Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is increasingly important for anyone who sells products and services online. Understanding how SEO works is a complex undertaking that requires research, training, and a deep understanding of search keywords and online consumer behavior. Perhaps the most challenging part of SEO is that the algorithms, which drive search results, operate in a somewhat secretive manner.
For instance, Google doesn’t tell users exactly how their search engine derives the results it does, and it’s updated fairly regularly. So just when you think you have it figured out, the algorithm may change and cause your results to fail. Figuring out what consumers are looking for and how to stay on page one of search results can feel like guesswork.
The same goes for Amazon, whose search results are driven by their proprietary A9 algorithm. Without knowing exactly how the algorithm works, understanding how to optimize your Amazon product page listings for optimal search results and top sales can be a challenge.
Fear not, though. There are many best practices, tips, and tricks for success on Amazon to help you achieve the search results you need so that people can find and purchase your products. It’s up to you to build your product pages accordingly and conform to these best practices.
The Big Four
While it’s important to pay careful attention to every single field and available entry space on your product page, we believe what translates best to a consumer seeing your product early on in their search comes down to these most important four elements: title field, product features, photos, and backend keywords. Build these out optimally and your chances of success will dramatically increase. When people see your product, they’re more likely to buy it. If they can’t see it, your sales can’t grow. Therefore, this it can be a bit of a vicious circle.
There are other factors which lead to success in getting the consumer to click that button and buy. That said, they first have to find it. Writing your product listing with an understanding of Amazon’s SEO is the easiest way to get them there. Here are some techniques to do just that.
Optimize Your Title Field
You don’t want your product’s title field to be ridiculous—a string of keywords stuffed together that means nothing to the consumer. In fact, A9 knows how to ignore poorly written, keyword-stuffed title fields that make little sense to a consumer. That doesn’t mean the title field can’t be long and descriptive—in fact, for your product, that may be the best way to optimize it, as long as you write it within specified character limits.
However, you have to write in a way that makes sense to the reader, while putting the most important words first. Consider selecting keywords that not only label what your product is, but that also include specific and/or unique attributes that someone might be typing into a search box. Look at how your competitors describe their products, and try to distinguish your product from theirs.
Be specific, but don’t include information that’s unnecessary. If the product comes in many colors, for example, don’t list a color in the title. In addition, don’t include subjective phrasing like “best” or “top seller.”
Key Product Features/Bullets
How you describe your product is not only very important to the consumer, it can affect your search results. The key product features section on Amazon is a list of bullets where you have the opportunity to sell your product based on its unique features and attributes. Ideally, you will want to be specific here, and think about the top features, benefits, or attributes someone will be searching for with a product like yours. It could be where the product is made, that it’s organic, 100% cotton, or any number of other particular facts. Don’t just write to be factual, however. It’s better to write for optimization, and think about keywords consumers will search for that you can include in this important section.
The importance of having professional, high-quality photos cannot be stressed enough. The main image in your Amazon listing is what your consumer will first see. It presents an important opportunity to engage and excite them into looking at other images. Remember that the online shopping experience means your consumer doesn’t get to touch, feel, or look at your product before making the decision to buy, so your pictures have to tell the story for them.
Keep your product images simple and clean. In some ways, your product pictures can be even more important than detailed product descriptions. Include photos from every possible angle to ensure every consumer understands the value of your item. Include photos of the product in use in real life so consumers understand how it looks and works and can see the sizing, color, and behavior of the product. High-quality photos have been shown to translate to better product rankings on Amazon.
While the consumer won’t see these, the backend keywords section is an important part of your Amazon listing. This section allows you to input 250 characters that encompass anything and everything someone might be searching for related to your product. This section is simply a list of terms separated by spaces (no commas needed).
The backend keyword area is a space where you can add language that you couldn’t find room for in the rest of the listing (no need to repeat words/phrases you’ve already included in the product listing, however). For example, include words that signify additional product features, uses, or attributes that didn’t make the cut to be included in bullets or product description fields, but are words that a consumer might also be typing into the search bar. Also consider common spelling errors. You may want to list alternative spellings here, alternative phrasing—even what the product is called in a different language.
There are so many elements to an Amazon product listing, and so many unknown aspects of A9 that it can seem daunting to create a perfect listing. Consider focusing first on creating the best descriptions for your top products and optimization of these four key areas. Once you start seeing success, you can flesh out your other product listings to achieve similar results.
By learning how A9 works and responding accordingly, you will be well on your way to increasing your Amazon sales ranking and doing all you can to increase potential sales. It’s essential to harness these and other SEO and algorithm strategies to remain competitive in the complex and ever-changing world of online retail.