Looking to make your product listing more appealing to Amazon’s search engine and boost your sales? Learn the basics of keywords and conversions in our practical guide to understanding Amazon SEO.
You probably know how to amp up your website to generate more traffic from Google, but you may have forgotten about Amazon. Remember, it’s a search engine, too — and a very popular one, at that!
In a 2015 BloomReach survey of 2,000 consumers, 44% of respondents said they go directly to Amazon to start their product searches, compared to 34% who said they use search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Only 21% of those surveyed said they begin their searches at a retailer site (!).
A Forrester study also found that 30% of online buyers use Amazon to research products first, while only 13% started with Google. You get the idea.
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Google looks at dwell time and click-through rates to determine whether a search result is a good fit; Amazon looks at conversions, which measure how site visitors become paying customers.
In order for you to be able to rank organically within Amazon searches, you need to understand how to make your listing more appealing to Amazon’s search engine. Let’s start with the right keywords.
Becoming Effective with Amazon Keywords
The first thing you should do is to make sure you’re using the right keywords. For example, you may choose to call your item a “baking dish,” but someone else may call it a “casserole dish.” You’ll want to make sure that both sets of keywords are listed in the title or keyword section of the Amazon listing.
When you’re choosing keywords, you should also consider:
- -Every way a person might search for this item — think outside of the box!
- -Checking a thesaurus for possible synonyms.
- -Using tools like MerchantWords or Keyword Inspector to identify keywords that have the highest estimated search volume.
- -Running a quick “broad match” auto campaign to generate other words Amazon might identify. Fortunately, this also includes misspellings, synonyms, stemmings, related searches, singular versus plural forms, and other relevant variations.
Insider Tip: Learn (almost) everything you need to know about Amazon selling from our series of how-to guides.
Earn Your Product Title
Based on your research, strategize which keywords will best optimize your product title and which words should be in the keyword section of the listing. Be concise: if your title is too long, it will appear truncated when displayed on Amazon or Google. You should also double check Amazon’s style guidelines for your product category.
Take any keywords that were not used in the title and put them in the keyword section of the listing. You can enter up to 50 characters per field: the order isn’t important, nor is the punctuation.
Once your title is set, make sure your featured bullets and descriptions are also optimized. Featured bullets are viewed at a much higher rate because of their position on the page, so you should focus these bullets on the key product features and benefits. This section is your opportunity to highlight any points that differentiate your product from the competition.
Check out the ASD Insider’s No-Fear Guide to Buying Wholesale for Amazon.
Think about the way a customer might hold the product in their hands. What information would they see immediately? Your main picture can only include the featured item — no additional props or items to show scale.
Your images should be at least 1001 pixels on the shortest side to make sure that your images are zoomable on mobile devices. The product photo should take up 85% of your image; the background should be pure white.
There are also specific requirements for certain categories (e.g., shoes and apparel), so be sure to consult Amazon’s style guidelines.
Insider Tip: We recommend Pixelz to help you develop and enhance your images!
Promo Codes & Discounts
A photo posted by The New Yorker (@newyorkermag) on
In the past, sellers have offered free products in exchange for reviews as a way to get a foothold in Amazon’s organic search ranking. Unfortunately, due to abuse of this practice, Amazon no longer gives weight to reviews that follow discounted purchases. As an alternative, offer your item at a lower price, then slowly raise that price to market value once you have the sales conversion you need to be included in Amazon’s search algorithms. If you plan to sell your item over retail cost, leave the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) field blank as it can cause the Buy Box to be suppressed.
Amazon vs. Google PPC Ads
Customers who start their searches on Amazon are usually in the frame of mind to make a purchase; people who search on Google are usually beginning the initial phases of research or browsing. Amazon PPC is significantly cheaper because it is new and fewer people know how to use it. As a result, there is less competition for popular keywords.
For additional tips for creating sponsored product ad campaigns on Amazon, check out this excellent tutorial.
Analyzing the Sponsored Ad Data
Amazon has two types of campaigns: automatic and manual targeting. We find our costs are much more controlled when we do manual targeting. Although it takes time to master, sponsored ads are great way to get the conversions that will ultimately boost your organic Amazon search rankings. Here are some of the differences between the two options:
How Much Should You Spend on Amazon Sponsored Ads?
We try to keep our Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS) below 10% in order for us to continue running a given ad per keyword search.
Automatic targeting is when you allow Amazon to choose the keywords to run on the ads. In general, we only run automatic targeting if we are “fishing” for new keywords. We only do this when we are comparing against a listing we did not create. Otherwise, we use manual targeting. We will also run a broad match with a few negative keywords.
Make sure that you are including the cost of your sponsored ads in the cost of your products before reordering. Especially if your ACoS is high, it is easy to spend a majority of your products on Sponsored Ads.
As you develop more consistent sales on Amazon, you will find your organic search results will improve and you may choose to taper off your sponsored ads. Make sure you identify new keywords that are performing well in sponsored ads and include them to the keyword section of your Amazon listing.
You can also take the best performing keywords and start to use them in your SEO practices on your own independent website. Watch your costs-per-conversion go down and your sales soar!
Ready to build your Amazon business and find the right wholesale products to sell? Get your free ticket here to ASD Market Week in Las Vegas! ASD is a merchandise trade show and retail education conference in one, with free e-commerce and Amazon selling strategy sessions each day!
By Robyn Johnson
Robyn has been heralded as one of the country’s foremost leaders on the topic of selling and marketing products on Amazon. She is the author of the best-selling book, “The Unlikely Entrepreneur – How I Transformed $100 Into a Seven-Figure Business,” and is also on the Internet Merchants Association’s Board of Directors. Learn more about her expert coaching, courses, and consulting — plus her popular podcast, “The Unstoppable Entrepreneur Show with Robyn Johnson” — here.