Let’s say you’re looking for a nice pair of shoes to buy from Amazon. You begin your search on the marketplace and boom! you’re bombarded with a plethora of options for shoes.
Now what do you do? What information would make you tick? How would you decide which shoes are ‘the One’?
Now think about when customers come to buy from your Amazon store. What would you want them to see on your Amazon product listings?
Amazon has over 400 billion users, which makes it the perfect platform for you to showcase your products. But you also have to race against a ton of competition.
To at least make it to the finish line, it is imperative that you optimize Amazon product listings. The benefits of that are well worth it-
- Increase page visits
- Drive conversion
- Boost profits
Now how do you optimize Amazon product listings? The key is cracking the Amazon A9 Algorithm through a winning Amazon SEO strategy.
Amazon A9 Algorithm And How it Works
The Amazon A9 algorithm is their ranking mechanism, used by the Amazon search engine to rank products based on consumers’ search queries. The A9 says, “The better we understand the meaning of a query, the better we can help customers find the products they want. So we focus on the words and the intent behind those words.”
One of A9’s tenets is that “relevance is in the eye of the customer and we strive to get the best results for our users. Once we determine which items are good matches to the customer’s query, our ranking algorithms score them to present the most relevant results to the user.”
There are certain direct and indirect factors that affect how the A9 algorithm rates product pages. Take a look at the infographic below-
Own the ASIN!
The first and foremost step in creating an Amazon product listing is establishing the ASIN number, a unique identifying number for all products on Amazon. Before you start optimizing Amazon product listings, make sure you have an exclusive ASIN.
In this regard, Natalia Wulfe, Head of Marketing at Effective Spend, says, “First, own the ASIN! For products sold by multiple sellers, Amazon technically only allows one ASIN per product. And, the seller who first establishes the ASIN has ALL the control over the details in the product listing. If you didn’t set up the ASIN, you can lobby Amazon to give you control over the ASIN, but it is rare for Amazon to approve of a change in ASIN ownership. So, it’s absolutely critical that you be the first to register the ASIN on Amazon so you can control the product details page.”
Check Your Amazon Product Listing’s Performance
Clearly Amazon works as a search engine for products, where the more relevant your information is to the search query, the greater chances of your product listing being featured in the top. However, before optimizing your Amazon product listings, you need to narrow down certain key aspects to focus on.
For that you can use a product listing grading tool like the Jungle Scout Product Listing Grader. It’s a free tool that provides insight about where you can improve your product listings based on the following areas-
- Product Title
- Product Images
- Product Description
- Product Features
The tool accords points to these aspects and analyzes how your listing fairs against it. Once you enter the product page URL, the results will look like this-
Armed with these results, you can meticulously strategize how much to optimize Amazon product listings in these areas.
Now let’s take a closer look at each criterion in detail. We also asked some ecommerce experts and sellers to give their input on how to perfect our Amazon product listings.
Amazon limits you here in terms of number of characters. You are allowed up to 250 characters or approx. 50 words to tell shoppers what your product is about. Remember the Product Title is the first thing customers will see.
These are some quick tips which you can keep in mind-
- Keyword rich: Place your most crucial keywords in the beginning of the title, so that you appear easily in the search results.Ollie Smith, CEO of ExpertSure and an Amazon seller himself, places much emphasis on keywords. He states, “The step I took was to optimize the keywords within my product description. As we all know for products to appear in an Amazon search, the product listing must contain a searched keyword. This is controlled by the Amazon Ranking Optimization, which is a form of SEO. By improving the product title, bullet points, product description and adding more detail, your product has a better change of ranking in a higher position when a search is conducted in future.”
Though we’ll be discussing product description and features subsequently, the importance of keywords cannot go unnoticed.
- Add value: Include a unique feature or USP of your product in the title to give customers something to take back
- Important details: Add important details like device compatibility, brand name, material type, etc.
We, humans tend to understand things better when presented with visual cues. Customers focus on product images with close attention, thus they have a high click-through-rate and conversion rate.
Andrew Maffettone, Marketing and Operations Director of Seller’s Choice, agrees it is important to focus on conversion rate for optimization, “When we optimize Amazon listings, we mainly focus on increasing the conversion rate. The A9 algorithm isn’t actually as complicated as people make it out to be. Amazon’s search algorithm favors listings with high conversion rates.
That’s why, when we optimize listings, we obviously focus on the proper keyword research, but we also have a strong focus on imagery. People don’t read your listings like you wish they do, and you can get your information conveyed much more efficiently by adding call-outs, infographics, size charts, to your imagery.”
Amazon allows sellers 9 images to add about their products. Make sure you use all the space. Certain points to keep note-
- Use professional shots: Make sure your images are high definition and high quality. According to Amazon standards, the ‘hero image’ must show the entire product with a white background. The product should be clearly visible. Well lit and easily recognizable.
- Additional images: For other images include pictures from different angles, a lifestyle image with the product, an image of the product in use, proportion and scale. For example if you’re selling a folding umbrella, you can share an image in comparison with a regular umbrella. You can also include infographics, size charts, image with packaging, etc.
- Video content: With regards to video content, Irina from Red Rocks Ecommerce Consulting says, “add a video to your product page (where you can place it depends which Amazon platform, 1P or 3P you are on).
Customers respond well to videos, and often product benefits and brand story can be captured in a short video a lot stronger than in images. In our testing it shows that video can give you conversion rate lift as high as 5%.”
With the Product features, you’ve got a bit of a challenge on your hands. With only 1,000 characters at your disposal, i.e, around 250 words, Amazon asks you to frame a keyword-rich, concise product feature, so customers can know everything they can about what you’re selling.
Some key takeaways for product features are-
- Bullet points: You can use up to 5 bullet points to talk about your product.
- Benefit-oriented: Try to explain the major benefits in the first 2-3 points to capture the audience’s attention as they mostly skim. Also, add any unique feature of your product to distinguish you from competitors.
- Warranties or guarantees: Include any warranties or guarantees that you’re offering like Prime, A-Z Guarantee, Free shipping
- Mention material and care: If you feel your product is made of a material that needs special care, then you can mention it in features.
- Problem-solution approach: If your product solves a problem, then include that for additional value.
Jessica McCune, Marketing Specialist at Sellozo, stresses on the importance of being grammatically correct in your Amazon product listings. She says, “One of the best ways sellers can optimize their product listings is to have someone proofread it, especially if the seller is not a native English speaker. This can be really helpful since many sellers can get caught up in adding as many keywords as possible into their product listings, which can make it difficult to read or seem too spammy.
By having someone else read it, it will give sellers another person’s perspective about how the text flows and whether or not it is informative and easy to read.
Identifying the keywords that are important for the product before writing the listing is best because it makes it easier to insert them into the text in a natural way.
Sellers can also use Grammarly for free, which will suggest edits and point out misspellings as they are writing their listings.”
The product description allows you to elaborate on your product features, unique selling factors and benefits. Here are some points to take note of to write engaging product descriptions–
- Narrative: Product descriptions can use upto 2000 characters, around 300 words, so this is your chance to be narrative in your copy while keeping it simple and easy to read. Include target keywords where necessary but don’t stuff. Since keywords are a crucial aspect to optimize Amazon product listings, Stacy Caprio, Founder of Growth Marketing, has some valuable insight in this regard. She states, “I have found targeting one product per set of keywords to work best. When you try to generalize and have a keyword set cover multiple products, you lose the targeted effectiveness that makes Amazon ads so relevant to users and profitable.”
- Not too technical: Don’t include too much technical information. Instead focus more on benefits, differentiating from competitors and why it can improve customers’ lives.
- Benefits over features: As mentioned above, use this space to provide a detailed overview of your product. Showcase how the product fulfills the needs of the consumers and in what way.
Is your product page clogged with too many ads and frequently purchased products? This is another problem sellers face when trying to optimize Amazon product listings. Melissa Torre, Search Engine Marketing Manger-Amazon with National Positions says the solution is to unhide product descriptions, “Product descriptions are now being suffocated by rows and rows of sponsored product ads and frequently purchased products. Want to help the user learn more about your product? Keep them from being dazzled by the multiple product lists between your products’ image and its description.
Use HTML descriptions that are clearer, larger, bolded, and eye-catching. Simple HTML is shockingly easy to learn and will definitely help drive sales. Just research simple headlines, bullet points, bolding, and font size codes to add to your existing descriptions. Test your HTML code in a free HTML tester. Make sure your descriptions take up as much of a computer screen page as you can without being annoyingly large. And, as always, add as many benefits and unique features as you can. This will cut down on returned items and missed opportunities.”
Product Reviews and Ratings
Customer reviews are very important for the CTR and CR of a product. There are two things to consider-
- Number of reviews
- Star- rating
Reviews are critical as they are means to provide ‘actual proof’ of the benefits or applicability of your product. With positive product reviews, you can garner trust and validation for your product to show potential customers.
In order to increase the number of reviews, these are a few handy tips-
- Provide excellent customer service: You need to be committed towards providing superior customer service at every stage to customers. This is the simplest way to initiate more reviews from them. Maintain communication with customers about orders, shipment and delivery status.
- Automate follow-up responses: You can ask customers for product reviews once they have received their order. There are few tools to automate this task for you such as JumpSend, Kibly, Sagemailer among others.
- Don’t be deterred by negative reviews: The tip to maintaining your reputation is by admitting a mistake if you have made one. It will only make you appear more human and might encourage a change of heart in the customer. Make sure to respond to negative reviews and mitigating damage by offering an additional benefit to customers.
It could be said that Product Reviews could influence the star-rating of your product. The better the review the higher the stars.
If your rating is at least 4 stars, then your product is performing well but if you have a score of 1-2 stars, then you need to improve on it. Here’s how-
- Attention to details: Notice if consumers are complaining about the same thing again and again. This could give you an idea about whether there is an actual problem to solve regarding the product.
- More reviews: Request for more reviews from consumers to balance out ratings. Respond to negative ratings and reviews and ask customers for a chance to change them.
Don’t Forget the Keywords
The significance of keywords could not be stressed enough, as evident by the number of times they’ve already been mentioned. Amazon like any other search engine, endeavours to provide the best possible results to customer search queries.
But how do you know which keywords you should target?
- Search and find out which keywords your product ranks in the Amazon product listings.
- If you aren’t satisfied, change the preferred keyword by adding it in your title and features.
Kent Lewis, President and Founder of Anvil Media Inc, states it is very important for sellers to embed target keywords in their Amazon product listings. He says, “According to a Kenshoo study, 56% of consumers start product searches on Amazon, which makes it a critical channel. My growth hacking tip is below:
Like Google’s ranking algorithm, relevance factors focus on keywords embedded in the product page. Amazon’s ranking algorithm is also like Google in that it does not appreciate keyword-stuffing or otherwise negatively impacting the user experience with poorly-crafted copy and irrelevant keyword usage. When it comes to helping Amazon rank your product pages above the competition, it is essential to incorporate relevant keywords across all relevant fields, especially brand name, product listing title and product description.”
Jaclyn Monaco, Outreach Coordinator at National Positions, proposes something called suggestive selling on Amazon. She says, “I have had some success by targeting keywords for complimentary products in the backend of the product listings. For example, if I were selling kid’s scissors, I would want to show up for searches such as construction paper and kid’s workbooks so I would add those to the keyword section of the product listing.
An easy way to research what these products are is to search your general product type in Amazon and click on the first organic listing you find. Under the “Frequently bought together” section there will usually be two other items that compliment each other. Take those products’ relevant general keywords (excluding brand names) and add them to the backend of your page under the keywords section. Don’t do this for too many products, only one or two very relevant products. Don’t waste too much keyword space on this. You want to be packing your keywords to the maximum (250 characters per type) full of relevant search terms for your own product as well.”
Whether you’re a seasoned Amazon seller, or a newbie, finding what to sell and how to optimize your product listings to get maximum traction can be pretty difficult.
With the best practices explained above, you could find it a little easy to optimize Amazon product listings.
Do you have any tips for optimizing Amazon product listings? We would love to hear from you!