You’ve probably heard the term SEO thrown around a lot these days, especially in the world of eCommerce. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a site by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. In the SEO world, you have two significant players, Google SEO and Amazon SEO. Let’s dive in to learn more about how search engine optimization affects Amazon Product Listings and what impact it can have.
First off, in SEO, keywords are your bread and butter. There are a lot of strategies that can be analyzed on this topic, and it is usually very case-dependent. Suppose you are working on a popular type of item with many sellers and brands versus a more specific product with a smaller customer demographic. In that case, you may want to use more niche keywords with less to rank and gain authority around those keywords. When working on the smaller market product, you would want to target some higher volume keywords since there will be less competition in this market, and the relevant keywords may offer you a lower pool of search volume to work with.
These keywords come into play once the search engine “indexes” them from the page. What is keyword indexing? If a customer types a keyword into the Amazon search bar and your product shows in the results, it means that keyword was on your listing and indexed by Amazon. On Amazon, the sections you can add keywords to be indexed are character limit restricted, often making it a bit of a task to ensure you prioritize the most relevant and highest search volume keywords. Amazon’s search algorithm is A10. In their own words, “We manage search and advertising technologies that are scalable, highly available, and cross-platform for our parent company, Amazon, and other clients.”
Note: Make sure to avoid “keyword stuffing.” This is the practice of filling a content section (title, bullets, description) with keywords to manipulate the search algorithm. Above you can see an example of this. This may seem like a great idea at first; you may have found the perfect keyword that you want to ensure is indexed with all its variations. Search algorithms often pick up on this technique, potentially resulting in a less desirable rank. In addition to all that, from a customer standpoint, keyword stuffing produces basically unreadable text that will quickly lose their attention. Using keywords well is about balancing the strategy with the presentation to the customers. Some keywords will get the customer in the door, and more appropriately placed ones with well-written content will ensure they stay and improve conversion rates. Lastly, if a keyword is already being indexed in a section of the content on your listing, it generally does not provide much value to repeat the keyword in another section.
To help you gather the keywords you want to use, there are multiple programs that offer keyword research support. Two of the biggest are Jungle Scout and Helium10. Using them you can search your ASINs and competitor’s ASINs to find relevant keywords, as well as search by a keyword you are trying to find additional keywords (synonyms) for. Tools like the Helium10 in the screenshot shown above provide you with the search volume and trend for the keywords. This helps you choose the keywords you want for your product. The trend metric is useful when analyzing seasonality to identify market trends you can capitalize on, especially if it is a very seasonal product.
So, what areas get affected by SEO on Amazon?
Let’s go over what elements of the product listing SEO touches on Amazon. This list is comprised of the main content components of your listing that you will want to ensure are optimized for SEO:
- Title: This is your most impactful area for keywords. It will be seen in the search result and product detail page. Not only does the Amazon algorithm put a lot of value on keywords included here, but it is also the first thing (aside from the main image) that a customer will see. A title can easily make or break a customer’s decision to click into it and make a purchase. A good best practice for titles is always to include your brand name as the very first word, then after that, work in your most valuable and high search volume keywords.
Note: Avoid keywords that could potentially get you suspended, or search suppressed by Amazon. This most often applies to any medical or scientific claim. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t have documentation to back up a claim, then don’t make it. If it is something that may still benefit the page, adding it as a backend keyword will have less risk.
- Bullets: Now that you’ve got the customer on your product detail page, it’s time to inform them more about your product. The bullet points are one of the first things that will be read once here (after the title). You can include up to five bullet points for each product and will want to keep your bullets under 500 characters. This is where you can describe the key features of your product; you can also elaborate and reiterate in different ways important information from the title and even images. This is also where keywords that were relevant, but too low in search volume to be prioritized for the title, can go.
Note: There are some things that you should be aware of here. Do not include promotional or pricing information; begin each bullet with a capital letter and maintain a consistent order among grouped products in your brand (if the country of Origin is your first bullet, keep that as the first bullet for the rest).
- Product Description: Once the customer scrolls further down the page past the A+ content, they will discover the product description section. This is the ideal place to include additional information about the product being worked on and the brand as a whole. This is not a place to speak about competitors. Discuss different uses and applications for your product, and up-sell anything you can that would be relevant. Not only is this a great place to further explain your product, but it is also more real estate for additional keywords. Try to add relevant keywords you couldn’t fit in earlier.
- Backend Keywords: These are keywords that are not visible on the front end to the customer. They are also called “Generic Search Terms” in Seller Central. The image above shows how it appears in seller central (notice that this one currently exceeds character limits). This is the perfect place to include spelling variations (for example, “duffel bag” only has 10k search volume, whereas “duffle bag” has 27k, so if you want to include both, this is a place you could place the other spelling). It is also an excellent place for any synonyms you couldn’t work in and any popular translations you want to include. Things you will want to avoid here are capital letters, any punctuation, repetitions, articles, and prepositions.
Let’s Wrap Up
In summation, there are many ways that SEO can make an impact on your product listing. Optimizing your content with SEO in mind is a sure way to improve your page. Making sure all the content items mentioned above are updated will help boost your product page with views, clicks, and conversions. Not only that, but it will also help raise brand awareness, trust, and loyalty among your customers.