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Search engines dominate our Decision making when shopping on the Internet - whether it's the classic Google search or the search on marketplaces such as Amazon is. With every search engine, the first search results receive the majority of attention and are therefore significantly more successful than results in positions 3 to xx. In recent years, shopping behavior on the Internet has also changed. Just a few years ago Top placements is the most important factor for Google to generate organic sales. However, since the organic Google rankings While the search engine used to generally include Amazon results, our search behavior has shifted away from Google and more towards direct searches on Amazon. For example, 52 % of American online shoppers now start their Product research on Amazon; in Germany there are also already 34 %. To ensure that retailers and brands continue to benefit from the increasing eCommerce growth can benefit from this, they should start working on optimizing the Product listings on Amazon and thus do justice to the shift in search behavior.

In this article, I present the differences in optimizing for Google vs. Amazon.

Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO: User experience as a ranking factor

The goal of every Search engine is to display the best results for users as far up front as possible. Because only if users are satisfied with the search results will they continue to use the search engine in the future - and only in this way can search engines ensure that advertising revenues (Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Amazon Sponsored Products) increase. Determining the "best results" varies in complexity depending on the search engine in question. For example, determining the user experience as Ranking factor on Google and all other horizontal search engines is significantly more complex than with vertical search engines such as Amazon.

There are numerous KPIsthat have a horizontal search engine how Google can consider user experience metrics (bounce rate, returning visitors, average session duration, etc.). Depending on the search intention (information-oriented, transaction-oriented & navigation-oriented search queries), the appropriate KPIs for determining the user experience differ significantly. Even the view that, for example, a short dwell time generally indicates a better User Experience cannot be confirmed in practice.

On the other hand, vertical search engines such as Amazon have a clear advantage in determining the user experience. For example, if a user searches for "iPhone 7 phone case" on Amazon and then places an order, Amazon receives feedback that this product is relevant for the respective search query. This means that Amazon can determine the right product based on the individual keyword. Click-through rate and Conversion rate can determine the user experience much more quickly and easily than Google. For this reason, the user experience also plays an important role in the Amazon search engine optimization significantly more important than Google. 

Search intent on Amazon vs. Google

Before every sophisticated SEO strategy the first step is extensive keyword research. In conventional search engine optimization, we differentiate between

1.information-oriented search queries

The focus here is on answering a problem or question.

2. transaction-oriented search queries

The aim of the search query is to make a purchase or compare products.

3. navigation-oriented search queries

Here you search for a destination or a person (e.g. Adidas shoes Zalando)

With the Keyword research For Google, all three search intentions are and were generally taken into account. For the Keyword research on Amazon on the other hand, information-oriented & navigation-oriented search queries have no significance, so that keyword research is largely limited to Synonyms and product features. Search queries on Amazon are therefore much more product-specific compared to search queries on Google (e.g. necklace with engraving). Google searches, on the other hand, tend to be more category-specific (e.g. gifts for women).

This also has an impact on the length of search queries. Amazon usually receives Short head & body keywords are used, so long-tail phrases (e.g. questions) hardly ever occur. In contrast, long-tail keywords play an important and significant role in Google searches.

Keyword density: Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO

The frequency of a keyword (Keyword density) on a page has become less important for Google optimization in recent years. Nevertheless, the natural repetition of keywords on the page (headline, title, alt attributes) has a direct influence on the Organic position in the search results pages. Too frequent use of keywords can even lead to the respective subpage disappearing from the Google index. As a rule, it can be said that the keyword density should not exceed a value of 3.5 %.

When optimizing for the Amazon search In contrast, the keyword density has no direct influence on the organic ranking. If the product listing contains the keyword in question at least once, it is considered a relevant result for Amazon and is therefore included in the keyword-specific index. The increased use of a keyword therefore leads to not to an improvement in the ranking.

Desktop vs. mobile index

Google is known for its regular search algorithm updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird etc.). Recently, Google announced that it will now use two different search indices to rank search results on mobile devices and Desktop devices even better. For example, the search results for a Google search differ depending on whether a desktop PC or a smartphone was used for the search. In the search results on Amazon, on the other hand, there are no differences in terms of the use of a desktop PC vs. smartphone.

Paid search: Google vs. Amazon

The classic Paid search channel ("Google AdWords") has none Influence on the organic search results on Google. Whether you activate Google AdWords or not, your organic results will not improve or deteriorate as a result.

However, the situation is different when placing Sponsored Product campaigns on Amazon. The Amazon algorithm can be divided into two parts:

1. relevance factorsDetermine which products match the respective search query.

2. performance factorsIdentification of the relevant products with the highest probable purchase probability.

The expected purchase probability is determined by the keyword-specific conversion rate and click-through rate as well as the total sales in the past.  This leads to sales being generated through the placement of sponsored product campaigns, which are ultimately a direct ranking factor.

Offpage SEO: Google SEO vs. Amazon SEO

Google has been revolutionized by the search algorithm based on backlinks (keyword: Pagerank). Although the sheer quantity of backlinks for organic rankings has become less important in recent years, the desire of a Linkless rankings still a long way off. Backlinks will continue to play an important role in achieving the best organic rankings on Google in the future.

In Amazon optimization, off-page factors play a fundamental role. none role. Therefore, the generation of backlinks alone does not help to improve the organic ranking. However, if purchases are made via a link (affiliate link or backlink), it will ultimately also lead to a Traffic increase come.

Meta keywords vs. backend keywords

The Meta keywords have no influence on the organic Google ranking, as every online marketing practitioner should know. For this reason, there is no plausible reason why meta keywords need to be optimized. However, this does not apply to Backend keywords of Amazon listings, which are often also referred to as Amazon meta keywords. The backend keywords belong to the Optimization of Amazon listings are among the most important rankings and should therefore be optimized regularly. As backend keywords are not a mandatory field, many retailers do not take advantage of this optimization opportunity.

Google Search Console vs. Amazon

Google offers us online marketers a multitude of great Analysis solutions. The Google Search Console is the most important tool solution to optimize the SEO success to measure and optimize. For example, you can find out for which search terms our site generates the most visitors or which other sites link to your own site. In addition, a lot of other information is provided that can help with the Search engine optimization are very helpful. The analysis tools that Amazon provides to sellers, on the other hand, are still very limited. You only get information about how often a product listing has been viewed, but no detailed insights into the search queries used by visitors and buyers to get there. Overall, it can be said that the In-house analysis tools Amazon are still in their infancy and will hopefully be expanded in the near future.

I hope that my contribution Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO.

Search engines dominate our decision behavior while shopping in the Internet. Whether it is the classic Google search or a search on marketplaces like Amazon generally the first search results do get most of the user's attention and consequently are much more successful than search results that rank in the places 3 - xx. In the last years the buying behavior in the Internet changed. Few years ago, rankings on Google on the top places counted as the most important online placement to generate organic sells. Thus, organic Google placements also contained Amazon resultsour search behavior shifted from Google search to direct Amazon searches. 52 % of American and 34 % of German users start their product research on Amazon. To also profit in the future from the increasing Growth of eCommerce, sellers and brands should optimize their Amazon product listings as soon as possible due to the shift of the search behaviour.

In this article, I will present the differences between the optimization for Google and Amazon.

Amazon SEO vs Google SEO: User experience as a ranking factor

The objective of each search engine is to show the best results for the user as much at the top as possible since users will only use a search engine in the future if they are content with the search results also this is the only way search engines can ensure the increase of their advertising revenues (Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Amazon Sponsored Products). The identification of the "best results" depends from the search engine and differs in complexity. The user experience as ranking factor for Google and other horizontal search engines is more complex to determine than for vertical search engines such as Amazon.

Numerous KPIs exist which a horizontal search engine such as Google can consider as key figures for user experience (bounce rate, recurring user, average session duration etc.). Depending on the search intention (information oriented, transaction oriented & orientation based search queries) KPIs to determine the user experience distinguish clearly. More over the belief that a short stay on the website indicates a low user experience could not be proven yet.

On the other hand, vertical search engines like Amazon do have an advantage when determining the user experience. For example, when a user on Amazon searches for "Mobile Case iPhone 7" and then buys a mobile case, Amazon receives a feedback that this product is relevant for such a search query. Thus, using individual Click-through rates and Conversion rate of each keyword, it is possible for Amazon to determine the user experience more easily and quickly than Google. Due to that the user experience is more important for the Amazon search engine optimization than for the Google search engine optimization.

Search intentions on Amazon vs Google

Before you create a SEO strategy one needs to carry out a keyword research. Search queries on search engines can be separated into three types of search queries:

1. information oriented search queries

Information oriented Search Queries are made to answer certain questions or solve a problem.

2. transaction oriented search queries

The goal of the search query is the purchase of a product or a product comparison.

3. orientation based search queries

Using orientation based Search Queriesthe User searches for a destination or a person (i.e. "Adidas Shoes Amazon").

In the Keyword research for Google all types of search queries were considered. Whereas information oriented and orientation based search queries can be ignored for Amazon keyword research, therefore they mostly concentrate on synonyms and product attributes. In comparison to Google search queries, search queries on Amazon are more specific (i.e. necklace with engraving). Whereas search queries on Google refer to categories (i.e. gifts for women).

Consequently, the length of search queries is also influenced. On Amazon users mostly use Short head & body keywords and less longtail keywords such as whole questionswhereas those are very common searching on Google and play a big role.

Keyword density Amazon SEO vs Google SEO

The frequency of a keyword (Keyword density) on a website lost its importance in the last few years for the Google optimization. However, does the natural repetition of a keyword on a site (Heading, title, alternative attributes) a direct influence on the organic placement in the search results site. When a keyword is used too many times on a sub-site it is possible that this site can disappear from the Google index. Generally, one can say that the keyword density should not be higher than 3.5 %.

In the optimization for the Amazon search, the Keyword density does not have a direct influence on the Organic ranking. If the product listing does contain the specific keyword at least once it is considered as relevant result by Amazon and will be included in the keyword specific index. Therefore, the multiple usage of a keyword does not improve the ranking.

Desktop vs Mobile Index

Google is well-known for their regular updates of the search algorithm (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird etc.). Recently Google stated that there will be two different search indices to improve evaluation of search results on mobile devices and desktop devices. Search results are different depending on what kind of device is used. Hereafter they will differentiate more due to the usage of the indices. However, search results on Amazon do not depend on the type of the device used to search.

Paid search: Google SEO vs Amazon SEO

The classic Paid Search Channel (Google AdWords) does not have an influence on the organic search results on Google. The usage of Google AdWords won't improve or impair your organic search results. Whereas it does using Sponsored-Product campaigns, the Amazon algorithm can be separated into two pieces:

  1. Relevance FactorsWhich product matches with the search query?
  2. Performance Factors: Which products are most likely to be bought?

The buying possibility is determined by keyword specific Conversion rates, Click-through rates and total sales in the past. Sponsored-Product campaigns generate sales thus they are a direct Ranking factor.

Offpage SEO: Google vs Amazon

The search algorithm based on Backlink (catchword: Pagerank) made Google known. Although the number of backlinks for organic ranking lost importance in the last few years, the wish of a Linkless Ranking is still far-off. To still gain the best organic rankings on Google in the future backlinks do play a huge role.

Generally, Offpage factors do not matter in the Amazon optimization. Backlinks themselves do not improve the Organic-Ranking but if a product is bought through a link (Affiliate link or Backlink) it results into a traffic increase.

Meta keywords vs backend keywords

Everyone should know that meta keywords do not influence the organic Google ranking therefore there is no reason to optimize meta keywords. However, this does not apply for backend keywords in Amazon Listings which are also referred as Amazon meta keywords. Backend keywords belong to the most important placements in the Amazon Listing optimization and should be optimized regularly. One does not have to use Backend keywords that is why a lot of sellers do not use this optimization opportunity.

Google Search Console vs Amazon

Google provides a multitude of Analysis tools, the most important one of them is the Google Search Console which is used to measure and optimize the SEO-Success. It shows which keywords generate the most viewers for the page, which pages link to the own page and many more helpful information that can be used in the search engine optimization. Whereas Analysis tools that Amazon provide are limited, they show how often a product listing was viewed but do not provide detailed information on the search query that led the user and buyer to the listing. All in all, one can say that the Inhouse analysis tools by Amazon can still be improved and hopefully will be in the future.

I hope that you enjoyed my article Amazon SEO vs Google SEO.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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