In today’s article, “Amazon and SEO”, I discuss the functions of the Amazon search algorithm, optimization measures for better rankings in search results, and differences to search engine optimization for Google search. However, I would like to start with an explanation of why every Amazon seller should dedicate time to optimizing his or her product listings. I have already written a step-by-step guide to the optimization of listings in the past.
- 0.1 Amazon as a primary product search engine in Germany
- 0.2 Amazon as central point of contact for online buyers
- 0.3 Click distribution according to placements
- 0.4 Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO
- 0.5 Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO: User Experience as a Ranking Factor
- 0.6 Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO: Keyword density
- 0.7 Amazon A9 / Amazon SEO Ranking Factors
- 0.8 Amazon SEO: Direct ranking factors
- 0.9 Amazon SEO and Indirect Ranking Factors
- 0.10 Amazon SEO: Ranking optimization
- 1 Relevance factors
- 1.1 Relevance factors ensure that only relevant products are displayed after entering a search term. But how is this ensured?
- 1.2 Amazon SEO: Optimization of relevance factor
- 1.3 Amazon Keyword Research:
- 1.4 Product title
- 1.5 Amazon SEO: Performance factors
- 1.6 How does Amazon determine the conversion rate?
- 1.7 Sales performance of the product
- 1.8 Click-Through Rate
- 1.9 Conclusion: Performance factors
- 2 Frequently asked questions regarding Amazon SEO:
- 2.1 Can I achieve a good ranking organically without product ratings?
- 2.2 How long does it take to see results?
- 2.3 Does Amazon issue punishments if guidelines are not adhered to?
- 2.4 I sell several similar products on Amazon with partly similar and identical item descriptions. Does Amazon have an issue with duplicate content like Google?
Amazon as a primary product search engine in Germany
These days, SEO (or search engine optimization) refers to the optimization of web content (web pages, images, etc) so that it complies with the ranking factors in Google search. Google was, and still is, the search engine with the most search queries per day (3.45 billion search queries). Google is a horizontal search engine that can process and answer information-oriented, navigation-oriented and transaction-oriented search queries. For this reason, its search algorithm (or, rather, various search algorithms) is far superior to all vertical search engines, such as Amazon and YouTube, when it comes to answering search queries. Over the past few years, however, transaction-oriented search queries in particular have shifted from Google to Amazon. Due to Amazon’s strong presence in Google search results, consumers soon realised that Amazon was overrepresented in search results, and started to search directly within Amazon instead.
In addition, the lock-in effect of Prime subscriptions has significantly increased the shift in search queries to Amazon. Another reason for the increase in search queries on Amazon is the increased use of mobile devices. The majority of internet users are now accessing the internet via mobile devices, and mobile device usage differs drastically from desktop device usage. Approximately 90% of internet usage on mobile devices takes place within apps. As a result, only 10% of mobile internet usage takes place via mobile web browsers.
Finally, the increased use of apps includes Amazon’s own app, which has driven a significant increase in search queries to the service, in addition to the lock-in effect of Prime membership, and also the general trend towards vertical search engines.
A recent Jumpshoot study, conducted this year, shows that approximately half (46.7%) of internet users in the USA start product searches directly on Amazon. Google, on the other hand, still receives over a third of all product searches (34.6%), according to Jumpshoot. Of course, these values may not be entirely demonstrative of German behaviors, but they do indicate a trend with regard to where products are being searched for now and in the future.
Amazon as central point of contact for online buyers
Amazon is not only the leader for product search queries in the German e-commerce world, but also in terms of sales volume and turnover. According to projections from t3n, Amazon and the Amazon Marketplace generated about 53% of e-commerce sales in Germany in 2017. Marketplace retailers in particular are playing an increasingly important role, and are already responsible for more than 50% of items sold.
Amazon is also a real heavyweight in terms of monthly visitors. In October 2018, Amazon.de was visited 490 million times, making it the fifth most popular website on the German internet, and the fifth most popular online store worldwide.
The majority (58%) of website visitors come to Amazon directly, which again clearly illustrates the strength of the Amazon brand.
Click distribution according to placements
Now that we have clarified why Amazon is so important for online retailers, let’s briefly discuss why SEO on Amazon is important, and why every retailer should become familiar with the optimization of their listings.
Placements on the first pages of search results are of utmost importance when it comes to generating sales. Only a fraction of searchers leave the first search results page and go to pages two or three to find the right product. Users are more likely to change the search query if there are no matching results on the first attempt than to click through to subsequent search result pages.
I am not currently aware of any research regarding click probabilities around product placements within search results on Amazon, which is why I will refer here to data regarding click behaviors in Google search. Well over 90% of organic clicks are made on the first page of search results, with the first organic placement generating around 60% of all clicks, the second placement generating only 15%, and the third only about 8%.
This means that, of every 100 search queries, around 60 people will click on the first result – so the winner really does take it all. We see the same click behavior in other search engines, too, such as YouTube and the App Store.
There’s no obvious reason why Amazon’s click behavior should differ drastically. Increases in turnover from the daily sales of products can also be explained by improvements in their rankings.
Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO
As the largest search engine, Google is used to find answers to questions. However, the use of SEO is different on Amazon and Google, because the companies have different goals. While Google concentrates on delivering the most precisely matched content to a search query so that it can provide relevant advertising, Amazon focuses on selling the maximum number of products. It is therefore Amazon’s intention to present the best and most interesting products to users in order to increase the likelihood of purchase, and prevent customers from having to visit other shopping websites.
Google earns its money almost exclusively from the placement of advertisements, so it puts a lot of focus on the appropriate placement of high-quality content.
Amazon’s revenue is generated largely through transactions, so Amazon uses KPIs, such as conversion rate, to optimize the likelihood of the transaction for each keyword. Due to their different corporate objectives, the measures for optimising rankings also differ. I will now briefly set out the two most important differences.
Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO: User Experience as a Ranking Factor
The goals of both Google and Amazon, as search engines, is to continue delivering users the best results for as long as possible. Only if users are satisfied with the results they receive will they continue to use the search engine in the future – and only in this way can search engines ensure that revenue from advertising (eg. Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Amazon Sponsored Products) will increase. One way to determine what constitutes the “best results” is to consider the user experience, as the measurement of the user experience differs significantly depending on the search engine.
Determining user experience as a ranking factor for Google and all other horizontal search engines is much more complex than for vertical search engines such as Amazon.
There are numerous KPIs that a horizontal search engine such as Google can use as user experience indicators (eg. bounce rate, returning visitors, average session duration etc). Depending on the search intention (information-oriented, transaction-oriented or navigation-oriented search queries), the appropriate KPIs for determining the user experience differ significantly. For example, the idea that a shorter dwell time is due to a better user experience cannot always be confirmed in practice.
On the other hand, vertical search engines such as Amazon have a clearer advantage in determining user experience. For example, if a user searches on Amazon for “men’s shoes white 45” and places an order, Amazon receives feedback that this product is relevant to the respective search query.
This allows Amazon to determine the user experience much more quickly and easily than Google, based on the individual click-through and conversion rates for each keyword. For this reason, the user experience is much more important for search engine optimization on Amazon than it is on Google.
Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO: Keyword density
In recent years, the frequency of a keyword (keyword density) on a page has fallen in importance for Google optimization. However, the natural repetition of keywords on a page (eg. in the headline, title and alt attributes) still has a direct influence on the organic position of a page within Google search results. That being said, the overuse of keywords can cause pages to disappear from Google’s index and so, as a rule, keyword densities should generally not exceed 3.5%.
When optimizing for Amazon search, however, keyword density has no direct influence on organic ranking. If a product listing contains a particular keyword 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, does not lead to an improvement in the item’s ranking.
Amazon A9 / Amazon SEO Ranking Factors
The Amazon A9 search algorithm, like all other search engines, has a variety of different factors that are responsible for determining the representation of organic rankings. I don’t know the exact weightings or the entire list of factors, and there is nobody in the A9 team who is able to divulge the different weights and factors. It is therefore possible, in the paragraphs that follow, that I will not mention all of the factors considered by Amazon.
Before we look at the different ranking factors, it should be made clear that there are direct and indirect factors. Indirect factors are those that affect the direct ranking factors. For example, the number and quality of images have no direct effect on an item’s organic ranking because Amazon does not rate images. However, a high number of high-resolution images will inevitably have an influence on the conversion rate. Since conversion rate is a direct ranking factor for SEO on Amazon, the quality and number of images should therefore be considered, as it is often indirect factors that lead to ranking improvements.
Amazon SEO: Direct ranking factors
The sales volume and history of a product have a direct influence on the organic ranking of an item on Amazon. Since the user experience at Amazon is measured by sales, sales have a decisive influence on the position of a product in organic rankings. Since Amazon is able to make direct comparisons with other products, it knows which products are most likely to be purchased after entering a search term and, because of Amazon’s transaction-oriented business model, it is obvious that sales history has a significant influence on the positioning of organic results.
In addition to simple sales figures, the level of customer satisfaction with a product also plays a decisive role. Amazon wants its customers to be satisfied with the products they buy, and therefore closely monitors customer feedback and the return rate in particular. A high return rate is a sign of dissatisfaction and Amazon wants to prevent this, since the dissatisfaction is ultimately attributed to Amazon.
Keywords in product listing (eg. title, attributes and general search terms)
I will explain how Amazon decides which products to feature later in this article. However, it is important to understand that all optimizations are secondary to keyword research. Keyword research determines which search terms are relevant for the respective product and which keywords have a higher relevance than others. The challenge of product listing optimization is that the space to accommodate keywords is limited. The primary placement for keywords is in the title, bullet points or general search term fields (or in certain cases also in the product description). In order for products to be displayed based on search terms, the search terms must be included as keywords in the product listing, otherwise the product will not be included in the selection of products displayed.
The conversion rate is a perfect indicator for measuring user experience. If, after a search term has been entered and the conversion rate is higher than for similar products, this ultimately leads to Amazon’s realization that the product shown for this search query must be rewarded with a better position in the organic rankings.
Click rate / Click-through rate
As with Google, CTRs have an effect on an item’s positioning within the organic search result pages on Amazon. This means that products with a higher CTR than those of their competitors in search result pages will inevitably achieve better rankings. It should also be noted that there is no global CTR, but that the CTR differs depending on the search query.
Tip: The CTR can be increased by using promotions such as “Buy 2 products and get a 10% discount”. The Prime logo also usually leads to an increased click rate.
Availability of products
In order for your products to be displayed, they must be available. It is difficult to maintain a good organic search ranking without having products that are constantly in stock.
Price (direct or indirect factor)
Whether the price of an item is a direct or indirect ranking factor is not really important; the role of price within the purchasing decision process does not need to be explained further. Price can be seen as a direct factor, but it can also be seen as an indirect factor given its influence on key figures such as CTR, sales history and the return rate.
Amazon SEO and Indirect Ranking Factors
Product images (main image and other images)
As already mentioned with regard to CTRs, product images have a direct influence on both click and conversion rates. A product with meaningful and high-resolution images ultimately leads to an increased number of sales.
In my opinion, the shipping method is one of the most underestimated levers for ranking and sales optimization. Products shipped via Amazon Prime not only enjoy an increased conversion rate but also an increased CTR, and this ultimately leads to more visitors and it is doubly rewarded by the increased conversion rate.
Note: In some categories, it’s hard to be featured among the first organic search results without an Amazon Prime logo, because the first 16 organic results nearly all have Amazon Prime logos.
Product reviews / reviews
I probably don’t have to go into the importance of reviews either. Reviews have a direct impact on click-through and conversion rates, and can quickly turn products into winners and losers (if the reviews are negative). The total number of reviews doesn’t play a deciding role, but instead impacts the average rating.
The buy box also has a direct influence on the performance of a product, especially on the conversion rate. A product without a buy box generally has a much lower conversion rate than the same product with a buy box. For this reason, the buy box percentage should be checked regularly.
Seller ratings are not product-related, but are intended to evaluate the basic service (eg. delivery time, packaging and communication etc). For more expensive products, where the purchase decision takes longer than usual, seller evaluations play a more important role, because customers often carry out research in order to assess the reliability of a retailer.
EBC / “A+” content
EBC and “A+” content serves to present products and brands in a better light. Extended Brand Content helps present products in need of explanation in a more understandable way. This improved type of product presentation can help to improve conversion rates, and increased conversion rates ultimately lead to better placements in organic rankings.
Advertisements (Amazon PPC)
Nowadays, advertisements play an increasingly decisive role in the sale of products. It is usually no longer possible to generate sales within the first few days of a product’s launch without the placement of advertisements on Amazon. By generating sales via Amazon advertisements, sales also ultimately increase, the products’ sales histories improve and the products improve their organic Amazon rankings.
Promotions / Discounts
By creating promotions such as “Buy 2 products and get a 10% discount”, an additional incentive is created for customers to buy more than one item. This generally leads to an increase in the Average Order Value (AOV), and improvements to the sales history.
Offer prices / Coating prices
By launching temporary offers on Amazon, sales and purchase probabilities can be increased in the short term which can lead to improvements in ranking in the longer term.
Bestseller Badge / Amazon Choice Badge
Products that sell more units than any other product within the same category, over a specific period of time, receive an Amazon Bestseller badge. Short-term sales are valued more highly when calculating the Bestseller rank, and then the Bestseller badge is displayed below the product ratings and above the product price. In addition, the Bestseller badge may be displayed in the search results pages on the main product image. Awarding the Bestseller badge to a product is an indication that both the CTR and conversion rates will improve. This leads to more sales, more visitors, and, ultimately, a ranking improvement. The same can also be assumed for products that receive the Amazon Choice badge.
Amazon SEO: Ranking optimization
In addition to the multitude of indirect and direct ranking factors, performance and relevance-related factors must also be discussed. Since Amazon’s main business is transaction-based, its goal is to maximize customer value (Customer Lifetime Value). Maximising customer value can only be achieved if Amazon customers regularly order products via the platform and do not return these products. In other words, the likelihood of purchase and customer satisfaction must be optimized so that the Customer Lifetime Value also increases.
Purchase and customer satisfaction levels are directly linked to the performance and relevance factors that I have mentioned. The relevance factors try to ensure that only relevant products are displayed after entering a search term, because only by displaying relevant products can Amazon ensure that a high level of customer satisfaction and purchase probability is ensured. The performance factors, on the other hand, ensure that the probability of a purchase is maximized after entering a search term. In the following sections, we will take a closer look at the combinations of performance and relevance factors.
Relevance factors ensure that only relevant products are displayed after entering a search term. But how is this ensured?
Basically, the entered search terms are checked against Amazon’s existing product data. For this reason, Amazon retailers must ensure that all possible and relevant search terms are recorded in their product data. As already assumed, this requires keyword research, which I will also address in this article. So, even if a product is exactly what the user is searching for but does not contain the specific search term, the product will not be included in the results. It is also important to note that, in the case of longer keyword combinations (mid-tail and long-tail), the keywords do not necessarily have to appear in the same order in the product data.
For example: a customer searches for “infants’ rain jacket” on Amazon.
Imagine a product contains the keyword “rain jacket” in the title. The keyword “infants” is not in the title, but in the search fields (which is explained below). So even though the location of the keywords is not the same, our fictitious rain jacket is indexed for this search because it is considered relevant by the keyword comparison.
Amazon only displays products that contain the specific terms that you search for. This filtering process is an attempt to only display products that are relevant to the customer.
However, indexed products are ultimately not only filtered by search terms. The use of other filter functions, which are displayed in the left sidebar on the desktop version of Amazon, changes the number of indexed products and thus the visibility of the products.
Popular and frequently used filter functions include filtering according to the “Prime” shipping method, colors, sizes and average customer rating. In order for products to be displayed after entering the search term and using the filter function, the product data must match the filter data. For this reason, the maintenance of your product data is indispensable and should be regarded as an optimization measure. Since many retailers regard the maintenance of product data as a nuisance, diligent retailers have the opportunity to increase the visibility of their products by maintaining product data.
Amazon SEO: Optimization of relevance factor
We have now considered the theory behind the relevance factors in detail. Now let’s look at what measures should be taken to ensure that your products are considered for as many relevant keywords as possible.
Amazon Keyword Research:
A product can have many different names. For example, a doormat can be referred to as a doormat, doormat, mat or door mat. Different descriptions of a product can turn up as different search terms in search engines, even though they are always aligned to the same product categories. Due to the use of different search queries in search engines, the first step is always to research the search terms used.
In the first step of my Amazon keyword research tutorial below, I will introduce the practical process of researching using tools that are available to everyone.
As already mentioned in the example with the doormat, there are synonyms which have to be considered during keyword research
For this reason, the very first port of call for keyword research should be a dictionary with synonyms. We simply enter the name of our product to identify different synonyms.
After identifying the different synonyms, the second step is to find out which combinations of terms are used in Amazon search. In order to determine the combinations, we used Amazon Suggest, the auto-complete feature within Amazon. This provides us with accurate and up-to-date data on which term combinations are currently being searched for on Amazon.
If you enter a product term, you will receive 10 suggestions that reflect current search trends. Currently (December 2018), for example, the most common search term for floor mats is “Christmas floor mats”. We should then note the other term combinations by not only typing “doormat”, but also “doormat a……”, “doormat b…….” and “doormat c…..”. to identify other keywords that are relevant to our product. In this way, we not only get the 10 currently most popular searches for “doormats”, but also the 10 most popular searches associated with “doormats a, b, c ….” and so on.
Here, too, we note down suitable and relevant keywords, which we subsequently include in our product listing.
The same process is now carried out with the synonyms, so that we do not neglect any keywords and can thus show an optimal keyword set later during the listing optimization.
Of course, there are other sources which we can use for keyword research. Google, in particular, provides further high-quality data for keyword research. By using the Google Keyword Planner, we can obtain accurate data on the monthly search volume of a keyword in addition to other term combinations. Of course, Google user data is not entirely transferable to Amazon user data, but this at least gives us at a guideline which we can use to orient ourselves.
However, the first port of call with Google is Google search itself, so that we can use the auto-complete function there too.
The same process that we did on Amazon can now be done on Google.
Let’s now take a look at how we can use the Google Keyword Planner to determine the search volume of individual keywords. In order to be able to use the Google Keyword Planner, however, there are some prerequisites that have to be fulfilled:
- An active Google Ads account.
- An account that has been used recently or which is currently being used for Google Ads (otherwise we just get search volume estimates).
To determine search volumes, we open Keyword Planner in our Google Ads account under Tools → Planning.
When the new window opens, select “Determine new keywords” and then enter our main keyword “doormat”. We now get the average number of searches per month, as well as a competition estimate, the estimated CPC bid, and a variety of other keyword ideas.
This allows us to analyze our collected keywords and add new ideas to the existing keyword pool. (For example, I didn’t research the keyword “dirt mat” on Amazon, but the Google keyword planner shows me this as a relevant search term).
Once we have found enough keywords, we have to distribute them among the different placements. Before we start, let’s take a look at some rules for the selection of keywords.
Tips & Tricks for Keyword Determination & Placement
- Keyword density plays no role: For the optimization of product listings based on keywords, it is important to note that the repeated use of a keyword does not lead to any improvement in organic visibility. It is perfectly sufficient for the keyword to occur just once so that the product is judged to be relevant for the search query.
- Singular and plural terms are not considered: It should also be noted that the naming of keywords in the singular and plural form is not necessary for the product to be identified as relevant. The mere naming of the keyword, whether in singular or plural form, covers the search term in both variants.
- Foreign brand names should not be used: During the keyword research it will become clear relatively quickly that there are numerous search queries with a clear reference to certain brand names, such as “Bosch washing machine”. If you are selling a washing machine that is not “Bosch” branded, you should not use this keyword (at least not in the product listing, because this can lead to legal problems).
- Use the hyphen for search terms that are written both separately and together: Keywords are constantly entered and searched for in different ways. This is the case, for example, with keywords that are written separately as well as together. In order that you don’t have to type both spellings of the keyword, we can use the hyphen notation to cover both keywords.
Instead of “Messengerbag & Messenger Bag”” we write “”Messenger-bag””.
- Note holidays, events and other events in listing optimization:
As we have seen in the keyword research using Amazon Suggest, the most popular search term (in December 2018) in relation to “floor mats” was “Christmas floor mats”. However, when doing keyword research in spring or summer, it is likely that keywords such as “Christmas”, “Santa Claus” and “New Year” will be ignored. Following seasonal trends in keywords always holds such huge potential for resourceful Amazon sellers. For this reason, public holidays or events such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day should be taken into account and integrated at an early stage.
- Spelling with and without umlauts leads to the same result
During the keyword research phase, you will probably also realize that keywords are searched for with and without umlauts. It makes no difference to the relevance of a product how the search term was entered, only that it is included in the listing.
- Upper and lower case letters make no noticeable difference
Furthermore, the use of upper and lower case letters does not make any influence on whether a product is identified as relevant or not.
- Filler words do not play a role
The addition of filler words such as “for” or “to”, does not have to be considered in order for your product to be highlighted as relevant.
- Keyword order and position does not matter
The position and order of keywords does not have to be taken into account in long-tail search queries which consist of several words. However, it may well be the case that the correct order tends to lead to a higher relevance rating.
Let’s now move on to the different placements for keywords, and the pitfalls that lurk there.
The title of a product is undoubtedly one of the most important placement options for your keywords. The title also serves as an initial source of orientation and information for potential customers. For only if the title convinces the potential customer that the product corresponds to the desired services will a user click on this search result.
Amazon has very specific requirements for the design of product titles. The requirements differ depending on the product category. The permissible length of the product title varies depending on the product category. For example, product titles in the “Clothing” category should not be longer than 60 characters for parent products and 150 characters for child products. The different style guides of the product categories can be found here.
Also, the way a title should be structured is determined by the style guides and these should be followed as closely as possible to avoid the deactivations of any products.
Notes on the design of high-quality product titles
→ Initial letters should be capitalized.
→ The general length of 200 characters should not be exceeded (and some categories require shorter titles).
→ Numbers should be represented in the title as figures, and not written out.
→ Advertising statements should be avoided (e.g. Prime, Bestseller, etc.).
→ In the mobile or app view, the title is shortened in the search results pages due to the small display size.
It is very difficult to make general statements about the perfect Amazon product title because the information differs considerably per category. In some categories, for example, only the parent title and no longer the child title is displayed in the search result pages for variant products. Therefore, the Amazon specifications should be carefully evaluated before creating the product title.
Attributes / Bullet Points
Usually, there are five attributes or bullet points per product which can be defined for the respective product. In some product categories, however, more than five standard attributes can be displayed. The attributes serve to summarize the essential properties as well as the actual customer benefit of the product compactly in the most essential words. Due to the large amount of space, the attributes are of course ideally suited for placing keywords. The placement of keywords in the attributes plays no role. However, the attributes should not be misused to randomly mention any keywords. As usual, the text should first be written with the customer in mind, and only in the next step should the placement of search terms be considered.
Components and uniqueness of the product should be represented in the top attributes.
Comments on the design of high-quality attributes:
→ The incorporation of special characters should be avoided.
→ No naming of telephone numbers or your own website URL should be mentioned.
→ In the mobile view, only the first three bullet points are visible at first sight, therefore these should contain the most important information.
→ Do not write a constitution of novels: Longer texts are not better than shorter ones. The length of each bullet point should be determined using the values given in the style guides. In many categories, a length of 15 words is recommended.
General keywords / backend keywords
Every product on Amazon contains a field for “General search terms”. In this field, every Amazon retailer should enter the most important keywords that do not yet appear in the title or attributes.
It is also not possible to enter an infinite number of keywords, as the current maximum length for keywords that can be entered is 249 bytes. If the number of bytes is exceeded by entering too many keywords, none of the entered keywords will be taken into account. When calculating the number of bytes, the blanks have also recently been taken into account. To reduce the number of bytes, special characters should be avoided.
Also in the general search terms, filler words should not be used since they have no relevance and only reduce the available number of bytes.
The product description is one of the most frequently neglected components of a product listing, even though it is, of course, highly relevant when making a purchase decision. Especially due to the maximum of 2,000 characters, the product description is the component of a listing that contains the most information.
There are differing views on how keywords are weighted and evaluated in product descriptions. In many examples, we have noticed that individual keywords in product descriptions did not lead to an indexation of the product. On the other hand, longer tail search queries that appeared in the product description did become indexed.
For this reason, the product description plays a clearly subordinate role when it comes to adding keywords and, for this reason, the most important keywords should be entered in titles, bullet points or general search terms.
However, the product description should not be neglected because, despite the low keyword weighting, it can play an important role in the purchasing decision. In addition, the product description is displayed in the mobile mobile view before the attributes, and is therefore the first textual product component that a customer sees in the mobile view.
EBC and & “A+” content
Extended brand content (Enhanced Brand Content for sellers and “A+” for vendors) does not lead to any additional ranking placements as a result of the entry of keywords, because the Enhanced Brand Content is not indexed by Amazon. For this reason, we do not continue to deal with EBC and “A+” content.
Amazon SEO: Performance factors
After the Amazon search algorithm has determined the relevant products for the respective search query, the second step is to determine the order of the displayed products. In the second step, the order of the products is determined on the basis of performance factors, which I would like to explain in more detail below.
Making use of its performance factors, Amazon tries to present products with the highest probability of a purchase in order to maximize customer value. For this reason, the conversion rate naturally plays a decisive role in the placement of the respective products.
We have already observed that conversion rate has a direct ranking factor in the Amazon Ranking Factors paragraph. Now, of course, the following questions arise:
- How is the conversion rate of Amazon determined?
- How can the conversion rate on Amazon be influenced?
How does Amazon determine the conversion rate?
The basic definition of conversion rate is as follows: “The conversion rate is the ratio of the number of unique visits to the number of desired conversions”. Applied to Amazon, this means the number of purchases made divided by the number of unique visits. A unique visit to Amazon starts by visiting a product detail page, and ends 24 hours after visiting that product detail page.
What measures can be taken to positively influence the conversion rate?
1. Product images
High-quality images which show the product from as many different angles as possible tend to have a positive effect on the conversion rate of a product. If new product images are taken for an Amazon listing, care should be taken that the longest side of the image has a minimum resolution of 1000 pixels and the shortest side a minimum resolution of 500 pixels, because this resolution results in the product images having the zoom function.
Experience has shown that the average rating of a product has the second strongest influence on the conversion rate, after the inclusion of meaningful images. The average product rating is also at least as important as the number of ratings.
Price directly influences the conversion rate. However, it is important to note that the relative price of a product should be taken into account – not only should this involve a price comparison with other products in the same category, but the USP or features of the product should also be compared too. Consumers of BioIO products, for example, are generally prepared to accept a higher product price than for products without an organic label.
Other product components that influence the conversion rate:
Shipping services (Prime shipping, shipping costs, shipping time)
Quality and quantity of product data
Offer prices and & promotions
Number of currently available products
EBC & “A+” Content
Sales performance of the product
The sales frequency of a product in relation to competitor products within its category naturally has a large impact on the organic ranking of a product. Therefore, in principle, products that sell more frequently than others generally achieve better organic rankings.
What measures are there to increase the sales frequency of a product?
Amazon advertising campaigns (Amazon sponsored product campaigns, sponsored brands and product display ads)
The first and most effective way to increase the sales of a product, both in the short term and long term, is the use of Amazon advertising campaigns. Amazon sponsored product campaigns are available to every Amazon retailer with a professional retailer tariff. Through the placement of Amazon sponsored product campaigns, advertisements are displayed in the search results pages and on product detail pages. Billing takes place per click, and you can find out more about sponsored product campaigns here.
In addition to Sponsored Product Campaigns, Amazon dealers with a registered brand can launch Sponsored Brand Campaigns, which are displayed exclusively in the search results pages. You can learn more about Sponsored Brand Campaigns here.
Finally, there is the possibility to run Product Display Campaigns. Currently, however, this advertising format is only available for vendors. If you want to learn more about product display campaigns, click here.
- Flash offers
Flash offers are temporary promotions that can be found on the Amazon offer page throughout the period of a promotion. The creation of a flash offer carries a minimum fee, which is usually the equivalent of around 35€ per product. Through the additional visibility, additional sales may be generated that might not have come about without a flash offer.
- Deal pages
A further way to increase sales of your product in the short term is to use deal pages such as MyDealz. However, you should make sure that you follow the guidelines of the pages. In addition, make sure that your advertised offer is a really good offer – the submission of unattractive offers on a regular basis will quickly bore people.
- External paid visitor sources
Of course, there are other advertising possibilities that can be used to increase sales. Google and Facebook obviously come to mind, as together they form a duopoly in the digital advertising market. By placing Google Ads campaigns, similar to Amazon advertising campaigns, you can advertise against specific search queries to draw the attention of potential new customers to your Amazon presence. Facebook can also be used to address existing customers and potential new customers. If you want to learn more about Google Ads and Facebook Advertising, click here for Google Ads and here for Facebook Ads.
- Amazon’s Affiliate Pages
In addition to Amazon, many niche sites have established themselves over the past 10 years, focusing on one product category and trying to establish themselves as advisors by means of detailed blog entries and videos. Some of these sites reach several hundreds of thousands of website visitors per month. Through targeted product placement on relevant affiliate sites like these, it is possible to give your own products a further boost in sales.
- Instagram and Pinterest
The two major image platforms Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for expanding your business. Both play a crucial role in the marketing mix for many online retailers. Pinterest in particular, which allows linking to external platforms, can be used with minimal effort to increase sales. For both platforms, the mere upload of product images alone will not lead to success.
- Influencer marketing
This is probably the biggest marketing trend in recent years. By cooperating with people who have a specific audience on social media, through platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, your products can be presented to a new audience. Most of the work in this area is spent in the research of and communication with relevant influencers. The co-operation costs, aside from the ready supply of the product, should not be underestimated. It should be noted that the sales effect can also be tracked, among other things, by making voucher codes available.
Another relevant performance factor is a product’s click-through rate from organic results in the search results pages. This means that, the more clicks your product receives, compared to the competition, the more its position in the organic rankings will develop. The click-through rate reflects the ratio of clicks to impressions in percent. Unfortunately, there are no metrics within Amazon that represent the click-through rate for your own products (with the exception of advertisements).
Of course, there are also measures that can be taken to increase the click-through rate.
But first we have to ask: which product information is displayed in Amazon’s search result pages when people are deciding to click through to an item?
As can be seen in the graphic, the following information is always displayed in search result pages.
Product main image
Amazon Choice and & Bestseller Badge
Number of ratings and average rating
Reference to an advertising campaign
Extended delivery information (delivery date etc.)
By adapting this information, the number of clicks on your listing can be increased. A meaningful product title can be traced back to mobile devices, and a clear product image, the Amazon Prime shipping method and the roll-out of advertising campaigns such as “Buy one get one free” can increase click-through rates quickly, and improve organic placement.
The badges “Amazon-Choice” and “Bestseller-Badge” are unfortunately not directly influenceable, but they have an immense effect on the click-through rate.
Conclusion: Performance factors
The relevant factors for performance are sales, conversion and click-through rates. After your product listings have been optimized to contain all of your relevant keywords, the listing should then be optimized to increase the probability of clicks and purchases. Then, only by focusing on additional performance factors would it be possible for your product be displayed on the first pages of Amazon search results in the long run.
Frequently asked questions regarding Amazon SEO:
Can I achieve a good ranking organically without product ratings?
In most cases this will not be possible. This is not because of the missing product ratings, but because of the missing social proof and the associated lower conversion and click-through rates than comparable products which have product ratings can show.
How long does it take to see results?
Unfortunately I can’t give you an exact time frame. However, optimizations on Amazon tend to lead to much faster successes and results than through SEO on Google. The optimization of keywords in product listings can be tracked relatively quickly, which is ultimately rewarded with increased visibility and more sales. The results can be seen just a few days afterwards by re-monitoring the search terms.
Does Amazon issue punishments if guidelines are not adhered to?
Yes, and these are as varied as the marketplace itself. If the style guides are violated, this can lead to products being set to inactive and the sale of the products being prevented. Another measure regularly carried out by Amazon is the removal of product ratings where Amazon suspects that they have come about in an unnatural way.
I sell several similar products on Amazon with partly similar and identical item descriptions. Does Amazon have an issue with duplicate content like Google?
At Amazon you don’t have to worry about duplicate content. It’s natural that product variations will overlap in content.