According to Bloomreach’s study, Google has fallen from number one for product search. Their study revealed that 44% of users bypass Google altogether, going directly to Amazon first to search for products. Amazon has a great lead on Google for product discovery, but marketers usually keep their sights set on Google. This means they are missing out on conversions for their clients.
Optimizing for Amazon shares parallels with Google. If you’ve run an SEO campaign, you’re familiar with onpage/onsite SEO and offpage/offsite SEO. Onpage SEO is the first step in optimizing for Amazon. Using correct titles, descriptions, images, and categories will get your Amazon campaign going in the right direction.
Optimization for Amazon
In looking at Amazon’s titles, it’s apparent they don’t follow the maxim of SEO titles as they’re usually very long & keyword heavy. This is can be positive in the eyes of Amazon, depending on the allotted characters allowed. Each category has different requirements for title length and keywords that should also be included. Amazon provides a list of the essential keywords that should make up a title (following them are examples):
- Brand – Nike
- Product Line – Air Zoom
- Material or Key Feature – Customizable
- Product Type – Running Shoes
- Color – Pink
- Size – Women’s 6
- Packaging/Quantity – Pair
Title: Nike Air Zoom Custom Running Shoes Women’s 6
When we put all these keywords together, it looks like keyword stuffing, but Amazon uses these keywords and other metrics to display the best product for the user. So, writing keyword heavy titles is okay, but make sure you stay within the allotted characters. If your title is too long, Amazon will not show your product in its search. Amazon allows up to 200 title characters, with exceptions in different categories.
PRO TIP: Avoid certain keywords: superlatives and CTAs like “sale” or promotional words.
Use keyword research from your site to apply to your Amazon title. If you don’t have a keyword map, do a search in the Keyword Planner to see how users search for your product. Use a high volume keyword, but make sure it’s hyper relevant to your product.
Relevancy is vital to creating an optimal title. If your title is inaccurate, your item will be placed in the incorrect browsing node and you will never see any conversions. If Amazon finds your title grossly irrelevant, your listing will be removed and your seller account suspended.
Unlike titles, longer isn’t always better, especially when descriptions are just blocks of text. Use bullet points to highlight the important elements of the product and make your points readable. Amazon allows up to 2,000 characters for product descriptions. Amazon supports limited HTML; it will strip anything it doesn’t support. But adding line breaks and bolding text is still possible and all you need. The important factor is readability and making sure your description answers users’ potential questions.
Titles get you found, descriptions convince users to stay on your page, and images make your products relatable. This will be the only interaction users have with your product since they are not in a retail store so it’s important to invest time and effort into taking quality images.
When you browse Amazon, you will notice all the images look the same. That’s because Amazon requires what they call the “Main” photo to follow editorial guidelines. This is the required photo that will show up in search. You’re allotted 8 alternate images after your Main image.
Requirements for Images:
- The Main image must standalone on a pure white background (RGB values of 255, 255, 255). On the alternate images, while a white background is not required, the image must accurately reflect the product & have minimal props.
- The Main photo cannot be a graphic or illustration of the product.
- The Main photo cannot have any other objects or accessories in the picture if they are not being sold in the listing.
- If you are selling just a camera, you cannot have a camera bag in the picture. The alternates can have minimal propping, but avoid adding any props that would confuse the user. In this case, including a camera bag could lead the user to believe it’s included. Be mindful with staging alternate pictures. Demonstrative pictures & images showing product scale are acceptable & encouraged if they would help users understand your product.
- The image file should be 1000 pixels or larger in either height or width.
- The product must fill 85% or more of the image.
Amazon lists quality images as a success factor on their platform so if you have the resources invest in a professional photographer. If you decide to go the DIY route, your phone is an acceptable camera, but try to get the best photos possible by following e-commerce photo guides like this one from Shopify.
4. Search Terms
Amazon’s Search Terms resemble Google’s old school Keyword tag. It serves the same purpose. Amazon uses Search Terms for more information on what your product should rank for. Even though seeing the Keyword tag on websites now makes us cringe, Amazon’s Search Terms are important for their searching system. They are optional and best suited for products that have popular search terms associated with them, but aren’t essential enough to be in the product title or description.
Don’t include keywords already in your title, description, or listing content, misspellings, punctuation or plural variations (Amazon accounts for these on their own) and subjective adjectives like “best”.
Offsite SEO has become synonymous with inbound links – votes of confidence from other sites. Much like those votes, reviews are Amazon’s version of offsite. Users have become reliant on reviews since everything can be purchased on Amazon without physically seeing the item. Monetized reviews and fake reviews are still prevalent, but this month Amazon ceased their Vine program, free products in exchange for “honest” reviews.
To get started on your offsite Amazon campaign, urge users to review your products and learn how to handle negative reviews.
The most important reviews are your first 10; that mark is the user’s tipping point. Once they land on your page and see you acquired ten (positive) reviews, they will start to have confidence in your product. Reviews after this mark should help bolster customer service. Use your bulk reviews to start understanding where your product lacks and how to rectify issues through customer service.
How should you go about getting your first 10 organically? When a user buys a product, follow up with them through your branded email, instead of relying on Amazon to do it for you. When you send your transactional email, the subject line will be the user’s first interaction. Reference the product in the subject with an interesting spin on asking if they are satisfied with the product. If they bought golf clubs, try “Did our Callaway Golf clubs help your swing?”
The resulting content can be a simple “Yes” or “No.” A “Yes” takes them to Amazon Reviews and “No” takes them to a customer service landing page. Amazon can make users feel like they are buying from Amazon itself, instead of a third party, so sending a branded personal email shows users that you are a real business interested in their experience with your product.
Add A Personal Touch
Add a personal touch by leaving a note in your product packaging, encouraging customers to enjoy the product, contact you with issues, and leave a review on Amazon! This also helps your brand awareness. Having a physical card with your branding, social profiles and website encourages users to engage with your business.
Address Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are a great learning experience, but they can be a huge bummer. Address the negative review by offering the user a solution to their complaint. Users can update their original review, but they cannot write more than one review for the same product. Entice users to update their reviews with great customer service and correspondence. Sellers cannot ask users to alter their reviews, but sellers can respond to reviews. Other users seeing you addressing complaints can help put them at ease.
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