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Amazon SEO: Everything Sellers Need to Know in 2020

If you’re an Amazon seller, you know that optimizing your Amazon listing can directly impact your product ranking and sales. 
 
But most sellers don’t know how to make a winning Amazon SEO strategy and crack the Amazon A9 algorithm. In this article, we want to clear any misconceptions out there about Amazon SEO and share our findings on how you can optimize your Amazon content. 
 
Let’s get started!
 

What is Amazon SEO?

Amazon search engine optimization (Amazon SEO) is the optimization process of ranking your Amazon product listing for Amazon searches for related keywords. If you optimize your product listing, you will make it easier for Amazon to find your listing and show it to shoppers who are looking for your product type.

Amazon SEO Involves:

  • Amazon Keyword Optimization
  • Amazon product title optimization
  • product image optimization
  • Backend keywords
  • Pricing strategy
  • The Amazon A9 algorithm

Let’s start with how Amazon ranks your products using the Amazon A9 algorithm.

What is the Amazon A9 algorithm, and how does it work?

Amazon uses the A9 algorithm for all searches on Amazon. The algorithm is a ranking process that prioritizes where products appear for a particular keyword on the Amazon search engine results page (SERP). It will rank products based on how likely a customer will purchase the product.

Amazon first will look at the customer’s search query. If the product listing does not have the customer search term, then the product probably won’t appear in the search results. This is why keyword optimization is huge for Amazon SEO.

The next thing the Amazon A9 algorithm does is an attempt to figure out the purchase likelihood based on the past performance of your product. It looks at the following metrics at the keyword level:

  1. Search result click-through-rate (CTR)
  2. Conversion rate
  3. Overall sales

This may mean that your product gets more clicks and conversions for one search query than another query. For example, if a shopper is looking for a specific color or size – and your product matches their search – your product may get more visibility as they are more likely to purchase.

How to find the right keywords for your Amazon product listings

We recommend using an Amazon SEO tool like Merchant Words or Helium 10. These types of tools show you what people are searching for on Amazon when they buy your product or your competitor’s product. This is very helpful if you have a brand new Amazon product listing or when you don’t have any historical data. 
 
Now that you’ve leveraged a few tools, you can then use Amazon PPC data to further analyze which keywords help your product listing convert. 
 

How to optimize your Amazon product listings

There is no guarantee that your product will show up on the Amazon search results page without paying for an ad placement through Amazon Advertising. However, you can still highlight your listing through the use of Amazon’s brand registry.

Amazon brand registry is a program that allows manufacturers or private label brands to have higher authority over their product’s listing content. Amazon brand registry allows you to:

  • Make changes to the product detail page and have those changes displayed automatically. Allowing you to correct any errors or spelling mistakes in your product’s listing. 
  • List products without UPCs or EANs: instead of a standard product ID, brand registry allows sellers to specify alternative key attributes to list their branded products.
  • Additional content options. Being brand registered allows you more listing options, such as enhanced brand content, a listing video, and a brand store, all of which will help you rank your product higher in search results.

What makes a great Amazon product listing?

As seen below, a great detail page presents all the information for the product that a customer would need or want to know in their buying decision. As a customer, they want to know what they’re buying so it is your job to ensure you are as accurate as possible in your product listing to convey everything about your product.

 

an image of an amazon product page with a good amazon seo listing

 

How to optimize Amazon product titles

Amazon product listing titles must meet the following character lengths:

  • General characters: 80-250
  • Right rail ads: 30-33
  • Mobile: 55-63

What to include in Amazon product titles:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word
  • Spell out measure words such as Ounce, Inch, and Pound
  • Focus on product benefits
  • All numbers should be numerals
  • Don’t use “&”
  • If sizing is not relevant, do not list it in the title
  • If the product does not come in multiple colors, don’t include it in the title
  • Include your brand name
  • Include part numbers and model numbers as necessary
  • Include Amazon keywords

What not to include in product titles:

You should not include the following:

  • Price and quantity
  • All caps
  • Seller information
  • Promotional messages such as “sale” or “best seller”
  • Symbols ($,?, &, *, etc)

How to optimize titles with keywords

It may be easy to keyword stuff your title, but we seriously recommend against it. Keyword stuffing is when you include as many keywords in your title just for the sake of including keywords. This is not going to help your Amazon ranking.

Titles with clear and detailed information will lead to a higher sales velocity and more clicks, which will lead to a higher ranking. Below is an example of an optimized title. It is clear and to the point, and allows customers to know exactly what they are purchasing.

an image of an amazon product page with a good amazon seo listing

 

How to optimize Amazon product features & descriptions

Product features are the second most important part of your product listing to optimize for search rankings. These are the bullet points that are right below the title. Put yourself in the mind of the shopper, because shoppers rely heavily on bullet points to assess whether they will buy your product. The more descriptive your bullet points are, the more you will sell on Amazon and rank higher.

image of the seller central backend when editing a listing and adding a description

Here are the best practices for key product features:

  • Highlight the top five features you want your customers to know
  • Begin each bullet point with a capital letter
  • Do not write complete sentences or end in punctuation
  • Use semicolons to separate phrases
  • Spell out measurements, such as inch or feet
  • Do not be vague, be as specific as possible
  • No promotional, company or shipping information

an image of an amazon product page with a red rectangle drawing attention to the listing bullets

Best practices for product descriptions:

Every product listing should have a well-thought-out product description. Especially if your selling products in a category that Amazon regulates – otherwise, your listing could get taken down for using prohibited terms.

You also may want to use HTML to write out your product description. HTML will allow you to split up paragraphs, bold certain phrases, or create lists or bullets.

How A+ and EBC content can influence your product’s rank on Amazon

If you register your brand through Amazon’s Brand Registry you are allowed to use Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) for sellers and A+ Content for vendors. This is a piece of content that displays on your product listings for the product description.
 
But Amazon does not index enhanced brand content for organic search. If you have keywords only included in your enhanced content, the product won’t appear in search results. However, even though EBC and A+ do not affect your ranking, we have seen an increase in conversion rates anywhere from 2-8% for our clients.
 
You can still use keywords in your backend listing SEO. And because your sales directly impact your ranking, EBC can help you increase sales.
 

How to optimize Amazon product images

Your main Amazon image is the image that is shown in search results. This is the first image customers see for your product.

Amazon is strict about image guidelines. They say you should choose images that provide information and are clear and easy to understand. Your image must accurately represent the product.

Here are the best practices to follow for your Amazon product images:

  • Should be on an all-white background
  • Square image (1:1 ratio)
  • Image size should be at least 1,000 pixels wide by 1,000 pixels tall so shoppers can zoom in
  • Video and 3D images can increase sales
  • Image must accurately represent the product
  • The product must fill 85% or more of the image
  • Accepted formats are JPEG, TIFF, or GIF

You can upload one main product image. And up to eight alternate image views. This depends on your category. It can take up to 24 hours after adding an image for it to appear live on the marketplace.

image of the seller central backend when editing a listing and adding an image

How to optimize backend keywords to rank on Amazon

If you want to increase the discoverability of your product, we recommend you include backend keywords. These are invisible on the main listing. This is why they are called backend keywords. The maximum length of characters is 250.

Keep in mind that the order of the keyword matters and they must be “phrase match”. For example, “red velvet couch” and “couch red velvet” makes a difference in visibility. You can also upload these backend keywords via Seller Central or through a .xml or .csv file.

Here are some best practices for Amazon backend keywords:

  • Don’t repeat keywords in a phrase – has no impact on your ranking
  • Use either singular or plural versions of your keywords – you don’t need to add both
  • It doesn’t matter whether you capitalize letters or not
  • Amazon will match small typos to the correct spelling. So don’t add misspelled versions of the keywords.
  • Include alternative spellings of your product
  • Add in related search terms
  • create queries that your target audience is likely to search

Tips for creating the best Amazon product listings

Here are some more tips for creating the best Amazon product listing.

1. Avoid double-dipping keywords

A common question we get is: should I use the same keywords in my content and the backend?

Answer: You shouldn’t have to. If you have a keyword in the title, you won’t rank better by also having it in the product description and backend. You could run the risk that it looks like spam and from the backend perspective, you are wasting character count.

2. Answer seller questions

If you receive questions from potential customers about your product then you want to answer it. Especially if it is a question you get a lot.
 
3. Focus on the 4 content components – but don’t forget about reviews
 

The 4 main content components to focus on when selling products on Amazon are titles, bullet points, product descriptions, and backend search terms.

These are discoverability factors ranked:

  1. Reviews
  2. Fulfillment method
  3. Price
  4. Content

4. Avoid claims & offers

Do not include any offer-specific content. You cannot put promotion information in your bullets or product descriptions. You also cannot make specific health claims for supplements. If you do include claims or special offers, you are violating an Amazon policy and run the risk of account suspension.

5. Remember content is aggregated

Amazon content aggregates all relevant information across sellers who are selling the same item based on the ASIN or UPC. This is why Amazon Brand Registry is so important. That way you can control your Amazon product listing.

6. Maximize your character count

This may be a no-brainer, but you won’t believe the number of times when we run across incomplete character counts for the title, bullet points, product description, and backend search terms. When you use all characters you are helping the product rank higher. At the same time, you’re giving your shoppers more information about your product.

Amazon listing optimization: In Conclusion

Don’t spend hours optimizing every listing. Work your way from the top-down and focus on your top sellers. This will allow you to see results faster. You will also become adept at improving your Amazon product listings and apply that knowledge to all your other listings.

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