Whether people are searching on Google or on Amazon, getting your product to rank in top spots of the search results greatly increases the chances of making a sale. According to Amazon’s own reporting, 70% of Amazon shoppers never click past the first page of search results, and the first three items in search results account for 64% of all clicks. But with the enormous number of products available, both directly from Amazon and from third-party sellers, competition for those first page search results can be extremely high.
Just as you can optimize a website to try and rank highly in Google searches, you can optimize listings on Amazon to give your products the best chance at ranking highly in their search results. But optimizing Amazon product listings isn’t quite the same as optimizing a website.
Amazon Searches vs. Google Searches
To understand the difference between optimizing for Google and optimizing for Amazon, it’s important to know the basic differences in the ways people use each site. When people do a Google search for something they’re interested in purchasing, they’re more likely to be in the research phase of shopping. For example, someone looking for new bookshelves is more likely to use Google to find out where they can buy bookshelves or to find recommendations and reviews. But when they look for something on Amazon, they tend to have something more specific in mind and are already closer to being ready to buy. Perhaps they found a shelf they liked in a Google search, but want to see if they can purchase it through Amazon.
Both Google and Amazon want to deliver helpful, relevant results. But since user intent differs between the sites, their search algorithms rely on different information to determine relevance. Since Google tends to be used as more of a research tool, their algorithm considers a wide range of data, such as how many people click on a site and bounce rate. In addition to keyword relevancy, Amazon focuses more on things like conversion rate, reviews, and product availability. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you were ready to make a purchase, but the first page of results you got on Amazon was full of items that were out of stock.
Optimizing Amazon Listings for Organic Searches
Descriptive listing titles are essential for helping people find what they’re looking for. Given Amazon’s vast selection of products, descriptive listing titles make it easier to get your product in front of your intended audience. For example, someone looking for reusable shopping bags is likely going to specifically search for “reusable shopping bags” instead of just “bags” so that they don’t get inundated with results for all kinds of different bags.
When writing listing titles, think about what words people would reasonably use to find your product, like your brand name and other product descriptors such as color, size/dimensions, materials, flavor, or quantity. You don’t necessarily need to include all of these details, only the ones that would be most useful to shoppers. For instance, someone shopping for an area rug is probably looking for one in a specific size, but someone looking for a new stapler isn’t going to care much about product dimensions. In the below example, you’ll see how those listing titles mention things like frame sizes and color, both of which are important details that shoppers are probably specifically searching for.
When it comes to formatting Amazon listing titles, there are some other best practices to keep in mind:
- Start with your brand name
- Capitalize every word in the title except for conjunctions, articles, and prepositions
- Don’t use all caps
- Be careful with symbols. Hyphens, slashes, and commas are acceptable, but ampersands should only be used when part of a brand name. Avoid characters like exclamation points, question marks, or copyright and trademark symbols.
- Spell out measurements like pounds, ounces, inches, etc. Abbreviations of measurements like oz. and lb. are okay.
- Use numerals instead of spelling out numbers
- No promotional language (“the best coffee maker,” “best-selling blender,” mentions of sales or free shipping)
- Use descriptive keywords, keyword variations, and even common use cases so long as the title doesn’t become too long
A key part of writing effective listing titles for Amazon is being sufficiently descriptive without being overly long. Amazon notes that longer titles are harder to read than shorter titles, so titles that are too long may have a hard time holding customer interest. Amazon recommends listing titles be 80 characters or less so that they remain fully visible on mobile devices, but that isn’t a hard and fast requirement. Different product categories have different guidelines. In some categories, listing titles can go up to 200 characters. Keep in mind that not all 200 characters will display in the search results, so keep the most important keywords and descriptive details in the first 50-80 characters.
Listing titles aren’t the only way to target relevant keywords. Amazon lets sellers add up to 250 bytes worth of backend keywords to provide additional information about a product. These aren’t visible to shoppers, so there’s no need to worry that adding them will make your listing look spammy. If you go over 250 bytes, only keywords in the first 250 bytes will be indexed.
Since there is a limit on backend keywords, it’s important to make the most of your available space. Don’t use them to include information that’s included elsewhere in the listing, like brand names, product names, or variants of pluralizations, capitalization, and spelling. Also avoid using keywords that might be misleading, reference product quality, or would only be relevant for a short amount of time, like “sale” or “discounted.” Instead, focus on more general keywords that will help make it easier for people to find your product.
Product images are likely to catch the attention of someone shopping on Amazon even before the listing title, so making sure product images are optimized can be a great way to improve your click-through rate (CTR).
Ideally, featured product photos should be clear and well lit with at least 1,000 DPI so that people can zoom in while maintaining good picture quality. Featured photos should also showcase the entire product against a white background with the product itself occupying at least 85% of the total image. If featured images include things like watermarks, a colored background, other products not included with the one listed, or is too low resolution or is a drawing/diagram, it could be rejected.
Amazon lets you include up to eight additional images in product listings. The featured photo helps get people to click on listings, but additional images can help convince people to follow through with a purchase. These additional photos are a great opportunity to feature images that might not be right for a featured image, but are still relevant to customers. Additional images can include things like different angles of a product, close-ups of product details, product packaging, or how the product looks in a certain setting. Imagine trying to recreate the experience of being in a brick-and-mortar store and picking a product up off the shelf to take a closer look at it. Videos can also be added to give people a better look at your product.
Product Descriptions & Information
The Key Features section of your listing gives you a chance to highlight some specific features about your product. This section should include up to five bullet points and not exceed 500 total characters. Here’s an example of some key features from a listing for a 4K Blu-ray player:
The bullet points in this example also illustrate some do’s and don’ts for writing them. First of all, these are a bit longer than recommended. Ideally, you want people to understand the main benefits just by quickly scanning over them. Incomplete sentences are encouraged. But it is good that they cover very specific features and don’t just make vague statements like “great picture quality.” They also don’t use all caps, symbols, exclamation points, or other punctuation, all of which are good best practices.
As is the case for listing titles, the key features also shouldn’t contain promotional language or or information about pricing or shipping. You also shouldn’t use this section to add information about your company. If you need to separate phrases in a bullet point, use a semicolon.
Even if a product is something that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of as having notable features, it’s still important to add them to your listing. For example, here are some key features used in a listing for a pack of pencils, which do an effective job of highlighting the benefits of something most people would consider to be a very mundane item:
Product descriptions are where you have the most room to get creative. These can be up to 2,000 characters in length and are a great opportunity to get more in depth about your product, its specific features, and to bring some brand personality to your listing. Ideally, your description should be consistent with other branded materials, such as your company website or product packaging.
Naturally, you want your product description to be keyword inclusive, but you should also think about what information customers would want to know. What are the benefits your product has to offer? Which kinds of applications is it best suited for? Is there other imagery you could include? For example, if you sell a variety of products that are similar, maybe you could include a chart that helps people compare features.
When writing your description, make sure all information is accurate and that all content is grammatically correct. Using section headers is a great way to break up content and make it easier for people to read. It’s recommended to avoid using promotional language and including information about your company, like your email address or links to your website.
Amazon gives people the opportunity to ask questions about products and get responses from people who would know, whether it’s the manufacturer or other people who have purchased the item. While other customers can provide helpful information, it’s best to keep an eye on your Q&As and answer them yourself to make sure people are being given accurate information.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on your Q&As to get ideas for information that could be added elsewhere in your listing. For example, if you’re seeing lots of questions about product assembly, it might be helpful to add more information about assembly in the product description.
Customer reviews are extremely important on Amazon. Not only can they be a deciding factor for customers trying to decide whether or not to make a purchase, positive reviews can help boost your rankings.
While good reviews are highly coveted, it’s impossible to please everybody. There’s a good chance that at some point, you might get a one-star review. Anytime reviews are an option, we’re often asked about whether or not negative reviews can be removed. Generally speaking, Amazon does not remove negative product reviews. However, they will consider doing so in the following situations:
- It’s a one-word review
- It contains inappropriate content, promotes illegal activity, or uses hate speech or other offensive language
- It contains personally identifying information
- The review is promotional in nature (i.e. “This product is terrible, buy another product by a competitor instead!”)
If a person posts multiple negative reviews for a product, Amazon will also consider removing at least one of those reviews.
Amazon may also consider removing negative reviews if someone leaves a product review that should have been left as seller feedback instead. If a customer has problems with things like shipping delays, items arriving damaged, or other customer service matters, those types of complaints are appropriate for seller feedback. If those types of complaints are left as product reviews instead, Amazon could remove them if requested. Here’s an example of a one-star review that could be a candidate for removal under this policy:
It’s also worth noting that negative seller feedback could also be removed if it’s about a product, not the quality of your services. In the case of Fulfilled by Amazon sellers, negative seller feedback may be removed for matters that Amazon is ultimately responsible for, like shipping delays.
Even if a review isn’t quite what you want it to be, remember that product reviews are at least an opportunity to get product feedback. Sometimes, information in negative reviews can be used to help improve products and create a better experience.
While much of Amazon optimization focuses on product listings, it can also be worth spending some time to make sure your brand page is in good shape. An Amazon brand page may be where some people are first introduced to your brand, so it’s important to make a good first impression.
Brand pages are standalone pages hosted on the Amazon domain which can be used for many different purposes. Not only are they discoverable directly on Amazon, they’re also great to share on social media or in email newsletters. If you do paid advertising on Amazon, your brand page can also act as a landing page. They’re free to create and are available to sellers who are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry.
Think of your brand page as being like your homepage on Amazon. You can include information about your brand and other information that will help people find what they’re looking for. For example, Fitbit’s Amazon brand page currently includes things like information about the Fitbit app, a section on new products, and a chart that compares products. Brand pages can also include subpages for different types of products. In Fitbit’s case, they have subpages for smartwatches, trackers, smart scales, and accessories.
Many of the same principles that apply to optimizing product listings also apply to brand pages. You want to have eye-catching imagery and/or videos with concise, accurate, keyword-rich content content and clear calls to action. Imagery is very important for brand pages, so make sure photos meet the following size guidelines:
- Logo image: 3,000 x 600 pixels
- Full-width images: At least 3,000 pixels wide, but can be any height
- Square images: At least 1,500 x 1,500 pixels
- Rectangle images: At least 1,500 x 750 pixels
Advertising on Amazon
Since having a history of conversions helps boost your organic rankings, advertising on Amazon can help you give you a boost to improve sales and gain product reviews. Whether you want to promote specific products or raise awareness for your brand as a whole, Amazon has a wide range of advertising options to help you out.
If you’ve ever done a Google search for a product, you’ve probably seen the section of ads at the top of the search result page. Sponsored products on Amazon are similar to those types of ads. On Amazon, sponsored product ads can appear in a variety of ways, such as in search result pages, in Top-Rated Product sections, or in the Related Product sections of product listings, just to name a few.
If you’re interested in sponsored product ads, you do have some control over how your ads appear. You can target them based on keywords, or you can use Product Attribute Targeting to have ads appear in specific ways, such as in search results, along with products in a certain price range or category, or in product listings. While you can’t use both keyword targeting and Product Attribute Targeting at the same time, ads using Product Attribute Targeting still need to be relevant to the searcher and negative keywords can be used to prevent ads from being served in undesirable ways.
One way Product Attribute Targeting could be used is to position product accessories in listings for main products. For example, a company that makes HDMI cables or wall TV mounts might want to use Product Attribute Targeting to have their products show up in product listings for TVs.
While sponsored product ads focus on individual products, sponsored brand ads are better suited to helping raise overall brand awareness. They’re a great option for both established brands and newer, up-and-coming companies, giving them a chance to appear right at the top of a page of search results.
With sponsored brand ads, you have the chance to highlight a few select products and add a headline which will hopefully get people to visit your brand page. In the example below, the headline encourages shoppers to check out the store page since it suggests that people will have an easy time finding the ideal air fryer.
While sponsored product and sponsored brand ads both reach shoppers directly on Amazon, sponsored display ads can help you get the attention of people within Amazon and on other sites, like in the examples below, or in third-party apps.
Sponsored display ads can be used in a few different ways. If you’re interested in product remarketing, you can do that through sponsored display ads. These ads can also be used to reach people based on more broad interests and people who have shown interest in similar products.
Audio & Video Ads
As more and more people depend on streaming services for their entertainment, Amazon can let you leverage those platforms to reach audiences in highly targeted ways.
Amazon’s audio ads are served to people who use the free, ad-supported version of Amazon Music, whether they’re listening on a mobile device, on a desktop computer, or an Alexa-enabled device like Echo or Fire TV. While other ad options on Amazon are accessible for companies with smaller ad budgets, audio ads have a typical minimum budget of $25,000.
With video ads, Amazon currently offers two options: online video ads and over-the-top (OTT) ads. Online video ads appear to users throughout the internet on sites that use Amazon Publisher Services and third-party exchanges. They can also show up on Amazon-affiliated websites and services like Twitch and IMDB.
OTT video ads help you reach people who have cut the cord and use broadcaster/network apps or IMDB TV on their Fire TV to watch movies and television shows instead. OTT ads have some very unique benefits over traditional TV commercials. First of all, these ads often can’t be skipped. And given that tens of millions of people use Amazon-owned products and services to binge watch their favorite content, these ads can help you reach your intended audience more efficiently. You also have the ability to create unique experiences with your ads, such as including cues that encourage people to make a purchase through Alexa.
While many of Amazon’s ad options require companies to sell on Amazon, businesses without an Amazon presence can still use their video ad services. Users can manage their own video ad buys or they can use Amazon’s managed service option which typically has a minimum budget requirement of $35,000.
Need more help getting ready to sell on Amazon? TRAFFIC can work with you to help you get up started. With our background handling paid media buys and optimizing for organic traffic, we have the well-rounded experience to help you reach your goals on Amazon. Contact us today to get started.