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Amazon SEO

reading time: 14 minutes

Amazon SEO offers product sellers the opportunity to significantly increase the visibility of the product on the biggest trading platform on the net, and thus the turnover. Considering that more and more frequently products are looked for on Amazon and not only on Google anymore, it seems likely that the word SEO will precede the word Amazon more and more often.

Amazon SEO Basics: How to look for customers on Amazon?

According to Amazon the majority of users begin the search with using the search field. These are complemented with some search requests that start with Google (and then directly lead to the product site), as well as a couple of customers that go through to the categories to find the desired product. The majority chooses the easiest way by entering keywords into the search field. This keyword can similarly to Google be completed with frequently used words from the auto-suggest function, so that mid-tail and long-tail keywords are rarely searched for:

The Amazon SERP delivers, after entering the search word, either a gallery of a list of results. The different between both views is only that the list will show results vertically, and the gallery horizontally. In both cases a picture will be displayed to every result (a main picture of the product), a blue marked title (here for instance „KAVAJ iPad Air leather bag…“), the product brand (“by KAVAJ”), product price (if the product is on offer, the regular price is crossed out), whether it is an Amazon Prime article, until when the article can be delivered, how many and how good reviews it has and if there are other offers in the Buybox.

Screensho of Amazon Autosuggest usefull for Amazon SEO.

Amazon SEO and the Buybox problem

The buy box is the field on a product site on which the buyers can put the product into their shopping basket. Amazon only gives one single Buybox for each product. What a discrete product is Amazon decides according to the EAN (or ISBN) number. Only who exclusively trades with a product or produces it themselves can be sure that the Buybox of Amazon can be utilized only by them.

Whoever trades with a standard product, though, that is sold by many vendors can only have an influence on their position via optimizing delivery and service or solely the price. Amazon prefers cheap vendors as well as those that offer delivery delivery by Amazon, equally. The invisibility can be increased by enrolling in the FBA (“fulfilment by Amazon”) programme; furthermore, you can reach the Amazon Prime customers that way, as many of them specifically look for the Prime logo when ordering. If participating in the FBA programme is worth it and how much the price can be actually changed, of course, varies. Important for the record is, though, that a listing within the Buybox cannot be influenced with SEO methods.

As according to estimations not even 20% of users click on the (anyhow tiny) button “other sellers” the trend can be identified that many vendors put up own brands on Amazon. With the increasing significance of Amazon as a product search engine the trend will accelerate even further in the near future. For only when an own Buybox is available the visibility of the product can be increased by Amazon SEO.
Amazon SEO

How does Amazon ranking work?

As with Google, a secret algorithm determines the outcome of the SERP (result page). At an essential point the Amazon algorithm (coming from the Amazon daughter “A9” und is still being developed) has it easier than Google: the market place platform knows the intention of a search request precisely: the user is always interested in a specific product he either considers of buying or already knows he wants it. In a nutshell: on Amazon, not just users are looking for something, but also (potential) customers – for a suitable product!

Something else is also different with the US trade giant: big turnovers are aimed to be made with the search results. Google search results are a service whose marketing over advertisements on the SERP generates money. The Amazon SERP, on the other hand, aims to incite buying one of the displayed products directly. Each Amazon SEO measure therefore has to stress that Amazon cares about an increase of the chances to sell. The Amazon algorithm examines in the output of products on the Amazon SERP following questions, in simplified terms:

  1. How relevant is a product according to the search query?
  2. How well does a relevant product perform?
  3. How good is the service when ordering the relevant product?

“Offpage” Amazon SEO

The third question’s answer is outside the effective range of Amazon SEO. Each seller has to check the best conditions for them with that. The question about the performance of the product leads to an area recalling OffPage SEO. Offpage SEO consists to a large extent of managing backlinks, so links that link to the own site from other sites. There’s a method quite comparable with that on Amazon.

For one quite directly by affiliate links of blogs and websites run by sellers to make their products on Amazon also easier to
find over Google. If and how those backlinks have an effect also directly on the Amazon algorithm is unknown. The analogy “Offpage” also is suitable figuratively, though, to visualize factors affecting the Amazon algorithm, but “Onpage”, on the product site, cannot be influenced,
since they come from third parties like customers and Amazon. These factors are:

  • Number and kind of customer reviews
  • Reviews by verified buyers
  • Bestseller rank (is given to products by Amazon that are very frequently sold)
  • Time-referenced sales (how often was the product sold in the past days/weeks/months? How recent/stylish/trendy is the product?)

hese factors can be influenced with legal measures neither with Amazon SEO measures nor by sellers themselves on Amazon directly. They are rather a part of comprehensively understood product marketing.

Amazon SEO “User Signals”

Similar to Google’s algorithm, the Amazon algorithm is also influenced by User Signals, the users’ behaviour. These include among others:

  • Click-through rate: it indicates how often products are clicked on. With Amazon the click-to-sale rate is even more important. It indicates how often a product is also bought after clicking on it. The higher the rate the higher the chance for a good rank.
  • Bounce Rate: the bounce rate should be as little as possible. If it’s too high Amazon rates it not interesting enough.
  • Visit duration: It is so to speak the positive opposite of the bounce rate. It can be improved with attractive pictures, videos, and strong texts and of course many reviews.

Amazon SEO “Onpage”

Last but not least is the analogy to Onpage SEO for Amazon SEO lucrative. After all, each product has its own website. And Amazon provides options to design them in a way that they’re displayed with as many relevant search requests as possible:

  • Title (Amazon priority: very high)
  • Photos (priority: high)
  • Bullet points – also called features (priority: high)
  • Product description (priority: important)
  • Meta-keywords – yes, Amazon has that still! (priority: important)
  • Completeness – for example different colours of the product, but also stating the brand (priority: important)

To present and fulfil these points optimally is the main task of Amazon SEO. An example of a well-done product presentation:

Amazon SEO - Screenshot of a product page by Kavaj in Amazon

Choosing the product Kavaj wasn’t random. Behind the Amazon-exclusive brand two former employees of the market place platform stand that sell on Amazon world-widely. The Buybox problem is none for the makers of Kavaj since its own production. They only sell on Amazon, and use their own website just as a tool for further company presence that leads to the product sites on Amazon. They were advertised heavily by Google AdWords in the beginning, but also Amazon SEO played a major role right from the start. The example Kavaj shows how Amazon SEO can generate high turnovers also in a highly competitive market – for the makers of Kavaj have been turnover millionaires long since.

The most important Amazon SEO steps

Step 1: Keyword Research

Basis for the most important Amazon SEO measure is a thorough keyword research. As with SEO for Google, it is also necessary to find a keyword first that has a high search volume (and preferably also low competition – as attractive niches can be often found behind those). Identify synonymous terms relating to your product and frequently used synonyms. These tools can be helpful:

A.    Google-Keyword-Planner
Since Amazon doesn’t provide an own keyword tool you should utilize the good old KeywordPlanner at first. The results of this SEO tool cannot be used 1 to 1 for your Amazon SEO, though. If the keywords are needed for the focus keyword “water filter” the Google tool also suggests “reverse osmosis sytems” and “demineralisation systems”. For a SEO text on your blog or shop this could be crucial terms. Hardly any customer will look for this on Amazon, though – and in the context of a drinking water filter it’d rather irritate to use these terms. The Keyword Planner lists, however, also
words like “water treatments” and “water demineralizer” that match our water filter. Look for more keywords that apply to your product. You can then implement them at different places later on.

B.    Longtail-Keywords
Like Google the search function of Amazon has an auto-suggest function. Either check if the auto-suggest suggestions are handy for your keywords found in the Google Planner or use the Keyword-tool-dominator. . With this tool you can have the auto- completes of Amazon regarding your keyword displayed. The tool can be asked for free for three times per day. More important tips can be obtained from ubersuggest. Look it up online. You can receive terms there, sorted alphabetically, which are often used with you focal keyword. In our example: “water filter for tap water”, “water filter with active carbon”, etc.

C.    Amazon Search Volume
MerchantWords gives details about the estimated search volume of keywords including the keyword extensions with Amazon. The numbers are stated by the tool itself as estimated. In the free version you can only see the first five words. Whoever wants more needs to pay 30$ per month.
Xovi recently offers an Amazon SEO tool called Xovi Marketplace which you can conduct ranking analyses of brands, sellers and products with. Besides the keyword environment you can have own and your competitors’ products analysed there.

Step 2: The right title

Don't do short-titles on AmazonThe title is highly weighted by the Amazon algorithm. Therefore the title should include the most important keywords and all characters available should be used up for that. In the example of Kavaj the title consists of the most important keywords, but also gives a correct description “Kavaj iPad Air leather bag” and describes the most essential characteristics of the product. That is crucial as parts of the title (approx. the first 100 characters) show up on the view list or gallery. Hence, the title on Amazon takes over the role of meta-titles and meta-description on Google – it is supposed to sway customers to click on products and to have a closer look at the Buybox. In comparison with Kavaj, here is an example of a bad, neglected title:

Tips for the right title:

  • The title can be up to 80 characters long. This is only true for the Amazon SERP display, though (and often 100 and more characters are still shown). On the product site itself, there is space for about 200 characters. This should be all utilised.
  • The focal keyword should be put as much to the front as possible. But be careful: Beginning and end of the title are particularly paid attention to by users. Thus, Amazon also recommends starting with the brand name and the following product description. One good argument for this is making the product easily identifiable. At the title’s ending a special asset of the product should be stated (in the Kavaj example nicely done with: “premium accessories for original iPad Air”).
  • By all means you should not line up keywords in a sequence as title. That comes across not very professional and will discourage customers instead of encouraging them.
  • In the best case scenario your title should be sexy and incite to buying. Let your products shine!
  • Don’t make any false promises. Disappointed buyers mean bad reviews and these have long-term damages.
  • Choose for your title the three or four strongest keywords. Don’t worry, the remaining keywords will be also used.
  • Pay attention to correct spelling. It can be recommended to first type in all descriptions into a writing program with a spell-check function and then to transfer them. In Word you also have a good overview regarding the number of characters.
  • VUse a hyphen with attractive words. When keywords are spelled with a hyphen Amazon reads them as a whole but also the components on their own in various combinations. Example: “hair-care-cream-lotion” also applies to search requests of “hair care”, “care crème”, “hair care crème”, “crème lotion”, and so on. Don’t exaggerate, though. The title should still be well-readable.
  • Amazon recommends not using capitals. Up to now there haven’t been any penalties – important keywords (e.g. the brand or product name) can be highlighted with capitals. As with everything else: don’t exaggerate!

Step 3: Highlight main points with bullet points

A strong spot in the Buybox have features of the products that are displayed with bullet points. For Amazon SEO these listings provide two things:

  1. They give space for further keywords.
  2. The advantages of the product can be highlighted

Basically, it is the replica of talking with the customer. The keywords, the search terms of the users, are answered in short and precise sentences here.

Tips for composing bullet points:

  • You have five bullet points available. Use the space. The more keywords can be places the higher the visibility of your product on Amazon.
  • Length of the single features: Amazon suggests a maximum of 15 words. From an Amazon SEO view space is wasted then. A bullet point running over 1 or 2 lines is easily made of 30-40 words and is still well readable. After all, the ideal length is dependent on the product itself. Too much text can look exaggerated with some products. Find good arguments for your product instead of rambling on.
  • The features should give the reader a quick overview of the product. Hence write in an advertising way, as information regarding the product is demanded more.
  • The keyword density doesn’t matter for Amazon. Hence don’t repeat your focal keyword, but use synonyms in the bullet points obtained from your keyword research.
  • Pay attention to a good readability. A bullet point always starts with a capital, the spelling should also be correct. Amazon doesn’t like to see capitals, but you can still do it (in a discrete way) without being penalized.

Step 4: Related keywords (Meta-keywords)

In the seller center you can find under “search words” the point “General keywords”. Here you have the chance to type in 50 characters within 5 lines (with spaces) that Amazon factors in in search requests. Just enter keywords one after another without a comma and only separated by spaces. These keywords are not visible to the customer. It basically involves just good old meta-keywords from the heyday of classic SEO.

Here you should incorporate all the keywords that are neither fit the title nor in the features of the product. Example: Often certain products are associated with brands by consumers. These often also show up in the auto-suggest function in the Amazon search. If “water filter” is looked for the brand name “Brita” is suggested. Even if you sell a water filter of another make you should set the strong keyword “Brita” to one of your “general keywords”. By the way, you know now as well, why products often crop up in the SERP, that are not expected from your search request.

The art in using the right keywords is to recognize whether a product would be bought by a customer who is actually looking for something else. In the case of “Brita” this is probably often applicable. At least no customer for a water filter will be surprised if products of other makers are suggested to him, as well. In contrast, the search volume strong keyword “TV” would be certainly misplaced in case of a water filter. After all, you regulate a good portion of user signals like the bounce rate and click-through rate with keywords.
In the seller center you can also find the entry field “platinum keywords” – you can ignore those. They don’t matter from an Amazon SEO viewpoint.

Step 5: Photos

FFor customers, photos of the products are just as appealing as the title. Every product needs at least one (main) picture. Ideally you should provide more pictures, though, to present the products from various sides. That especially applies to products where detail is the key. In the photographs the product should take up 80 to 90% of the image section. The photos should always have a size of 1000×1000 pixels. Only that way it can be made sure that users can use the popular zoom function for the pictures.

The quality of the pictures is self-evidently as high as possible. Make the photos therefore appealing. Don’t only use the best light but also put it in the spotlight. Show your product in use. Customers like to get an idea about how the product performs. As background for the main picture shown in the Amazon SERP, Amazon wishes pure white (RGB 255, 255, 255) to be used. The main picture has to be free of any text and is not allowed to have a frame, logos or water signs or price tags. If the main picture is missing the product will not be displayed!

For the product pictures, any colour in the background is allowed as well as explanatory texts, drawings and graphics. If the product is available in different colours, it can be useful to upload a photo of each variety. A video would definitely enhance your product site. Additionally, a video is the best way to increase the visit duration.

Step 6: Product description

The product description also is not as important from an Amazon SEO viewpoint as the already discussed factors. However, important keywords should also crop up here. Also, the product text is a good way of making the Amazon product site more interesting. With a major restriction, though: while it works very well in SEO texts to mention your keywords in an extravagant manner and explain many aspects of it you should stay close to your product in the product description. Who wants to buy a perfume doesn’t want to read on the whole history of perfumes. Better describe the pros of the product and use as many terms from your keyword research as possible.

The text in your product description should be unique. So don’t copy some product text form your website. Avoid duplicate content and write an individual product text for Amazon. It should be well structured with subtitles and paragraphs just like any good text. Keep in line with the general recommendations for writing an SEO text.

Amazon SEO Conclusion

Amazon is already now the most important search engine for product search. By using Amazon SEO – sellers can easily increase the visibility of their products on Amazon as of yet. For many sellers miss the chance to present their products on the marketplace platform as optimal as they could. The most important parts of Amazon SEO are: the correct uploading of pictures (and videos), optimizing the title, bullet points, the product description, as well as the setting of keywords based on comprehensive keyword research.