The path to success with Amazon FBA is through Amazon SEO (search engine optimization).
And with this detailed guide to help you, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make your product rank on Amazon in 2019.
* If you landed on this page while searching for a useful tool to help improve your Amazon SEO, be sure to check out the Keyword Scout feature included with a Jungle Scout subscription.
This guide to Amazon SEO answers the following:
- What is Amazon SEO and why is it important?
- What makes a product rank on Amazon?
- How can I optimize my Amazon FBA product listing for Amazon SEO?
1. What is Amazon SEO and why is it important?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.
While this might seem like an odd concept considering Amazon is an ecommerce website (and SEO sounds like a Google-related need), it’s actually not that strange.
Amazon’s A9 Search Engine outperforms Google, 54% to 46% respectively, when it comes to product searches.
Therefore, Amazon SEO is probably one of the most important skills every Amazon FBA seller should master.
If you understand Amazon SEO, then your products’ visibility improves. And more visibility equals more sales!
- Amazon is a search engine for shopping.
- Amazon SEO is the process of increasing visibility on a website or search engine.
2. What makes a product rank on Amazon?
Amazon keeps a tight lid on the secrets behind its A9 Search Algorithm, but that’s not surprising.
If everyone knew its secrets, we’d all have #1 products, right?
Consequently, the best we can do is guess at the key factors that determine a product’s rank.
Fortunately, however, thanks to years of experience–and a killer PHD-level data science team–our guesses are fairly well-educated.
Here are a few of the elements we know help with Amazon SEO and ranking:
Sales velocity and Amazon SEO.
A product’s sales velocity equals the number of opportunities (in this case, page impressions) multiplied by the average sale, multiplied by the conversion rate, all divided by the sales length cycle.
Here’s an example, to help clarify how sales velocity is calculated:
- In one month, your product page has 3,000 opportunities to make a sale.
- The average sale is $20.
- Your conversion rate is 10%.
- The sales cycle is 30 days.
- ((3000 x 20) 0.10 / 30 = 200
That means your sales velocity is $200, and you’re bringing in that much every day.
Since Amazon is a business (and businesses want to make money), the more money your product brings into Amazon, the more likely your product will rank.
Keyword relevancy and Amazon SEO.
If Amazon’s A9 search algorithm doesn’t know what your product is, how can it make sales?
And how does Amazon even know what your product is in the first place?
The answer is surprisingly simple: keywords.
When you create your Amazon FBA product listing, Amazon requires a lot of information including:
- The product’s title;
- The product’s images;
- Bullet points offering a quick description of the product;
- A longer description of the product;
- And back-end keywords and categories.
All of these elements are used by Amazon’s algorithm to understand what your product is.
How sales velocity and keyword relevancy work together for Amazon SEO.
When you create an Amazon product listing, you are telling Amazon: “Hey, this is what my product is.”
Then, when customers click on your product listing and make a purchase, they, too, are telling Amazon: “Yes, this product is exactly as described and precisely what I was looking for.”
Think of Amazon’s A9 search engine as the smartest person you’ve ever met.
However, this person lacks confidence in their answers. It’s not until a few thousand people tell the person they’re right that they start to believe it themselves.
And that’s Amazon SEO in a nut shell.
- Sales velocity tells Amazon that your product is one that buyers want.
- Your product listing’s details tell Amazon what your product is.
- Sales velocity and keyword relevancy work together to rank your product appropriately.
3. How can I optimize my Amazon FBA product listing for Amazon SEO?
The primary ingredient for success with Amazon SEO is relevancy.
If your product is relevant to what an Amazon customer wants, they will buy your product. And if a customer buys your product and Amazon turns a profit, Amazon will rank your product higher.
So every element on our Amazon FBA product listing helps with relevancy.
Understanding the structure of an Amazon product listing.
Before we go into the individual components of your Amazon product listing, it’s vital that you understand the actual structure of the listing itself.
Amazon’s user-experience designers placed each element of a product listing in a specific position, based on common internet-user reading habits.
Most internet users–you and I included–read in an F-shaped-pattern.
First, the user starts at the top-left corner of the screen, scanning the content.
On Amazon search results pages and product listings, the first things the user sees are the product photos.
Next, it’s the product’s title (with the price very close to the top).
Finally, at the far right of the listing, still in line with the other content, is the Buy Box.
If the user does not make an immediate purchase based on the image, title, and price, they scroll further down the page and make a second horizontal movement.
On Amazon, that means the user sees the items’ delivery options, product variants, and bullet points.
The final movement involves the pattern’s vertical movement.
As a user scrolls past ‘the fold’ on an Amazon page (the portion of the page a user sees when they first log on), they are treated to more content to convince them to make a sale.
This includes competitor products, offers and promotions, a detailed product description, questions and answers, and reviews.
The most important elements of an Amazon product listing.
With this knowledge of a user’s reading pattern, it’s safe to assume that we can order the product listing’s elements from most important to least important.
For above the fold:
- Product photographs. Amazon is very much a visual website. Therefore, product photos are the first thing a customer sees, helping to confirm that their search terms were correct.
- Product title. Next, the product title makes its debut in the reader’s field of vision. The title supplies a lot of important information, for further confirmation that the product was relevant to the customer’s search.
- Best Seller/Amazon’s Choice badges. If a product leads in its parent category, Amazon awards it a ‘Best Seller’ or ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge.
- Product rating. Just below the product’s title is the product’s overall rating, represented by one to five stars.
- Product price, Prime badge, and guarantee. Clumped together below the product’s rating is the product’s price, a badge that lets shoppers know that the product qualifies for Prime (if the product doesn’t, the badge will not be there), and the ‘FREE returns’ guarantee.
- The Buy Box. The Buy Box is the page’s call-to-action above the fold. It allows the buyer to immediately purchase the product from the product’s top seller.
- Variants. If the product has variants, these will appear below the product’s title and pricing information.
- In Stock badge. While most product pages won’t show if the sellers are out of stock, the ‘In Stock’ badge lets the buyer know they can purchase the product. If the product is low in inventory, Amazon might say there are only a certain number of items in stock, to encourage a sense of urgency.
- Bullet points. Any details that the listing creator could not convey through the product’s images or title are placed in the bullet points. These details are less for establishing relevancy, and more for helping customers make informed buying decisions.
For below the fold:
- Customers who bought this item also bought… This section is Amazon’s first line of defense against losing a potential conversion. Once a customer scrolls past the fold without clicking the Buy Box, Amazon ensures that other options are put in front of the potential buyer.
- Sponsored products related to this item… Like the section above, sponsored products work towards ensuring a sale is made.
- Special offers and product promotions. Next, the product listing might offer promotions to convert shoppers who couldn’t be persuaded to buy above the fold, or to click on one of the other product listings. Amazon advertises their credit line and $125 gift card award by default.
- Long-form description. The description is the closer of an Amazon product listing. If the image, title, price, and other above-the-fold features failed to get the job done, it’s up to the description to convince the shopper to buy.
- Reviews. Finally, the product’s ratings are accompanied by its reviews. The reviews either change the buyer’s mind and turn them into a shopper, or they act as confirmation bias for shoppers on the fence about buying.
How do I optimize my Amazon FBA product listing?
Now that you’re armed with a basic understanding of Amazon SEO and user experience, you should be able to optimize your Amazon product listing for relevancy and conversions (sales velocity).
Pick relevant images.
Your product’s image is everything. It is the first impression the customer receives of your product, so make it a good one.
The main image should be clear, needing nothing more than a quick glance from the customer in order for them to know exactly what the product is.
Construct relevant product titles.
Until Amazon has sales data to back up your product’s claims, the title is crucial for proper Amazon SEO.
So, the next thing you need to do is construct your product title so it conveys the most important information first, from left to right.
If you need some help creating your title, Amazon constructs its own product titles using the following formula:
[Brand] [Product Type] [A Defining Characteristic] [Specific Use] [Size and/or Quantity]
For example, Brita Filters are listed as Brita Standard Water Filter, Standard Replacement Filters for Pitchers and Dispensers, BPA Free – 6 Count.
*Note: Currently, Amazon allows up to 200 characters for product titles.
However, this may change to only 50 characters in coming months.
Amass good ratings and reviews.
Good product ratings can make or break a product.
After all, your product can be the most relevant product in the world, but if it has three stars or less it may not sell.
To avoid that from happening, make sure that: a) your product is exactly what you advertise on your product listing, and b) you follow-up with your Amazon customers to address potential issues.
Offer reasonable prices.
Obviously, pricing is an important factor when someone considers making a purchase on Amazon.
And while you don’t want to give your product away for next to nothing, you also don’t want to scare off buyers with over-inflated prices.
Look at what your competitors’ are doing, and price test often to secure the best possible pricing for both you and your shopper.
But if price testing sounds intimidating, no problem! Splitly has a tool–Profit Peak–that will split test your product’s price for you automatically.
If possible, sell Prime.
Most of us want what we want when we want it.
In other words, we want fast shipping!
That’s why 61% of all Amazon shoppers are Amazon Prime members: two to three-day shipping (one-day for some).
Naturally, because of this desire to receive their purchases as quickly as possible, products with the Prime badge sell better than those without.
If you are an Amazon FBA seller and use Amazon’s fulfillment network, your product automatically qualifies as Prime.
If you’re not selling FBA, you can always apply to be a part of Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime program.
Don’t lose your Buy Box.
Even if you’re the only seller on a product listing, you can still lose the Buy Box.
And without the Buy Box, some shoppers may decide to move onto one of your competitor’s listing to buy from them instead.
To make sure you’re eligible for your own Buy Box, always follow Amazon’s rules carefully.
If you happen to lose the Buy Box (either because of ‘hijackers‘ or Amazon deems you no longer eligible), it is possible to win it back.
Check out our blog, How to win the Buy Box in 2019, to find out how.
Offer variants whenever possible.
The last thing you want is to lose a sale because your product comes in red and the buyer wanted black.
Variants help with conversions, so failure to offer variations (if your product is variation-friendly) could mean losing a customer to one of your competitors.
So if you can offer variants, do so, and do so on the original product listing.
Creating a separate listings for variants isn’t always beneficial.
Stay in stock.
While the jury is still out on whether or not products suffer when they run out of stock, the bottom line is that you can’t make sales if you don’t have any units to sell.
In the meantime, as you wait for your next shipment of inventory, your competitors are signaling to Amazon that their products are more relevant than yours.
Regardless of the debate, our recommendation is to remain in stock!
Use the bullet points to explain the product’s non-explicit benefits.
It’s a mistake to use your bullet points for keyword stuffing.
Instead, use bullet points to help your product convert. Offer information that the images and title could not convey.
A great tip is to answer the question: how does my product solve the problem that led this customer to my product in the first place.
Study your competitors’ listings.
Learn from your successful competitors’ product listings. Click on their listing and do a little research.
What makes their product more relevant than your own? What makes their listing more effective than yours?
And check their sales, too. Are they actually doing better?
Consider this: a shopper moves past the fold of your listing because they weren’t convinced to buy right away.
But they also weren’t interested in the sponsored products, or the ‘Customers who bought this item, also bought…’ section.
Therefore, it’s possible you can change their mind with something as simple as a 10% discount. Plus, you can offer a promotion without advertising it.
I think of it like this:
Deals are a lot like buying a car. The first price is never the dealer’s final price.
Sometimes you have to go back and forth a little before you get the discount you want.
Treat your promotions just like that.
Use the long-form description section to sell your product.
Speaking of car salesmen, make sure the product’s description drives home why the customer should buy your product over everyone else’s.
This is your chance to showcase the benefits and talk up the product’s advantages.
And, if you’re a brand-registered seller, here is where you can create registered brand content.
Stay on top of your product’s reviews.
This is probably one of the most difficult parts of being an Amazon seller. One bad review can tank your entire listing.
But I believe that you can still get good product reviews.
You just have to do it the old fashioned way: by making a great product that people want, offering amazing customer service, and running a great follow-up email campaign.
- Handle each element of your product listing as it appears in the F-shaped pattern.
- The closer to the top of the product listing the element appears, the more vital it is to product relevancy and Amazon SEO.
- And the further down an element appears on your product listing, the more important it is to converting “on-the-fence” Amazon customers.
Learn more about Amazon SEO
And that’s it! Hopefully this article has given you a solid start on mastering Amazon SEO, however, if you’d like to learn more, be sure to check out these companion articles:
- Amazon Keyword Research: Your Guide to Success in 2019
- Seller Strategies: Long Tail Keywords
- Seller Strategies: Secret Amazon Fields
Thanks for reading!
If you have any tricks you use for Amazon SEO you’d like to share, feel free to drop them in the comments below.
Or, if you’d like to learn more about how to succeed with Amazon SEO, be sure to check out Jungle Scout, an all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon that gives you all the tools you need to succeed and then some!