Amazon SEO – How to Create Listings That Rank and Sell

In the world of e-commerce, products live and die by their ability to be seen. As a private label seller on Amazon, the success of your business will be won or lost by the quality of your Amazon SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If your product is not discoverable, you will gain no sales. Search bars are the weapon of choice for prospective online buyers. Without the benefits of brand recognition or a loyal customer base, it is especially crucial for private label sellers to optimize listings for increased visibility.

But, where do we start? Loading up Seller Central for the first time can be overwhelming. You may jump right into creating your first listing, but chances are it will not be optimal. The purpose of this blog post is to direct you towards creating listings that:

  1. Grab more visitors
  2. Convert those visitors into customers
  3. Gain brand recognition and loyalty among your customer base

YOU NEED THE BEST WORDS

Let’s talk about two of the fundamental building blocks to an efficiently optimized listing: Keywords & Amazon SEO. In fact, you will never build a successful Amazon business without a solid grasp of these concepts as your foundation. A whopping 44% of American consumers begin their product searches on the Amazon search bar, rather than Google. That is hundreds of millions of potential buyers going straight to the source.

Simply put, keywords are the backbone of any optimized listing:

“Customers search by entering keywords, which get matched against the information (title, description, bullets) you provide a product.” (Optimizing Listings for Search and Browse)

When a customer arrives at the search bar, they use KEY words to describe the product they want to buy. Often this is a vague desire, something like “books” or “socks.” Many prospective buyers will have a slightly clearer idea of what they are looking for, “bamboo socks” perhaps. Once a person knows what they want, and is closer to checkout, they will start searching for exact terms: “tall black work fitted anti-microbial moisture wicking bamboo socks.” Complex search queries shrink the list of possible results, but that also means less competition. Target more keywords (only words that are relevant), and you will appear in more complex search queries. Increased visibility always leads to a higher potential for sales.

A9: THE BRAINS BEHIND AMAZON SEO

A9 (a subsidiary company of Amazon) developed Amazon’s product search engine algorithm. There is one essential thing to understand about A9: this is a buyer-based search engine. It was made to accurately matches a customer query with a list of relevant products, all to track Amazon’s most potent stat line: revenue-per-click. The A9 algorithm draws from a wide range of factors to generate a product’s organic rank (fancy term for how high your product appears listed in search results). In Amazon’s own words:

“Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.” (Optimizing Listings for Search and Browse)

Our first task is that initial factor, a degree of text match. Keyword and Amazon SEO optimization will guarantee your product appears in as many relevant customer searches as possible. It is the simplest factor to control and the first stop on the road to quality Amazon SEO product listings. The other factors, such as price, availability, selection, reviews and sales history should be set aside until you have completed your optimization.

MINING FOR KEYWORDS

First things first, you will need to gather your main keywords. We highly suggest you grab pen and paper and write down all the descriptive words and phrases that come to your mind when you think about your product. Be sure to include commonly used variations, such as multivitamin, multi-vitamin or soda, pop, carbonated beverage.

There are numerous tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, HELIUM 10, and Keyword Inspector that will give you search statistics for your keywords. You can even use Keyword Inspector to perform a reverse ASIN lookup on your top competitor’s products and learn what’s working for them. At the end of this post, we will provide our 100% free to use Amazon SEO tool.

Now that you are bag spilleth over with keywords, it is time to disperse them throughout your product listing. Below we have outlined the significant sections that Amazon indexes for keywords, with some helpful tips on how to get the most out of each space. There is one important rule to keep in mind: do not repeat keywords. It is a waste of your time and space and may negatively impact your listing.

THE TITLE

The Product Title is the essential part of any listing. It is the heavily weighted field for customer search relevance. Meaning Amazon favors your title keywords, over other areas from your listing. Also, the title is the first thing a customer sees, other than your product photo, when they are deciding whether or not to click on your product. It also appears at the top of the product page, once someone has selected to look at your product. Therefore it can make or break your listing.

Amazon suggests that efficient titles include the following information:

  • Brand
  • Product Line
  • Material or Key Feature
  • Product Type
  • Color
  • Size
  • Packaging / Quantity

AMAZON SEO TITLE

Your title should consist of the most useful variations of your main keywords. For example, if soda is a more popular search term than pop, we will stick soda in the title and use pop in a different section. Additionally, you will want to place the most critical keywords earlier in the title. Titles become truncated when it appears as an advertisement or on a mobile device. You want to make sure that a customer can at least see a basic description of your product in 35 characters.

amazon seo title

The screen capture above is an excellent example of how your product title should look. It reads naturally and contains most of Amazon’s suggested information, including a handful of targeted keywords. One thing to note: this product title does not include a brand name. Not all companies need to add their brand to the title. Some Amazon Sellers believe it is better to use the space for the targeted keywords, while others think long-term brand recognition is worth the “lost” keyword.

NEVER create a garbled, nonsensical title filled with keywords. Jimmy’s Vacuum Sucker Sweeper Duster Electric Broom Black White Brown Purple Super Best LOTR Star Wars Supermoon Trump is not an acceptable title.  It will turn off customers and it will hurt your Amazon SEO by not ranking your listing favorably. There are plenty of places throughout your listing to insert keywords. Your title should be smart, concise, and efficient.

THE BULLETS

The Key Product Features (colloquially known as, “The Bullets”) is the next area of text a customer will see after they have clicked through to your product. The Bullets are where you will sell your product and highlight its top features and benefits. Note that features and benefits have a subtle difference. “All organic materials” is a feature, whereas “will make you feel like yourself again” is a benefit. Secondarily, this is an opportunity to write some enticing sales copy. If your business has a particular brand voice, make sure you craft your text accordingly. Just keep in mind that these bullets should be short, and to the point, sentence fragments are entirely acceptable. You will get an opportunity at free-form copywriting in the Product Description section.

While the bullets will not change your organic rank, they will affect your appearance in search results. As long as your copy reads naturally, you should work in as many of your remaining keywords as possible. For example, if your product is a charging cable compatible with a wide variety of brands/models, work Samsung, Sony, and Nintendo into your bullets so that your product appears on a broader set of searches.

Below is an example of a well-crafted Key Product Features section. The bullets are easy to read, creative, and filled with keywords that didn’t make it into the title.

amazon seo bullets

THE DESCRIPTION

Like the bullets, the Product Description has little to no effect on your Amazon search rank, but it is still indexed for keywords and contributes to overall visibility. If the bullet points are condensed, digestible appetizers of copy, the product description serves the entire course. It is time to tell a story about your product/brand and weave in some carefully placed keywords you have not used yet. Also, some Amazon Sellers will conclude with a call to action (Buy Now! or Order Now!). We do not use this tactic, but you should split test it for a week to see which works best for your listing. 

How you proceed here is really up to you. You can expand on your bullet points in more extended narrative form or take an entirely different approach and highlight something new about your product/brand. For this post, we are not covering how to write engaging sales copy or develop a brand voice. If you feel stuck, take a look at your top competitors’ pages and see what is working for them. Don’t worry if you have finished and still have keywords left on your list; we will show you a place to add terms that didn’t find a natural home on your product page.

Below is a simple example of a Product Description that expands on the products main features and benefits, but in a more conversational tone than the bullets:

amazon seo product description

BACKEND KEYWORDS & SEARCH TERMS

Now that you have optimized the main sections of your product page for Amazon SEO, you should still have some left over keywords that didn’t function well directly on the product page. Luckily, Amazon has a special place for tagging these words, and it is easily accessible via the Seller Central dashboard.

In Seller Central, navigate to your product listing and click on the Keywords tab. The back end search term field is a great place to add strange variations, misspellings, abbreviations, and even other languages that people might type in a while searching for your product.

amazon seo back end search term field

STAY COMPLIANT

Amazon has published a list of best practices for hidden keywords. We highly suggest you read them to ensure your listing is 100% effective and compliant:

  • Don’t include product identifiers such as competitor brands, product names, compatible product names, ASINs, UPCs, or Models. For instance though, if you are selling an accessory for a specific brand’s item, it is ok to put that brand name in the backend if it is not already in your copy.
  • Don’t provide inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information such as the wrong product category, the wrong gender, out-of-context words.
  • Don’t provide excessively long content. 250 character limit, only line one (updated late 2017).
  • When entering several words as a search term, put them in the most logical order. A customer is more likely to search for big stuffed teddy bears than for teddy stuffed bears.
  • Use a single space to separate keywords. Do not use commas, semicolons, or carets.
  • Never include statements that are only temporarily true, e.g., “new,” “on sale,” “available now.”
  • Don’t include subjective claims such as amazing, good quality. Most customers do not use subjective terms in their queries.
  • Don’t include common misspellings of the product name. Amazon’s search engine compensates for common customer misspellings and also offers corrective suggestions.
  • Don’t provide variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (“80GB” and “80 GB,” “computer” and “computers”). Our search engine automatically includes different case forms, word forms, and spelling variants for searching.
  • Don’t include terms that are abusive or offensive in nature.
  • Abbreviations, alternate names, topic (for books, or movies), the main character (for books, movies, and so on) are allowed as keywords.

Again, don’t repeat words that are in your title, bullets, or description in your backend keywords section. 

A GIFT FROM SELLER OPTIMIZE!

We are here to help private label sellers get the most out of their product listings on Amazon. As a result, we created a free Amazon SEO tool for listing optimization. It allows you to preview a listing, check your keywords (avoid overlap), and ensure you are meeting the character limits. Just click on the link here and to get started now! 

P.S. If you want to check a keyword phrase (two or more words) merely put parentheses around the words in our tool. For example: (Keywords Research)

STAY TUNED!

We hope this guide has shed some light on the best fundamentals of Amazon SEO. This post was directed towards brand new sellers just getting started with Amazon and sellers looking to boost their visibility and conversion rate. We have only just scratched the surface of Seller Central’s tools and capabilities. Stay tuned for future in-depth guides on Keyword Research, Optimizing Product Photos, Pricing, Copywriting, Brand Development, EBC, and Amazon PPC.

If you want a professional Amazon listing, with benefit-driven and keyword-rich copy, we offer Amazon listing optimization services. Take a look here!

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