As Amazon’s market share and popularity continue to increase, month over month, ranking well in Amazon search results becomes ever more important. And, as the popularity of the site increases among sellers, so to, does the competition involved with ranking. Correspondingly, so to does the importance of getting your listings properly optimized sooner, rather than later.
If you’re familiar with doing SEO work for Google, you’ll understand the core concepts involved with ranking for Amazon. However, it’ll be important to keep in mind that the search algorithm for Amazon is, in many fundamental ways, different than Google’s.
Of course, like with Google, having a store on Amazon requires some work to get extra exposure and higher search rankings. Simply uploading your listings to Amazon won’t guarantee your products any visibility, and, as with with Google, rich content on Amazon is crucial. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to improve the quality using “Amazon SEO” (so-to-speak) techniques. In this article, we’ll actually first start by tackling the importance and significance of winning the buy box and then we’ll be reviewing several quick ways to bootstrap the search rankings of your listings. And, if you wondering, they work. I’ve used them to boost stores from $0 to $30 000 per month.
What is the Buy Box?
Before understanding just what the Buy Box is, a key thing to note about Amazon is that it is not just a marketplace, but also a shopping comparison engine. It always tries to help the consumer by highlighting the best deal on a given product. So when the user hits the “Buy Now” button, Amazon wants them to be sure that they are getting the best deal. They want to eliminate the need for comparison shopping. Winning the Buy Box, therefore, is when Amazon chooses your product as the best deal compared to all others selling it. If you win the Buy Box, Amazon chooses your account as the default choice for the consumer to buy from.
How does it do this? When you load a new product on your seller account, Amazon tries to corroborate it against its database of products to find ones with similar features and specs. If it finds a match, it will assign you an ASIN for your product. An ASIN is like an internal SKU or barcode that Amazon assigns the products that are sold within. As such, when multiple sellers are selling the same thing, they’ll all be sharing the same ASIN. From that point, Amazon will check which seller is offering the lowest price, including shipping, on that particular ASIN, in order to determine who wins the buy box. Yet, it does not check only price. To win the Buy Box, you have to steer well clear of A-Z claims, slow shipping, returns and bad response times on questions. Getting any of these (especially A-Z claims and returns), can severely impact your chances at winning the Buy Box.
As such, winning the buy box is the number one thing to achieve before setting out to rank on Amazon. Without it, your conversion rates and visibility will plummet (I’ve managed accounts that have gone from 30k a month to 0 just by losing the Buy Box).
6 Key Ways to Improve Amazon Search Results
I’ve compiled below 6 (and a half) ways you can easily start ranking your products higher on Amazon. I’ve used these for many different seller accounts and achieved huge success improving sales and visibility exponentially.
Before writing the copy for your listings, it is absolutely critical to start with keyword research to understand what people are searching for when they want to buy your product and the competition on that keyword. You can find several tools to help you track and determine your target keywords, but since the size of Amazon is so great, I typically use SEO keyword tools normally reserved for Google as well.
Of course, the best way to find keyword opportunities is to go on top ranking listings for products similar to yours and not only use their keywords, but notice which ones they are missing or leaving out. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find a keyword that your competitors have neglected to your advantage.
Another good trick to find out what people are searching for is to type your product in the Amazon search bar and see what suggestions come up. Say your item is a red rug. Go in the Amazon search bar and type "red rug", but don’t press enter. It will auto fill with keyword suggestions. Amazon puts these there because people are search for them a lot. Include these phrases in the keywords. Do this again with "traditional rug" and keep going with more until you have no room left. After doing this with several initial variations, you’ll be able to develop a decent list of long-tail keywords that you can incorporate in your listing copy.
Lastly, don’t include misspellings into your list of target keywords, Amazon’s search algorithm already accounts for this.
This can be up to 500 characters. And, remember: Amazon’s search algorithm isn’t like Google’s and it’s actually beneficial to stuff up your titles with plenty of keywords you’ve found during your keyword research. For the time being, it doesn’t matter if your title looks like some SEOs desperate attempt at ranking Google in the 90s. As such. you should be able to include multiple variations keyword variations of your product in each title along with more descriptive info about the category of the product. Again, look what the competitors are missing in their keywords and try to fill that gap.
Here you are able to input 50 chars of keywords in 5 text boxes for a total of 250 characters of keywords. The best way to go about this is to start off by using your target keywords and if you still have room, include your product followed by some of its attributes as keywords. If you have keywords that, for some reason, you cannot fit in the bullet points or title, be sure to include them here.
Product Long Description
The product long description is the paragraph text that is usually found below the bullet points of a given product. Use as much text as possible to create descriptions that are at least 1000 chars in length and try to include all possible keyword variations in this field. In this field, it is best to try to expound on any possible information about the product and the benefits it can offer the buyer. The more you can put here, the better.
Do the same thing you did with the keywords and try to incorporate those in each bullet point. Try to develop a rule system so that depending on the item, custom content is made for each item's bullet points. Remember, you have 150 chars to work with for each bullet point so try to fill up as much of those characters as possible. You might need to work through several iterations to find the most optimal configuration of keywords per bullet point, but, in my opinion, it is well worth it. It not only helps the buyer quickly understand the benefits and features of your product, but also weighs heavily on the listing’s search rankings.
This is a powerful, yet often overlooked way to unlock greater Amazon rankings. Amazon’s category tree is massive and often, several categories can be used synonymously. That is to say, sometimes categories repeat themselves and your product can be uploaded to more than one. As a result, it is very important to look through the Amazon category tree carefully to see if you could place your product in a category with less competition. This has worked wonders many times for me and it really pays off to have a look at the browse tree guide.
When thinking about the category of your products, it’s also important to keep in mind its available filters. For instance, notice the number in brackets next to each filter. These are the amount of products found within that filter. Try to optimize your listing so that you fit into the filter with the least amount of competition. For instance, if there are fewer items in the 70% off filter, then increase your MSRP so that you are included in this filter.
This isn’t so much a way to rank as an important thing to consider. Amazon uses image quality as a factor in ranking your listings. Always follow Amazon guidelines and have no written text on your images and always place them against a transparent background. It’s a basic requirement to fill, and most sellers do, but if you don’t, you can have your listings severely suppressed.
It may seem obvious to some, but another thing to keep track of when trying to rank on Amazon is sales velocity. Products that sell faster are given an SEO boost. As such, having offering sales and advertising a good ways to launch your product on Amazon.
Promoting via Sales and Advertising
If you looking for really quick wins at a price, there is always product advertising through Amazon. This is the least viable and least sustainable way to rank your products, but also the easiest regarding workload. When you are logged in to your seller account, you'll notice that there’s an advertise tab at the top. Once you are there, you have the option to create new campaigns. Once you create a campaign, there will be the option to create adgroups. Unlike with Google, Adgroups in Amazon work via product groupings. You advertise groups of products based on keywords. For instance, you can add a bunch of red kazaks to one ad group and fill it up with keywords that people would search to find red kazaks. However, make sure the bid on these ads is high enough. Thankfully, there is a button that lets you match current estimate high bid. This tool lets you create ads with thousands of products at a time. So play around with this and check back on your ad groups each day to see which keywords are performing. If they are not performing, cancel the bad keywords and keep only the good ones. This, of course, is a very brief overview of advertising on Amazon, but, compared to Google, is still pretty inexpensive and can offer very high ROIs.
With this info in mind, you should have enough information to start your listings the right way and start making sales. Don’t forget to keep optimizing since competition moves fast on Amazon and the category you thought had no competition could suddenly be out ranking you.