When Should You Optimize Product Listings?

by Wes Grudzien, on December 9, 2015

A common question I get from clients is: “When should we optimize our product listings?”

The quick answer is “only when it positively affects your business,” but to better understand what that means, we need to back up a little…

Amazon’s Algorithm

Amazon’s product catalog works like this: Each ASIN has a stored pool of detail page information made up of data pulled from every seller with that ASIN in their product catalog. Amazon uses automated algorithmic programming when deciding what information is pulled from that data pool and displayed on its product detail pages. Amazon calls this system, “Detail Page Control,” and it has a hierarchy from which information is pulled. The hierarchy goes like this:

  • Amazon Retail
  • Brand Registry Enrolled Seller of that specific ASIN
  • Amazon’s Internal Support Team
  • Third-Party Sellers

So for example, if Amazon retail has data for that specific ASIN, their information will always be displayed on the product detail page before anyone else’s data. If Amazon retail doesn’t have data, then the brand registered seller’s data is used, and so forth moving down the line. If none of the top three have any data, and multiple third-party sellers do, then Amazon uses an equation similar to how it awards the buy box when deciding which third-party seller’s data is used. The more established the seller, the higher the likelihood that their data is used. This is important to note because: even if YOU created an ASIN, that doesn’t mean your data will always be displayed.

Why Does This Matter?

The point of understanding how this system works is to know when your data will be used, and only spend time optimizing product listings when that’s the case. There’s no point in spending time and energy adding great content to a listing if the information never shows up, right?

Optimizing Listings

Here are some examples of when and when not to spend time optimizing content for wholesale/retail and private label listings.

For Wholesale/Retail Listings

Optimize:

  • Bundles you’ve created – make sure to optimize any bundles you’ve created to match the corresponding keywords.
  • Listings with errors that affect the sales rank – If the ASIN just isn’t a big seller it’s one thing, but if the detail page information has significant errors that appear to be keeping buyers from purchasing, take the time to correct the issue.

Do Not Optimize:

  • Highly ranked ASINs – Just as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  • One-time purchases – Unless optimizing the listing will significantly increase the revenue that you receive from that one-time buy, it may not be worth optimizing.

For Private Label Listings

Optimize:

  • All new listings – Since you have complete control of the Buy Box and information, optimizing content for your target keywords is key.

Do Not Optimize:

  • Poor/failing listings – If you’ve tried multiple times to update a poorly selling item and it continues to fail, it may be best to sell through the remaining inventory and chalk it up as a loss.

Time is money, and optimizing product listings that won’t have a positive impact on your business is a poor use of time.

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