Amazon SEO in 2020

Sharing is caring!

The days of ignoring Amazon SEO, throwing up any old product on Amazon, and then waiting for the paychecks to start rolling in are long gone. Instead, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Amazon continues to develop algorithms to match sellers’ products with their shoppers. Your product has to be relevant.

Today, if you’re not maximizing the impact of your Amazon SEO, you’re in great danger of losing out on sales. After all, the top 20% of products on Amazon are earning 80% of the revenue!

So, if you’re ready to claim your rightful share of sales and exposure, we’ll go over the following ins and outs of Amazon SEO and how to start optimizing your listing so you can begin ranking higher today.

 

What is Amazon SEO and why is it important?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, 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 e-commerce website (and SEO is often considered a Google-related need), it’s actually highly relevant.

Amazon’s A9 search engine outperforms Google when it comes to product searches. According to a survey by Feedvisor, 66% of shoppers start their search for a product on Amazon. Search engines like Google are a distant second, at 20%.

Amazon SEO: Feedvisor survey results

Therefore, if you understand Amazon SEO, then your products’ visibility and ranking improves, which drives more sales!

A9: The foundation of Amazon SEO 

Amazon’s search algorithm comes from a subsidiary company called A9, and is the brains behind matching a customer search query with the most relevant products in the Amazon catalog. 

This algorithm is crucial to Amazon’s business model because it powers the one primary metric that matters the most: revenue per click. And by honing in on the products most relevant to a customer’s search query, Amazon increases its chances of generating a sale — and revenue.

We get a sense of what the A9 algorithm targets in Amazon’s article on Optimizing Listings for Search and Browse:

“Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.”

We’ll show you how to provide the information Amazon’s A9 algorithm is looking for.

Back to Top

 

What makes a product rank on Amazon?

While Amazon keeps a tight lid on the details of its A9 Search Algorithm, there are a few key factors that we know help to determine a product’s rank.

For example, 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 and the A9 algorithm in a nutshell.

Keyword relevancy

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:

All of these elements are used by Amazon’s algorithm to understand what your product is (more on creating an optimized listing below).

Sales velocity

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.

A product’s sales velocity represents how much money it’s bringing in over time. It’s a measure of 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, also known as page impressions (ie. the number of people visiting your product listing).
  • The product price is $20.
  • Your conversion rate is 10% (conversion rate = total order items / sessions).
  • The sales cycle is 30 days.

(3000 x 20) 0.10 / 30 = 200

That means your sales velocity is $200 per day.

Conversion rate 

Conversion rate is the percentage of visits to your product page that result in a sale. It is calculated as follows:

Conversion rate = Total order items / Sessions

In Seller Central, you can see the conversion rate of your product by going to Reports –> Business Reports –> Sales and Traffic, and then looking at the Order Item Session Percentages. This is what it looks like for Jungle Stix:

The three most important factors to improving your conversion rate are:

  • High quality product images
  • Competitive price
  • Social proof (number, and quality, of reviews)

As you make adjustments to different parts of your listings, you can see the changes reflected in these metrics.

For example, if you start testing a different main product image, you may see an uptick in your click through rate and sessions. Or, if you change the main keyword you’re targeting, you may eventually see a dip in sessions. But, as you are targeting more relevant traffic, you could also see a lift in sales.

Your conversion rate is going to be dynamic, changing based on changes in traffic, customer behavior, and market conditions in general. It is tremendously helpful to stay attuned to these changes, and proactively make necessary adjustments. This means consistently running split tests to optimize the keywords you target, the images you use, your price, and much more.

Back to Top

 

Key elements of a product listing for Amazon SEO

As we’ve discussed, the primary ingredient for success with Amazon SEO is relevancy, and every element on an Amazon product listing helps with relevancy. 

Understanding the structure of an Amazon product listing

But, 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). And 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. 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, we can order the product listing’s elements from most important to least important.

Above the fold:

Amazon SEO: listing elements above the fold

When it comes to the components of a product listing, those that are ‘above the fold’ can be seen by a potential buyer when they first click through to your page, without scrolling down. 

They include:

  • Product images: Amazon is very much a visual website. Therefore, product photos are the first thing a customer sees when their search results come up, helping to confirm that their search terms were correct.
  • Product name (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.
  • Amazon badges: There are a number of badges that can be associated with a product listing. First, if a product leads in its parent category, Amazon awards it a ‘Best Seller’ or  ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge. Next, below the product’s rating is a badge that lets shoppers know the product qualifies for Prime. Finally, the ‘In Stock’ badge (which is not visible on all listings) lets the buyer know the product is available for purchase. 
  • Product rating: Just below the product’s title is the product’s overall rating, represented by one to five stars.
  • 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.
  • 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 relevance, and more for helping customers make informed buying decisions.

Below the fold:

Amazon SEO: listing elements above the fold

As for components ‘below the fold’, those are the listing’s elements that a shopper can only view if they scroll down the product page.

These include:

  • “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.

Back to Top

 

The do’s and don’ts when optimizing an Amazon FBA product listing for Amazon SEO

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).

What you can do to improve your listing:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 65% of all Amazon.com 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.

6. Keep ownership of the 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, to find out how.

7. 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 listing for variants isn’t always beneficial.

8. 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!

9. 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. 

10. 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. Is their product actually doing better than yours?

11. Offer promotions

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.

12. Use the long-form description section to sell your product

This is your chance to showcase the benefits and talk up the product’s advantages, so make sure the product’s description drives home why the customer should buy your product over everyone else’s. And, if you’re a brand-registered seller, here is where you can create A+ content (formerly registered brand content).

If you have a registered brand on Amazon, you will have access to A+ content. Not only does A+ content give your page a sharp, professional look, but it may also improve your commissions. We ran an A/B test with A+ content on Jungle Stix and discovered that it improved our conversion rate by 150%.

13. 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.

More ways to optimize your Amazon SEO and ranking

Once you have a well-optimized listing, it’s time to spike your sales, as nothing will boost your ranking like cold hard sales can. 

Two of the best ways to increase sales are:

1. Running Amazon PPC (pay-per-click) ads

Paid advertisements are a great source of traffic and additional sales to help rank your products. Facebook or Google Adwords can be used, but Amazon PPC is the easiest way to boost your keyword driven sales.

Start by setting up manual PPC campaigns using your target keywords, then crank up the bids (but staying within your budget) to increase exposure and sessions. 

2. Using launch services and deal websites to attract buyers

To generate sales quickly, consider offering coupons to discount-hungry shoppers.

Sales produced through launch services can increase your product’s sales velocity, helping to boost its ranking. Just make sure you have a reliable system for delivering coupons (like Jungle Scout) and promoting them to deal hunters.

Helpful optimization don’ts:

  • Don’t include your competitor’s brand name or misleading information: Including keywords that are misleading are against Amazon’s Terms of Service, and can lead to product removal and account suspension. 
  • Don’t keyword stuff: Amazon calls this “providing redundant information captured in other fields”. With Amazon SEO, more is not always better. Don’t repeat your keywords.
  • Don’t use punctuation in keywords: Only use a single space to separate keywords, no commas, semicolons, dashes, etc. Anecdotally, including punctuation can reduce the number of keywords that your product ranks for.
  • Don’t add common misspellings, variants, or synonyms: Amazon captures common related words, so no need to include those in your keywords section. For example, “marshmallow stick”, “marshmellow stix”, and “marshmellos stick” will all be captured with just one keyword.

Back to Top

 

How to keep track of your Amazon ranking

What good is optimizing your listing, working on Amazon SEO, and boosting ranking if you can’t track the results? There are two ways to check if your product has been indexed and where it is ranking for keywords: manually and automatically.

Manually

First, check your product is indexed for keywords by typing the following formula directly into the Amazon search bar:

(ASIN) + “(keyword)”

Populate the brackets with your product ASIN and a keyword you wish to check. If your product shows up, it’s indexed for that term. 

Then when it comes to tracking ranking, you’ll need to manually scroll through pages to find it. Checking this every day certainly gets old quickly!

Automatically

Because checking your rankings manually can be extremely time consuming, your best bet is to find a tool that enables you to monitor your Amazon product listings automatically. 

By using a tool like Jungle Scout’s Rank Tracker, you can track your product’s ranking, as well as those of your competitors. It also helps you find new opportunities while eliminating inefficient keywords. 

Back to Top

 

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:

Back to Top

 

If you have any tricks you use for Amazon SEO you’d like to share, feel free to drop them in the comments below.

 

Sharing is caring!

38 comments on “Amazon SEO in 2020

  1. Hi Gen,
    Could you please clarify regarding keywords used in Product Title, Bullet Points, Product Description, Product Image vs Search Term’s keywords in Seller Central? Sould I or should I not repeat these in Search Terms again? Wonder if that would be considered keywords stuffing?

    Thanks,
    Natasha

    1. Natasha,

      Amazon wants your products to be relevant to buyers. Unlike Google, they don’t penalize for keyword stuffing. So if you’re arming your listing with more long tail options that’ll help you get in front of more customers who actually want to buy your exact product, they’re only going to reward you. High conversions means your customers aren’t having to spend a lot of time making decisions–they see what they want and buy it. That signals Amazon that your product is worthy.

  2. Another Great Post! Yes keyword research is very necessary element to create a post. We should use meta in a proper way at the post.

    I just want to ask that interlinking with my old post is good for SEO. And How many keywords should actually add in meta keywords.

    1. That’s a great question, and a challenge that many are pursuing….please share any good tips you come across in your quest!

  3. nice your website inform,, i like that,,Before you put your product listing on Amazon, you should spend some time finding the most appropriate keywords to target. There are several factors that Amazon applies to establish the organic search results. It incorporates product cost, sales history, volume of sales, ratings, reviews, etc.

    1. Hi Helen,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, you have indeed highlighted some of the most important ranking factors.

      Gen

  4. someone told me, jungle scout tools are excellent for Amazon Seo. But I am confused about tools.
    Is it work properly!
    Is it improve seller rank! and
    Is it safe for seller account!
    Now, I am using organic System like prime Customer ( Listing, vote, Shopping list, gift idea, review, Purchase, Social sharing ) etc.
    It works slowly but Safe.
    Email me : [email protected]

  5. Good article, but I think your CTR calculation is wrong. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Page Views is the total number of times that your listing is actually clicked on and visited. Sessions is the number of unique times your listing is clicked on and visited.

    So by dividing these you are not calculating the number of people that clicked on your listing vs the number of people who saw the listing, which is how CTR should be calculated. Instead, you are just dividing the number of unique visits by the number of total visits, which to me tells you nothing about CTR.

    1. Hey Jeffrey,

      Good spot, I have updated the article now. I was just investigating in Seller Central, and I don’t think Amazon actually give you impression data for your product listing, (apart from in any PPC reports). Organic impressions of your listing would be really interesting to see though, have you managed to access this data?

      Thanks again,
      Kym

      1. Unfortunately, I believe you are correct. There does not seem to be any way to see the number of times your listing was viewed. It seems that the only info they provide is the number of times your listing was actually visited.

        1. Yes it seems Amazon keeps this information to themselves. After all they “own” all of the listings technically.

          It does make a case for using Amazon PPC, to get more data about your page views and keywords – again this works in Amazon’s favor, but it’s no different to the way Google operates with their Analytics and PPC platforms!

  6. Hey guys, great article! I think that looking into the A9 algorithm is extremely important when trying to acquire a deeper knowledge of Amazon. It is important to learn as much as you can as an Amazon seller so you can be ahead of the rest of the pack. Furthermore, like Google, Amazon is constantly tweaking its algorithm so it is good to always be informed! I hope you benefit from my input!

    Please feel free to reach out to me with any question!

    Thanks,

    Weston Corica
    Lead Consultant

  7. Thx for the great post.

    1: So if you use your main keyword in the title there is (rankingwise) no need to repeat this term anywhere else?

    2: If you want to rank for longtail phrases like ‘best bamboo marsmallow’ would it be helpfull to put them next to each other of can they be anywhere in the listing?

  8. Great Post Gen! I have a couple of questions. Isn’t ‘Unit Session Percentage’ an accurate assessment of conversion rate as well? The formula is units ordered/sessions so I figure it’s a great metrics to use as conversion rate. I use that for myself and my clients to make listing decisions. Also, how do you define ‘significant search volume’ when selecting a head term?

    I’m going to start using revenue per click and organic CTR for my reporting. Awesome tips.

    Thanks again brother. Tell Greg I said ‘hey’…it’s been a while.

    1. Hey Sean,

      Thanks for the kind words, glad that the post helped.

      Indeed you are correct, Unit Session Percentage is the same conversion rate.

      As for what is the minimum threshold for “significant search volume”, it totally depends on your goals as a seller. However, you can do some quick back-of-the-envelope math to justify whether a keyword is worth prioritizing for you. if you have some historical sales data and/or PPC data, you can multiply the Total Impressions x Click Through Rate X Conversion Rate = Sales

      in that way, you can run the numbers for various keywords and see which ones ultimately are most likely to generate more conversions. hope that makes sense!

      Thanks Sean.

      Gen

  9. Hello Gen,

    Thank you for always writing such detailed post, it’s very useful to me as a beginner Amazon Seller.

    1) Regarding keyword (seller central tool) section, in your example say “marshmallow for roasting”, “marshmallow stick for roasting”, “marshmallow roasting forks” and “marshmallow forks” since Amazon does not recommend us to use repetitive keywords, I would like to clarify if its enough to input the following keywords: marshmallow stick fork roasting?

    The reason I am asking is because based of Google keyword planner when I put in a product type or website, it generates a list of phrases with repetitive words and honestly I find it difficult to max up the character limit in search term.

    2) Under Amazon Seller Central > Report > I do not see option for Business Report?

    Could you please out thank you so much!!

    1. Hey Sy,

      Glad that it helped. To answer your questions…

      1) Per Amazon’s recommendation, it would be sufficient to take those four phrases that you listed and condense them into “marshmallow stick fork roasting” in Seller Central’s backend Keyword section.

      2) You can see the Business Report in this screenshot: http://screencast.com/t/oOGG86egcCM

      Hope this helps!

      Gen

  10. I just changed with seller support and they told me:

    “As I have checked the information, As per Amazon policy, it is not allowed to promote your product via description.”

  11. The pet groom example you gave with the description which was nicely formatted and descriptive has the following in their description:
    “Buy 3 Safe 15%…”

    Is this allowed>

  12. Hi Gen The best post I have read.
    In my case have mi short title (80 caracters aprox.) for recomendation in help of Amazon Seller Central.
    I think wasting space could place keywords but:
    It is wrong to follow the recommendations of Amazon strictly?
    In my case following strictly, but I have no positive results so far.
    You think about it?

    Best regads

    1. Hi Janeth,

      Thanks for the kind words, glad that it helped!

      I absolutely don’t think that there is anything wrong with following Amazon’s recommendation, and it is probably advised. I know that a lot of sellers may skirt around the policies (ie html formatting in the product description, or graphics on main feature image). However, with the Main Product Name you should be allowed more characters, depending on your category, so it may be worthwhile to add more keywords and see if that increases your daily sessions, meaning that you are appearing for more keywords.

      Would love to hear if that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

shares
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]