders” to crawl all the websites in its index related to that search query.
It wants to give its searcher a great resource. So it asks numerous (200+) questions of these websites in order to rank them - and this is all within the time it takes you to type in your query and hit “search”.
Check out this video by the Google team to learn how search algorithms and spiders work:
In this guide, we’ll be talking all about Google and Amazon algorithms, what they’re looking for, and how to serve them.
But in order to stand the test of time and be resilient, customer services must be at the core of your strategy.
The rest will follow.
The golden rule of SEO is and always will be:
Algorithms reflect what people want, not the other way around. If you simply serve your customer at every available touchpoint in the best possible way, your SEO will be a success.
The Latest SEO Updates for 2021
Google releases around 3000+ algorithm updates every year.
Whilst these may be small, with around 3.5 billion searches a day, this compounding impact can add up for websites.
For that reason, it’s key to stay on the pulse of the changes, particularly if you have a lot of brand presence outside of Amazon tempting traffic in.
Even if you don’t, about 26.8% of Amazon’s traffic is via search engines, so it’s good to be aware of what’s going on in the industry around you because it will affect your store in the end.
Here are some of the most recent changes and what Amazon sellers should keep in mind:
Featured snippets and passages
You know how Google sometimes throws you an answer to your question on the results page ahead of any website links? That’s a “snippet”, or “passage” it has pulled from somewhere. For example:
The “somewhere” that Google has pulled the snippet from will have high domain authority, a great reputation for customer experience, and some evidence of its expertise. That’s why Google chose it.
By learning what searchers want to know about the products you are selling, you can weave answers into your product descriptions that might tempt Google to feature you.
In the first quarter of 2021, mobile users accounted for over half of all web traffic.
With such a huge chunk of visitors via devices, Google wants to ensure all the sites it shows searchers are responsive to and optimized for mobile.
By ensuring that any of your online sales activity is responsive to mobile users, you can stay competitive.
Amazon will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you in this respect, but it’s a good idea to cover a few simple steps that ensure your listings look good on mobile:
- You show high-quality images of the product as these will show up first.
- Your product title is clear and concise - mobile users may see up to 80 characters only.
- Same with your description: they may see up to around 200 characters before they have to select “>” to read the rest.
- Only the first three bullet points of your description will be visible to mobile users before they have to click to open the rest, so make them good!
SEO for Google vs. SEO on Amazon
So, how does Amazon SEO work? Is it identical to Google?
What is Amazon SEO, specifically?
Amazon has its own search algorithm just like Google, and it works in a similar way.
When a user searches for a keyword, like “David Attenborough autobiography”, Amazon will crawl its sellers and products, and display those it ranks the highest.
The ranking factors are what you really need to know.
Preparing to capture the attention of the Amazon bots crawling your store will help boost your products without costing you extra for the pleasure.
If we have learned anything, though, in our time working in and writing about ecommerce, it’s that SEO takes time.
So whilst it’s free, it may not be fast, and your strategy must be a holistic one. It used to be that optimizing for keywords was Google’s only focus, but this isn’t the case anymore - and neither is it for Amazon.
Technology has gotten cleverer, and so must we.
Your Amazon SEO Strategy
As mentioned above, keywords are just one aspect of a strong SEO strategy nowadays. Algorithms are looking for the best all-around experience, not just the best one-off.
For Amazon, that means its “spiders” are asking questions about your store to find out whether a customer will get a well-rounded, positive experience by shopping with you.
It wants to know not just that you sell the right product, but that you are authentic, honest, trustworthy, responsive, and rated highly by others.
There are plenty of ways you can demonstrate this to Amazon, which we will go through now.
We’ve organized these Amazon SEO areas by product-specific and seller-specific tips.
You are ranked on both how you list your items and how you conduct yourself as an Amazon seller. Nailing these together is vital to successful SEO.
Plus, stick around for some further bonus tips at the end to really take it a step further.
Let’s kick off with Amazon listing optimization. We’ll be covering Amazon title guidelines, photos, and descriptions.
Optimizing Amazon listing titles
You have between 200-250 characters to play with in your Amazon listing title.
In this title, you want to get across some key information about your product as well as any target keywords.
Use Google Trends to research your niche, market, and the Amazon buyer keywords you can target within them. Then, ask yourself what questions a customer might have about your product that you can answer in the title.
For example, if they’re searching for headphones, they’d probably want to know the brand, type/style, color, compatibility, warranty and any other USP:
Samsung wireless headphones with mic, black, thunderbolt cable included, 3 earbud sizes, waterproof case and 2yr warranty.
It might seem a bit sterile, but this title gives the reader a lot of information in few words. Amazon’s style guide also recommends leading with brand names and keywords.
Unsure what extra information to include? Check competitor reviews and see what people rave about and what they leave out.
Photos and descriptions
Your potential customers get to peruse your online Amazon store, but nothing else.
They don’t get to pick up and handle your products, read their labels or interact with them. So, you need to do some extra legwork to make sure they’re getting the information they need to make a decision.
What does that mean?
High-quality images and detailed, keyword-rich descriptions.
Most cell phones today take good quality photos, so there isn’t much excuse for pixelated images. Think about the impression you want to give your buyers and ensure any images you upload would make them confident about you as a seller.
Use that Google Trends keyword research you did for your listing title above and let that dictate how you talk about your product. Are there particular features and benefits that customers are searching for?
Are there particular concerns they have, or questions they ask which you can answer? Design your descriptions based on what people are searching for, and try to tell a story. Make it interesting.
Lay them out clearly. Use bullet-point lists, bold or italics to highlight sections and make it skimmable (Amazon’s algorithm particularly likes lists). Got infographics you can include? Even better! Make your listing visually appealing.
Here’s an example of an Amazon listing that has turned its product description section into images with features. It’s far nicer to read and look at than blocks of text:
Get creative and your listing will stand out.
NB: Amazon has banned HTML code in product descriptions, active from June 8th, 2021. This just means that if you wanted to manipulate your details using code, this won’t show up on the front-end anymore.
Aside from Amazon SEO keywords and attractive listings, seller conduct is just as important when it comes to your Amazon rank in the search results pages.
Amazon wants its users to have the best experience, so promoting the sellers most likely to achieve this is always the priority.
Optimizing your seller information
What earns trust?
Transparency earns trust. Give your buyers as much background about you as possible.
Your seller information is a great place to start.
Aside from your business name, legal entity and address, you are able to share more about your business - so do it! Let your customers get to know you.
Are there any keywords related to your products and business that you can include?
Picking the right categories in which to list your products might seem obvious, but it’s worth just stressing how important this is.
You know how you often see “Customers who bought this also bought…” on Amazon? Well, that’s where you could feature if you pick the right categories.
Customers searching in a specific category are highly targeted traffic, probably quite far down the sales funnel, and you only want them to see your listing if your product meets their needs. Don’t be surrounded by hungry fans at the wrong concert.
Sales are probably the biggest driver of Amazon SEO, but customer experience and reviews follow closely behind.
Amazon knows that customers look at reviews, so it displays these loudly and proudly. It shows an average star rating and how many ratings the listing has received:
It also judges you on your ratings when it comes time to rank seller listings.
If you are more likely to convert a customer, based on what others have said about you, then you’ll do well. If not, you may have some problems in store.
You need to put the time into excellent customer service. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos himself said:
“If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience.”
There isn’t one way to do this.
It should dictate just about every aspect of your business from what you sell to packaging, fulfilment options, the unboxing experience, quick response times, reasonable returns policies, and any follow-ups or customer loyalty programs.
This is just one example of how SEO is not just a checklist of quick tasks. It counts on consistent excellence across the board from a combination of efforts that will all lift your business simultaneously.
Bonus Amazon SEO tips
Got all the above bases covered? You’re already ahead of many of your peers.
Here are a few more bonus SEO tips to really push your store over the edge.
Remember, it’s all about premium CX, and these are great ways to achieve that:
Fast and free shipping
You’re selling on Amazon: a platform famous for its super quick (and cheap) shipping options.
Consumers today expect fast, cheap, and hassle-free shipping.
So, make the most of it! If you’re not selling via FBA, consider your item pricing: how can you price the products in order to offer free shipping, whilst remaining competitive and still making a profit?
Remember, there are different ways to do this. 93% of shoppers say they’ll add extra items to their carts to qualify for free shipping.
Here are a few ways you can justify free shipping:
- Increase the price of your products.
- Focus on LTV (customer lifetime value) and invest in customer retention.
- Increase your AOV (average order value) by offering bundles or minimum spend thresholds
93% of customers read a review online before buying a product.
We like proof. And we particularly like it to come from anyone but the brand we’re buying from.
Social proof can come in many forms. All it means is evidence that other people like you or your products (ideally both).
It could take the form of reviews, testimonials, case studies, videos, social shares, UGC (user-generated content) - any customer-led interaction with your brand is social proof.
Harness it, show it off. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Use a real-time stats app. You’ll no doubt have shopped online before and seen a pop-up saying “Jodie from Texas has just bought this item!” If Jodie was convinced, maybe the person browsing will be, too.
The app for that: TrustPulse is one example, though it’s unclear if you can use it with Amazon. Keep it in your back pocket if you plan to expand your channels.
- Capture every review. Amazon will already show your customers reviews as early in the listing as possible, but you might need to nudge your recent buyers to leave a testimonial. You can automate these requests.
It’s also a great idea to create more detailed case studies if these lend themselves well to your product.
- Generate UGC. User-generated content is a great way to have your customers sell your products to their peers.
You can run competitions to encourage UGC, share content created by others about your brand and products across channels and gain that extra reach through your existing fans. Social media is key in expansive UGC campaigns. Read more about ecommerce UGC and examples of strong campaigns here.
- Influencers and endorsements. We’re getting into more serious marketing territory now, which you might want to enter into once you’ve grown your business more.
Getting influencers or celebrities to endorse your products can be a great way to build brand awareness - just do it authentically, because consumers are onto this now. This article is an interesting read about how to do this successfully.
Amazon SEO Tools
When it comes to the best Amazon keyword research tools, as you can imagine, there are a number of contenders for the top spot.
The most effective strategy to impactful Amazon keyword research and ranking is to combine a few different tools and find patterns.
Here are a few of them:
- Google Trends (for keyword research).
- Helium 10 (for keyword research).
- Helium 10 Scribbles (for designing your title).
- Keyword Inspector (for Amazon keyword research).
- Amazon PPC (for help with which keywords actually convert and using those).
The steps you should take when researching your Amazon SEO keywords are:
- Use a keyword research tool to find a handful of popular and relevant keywords for your product.
- Use Keyword Inspector to look up the keywords used by your competitors.
- Use those keywords to find some of your top-performing competitors with lots of reviews, and add any more keywords that they are ranking for.
- Once you have these three lists of keywords, you can start to compare them and filter down the most relevant ones to your products.
These Amazon keywords tips should help with writing your listing titles and descriptions.
Get Your Accounts Looking As Good As Your Listings
Nailing your SEO and flooding your store with customers is all well and good, but are your accounts up to the task?
Amazon settlement statements can be notoriously difficult to interpret and reconcile. Understanding what fees have been charged before the deposit arrived in your bank account is crucial to keeping them minimal, but who has spare hours to do this manually each week?
Not many ambitious sellers, that’s for sure.
A2X captures your Amazon settlement data and splits it out into income and expense lines for you. Your books are organized via the accrual method and by month, so that you can report on and forecast your business’ true performance in minutes.
Get seamless, accurate accounting without the fuss with A2X for Amazon.
FAQs About Amazon SEO
Quick answers to your top Amazon search engine optimization questions so that you can pique the interest of Amazon’s product ranking algorithm.
What is Amazon SEO?
Amazon SEO is a free way to boost organic traffic to your Amazon store. By optimizing your listings, descriptions, images, and the way you serve your customers on the platform, you can increase your visibility and conversion rates - without paying a cent!
How does Amazon SEO work?
Amazon SEO works similarly to other search engines. As a user searches for a particular product, Amazon’s algorithm will crawl your listing to see whether it is relevant. Amazon will also consider how detailed your listing is, whether you have good reviews (and lots of them), how customers have interacted with you, and whether you are likely to give them the best experience.
You can influence all these factors to help increase your visibility on the search results pages. Check out the above guide to find out how.
What is the best Amazon keyword research tool?
How do I optimize Amazon listings?
Keywords are important for optimization but essentially, your SEO strategy should hinge on one thing: customer experience. If you serve the customer at every possible touchpoint with helpful information which is interesting and visually appealing, then this will naturally boost your SEO.
Check out the blog above for actionable tips and tricks for increasing your SEO rankings on Amazon.
Also on the blog
- The A2X Amazon Accounting Hub
- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s FBA Service
- The Best Products to Sell on Amazon FBA
- 10 Most Common Amazon Accounting Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
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