SEO for Amazon: 6 tips to get you ranking

Amazon is an entirely different ballgame for SEO, and you'll need unique skills to rank
5 minute read
Adam Smith @HomebrandAdam
Technical Co-pilot
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SEO experts are paying more attention to Amazon's search function. Here's how to rank and increase your sales

SEO isn't just about Google or Bing. It's about optimizing for specific platforms and specific user intent.

When the intent is to buy, there's no doubt Amazon is the dominant market player. From 2015 to 2018, Amazon surpassed Google for product searches. Nearly 55% of Amazon's traffic is direct, with only 28.4% coming from search engines.

Visitors to Amazon are high intent. They're on the platform to buy. And this is Amazon's singular goal: to convert a search into a sale. Because of this, ranking on Amazon requires a different strategy from ranking on other search engines.

Amazon's algorithm

Amazon uses its own proprietary algorithm, A9, to power its search results. And while A9 is siloed within the site, make no mistake: it's incredibly powerful and intelligent.

The purpose of A9 differs from other search engine algorithms. The primary purpose of other search engines is to return relevant results that answer the user's query. A9's purpose is to turn those relevant results into sales. That means the factors it takes into account in its rankings are very different than the factors influencing traditional SEO.

A9 doesn't have to put time into understanding user intent. It already knows user intent. They're there to buy or sell. Instead, A9 will try to return product results that are both relevant to the user's query and most likely to result in a sale.

1. Know where to put your keywords

Like other search engines, A9 operates by matching keywords to user searches. And like other search engines, it understands keyword variations and semantic terms. Unlike other search engines, it's not particularly picky about the context.

You still need to understand search behavior to optimize for Amazon. You need to make sure your product listing matches the keywords Amazon users are actually searching. There are a few tools out there to help you. Keywordtool.io has a tool specifically related to Amazon search, while Sellics offers a full suite of Amazon optimization tools.

You'll want to make sure to use the highest volume keyword terms in your product title, while hitting long tail keyword terms in your product description. Keyword density won't help your ranking, so don't bother trying to stuff the same keyword terms over and over.

In the backend Search Terms field in Amazon Seller Central, you'll want to list all the keywords you're targeting. Put the highest volume keywords first, and don't worry too much about endless variations of the same term as A9 can already recognize keyword variations.

2. Use eye-catching imagery

Good imagery brings in customers and helps boost your sales, and sales history is one of A9's primary ranking signals. You should provide multiple images from multiple views. Displaying more images keeps shoppers on your page longer, which makes them more likely to buy. Moreover, time on page is a ranking signal for A9.

Make sure your images fit Amazon's guidelines. They need to show the product on a plain white background, and the product should take up 85% of the frame. The images should be high resolution. The maximum size is 1500px, but if you upload a larger photo Amazon will automatically scale it down.

3. Don't forget features

Amazon provides a field to list your product features under the Description tab in Seller Central. The fields you fill in form the bulleted list that appears with your product listing. If you leave this field blank, Amazon won't feature your product in its Buy Box, the "Add to Cart" box on the right side of the product detail page. Considering 82% of sales go through the Buy Box, missing out on this can destroy your chances for success.

Use the product features to target keyword terms, but don't just stuff keywords. While A9 might not directly penalize you for this (like we said, it doesn't care that much about context), it looks spammy to potential buyers and doesn't properly communicate your product's benefits. Sales are the both the path to ranking and the reason for ranking, so focus your product features on making a sale.

The product description which appears below the product features offers you the chance to go into your product benefits in greater detail. You can certainly work keywords in here, but your main focus should be making your product sound appealing to buyers.

4. Get the price right

A9 takes price into account as a ranking signal. It wants you to price your product competitively, but not too competitively. If you undercut your competition to the point of devaluing a product, A9 will ping you and remove you from the Buy Box.

Do some research into appropriate pricing for your product. There's nothing wrong with being the cheapest provider in the market, and A9 will sometimes boost these sellers in the rankings. You just have to walk a fine line between offering the best deal and reflecting market value.

5. Ask for reviews

Reviews are an important signal for A9. It looks at both the quantity and the quality of your previous reviews, and will penalize you for overwhelmingly negative reviews.

This makes it imperative that you create satisfied customers. Make sure your fulfillment is quick and seamless and that your product delivers on its description.

However, human nature shows a bias towards being vocal about the products that bother us while remaining silent about the products that meet our expectations. It's a lot more fun to write a scathing review than a glowing one.

Don't be afraid to reach out to customers for a review. Build it into your fulfillment process, and follow up with emails. The more satisfied customers A9 sees, the more comfortable it will feel moving your product listing to the top of the rankings.

6. Optimize for conversion

Many of the tips above can be distilled into one simple but crucial guideline: think about sales first and foremost. You're not trying to trick a ranking algorithm. You're trying to sell a product. And your sales history is one of the most important ranking signals for A9.

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Every part of your product page should be geared towards one goal: selling your product. Make your product listing easy to scan. Make it pleasing to look at. Clearly communicate the benefits of your product and what makes it better than competing products. Minimize risk any way you can, whether it's by offering free shipping or a money-back guarantee (hint: if you choose to designate Amazon as your fulfillment channel, this will be taken care of for you).

Ultimately, your product listing should appeal to buyers. Sell your product to them effectively, and you'll be selling your rank-worthiness to A9.

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