If you are an Amazon seller, we don’t want to tell you more about the competition. You have seen it, felt it, tried to beat it and hopefully, had success. But if you are still wondering what it really takes to skyrocket your sales, you might want to sit back and have a careful read. This post, an important link in our free Amazon SEO Guide series , will try to help you decode the ever-mysterious Amazon Search Algorithm.
Before we get into the deeper waters of the Amazon SEO, let’s have a look at why it’s all worth your time.
Amazon SEO: Ranking Higher (Almost Always) Guarantees Sales!
For a new Amazon seller, the marketplace, the competition and the feature rich Seller Central can be somewhat overwhelming. But as the old adage goes, it really pays to go slow, sure and steady. Ranking higher in Amazon search results is not just an advantage. It’s an absolute necessity if you want to register sizeable sales numbers.
Here are some premium Amazon facts to support this crazy rush for understanding the Amazon SEO and ranking higher:
- More than half of American consumers turn to Amazon for every online shopping need. Approximately 55% of American shoppers search for products at Amazon – not Google! *
- Roughly 70% of Amazon users buy a product from the first page of search results. #
- The percentage of shoppers who turn to the second page of Amazon search results is quite low – around 20%. #
- Products listed in the subsequent pages account for less than a tenth of the overall sales. #
Just switch sides for a moment. If you are a buyer, what do you do when you visit Amazon? You type in what you want, you browse through the search results, and you quickly make a decision. When was the last time you bought a product off the 4th page of search results? Do you even remember not clicking through any of the top 5 search results for your query?
Just look at the screen grab below. This is what turns up when you search for a generic, popular keyword such as ‘wall charger’.
Of the 50,000-odd matching products, how many, do you think, end up having any reasonable sales traction?
“Don’t think you can just upload your products to Amazon & watch the sales grow. Read this comprehensive Amazon SEO guide to learn how to maximize your Amazon sales by staying on the right side of the Amazon Search Algorithm!”
The fact of the matter is, there is no better online marketplace in America than Amazon. Also, there is no better place to be than at the top of the Amazon SERPs. To get there, however, you need all sorts of things working for you. Let’s see what these are.
Amazon Search Algorithm: The Only Friend You Need to Boost Sales
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an old concept. People need search engines to make sense of the bafflingly vast spread of the internet. Search engines need words to make sense of what people want. So, it’s a two-way, cyclic relationship. The best way to adopt the Amazon SEO tools of your choice is to understand how the Amazon Search Algorithm works. Or at least, how most people think it does.
Amazon and its subsidiaries like Audible are powered by A9, the in-house search engine developed by Amazon. Introduced in 2004, A9 was hailed as the first search engine with its own ‘memory’ of searches. It’s a robust, all-weather, adaptive search engine that works just like Google – except on wholly different levels. While Google displays the most relevant search results, A9 displays results that are most likely to convert into sales.
This is where the Amazon SEO takes a sharp, diverging turn from the Google SEO. But once you’ve figured out how the Amazon Search Algorithm sifts through thousands of search results for a given query, you’re well on track to propelling your product to the top of the sales charts.
Ranking Higher in Amazon SERPs Isn’t a Stroke of Luck!
It’s easier to dismiss Amazon’s continually evolving search algorithm as something that you just can’t put a finger on. It’s even easier to frown upon your competitors who always manage to rank higher than you. What’s difficult is to acknowledge the fact that you can do better – a lot better! After all, A9 is a scientifically developed search engine, and there is a certain method to its madness. Amazon doesn’t just randomly pick up products and present them to potential buyers. Their direct revenue depends upon people buying these displayed products.
There are two major paths that A9 follows to give people what they want – Amazon SEO and Past Performance Factors.
Amazon SEO is the first check performed by A9 when a buyer enters words into the search box. As we discussed earlier, A9 requires ‘words’ to know what people are looking for. Once it has these words, it runs them against the keywords present in the gigantic catalog of products it possesses. The products that match these keywords are then ‘shortlisted’ to be displayed.
The following factors contribute heavily to good Amazon SEO.
· Careful Selection of Keywords: On-Page Amazon SEO
This is the bottleneck of the Amazon SEO. There are tons of ways in which you can find keywords, but it really takes the eye of an expert to zero in on keywords that will generate sales. From top-volume, obvious keywords to long-tail key phrases, each selection should be based on merit, competition and relevance.
Once you have your top keywords, you need to know how to best use them. The first pit-stop is the title of your copy. We have already discussed what goes into drafting a Killer Amazon title compliant with Amazon title guidelines. If you haven’t read that post, you might want to go ahead and check it out.
Along with the title, the rest of the copy – the major features (bullet points) and the product description – needs to be cleverly optimized. This involves a whole range of ideas – from the smart positioning of keywords to maintaining optimum keyword density.
· Backend Keywords: Off-Page Amazon SEO
Amazon lets you ‘drive’ your product in the right direction by inserting ‘ghost’ keywords. Termed by Amazon as ‘hidden keywords’, these keywords essentially work like HTML tags. They are nowhere to be seen by buyers – but they are always lurking in the shadows.
· Making Your Product ‘Look Good’
Amazon SEO is a lot about words – but it’s not exclusively about them!
A lot of independent, Private Label sellers don’t understand how to use the product image fields to their best advantage. So, they just choose to go with images clicked on their phones – a fatal mistake, indeed!
If your budget allows for it, it’s always a good idea to hire professional Amazon image optimization services. This is because:
- Products that fail to abide by image optimization guidelines usually end up getting flagged.
- Buyers aren’t very enthusiastic about buying a product that fails to capture their visual fancy.
Past Performance Factors
This is where sellers start losing the grip over the fate of their Amazon sales. Choosing the best Amazon SEO practices and engaging the latest Amazon SEO tools just prepares the way for your product to be listed at the top of the SERPs. It, however, doesn’t guarantee the same. A9 compares thousands of products using similar keywords on more abstract levels – the past performance factors.
While it’s impossible to get to know all of these, we can still list the major ones here.
· The Holy-Grail of Performance – Sales!
This is perhaps the most decisive factor for everyone involved.
Sellers obviously care about nothing but the sales. A9 loves a hot product with strong sales. Buyers, too, feel confident buying a product that seems to be moving off the shelf rapidly.
So, it’s only reasonable for A9 to prioritize products with higher sales for a given keyword. One thing to keep in mind is that the magic of sales lies in breaking through. And you can’t break through unless your product is really good. To cut the long story short, sellers need to make sure that products of poor quality have no place in their catalog.
Many analysts believe that A9 prioritizes products with a ‘recent hot streak’ of sales. A good metric to quantify sales – available to both A9 and sellers – is the ‘Conversion Rate’. It’s the ratio of the number people buying a product to the number of people visiting the product page.
· Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
If you are acquainted with the basics of SEO or web analytics, you know how a little thing called ‘Click-Through-Rate’ (CTR) can quickly reflect the health of your pages.
To put it simply, CTR is the percentage of people ‘clicking’ on a link when it’s served to them by search engines. If your listing has good Amazon SEO, it will keep getting displayed to interested buyers. If buyers feel convinced with the title of your listing, they will want to know more. Naturally, they will click on the link, thus improving your CTR. As the CTR number grows for your listing for a given keyword, A9 will move you higher up the ranking when someone searches for the same keyword again.
Things to note:
- CTR is a function of keywords. Each listing will have different CTR values for different keywords.
- CTR for ‘promoted products’ is usually higher.
- The title, product specs, Amazon labels, reviews and other relevant factors influence CTR.
- High CTR with higher bounce rates pushes the product lower down the SERPs.
· Price of the Product
How do you determine the price of your product?
Do you just add all the costs up and introduce a margin? Or, do you survey the competition and find out where to draw the line of profit?
These are immensely important questions, because A9 deeply cares about the price of your product. People associate higher prices with better quality, and vice-versa. But that hardly means they are ready to shell out whatever dollar figure you put on your product.
- Don’t undervalue your product.
- Don’t value it at prohibitively high costs, either.
- Try to beat the competition without eating too deep into your profits.
- Make sure that your product provides the best value for money.
· Product Reviews
There is simply no substitute for the proverbial ‘word of mouth’.
Buyers will ALWAYS buy products that other buyers have had good experiences with. You know it, A9 knows it. So, A9 simply takes the hassle out of the picture by pushing products with more positive reviews higher up the search results.
Take a look at this screen grab. In a highly congested category, a popular keyword like ‘umbrella’ yields these search results. Notice how a newer product with fewer sales – but 100+ positive reviews – ranks right below an established product with 2,200+ positive reviews?
That’s what verified reviews can do for you!
Shipping also plays a make-or-break role when a buyer makes a decision. A9, knowing this all too well, simply shoves products with high shipping costs deeper into the SERPs.
FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) products with ‘Prime’ shipping advantages almost always manage to rank higher than seller-fulfilled products. The screen grabs shown above make it clear. A9 has ranked a product with fewer sales and reviews higher up than a product with a well-known brand and a lot more reviews – primarily because of having ‘Prime‘ shipping available!
· Amazon Special Labels
Strong overall sales unlock these labels. The most popular – and the most trusted – is the ‘Bestseller’ label.
Other labels such as ‘Amazon’s Choice’, ‘Home Gift Guide’ etc. can also result into better conversion rate, improved CTR and thus, higher ranking.
Optimizing Your Amazon Listing: We’re Here to Help!
So many things to keep in mind, so many fronts to fight the battle on – it can get disorienting for even the most experienced of Amazon sellers to keep pushing the sales up all the time. If you find yourself running out of steam, don’t lose hope – we’re here to help!
Having helped hundreds of businesses just like yours rank consistently higher in Amazon SERPs, we – at OptimizeMyAmazonListing.com – know what it takes to turn a bad streak around and start registering massive sales.
Get in touch with our Amazon expert here to get a free quote – Remember, the competition may be tough today, but it will surely be tougher tomorrow!