Surprisingly, I regularly come across poor quality essential content while shopping on the Amazon marketplace. Essential content is what you first provide during the new item setup process: product titles, bullets and descriptions. Amazon’s A9 algorithm indexes and uses this content at varying degrees to provide shoppers with useful search results. If your product’s title or bullets do little to define it, either by brand, function or features, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on sales opportunities.

A9’s inner workings are a well-guarded secret. Despite the plethora of speculation circulating the web in how it might work and what you can do to rank your listings at the top of any search, only the Amazon developers know what’s going on behind the scenes. So, I’m here to offer some tried-and-true common sense practices that should help you out.

Begin with Your Product Title

This is the first editorial content you see on an Amazon search results page, next to the product’s primary image and offering price. Cramming a title full of keywords that make no logical sense to anyone reading the title aloud will get you nowhere. Same with simple and vague titles that state obvious information that a customer can discern from the primary photo like “black calculator” or “women’s analog watch.”

Use a title that makes sense to shoppers that will garner positive search results. For example, I follow this format for the products I sell:

[Brand] [Gender] [Model Number] [Collection Name] [Feature call out] [Product type]

It should be clear and leave no room for ambiguity. Before you start applying this or any other specified format to your titles, though, research your category. Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) might have specific style guidelines within your product category that you need to follow. For example, the clothing category will require unique attributes in the title that you won’t find in the automotive parts category. Model numbers wouldn’t apply to clothing either. Look for commonalities in the listings that tend to populate the top spots in your category searches.

Bullets Are Next in Line

Bullets are second to titles in priority for both search and a customer’s shopping experience. They should describe the product efficiently at a quick glance. Great bullets answer questions before customers need to ask them. If they are vague or appear careless, there’s a good chance the shopper will move onto another listing with more useful information. The content needs to be doubtlessly accurate.

While you’re appealing to shoppers with a few seconds available to read your product’s top line information, A9 is using this information to fuel their search engine. Therefore, consider common keywords in your category that apply to the product and incorporate them in a logical manner. Again, don’t go keyword heavy for the sake of stuffing them into your descriptions, as that won’t get you anywhere.

Use keywords you know work well for your product line and make sense to your customers. Research what keywords perform well in your overall category. In Vendor Central, for example, you can review keywords analytics reports based around a set of ASINs or a specific time frame. Familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t. This will help inform how you word your editorial content.

The Description Launches the Emotional Appeal

Use romance copy to engage the shopper and elaborate further on the details laid-out in the bullets. Appeal to your customer’s wants and needs. Avoid long-winded sentences, though; keep your description straightforward and to the point. Don’t feel like you need to write several paragraphs when one is probably sufficient. Remember that you will be able to add rich content – A+ content or Enhanced Brand Content – below the fold where you can talk about the product to its fullest depths. The logical keyword rule applies here too, so don’t force words into sentences where they sound awkward and cause confusion for the shopper.

It’s All Common Sense

You would think common sense guidelines would be easy to employ; yet it’s not well practiced, probably because it takes effort. Become a leader in your category by applying logical and thorough editorial information to your product listings. Start now and watch how A9 begins to rank your products higher, and how higher ranking benefits your sales.

David T. Griffith

David T. Griffith is a writer and designer who came up in the marketing, branding, and communication fields. In 2012 he took on the role of eCommerce Channel Manager for Timex Group, with whom he continues a consulting relationship on the Timex watch brand. In this capacity he works with Amazon and other ecommerce retail partners on vendor relationship, catalog management, and product communication. Additionally, he is a freelance writer covering such topics as digital marketing, creative process, health, and business communication. You can learn more at dtgriffith.com and follow him on Twitter: @dtgriffith.


This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.