Originally published on May 8, 2019, updated January 17, 2020
Kim Kohatsu of PickFu shares strategies for optimizing your Amazon listings in this guest blog post.
When you look for tips on optimizing your Amazon listings, you’ll see a lot of keyword tools, search trends data and consultants making a pitch. But what all of these sites leave out is that there are two audiences you need to optimize for.
It’s not just about Amazon. You also have to consider real people when you optimize. Too often, sellers over-optimize for the Amazon ranking algorithm without considering what shoppers will be drawn to.
It’s a given that when Amazon features your listing prominently, more people will look at it, and therefore you’ll generate more sales. But conversely, if lots of people look at and ultimately buy your product, the Amazon A9 algorithm will take notice, and that contributes to giving your listing top billing. The signals reinforce each other.
Here are three ways to optimize your Amazon listings in a way that appeals to both the algorithm and to people in real life.
The name of your product is a perfect example of the need to target two different audiences. Amazon’s algorithms think in keywords and straightforward descriptors of what your product is or does. But people are drawn to brand names that are short, distinct, and catchy. The title on your Amazon listing will usually combine both a product name and some valuable keyword descriptors.
The keyword part is easy. But how do you know if you’ve got a strong brand name?
Product names can highlight a unique selling proposition, speak to the kind of customer the product is for or say something about the intrinsic value it offers to buyers. Your product’s name is its calling card; if you’re lucky enough that customers talk about the product, the name you choose is how they’re going to share it.
When you ideate possible product names, it’s important to get outside perspectives. People who aren’t close to your product may uncover unintended associations or problems you didn’t anticipate. Unbiased feedback gives you a sense of whether you’re headed in the right direction with a product name, or whether you should try something else.
This is where an instant polling software like PickFu comes in handy. With PickFu, you create a survey in less than a minute, and the PickFu service quickly brings respondents that match your customer profile to answer your most burning market research questions.
Here’s an example. A seller was developing a product for apartment renters to help them start an organic vegetable garden with limited outdoor space. Turning to PickFu, two product names were tested: PatioHarvest and PorchFarmer.
Over two-thirds of respondents preferred PatioHarvest, and the difference between patio and porch was a decisive factor in why. As one poll respondent noted, “apartments have patios most of the time, not porches.” On top of that, the word farmer didn’t resonate with customers at all. One respondent said, “Harvest evokes images of the products you will get from your garden. Farmer evokes images of hard work!”
No keyword tool is able to give you insights like that. With PickFu, this seller could have limited the survey only to people who rent, since they’re the ones whose opinions matter most. Furthermore, audience targeting is available by traits such as age, income and Amazon Prime membership.
Product photography just might be the most important element of your Amazon listing. Your photos must convey not only the physical aspects of your product like color, materials and size, they must also impart emotional appeal to create desire.
When a shopper performs a search on Amazon, your product’s main photo may significantly affect its click-through rate. That’s why choosing the image to feature should not be left to chance.
When the online store Bumblebee Linens tested two product photos with PickFu, 50 female poll respondents showed a resounding preference for a new photo over the old one. Once the listing was updated with the new photo, sales of the item jumped 209%.
Not a bad optimization trick, huh?
Devote time to create a library of product imagery so that you have options to choose from. Show multiple angles of the product by itself, but take (or create with photo editors) in-use lifestyle images as well. Try overlaying text and graphics on some photos to point out features and attributes. For products with several components, make sure to take shots that show all of the included pieces. If you’re shooting the product photos yourself, check out these DIY tips from a professional photographer.
Never cut and paste the manufacturer’s product descriptions. The duplicate content makes it difficult to rank on Amazon.
Instead, create original descriptions that emphasize an important quality about the product or a feeling that the product will instill. These talking points will help formulate a cohesive brand voice that you can use across multiple products.
Make sure your descriptions answer the most common questions about the product. Study competitors’ descriptions and include any details you feel they’ve left out. Use subtle language in your descriptions to overcome common objections. Don’t simply list features, but offer scenarios where those features will be useful. And as you’re doing all this, incorporate valuable search keywords throughout the text.
If you’re not a wordsmith, or simply don’t have the time to write the descriptions yourself, one exercise you could try is to hire more than one copywriter to craft your descriptions. Then weigh their different approaches against one another.
Here’s an example. A seller of a spherical ice tray asked 50 Amazon Prime members which product description they liked better. The two descriptions were similar in length and covered many of the same features. However, the second option used capital letters to introduce each bullet point, such as “PERFECT FOR THE WHISKEY DRINKER” and “KEEPS DRINKS COLDER FOR LONGER.” Respondents found this type treatment more attention-grabbing and easier to skim. The winning description of the PickFu poll may now be seen on Amazon, where the product has garnered the highly sought-after “Amazon’s Choice” status.
As you consider optimizing your product listings, don’t only consider the Amazon search engine. After all, search engines don’t buy your product. People do.
Keyword-stuffed, robotic-sounding descriptions and product names aren’t enough. In order to appeal to people’s desires, put the elements of your product listing (the description, photos, and brand name) in front of them. Are they seeing what you intend them to see? Do they bring up issues that you hadn’t thought of? These insights will guide you in how to improve your listings, and ultimately, increase your sales.
Originally published on May 8, 2019, updated January 17, 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.