Search engines dominate our decision behaviour 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 behaviour 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 results, our search behaviour 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 is this 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 orientated, transaction orientated & 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 Queries, the 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-Researche, 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 questions, whereas 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.

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 Factors: Which 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 loss 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.