Originally published on May 6, 2016, updated January 23, 2020
Last month I did an overview of the Amazon A9 search engine and the different factors that can affect how your product ranks in search. As promised, this month we’ll start diving into specific tactics that can help your product become more visible in the Amazon search engine results page (SERP).
We’ll start with Amazon product listing page optimization. This should be the first step in any Amazon search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Consider the process. The A9 search engine (named for the Amazon subsidiary that created the algorithm) indexes your title, description, bullets and a few other tidbits for keywords. But once a customer lands on your page, your copy needs to convince them to buy. A purchase then signals to Amazon that your product was relevant in that particular search.
Here’s the first rule of thumb that I generally share with clients: Familiarize yourself with the Amazon style guide for your category. Amazon has a lot of data on customer behavior, and they have shared what works best when it comes to product content in their style guides. They cover many do’s and don'ts in regards to copy and images. Neglecting some of these could get your listing suspended or simply make for a poor customer experience. These guides can be found with the category-specific templates page in the Seller Central dashboard. You can also take a look at the Quick Start Style Guide for a general overview.
Once you are ready to create or optimize an Amazon product listing page, there are four main parts to a product detail page that need to be addressed: 1) image; 2) title; 3) bullets and description; and 4) backend search items. Here are some best practices that will maximize your chances of being found and making the sale.
Your product image, together with your title, are the two most important parts of your product page. They are both seen in search results and can convince a customer to click through. Customers especially rely on images to get a clear understanding of the product. Remember, since they are not able to pick it up and examine it, as they would in a brick and mortar store, you need clear images so they can feel confident in buying.
Become familiar with Amazon image requirements, keeping in mind that a lot of the company’s requirements and suggestions are based on their customer data and designed to give customers the best experience.
You should upload as many images as possible that show the product at different angles, or even in use. Data from Amazon shows that customers usually will click on every image that has been uploaded, so take advantage of the space and use it to sell your product to the customer.
The title is important to get right for many reasons, and there is a lot of conflicting advice out there on how to best structure a title on a listing on the Amazon marketplace. Some advocate keyword stuffing your title; while others suggest you keep it short and to the point. So what works best?
I’ve seen the best results with titles that are written with the customer in mind, while including at least one primary keyword or phrase. This is based on findings that keywords in titles seem to carry more weight than keywords found in other parts of the page. And that overly long or confusing titles will reduce click-through rate and conversions, which are also important factors in the Amazon search algorithm.
Look at it from a customer’s perspective. In SERP, Amazon truncates titles to about 110 characters. If a customer browsing through search cannot tell what a product is by looking at that truncated title, they are not likely to click on it. If the first 110 characters do make enough sense to click through, and they find a confusing title that is four lines long and hard to read, they may just back out and look for a product that is easier to understand. Including a primary keyword will help them instantly recognize what they were searching for. But don’t use keywords at the expense of clarity. Amazon offers style guides that provide great examples of good and bad titles.
Here is your chance to really sell your product. You’ve got a customer looking at your page, and your bullets and description need to act as your salesperson. First, keep in mind that the five bullets are the first thing a customer shopping on the desktop site will see after the title and image. And it’s what a mobile customer will click on if they want a quick summary. Use them to clearly articulate what your product is and why it is different from the competition. Keep it short and easy to read. Get them hooked and save the essay for the description.
In the description you can spend a little more time describing the product — what it does, how it does it, why they need it, and what makes it different from other products like yours. Use your words to sell the product.
Lastly, depending on your category, there are a couple of dozen fields on the backend. A customer may never see these fields, but they can help your product gain more visibility on the Amazon marketplace. Fill in every field that you can, paying special attention to the product category. You must be in a category that is relevant to your product, or you may not be found.
I get a lot of questions on how to use the Search Term or Keyword fields on the backend. These are five fields that now allow up to 1,000 characters per field. Use these fields to enter in search terms that a customer may use to find your product. You don’t need to repeat any words but you should try to keep them in a logical order. And don’t use commas or semicolons to separate keywords. For example entering the string [womens swimsuit bathing suit tankini bikini for women] will index the product for the keywords [womens swimsuit] and [bathing suit for women] among others.
With the recent increase in the character limit, many sellers have been tempted to throw in every imaginable keyword possible including keywords that have little relevance to the product. Amazon is continuing to dial in their algorithm for relevancy and you can be penalized for too many irrelevant keywords. Use the space that you need for keywords that are relevant to your product. Amazon states that you don’t have to include common misspellings or repeat anything in the title, bullets, description or brand.
To sum up: Create your images, title, bullets and descriptions with the customer in mind. While it’s important to include your most important keywords in these areas, don’t focus so much on increasing traffic that you neglect your conversion rate. Use your copy to sell the product and use your backend search terms to include any keywords that are relevant, but did not fit in naturally into your frontend copy.
Originally published on May 6, 2016, updated January 23, 2020
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.