For this very special blog installment, we’ve teamed up with eBazaaris, a leading specialist agency in eCommerce marketplace solutions across Europe and China. Together with Kester Bischoff, eBazaaris’ Managing Director, we’ve written a comprehensive, in-depth guide on how to form a winning Amazon SEO strategy and conquer the eCommerce giant.
Amazon is a highly competitive environment, where a brand or seller’s ‘best seller rank’ (BSR) can determine their business success. This key ranking reflects how well products sell and helps to lead new customers to highly ranked product pages. So, if you can achieve a strong rank, it breeds success in a virtuous cycle.
So what does it take to succeed in the battle for a high ranking?
If you want to achieve an impressive ranking on Amazon, you need to optimise your content to perform well on the marketplace’s search engine. Amazingly, that truth is commonly overlooked, even by massive global brands.
Put simply, brands need to tailor their content to suit Amazon’s A9 algorithm, which decides what products to highlight with prominent search rankings, and which ones to demote.
Amazon keeps the A9 recipe secret, but expert observers have been able to piece together its core requirements. They report that the algorithm makes decisions based on a couple of broad criteria. These can loosely be defined as a) how relevant content is to search queries and b) how popular items have been in the past with Amazon users.
Let’s unpack what this means and tease out the 5 most important factors behind a leading Amazon ranking.
1. Tighten up Your Category Definitions
To start our listing optimisation checklist, products need to be placed in the correct Amazon categories. Unless you get this right, searches may totally bypass your content, as A9 will deem it “irrelevant” to customer needs.
Categorisation also matters for choosing your SEO keywords. Each category will be associated with its own set of specific keywords, and these need to be included in the product descriptions for items in that category. If you get the mix of keywords wrong, the same negative results await.
Then, there’s non-search related traffic. Remember, Amazon users can reach products via category trees and bestseller items. In fact, around 30% of buyers use category trees to arrive at the products they purchase, so you need to be included in these structures as well.
2. Comprehensive Product Information
Information is key when reaching Amazon customers, who can be pretty specific about what they need. They will happily focus their browsing via filters, which rely on information specified by brands.
This extra product information section is appended to the backend of product listings, but it isn’t merely an afterthought. It’s also not hard to compile. You can upload information from databases via flat files or add information directly using the backend interface (just make sure you include the information Amazon requires if you use flat files).
When you highlight product information, always think about customer interests. If something is gluten-free, and that matters to buyers, this needs to be stressed. Otherwise, the powerful filter function will not be used to its full effect. It’s a case where “knowing your customers” is a key to rising up rankings.
3. Keyword Optimisation
The Amazon A9 algorithm is as keyword-hungry as Google’s, and solid keyword research always pays off when carrying out ranking optimisation.
Long-tail combinations are vital as they reflect actual searches. But “fat-head” single words with high value also have to be included. Usually, a mix of lengths is optimal.
Keywords also need to be placed properly to attract attention. For instance, the highest value keywords must appear in titles, as this is the first port of call for A9 when it calculates page rankings. And don’t neglect backend keywords for things like misspellings or words that are commonly used by competitors. You don’t want to include these in visible content, but they can be added underneath your listing for A9 to catch.
The best way to handle keywords during Amazon SEOoptimisation is via tools like keywordtool.io or Sonar, but there are other options as well. For instance, a good first step is often to simply use Amazon’s search suggestions, which deliver useful pointers about what buyers are searching for. In any case, isolate a range of terms for each product, and enlist skilled writers to blend them into well-written content.
4. Length and Mobile Optimisation
These are two separate but related factors that make a serious difference to Amazon ranking stats. For starters, be aware of category-specific text limits. For example, title lengths vary between 80 and 240 characters, and you will be penalised for breaching those limits.
Mobile optimisation is also absolutely crucial to obtaining a strong best seller rank. We’ve just reached the stage where over 50% of US eCommerce is mobile, while some sources suggest that 79% of consumers have made an online purchase via a mobile device in the past 6 months. That’s a market you can’t ignore.
Because of this, all Amazon SEO strategies need to include mobile optimisation. This means packing relevant information into the initial 70 characters (which are immediately visible on smartphone screens). And it also means front-loading lists with vital information in the first 3 bullets. Again, this ensures that casual mobile browsers receive essential details, making them more likely to convert.
5. Master pricing to attract buyers and ensure Buybox status
Pricing is also a crucial consideration. This doesn’t just mean offering great value. It also means ensuring that your products are located in the correct price categories. That way, they can appeal to demographics that are likely to yield conversion instead of consumers that will seek out cheaper or more expensive products.
Pricing also relates to the Amazon Buybox, which accounts for 82% of sales through the platform. This feature isn’t guaranteed for all listings and can be withdrawn from sellers if they offer lower prices elsewhere or if their performance metrics dip.
6. Miscellaneous (but vital) factors that can’t be ignored
Finally, there are some other ‘miscellaneous’ but, nonetheless, important factors to consider.
Most importantly, you need to get pictures right. Generally, it is advisable to include 5 or more professionally-taken, informative images which show off aspects of your products.
Attaching a Prime Label also makes a difference. Prime doesn’t just entice members to buy. It’s also the number-one filter choice used by Prime members when they seek out purchases.
Finally, reviews also make a big impression on buyers and the A9 algorithm. Ideally, merchants would seek as many positive reviews as possible, and it’s important to ensure that review scores average above 4 to persuade buyers and boost the product’s BSR. Usually, a trade-off between quantity and quality makes sense here, and at least a few very positive reviews are essential.
But how can this be achieved? Well, using a solid off-site strategy to appeal to fans and influencers can help. And you can offer prizes to reviewers as inducements to participate, but do remember the Amazon guidelines on issues like this. In the end, product quality will always be decisive.
Become a bestseller every time with a focused Amazon SEO strategy
Amazon is both a blessing and a curse for small and medium-sized businesses. It’s a fantastic place to reach customers around the world, but it’s also a jungle, where actually attracting attention is hard and, at times, costly.
That’s why having an effective Amazon SEO optimisation plan is crucial. By putting into practice the advice we’ve outlined here, and sourcing high-quality content from agencies which understand the ‘ins and outs’ of Amazon SEO, you can turn stagnant rankings into soaring performance.
Amazon is a forum where success won’t happen automatically. It’s a competitive environment where you need to earn and think your way to the top. But with the right tactics, any business can get there.
Text: Sam Urquhart & Kester Bischoff