Amazon SEO: EVERYTHING You Need To Know [2019 GUIDE & INFOGRAPHIC]
- Amazon SEO (Amazon Search Engine Optimization) is the method Amazon Sellers use to ensure their product listings appear at the top of Amazon product searches without ads.
- Appearing at the top of Amazon product searches ahead of competitors increases sales, brand credibility & perceived value among other significant long term benefits.
- This is EVERYTHING Amazon Sellers need to know about Amazon SEO that will allow you to create long lasting sales, boost brand credibility & drive your competitors down into obscurity.
In this in-depth guide, An Amazon SEO Consultant with 10+ years of experience is going to break down every single (25) Amazon SEO factor that goes into getting your products found on Amazon and help you succeed at each one. (HINT: It’s me.)
I’ve also created a super easy to read INFOGRAPHIC that I’ve placed at the end to help you.
You will learn:
What is Amazon SEO? (Amazon Search Engine Optimization)
What is Amazon A9? (The Amazon algorithm that decides if your product gets found or not)
What influences Amazon SEO? (How Can I Use The 25 Amazon SEO Factors To Sell More)
19 Product Listing Factors
6 Seller Account Factors
Let’s start with the big question that you’re dying to know, the question I get on virtually every Amazon SEO inquiry call…
If I want Amazon SEO, can’t I just find what keywords people are using to find & buy my products, add them to my listing and then get found in Amazon Product Listing Search Results?
THE ANSWER: No
Okay, so now that I got that out of the way…
Tell me if you can relate to this.
You want to see how visible they are so you go to www.amazon.com and type the keywords that make the most sense to find your product and hit enter.
That little empty & anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach shows up because you don’t see your products!
You know what’s even worse?
Seeing your competitors’ products that you know are inferior quality appearing on page 1 of Amazon search results. It’s as if they offered up a sacrifice to the A9 in return for that prime real estate.
Okay, now what? Your Amazon SEO isn’t so strong and your Amazon Keyword Ranking isn’t where you want it to be. The Do’er in you says, “that’s awful, but I need to do something about it.”
WHAT WILL FIX THIS PROBLEM?
Did You Know?:
Just like search result listings on Google, Amazon Product Search Results are not arbitrary, nor did they pay Amazon just to be at the top. (Unless of course, they’re advertisements)
Here is how to tell:
These are the top 2 search results on Amazon for “Camping MultiTool”.
The top result notes that it is sponsored. That seller paid for a sponsored listing ad so that product would appear in the top results for that keyword.
The second result was achieved through good ol’ fashioned Amazon SEO and Amazon product listing optimization.
You see the power in this?
This is FREE advertising.
Let me explain…
1) What is Amazon SEO? (Amazon Listing Optimization)
Amazon SEO is an acronym for Amazon Search Engine Optimization.
In other words, setting up and adjusting your Amazon product listing with Amazon Listing Optimization regularly to appease Amazon’s a9 search algorithm with the goal of your Amazon product listings showing up on the first page of Amazon product search results.
Amazon’s logic, or algorithm, for what products it decides to have show up at the top of Amazon product search results is called A9 and ultimately boils down to asking this question;
- “If I (Amazon) show this product to this customer, based on the search terms (Amazon Keywords) they typed in, will they click on the listing and buy the product?”
Amazon evaluates your product listing on a multitude of factors that I’ll be covering later to predict if your listing will sell, if they think it will, then they will show it higher.
If the Amazon Algorithm thinks it won’t sell, then no matter how much Amazon Keyword Research you’ve done, it won’t help.
Want to know how to reduce your ACoS on Amazon to spend less on ads? Focus heavily on getting sales from organic search results.
Here are a few items that the Amazon a9 Algorithm looks at to determine if the product will sell or not:
More on this in a bit.
In the meantime; want some good news?
Unlike Google, who goes to great lengths to keep the ranking factors they use to decide who shows up at the top of their search results a secret, Amazon doesn’t subscribe to their same ideology.
They’ll flat out tell you some of their ranking factors. Just browse their the Amazon Services Seller Education pages. As you click through, you will eventually uncover some.
2) What is Amazon A9?
Similar to Google Rank Brain or any of the other names algorithm’s have been given, Amazon has put a name to the logic of how it determines how high a product will show up in its search results.
That name is Amazon A9.
They actually tell you themselves what they look at to decide how high your product will appear in Amazon product search results.
Here are some highlights.
Our work starts long before a customer types a query. We’ve been analyzing data, observing past traffic patterns, and indexing the text describing every product in our catalog before the customer has even decided to search. – Amazon
Remember when I was talking about BSR, Conversion Rates & more earlier?
So we focus on the words and the intent behind those words. – Amazon
In Amazon Keyword Research or even normal Google SEO Keyword Research, some keywords indicate you are doing research and want to know more about a product while others indicate you’ve already done your research and now you are looking for a product to BUY.
You’re after buyer intent. That’s the name of the game. Here is an example.
Let’s say we search for Womens Red Shoes.
Lot’s of different kinds of red shoes. If you’re searching for something broad like this, you are trying to learn what kind of red shoes you want.
You are NOT in BUY mode.
Okay, so you’ve done your research, you’ve narrowed it down.
So now you go back into Amazon’s search field and type in:
red women’s suede open toe pumps size 6
You see the Amazon Keywords?
This searcher has narrowed down that:
- They need or want the color red
- They need or want a women’s shoe
- They need or want them to be made out of suede
- They need or want an open toe
- They need or want pumps
- And they need or want Size 6
This is buyer intent all day long. They’ve narrowed down everything they need and are searching for it exactly.
If you were running Google Product Listing Ads, you’d be in a good place with that search term.
That’s what Amazon’s A9 Algorithm figures out.
- What you need
- The likelihood if you’re going to buy it
You want to gear your product listings around buyer intent keywords. Follow?
Some more from Amazon:
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.
Amazon looks at what products have produced sales for which Amazon Keywords and then show those higher because we treat relevancy different than Google does. Relevancy = Sales.
The primary objective of Amazon is RPC (Revenue Per Customer) and the best way to achieve this is making the products you are most likely to buy the most visible.
3) What influences Amazon SEO?
Amazon Search Engine Optimization or Amazon Listing Optimization boils down to 2 factors.
- Product Listing Factors
- Seller Account Factors
THE 25 AMAZON SEO PRODUCT LISTING FACTORS:
1) Amazon BSR (Amazon Best Seller Rank)
Amazon BSR is your products’ sales rank on Amazon out of the total number of products in your category.
I have a few blog posts that explain this in great detail:
In short, it measures your sales velocity on Amazon compared to competitors and other products you may be measuring. You typically want to measure this metric over time vs. a competing product.
You’ve heard that old adage “it takes money to make money” yeah?
Well, as far as Amazon SEO goes, it takes sales to make sales.
This is like a golf score, you want a lower number here. The better your BSR is, the higher your Amazon Product Listings will appear in search results.
2) Amazon Keywords
Okay, first thing is first. There is no extra benefit to repeating keywords throughout your content.
Back in the day in SEO, this used to be called keyword stuffing. In other words, repeating your keywords over and over in hopes that you appear higher in the search results.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH AMAZON KEYWORDS?
- Select a set of Amazon keywords that are buyer intent keywords.
- Don’t repeat the same keywords over and over.
- Use a broad array of Amazon keywords.
- Use them in the Search Terms section of the back end of your product listing.
- Use them in the title.
- Use them in the bullet points.
- Use them in the long description.
Only repeat the Amazon keywords if it makes contextual sense in the product copy.
Okay, so we know we NEED keywords but how do we get them?
Well, there are lots of tools out there that will let you know what people are searching for on Amazon.
I recommend and use Merchant Words.
The idea behind tools like this is that they can tell you what people are searching for on Amazon when they want to buy your product.
Amazon SEO PRO TIP:
You can use Amazon itself for FREE to identify what people are looking for.
- Go to the Amazon Search Field
- Start Entering an Amazon Keyword or Your Product
- Look at the Drop Down List
See those keywords? Amazon is telling you what people frequently search for to buy your product. Those are a great start in terms of selecting Amazon Keywords for Amazon Listing Optimization.
3) Amazon Features and Bullet Points
This is the bullet points section of your Amazon Product Listing.
See what’s going on here?
The Features / Bullet Points feature a lot of keywords related to the product, specific things the product has/does /includes and also SPEAKS to who it is for.
These product features/bullet points are also written in the vernacular, or terminology of how their customer would talk.
4) Amazon Product Description
For Amazon SEO, your product description is really where the rubber meets the road.
This is where you want to make sure you are thorough and really stick to the elements of a great product description, just like in all of eCommerce.
Here is what they are:
- Benefit heavy, focusing on benefits over features.
- Written how your target customer would normally talk
- Captions, bullets, numbered lists
- Includes Images
- Technical specifications
- Answers questions
Again, there is no benefit to keyword stuffing. As long as your Amazon keywords are in there at least once, you are in a good place for Amazon SEO.
Plus, keyword stuffing reduces conversions as it isn’t fluid and doesn’t sound like a human wrote it.
But it doesn’t stop here…
5) Brand and Manufacturer Part Number
So there is a lot of benefit in putting your manufacturer part number and the brand name of your product in your title.
Here is what I am talking about:
If you take away nothing else from writing effective Amazon Product Title’s for Amazon SEO, understand that placing your Brand in the product title is incredibly important and is a MUST DO.
- Your product will be eligible for Amazon brand search filters
- People search for specific brands on Amazon
- You are telling Amazon what brand your product is
As for manufacturer part number, depending on your niche this could be incredibly important.
Let’s say you are selling car parts or parts. People often read the part number off a manual or instructions and then search for that specifically.
This goes for a lot of industries and you want to broadcast this in the product title rather than burying it in your listing.
Remember earlier when we were searching for a red shoe? This is where you specify the important details that separate your product from others such as color, size, upc, weight, part numbers, etc.
Let’s have a look at the specifications for a top ranking welder.
Notice how every key detail is filled in?
This is where attention to detail and filling out every detail really pays off.
I’ll tell you, a lot of manufacturers have a data organization problem meaning, they don’t have data feeds, or spreadsheets on the ready with all of this information for all of their products.
See the problem in that?
That means, when it comes to getting found, whether it be Amazon, Google or other marketplaces & sales channels they are at a disadvantage.
7) Category and Sub-Category
Now, getting as specific as possible with your category and sub-category on Amazon really makes a difference for Amazon SEO.
See how specific this welder gets with its product categories?
Want an Amazon SEO Pro Tip?
Your visibility within certain categories depends on a lot of the other factors discussed here, BUT also how many products are within it.
8) Amazon Search Terms
Did you know that there is a section on the back end of an Amazon listing where you can specify what search terms you want to be found for?
Well, there is. There are 5 boxes that allow 50 characters where you can enter the Amazon Keywords you choose based on your Amazon Keyword Research.
In actuality, you should use it like it were one long 250 character text entry box.
Remember earlier when we were talking about keyword stuffing = bad? Well, here it is GOOD, so enter as many Amazon keywords as will fit! It’s great for your Amazon SEO.
9) Amazon Source Keyword
This is really cool.
Did you know?
One of the factors Amazon determines on whether to rank your product vs. another product is Click Through Rate (just like Google!) and how well it converts (turns into a sale) for a given Amazon keyword.
In other words, this sequence of events happens:
- You go to Amazon and type in OnePlus 5T Case.
- You click on a case for your smartphone that you like.
- You buy that product.
You have just told Amazon to rank that particular product higher for OnePlus 5T Case.
That’s the URL for the search example I just gave you.
Take that one step farther and click on a product:
Amazon’s Choice (really great for Amazon SEO) is this product:
At the end of the URL are the keywords!
So wait, are you saying I should give out THAT link?
No, that could be seen as intent to game the system which violates Amazon’s terms of service.
I’m saying Amazon keeps track of what product listings convert for what keywords people enter into the Amazon search bar.
Do you want to know the best link you can give out?
The root url.
See how that stops as the ASIN? That’s the link you want to give as it is the link to the root or main listing for your product without modifiers.
You mentioned people clicking on my listing for certain keywords,
Is that important and how do I get them to do that?
10) Amazon Click Through Rate (CTR)
For people to buy your products, they need to click through to your listing.
The number of people that see your listing vs. the number of people that actually click through is your CTR, click through rate.
So how can we make people click on our Amazon product listing?
11) Amazon Product Titles
Let’s have a look at one of the top listings for the search term “Inflatable Air Mattress”
Here is what we are looking at:
We can deduce they are trying to appear for:
- Queen Size Luxury Raised Mattress
- Best Inflatable Airbed With Built-In Pump
- Elevated Raised Air Mattress Quilt Top
AMAZON CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION TIP:
They are doing a great job of Amazon Listing Optimization by reducing buyer risk right out front in the product title by citing their 1-year guarantee. Good on them!
You want to make sure your product titles have these attributes or qualities:
- Include a Brand Name
- Include Manufacturer Part Numbers & Model Numbers as Necessary
- Benefit Driven
- Include The Amazon Keywords
12) Amazon Reviews
92% of consumers read online reviews.
You not only are after a high star rating but also the number of reviews.
It’s nigh impossible to get Amazon SEO results without strong Amazon Reviews.
Need help with this? I wrote an article called: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Getting More Amazon Reviews that takes a deep dive into how to get more Amazon reviews.
Okay, now we have people on our listing. How do we sell to them?
The name of the game is to drive revenue for Amazon and they will reward you with visibility.
Once you have someone on your Amazon Product Listing, here are the factors that turn them into paying customers.
13) Amazon Product Images & Amazon Product Videos
There are a few components to successful Amazon product images but the thing to know for Amazon SEO is the magic number is 6.
Also, a few other items of note:
- Images need to have an all-white background
- Images need to be square and as for dimensions: 1,000 pixels wide by 1,000 pixels tall (1,000 x 1,000) in order to be zoomable.
- Details matter and zooming in to see how something connects or the type of material used do make a difference.
- If you can provide 3d product views that will significantly increase conversion rates
- If you can provide videos that will also significantly increase conversion rates
Let’s look at that smartphone case example from earlier:
Their images illustrate the value, benefits & features of the product you are considering to buy.
They show the product flexing, they show the durability, they show the size, it describes the item and how it enhances & improves your experience with your OnePlus 5T.
Which behavioral economics tricks are going on here?
- They are answering questions about the product in the imagery
- They are objection handling in the product imagery
- They are giving a frame of reference in the imagery
- They are illustrating what the product looks like & feels like in the real world in use so you can picture yourself using it, therefore one step closer to a purchasing decision
You want your image to:
- Illustrate what your product is, does and who it is for in about 1 seconds time
- Illustrate the value or benefit your product gives
- Have a white background
That being said, did you know you can pack EVEN MORE imagery into product listings by being Brand Registered on Amazon?
Brands that are a part of the Amazon Brand Registry have access to powerful selling tools that non-brand registered brands do not, such as:
- Enhanced Brand Content
- Amazon Product Listing Video
- Amazon Storefronts
These are immensely powerful conversion tools and as we know, the better your product listings convert, the better your Amazon product search rankings will be.
14) Product Listing Completeness
This part isn’t hard to wrap your head around. As you’re going through and creating your Amazon product listing, complete as many sections as possible.
The more you have filled out, the better Amazon Listing Optimization you have.
Think of it this way, the more data you enter, the easier time Amazon has at figuring out who to show your product to.
15) Amazon Product Price
There is no way around this. The Amazon a9 algorithm keeps tabs on what products convert at what price and understands that people are shopping for good deals.
When browsing the first page of Amazon search results for any given Amazon keyword, you will notice some have great reviews, some have lots of reviews, some have higher prices and some have lower.
The idea is finding a mix of great reviews, lots of reviews and a low price. That’s the golden ticket.
Don’t meet all 3 criteria? Well, a drastically low price while you build your reviews will help you rank higher.
It will also help you get that buy box.
16) Amazon Parent-Child Products
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that scattered data in eCommerce is a bad thing. This is a way that Amazon deals with that.
Let’s look at the example of the phone case:
These are child products. The different colors of the case are not separate products all together with a different ASIN, rather they are child products of the parent product.
The idea here is that your different options are all listed on the same listing for the benefit of:
- Accruing all of your reviews in one place.
- Keeping product data clean.
- Letting Amazon know this is all the same product.
- Letting customers know this is all the same product, just different colors.
17) Time on Page
Just as with Google, Amazon evaluates the time someone spends on your product listing and equates it to value and likelihood to buy.
So, time on Page is just that, how long a customer spends on a page before buying or bouncing (leaving – coming up in 18).
So what’s the idea? 2 things.
- You want the customer to stay on your listing and consume the content of your listing while evaluating to make a purchase. In other words, stay on your listing.
- Do not leave your listing. Buy.
18) Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate is when someone visits your product listing and then leaves through one method or another. They could visit another product listing through an ad on your product listing, they could go back to the search bar and look for another product or something else; but the bottom line is, they leave.
Someone visiting your listing, not taking an action and leaving is a bad thing and negatively impacts your search visibility on Amazon.
19) Questions & Answers
Don’t ignore these…
Amazon wants to make sure you are supporting your product and they evaluate questions and answers as part of their a9 algorithm in deciding on how high to show your product listing. So if you want your product to appear higher in Amazon product relate searches, then answer those questions!
Amazon SEO Pro Tip:
You can mine your sales copy from your customers’ questions.
Ingenius right? Well, your Amazon SEO future relies heavily on your Amazon past. Here is how:
AMAZON SEO SELLER ACCOUNT FACTORS:
As far as Amazon SEO goes, Amazon isn’t going to rank products high from sellers that do not deliver on their promise to customers. You can optimize your Amazon product listing all you like.
From the moment you step into the Amazon playing field, you are going to want to be cognizant of these next elements.
20) Amazon Seller Feedback
Did you know Amazon has more ratings other than simply product review ratings?
Seller feedback is crucial to your Amazon SEO because it is crucial to Amazon’s customer retention rate and revenue per customer.
Have a look:
Now, this isn’t as straightforward as you would think.
We aren’t talking winning the buy box here.
We’re talking Amazon SEO, so we’re looking at Negative Seller Feedback Rates. In other words, all negative feedback your seller account receives.
If you are a Vendor Central Seller, this will not be relevant here as Amazon purchases the inventory from you, stores it at their warehouses and fulfills to customers. They are the seller.
If you are a Seller Central Seller and selling via Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon), you are in good shape as Seller Feedback on Prime eligible items is generally more favorable than Manufacurer Fulfillment as the customer is getting free 2 day shipping.
If you’re interested, I go more in depth on Amazon FBA here: How Does Amazon FBA Work?
21) Order Processing Speed
If you’re a vendor central customer and you see those PO’s come in, you want to make them a priority.
Seller central customer? Then you want to prioritize fast shipping and handle orders efficiently.
Amazon makes a direct correlation between this and customer satisfaction, therefore, you should make a direct correlation between it and your Amazon search rankings.
22) In-Stock Rate
Pretty straightforward right? If you’re always out of stock or low on stock where the customer risks not getting their order, Amazon will not show you prominently to their customers.
Don’t risk this. Keep your stock levels proper.
23) Amazon Perfect Order Percentage (POP)
Amazon Perfect Order Percentage or Amazon POP is this in a nutshell:
- Customer clicks add to cart and checks out.
- A customer receives your product promptly.
- The product is EXACTLY what they order, not defective, no issues.
- The customer keeps the product and does not return it.
This is your POP or otherwise known as flawless victory.
Amazon SEO Pro Tip:
You can improve your Amazon POP by reducing buyer remorse with great packaging, inserts that explain what to do if a product isn’t exactly what they thought, and even tutorials or guides on how to best use your product as sometimes it is just a misunderstanding.
24) Amazon Order Defect Rate
Amazon ODR or Order Defect Rate takes into account these things:
- A to Z Guarantee Claims
- Shipment Problems
- Order Defects
- Credit Card Chargebacks
Staying on top of your customer service pays dividends in Amazon SEO.
But what if your listing is so bad they exit Amazon.com all together?
25) Amazon Exit Rate
Earlier we talked about Bounce Rate and leaving a listing. This is hitting eject on the whole thing and leaving Amazon.com entirely. That’s not good.
Just with any platform, the time on platform and engagement on platform are a BIG DEAL.
It’s one thing in the customer’s journey to open up another tab in chrome and have a look at your company website, social media & such while browsing your Amazon listing. That is called a healthy and normal customer journey. Your off Amazon factors influencing Amazon success.
Being so dissatisfied that they leave Amazon all together is not ideal and they measure this by your Amazon Exit Rate.
4) Is My Amazon SEO Working?
So you’ve been focusing on Amazon SEO for a while and besides straight up sales, you want a way to identify if what you’re doing is working.
There are a few ways to go here.
You can use an Amazon SEO keyword rank tracking tool like: Helium 10
- A tool like this will allow you enter in the keywords you want to rank in Amazon product searches for and track your ASINs over time.
- You will be able to keep track of what position you show up for in Amazon product searches for said keyword.
Besides simply going on Amazon and searching for your keyword and your product (so time-consuming…) regularly, you want to actually check and see if you’ve been indexed at all for the kwyrods you’re trying to rank for.
Being indexed means Amazon has determined you are relevant and may result in a sale for Amazon if they show you for a certain keyword.
This is achieved through back end setup and on listing factors just like desccribed above.
Essentially, you want Amazon to know you are relevant for a buyer intent keyword related to your product.
To check and see if you are you want to do this:
- Go to Amazon and make sure “All Departments” is selcted in the drop down field when you search.
- Search for YOUR ASIN and a space and then the keyword you want to be relevant for.
- If you show up in the results below, you know Amazon has indexed you for that keyword.
However, if Amazon has NOT indexed you for the keyword OR you were once indexed for said keyword but you didn’t yield enough sales for Amazon on said keyword, you will see something like this:
As you can see here, you will see 0 results.
This means you haven’t been indexed yet OR you have been deindexed.
Obviously, in this instance, I’m searching for something ridiculous as a dramatic example to illustrate a point.
Being indexed for a keyword doesn’t mean you rank on the first page of results for it and it does not correlate to WHERE you rank for it, rather just that Amazon has made the deduction that you are relevant for a particular keyword.
This is useful to know if you have recently made updates to your listing to try and rank for certain keywords to tell if Amazon’s a9 algorithm has figured that out yet or not.
Amazon SEO: In Summary
Whew, we did it! We talked about everything we need to know about Amazon SEO!
So what did we learn here?
- There are 24 factors that go into your search visibility on Amazon.
- Amazon SEO or Amazon Listing Optimization is MUCH more than just entering keywords into a listing.
- Make sure you have rich, quality listings full of content, specifications, features & benefits as well as great images.
- Pick buyer intent keywords.
- Do not keyword stuff.
- Focus on your seller feedback.
- Focus on getting as many great reviews as possible.
- Answer questions on your listings!
If you need help with anything you’ve read here, I’m happy to make things quicker & easier for you.
Having great products and not selling is agonizing. Dominating competitors and selling through inventory is intensely gratifying.