Listing optimization on Amazon is essential to drive sales. If it seems like your Amazon business isn’t getting the traction it deserves, then it’s likely that you need to optimize your listings.
Competition on the marketplace has increased by an average of 8% over the past year, so, it’s going to be harder to get more sales without proper optimization.
Many sellers are using different strategies to rank their Amazon product listings so that they perform better on the marketplace.
You don’t want to get left behind.
As they track and adjust prices, do product and keyword research, and align their marketing tactics to their selling objectives, you need to be doing the same if you want to increase profitability.
What is Amazon Listing Optimization?
As an online business owner, you probably know at least a little bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is what you do to gain visibility on a search engine — and Amazon is essentially a search engine, just one that is exclusively for products for sale and not for anything under the sun like Google.
It’s important to note here that optimization on Amazon is not the same as on other platforms like Google or Facebook. For you to enhance your e-commerce listing to boost profitability, you need to know how Amazon listing optimization works.
Unlike Google, Amazon doesn’t look at:
– how long your content is,
– how many links on other pages point to your listing,
– how long people stay on the product page, or
– how many people click through
Amazon cares only about how many sales you get from all these visits, i.e. your conversion rate.
Amazon listing optimization, therefore, hinges on what you can do to improve conversions.
Amazon’s A9 Algorithm
A9 is a subsidiary of Amazon that focuses on the marketplace’s search algorithm.
A9’s job is to:
- observe traffic patterns;
- analyze data;
- index the text that describes every product in the Amazon catalog;
- learn from previous search patterns; and
- adapt so that it can continue to display relevant results to customers.
As soon as the customer starts typing a keyword, Amazon is ready with instant suggestions and a range of relevant search results.
This observation, analysis, and indexing cycle run on a set of rules that governs product page ranking in response to customer search queries.
It is a kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that determines what products are ideal matches for each query.
It sounds simple, but A9 actually combines several different relevance features to come up with these matches and where they rank. A9 also
A9 Ranking Factors
Amazon will not give up the secret behind what makes up the A9 algorithm.
However, we do know a few important factors that you can use for Amazon listing optimization to boost conversions and sales.
1. Seller Rating and Reviews
What customers think of you is very important on Amazon. The higher your seller rating and the more positive reviews you have, the better your chances are of selling more. A9 looks at your overall rating and review scores see how customers are engaging with your products.
Images are vital to any online listing because customers cannot see the actual item. The quality of your product images, therefore, plays a huge role in Amazon listing optimization. Customers want to be able to see product details clearly, from all angles.
A9 checks how good a match the product title, description, and features of your product listing are against customers’ search terms. The better your listing content matches, the higher it ranks.
A9 compares prices. It is more important to focus on relevance and sales, but reasonable pricing goes a long way to ensuring you a top spot.
This is what customers zoom in on the first thirty seconds that they spend on a product page:
- Ratings, and
These are the most important ranking factors, together making up about half of your Amazon listing optimization score.
The other factors below are also important, but they can only get you so far if you do not first focus on these top ones.
5. Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)
Indirectly, FBA also impacts your ranking potential. Because products are in Amazon warehouses, they can get to customers faster.
The FBA program also offers perks, like achieving the “featured” merchant badge and giving you access to Amazon Prime Members.
It also increases your chances of winning the Buy Box. This helps you get more sales, which helps you rank higher in searches.
6. Sales Velocity
A9 considers the dollar amount and number of transactions attributed to your listings during the past month. Then it compares this to the sales velocity of competing sellers’ listings (i.e. listings using the same search terms that the user has typed). The listing of the seller with the highest sales velocity ranks highest.
7. Stock Availability
A9 also looks at the availability of a product when determining rankings. If your product is often out of stock, your listing will not have a chance of making it to the top results. Amazon wants to sell and keep customers happy. Customers want to buy it. So, A9 gives priority to sellers who always have items in stock.
8. Advertising and Promotions
Doing Amazon PPC well help you rank better as you bring in more sales and boost your conversion rate. Similar to how running ad campaigns works, promotions can help you gain visibility and encourage more sales. This is only good for you, however, if you need a quick boost. It is not a good strategy for improving rankings over the long term.
9. Premium Content
Amazon has a set format for how basic product listings are displayed. You can get around these limitations, however, by using premium content. A+ Content for vendors and Brand Content for sellers can boost sales by 5%.
It can also reduce returns and increase customer satisfaction.
Premium content gives you better options so you can give customers a better presentation of your product.
This means that customers can make more informed choices, and then, they are less likely to be disappointed with their purchase – as long as the product you send them matches the premium content you displayed.
Why You Should Optimize Your Amazon Listings
Being an online marketplace, Amazon has three times the search volume for products that Google has.
Many shoppers go straight to Amazon when they are looking for products to buy.
So, even if you rank at the very top of Google, you could still be missing out on a bunch of sales.
With the ever-increasing competition on Amazon, you can’t afford for this to happen.
You need to understand how to do Amazon listing optimization properly from the ground up, and how to update your listings to drive more traffic and convert better.
You also need to know what other sellers are doing so you can battle the competition. This is the only way that you will get the visibility you need to perform better and continue growing your Amazon business.
Sales are doubly important on Amazon. Sales drive rankings, which drive more sales. Amazon listing optimization is how you get this initial boost in sales to get ranked by the A9 algorithm.
And if you want your Amazon business to continue growing, you need to make Amazon listing optimization a regular practice.
Keywords Before Everything Else
Use a keyword tool that is created for Amazon.
This will give you keyword stats on what customers are searching for on Amazon. This is what you need.
Start your search for keywords based on the product that you are selling.
You can do a search on Amazon to help you brainstorm. Look primarily at the top listings of the competition.
Pop those terms into the Amazon keyword research tool of your choice. It will show you the stats of what you’ve typed in and generate suggestions as well.
Choose the best keywords to use in your listings.
Saving the top ones for the title, then the bullet points, then the description.
Lastly, populate the backend search terms field with what remains.
Amazon Product Listing Elements
There are six elements to every basic Amazon product listing:
- ratings, and
As mentioned above, they are not all created equal in Amazon’s eyes.
If you were to put these elements of a listing on a rating scale, this is what it would look like:
To maximize the results of your Amazon listing optimization, you need to improve each element while following the guidelines for them that Amazon has laid out.
The first step to making these improvements is to look at what the top sellers are doing.
We have limited insight into how Amazon does things, so the sellers who get the top results can give you a very good idea of what works.
As you analyze how a top listing performs so well, you will notice that it has optimized the elements above.
An optimized listing has:
- relevant, highly searched keywords in the text
- attractive images
- a great seller rating
- lots of positive reviews
- organized text areas with the appropriate lengths written in a way that is informative and easy to read
- most likely Fulfilled by Amazon
Now, here’s how you do the same with your own listing.
1. Reviews and Ratings
The number and quality of ratings that you have and reviews that your listing has will affect how well you can rank.
More than this, it will affect how many sales you can get. Even if your visibility is good, (say, though ad campaigns,) you need this social proof to gain customer trust so they will buy from you.
Ultimately, the only way to get great seller feedback and lots of positive reviews are to provide stellar customer experience. When customers are happy, they are more likely to write organic reviews to tell shoppers how great you and your product are.
In a nutshell, you can improve the customer experience by giving them what they want. This begins with a quality product, so make sure that you do regular quality checks. Then you can continue by offering good information and making it easy for them to find, understand and purchase that product.
Finally, you top off the experience by making sure that customers get what they ordered fast and in prime condition. To encourage a better customer response here, you can use FBA for faster delivery times and run automated email campaigns to keep them informed about delivery progress.
You can also send follow-ups to ask them how things went. This can prevent a negative comment before it happens or encourage an unhappy customer to change their negative comment into a positive one. If you aren’t running any promotions, you can add a sentence to encourage happy customers to leave you seller feedback and a product review.
Spotting and Fixing Bad Scores
Always pay attention to what customers are saying.
Monitor your feedback and reviews along with customer messaging to find and address issues quickly.
If they don’t give details, reach out to them.
Tell them that you’re sorry they didn’t have a good experience and ask them how you can make it right. If a defective unit slips through the cracks, for example, get them a replacement immediately.
As you gather better feedback and more positive reviews – 500 to 1000 – it will increase your overall score.
You can’t expect to get a perfect score, though, so don’t get too stressed.
You can’t please everyone all the time.
Just do all you can to give customers the best experience. With a good overall score – between 4 and 5 – you will be in a better position to rank as you take the next step in Amazon listing optimization.
2. Professional, Comprehensive Visuals
Use the image quality levels, formats, and dimensions that Amazon requires and recommends. This is the first step in optimizing your images.
Use all the available image slots that are provided, too. Just make sure that each image clearly shows a unique product angle, feature, or variation, and different, relevant lifestyle settings.
If you can, show through images what pain point it fixes.
And don’t forget the packaging, if it is an important feature of the product.
Order your images logically.
Start with the Amazon-required main image, then progress in a good flow while keeping your best images within the first 6 slots.
Optimized images that give strong value propositions and present key features are gold.
They pique customer interest, show them what it will be like to own the product and give them the information they want before deciding to buy from you. And they do all this better than text can because images are easier to absorb information from.
Amazon Product Video Guidelines
You can enhance your listings’ visual appeal by adding product videos.
Videos are great because they’re even more appealing to customers and better at explaining product benefits and features and convincing buyers to make a purchase.
Note that product videos are enabled for brand-registered sellers. Check your Enhanced Brand Content options to see if you can use this feature. Amazon is continually updating its guidelines, so check the EBC help page or visit the EBC Video Guidelines page often.
There are three product video types that you can create to keep your target customers engaged.
#1 – Product Highlighter Videos are clean and simple, focusing on the product, so they usually give a 360° view of the product on a plain background.
#2 – Customer Experience Videos are technically taken by customers and therefore show a realistic experience with the product.
#3 – Product Explanatory Videos are extremely high-quality videos complete with engaging scripts that explain the product’s benefits.
After uploading a product video, it can take up to six hours for it to appear on the products page.
Rich, Formulaic Title
Amazon listing optimization depends heavily on a strong product title. It does not have to be catchy like your images. It does need to have quality keywords in it to be picked up as relevant by A9. It also needs to give enough solid and accurate, details in the space provided to attract clicks.
The Amazon recommended title formula is: Brand + Model Number + Model Name + Product Type, Color. Amazon generally allows 250 characters in the title field, but truncates this to 112 characters, so the rest of it can’t be read in the search results. In reality, if you have the required elements, 80 characters is a good length to get top rankings.
Make your title easier to understand; use dashes (-) or pipes (|) to break up keywords; include the product’s Unique Selling Point or other key elements that differentiate you from your competitor.
Finally, use numerals instead of writing out numbers to save valuable real estate.
Detailed, Accurate Information
Consumers usually spend just 30 seconds looking at the product.
This is all the time you have to get them interested in buying. Your five bullet points should focus on the major features and benefits of the product to attract customers.
Use calls to action. Answer top customer concerns.
Then they will read on to confirm that this is the product they want.
You need to fully describe your product using simple language that is easy to read.
You also need to make sure that your description is accurate.
Don’t add keywords because they are highly searched if they are not highly relevant to your product.
Keep the text focused on value so you don’t end up with something that’s so long that customers won’t bother reading it.
As you write, think about solving the customer’s pain point. Tell them what comes with the product, including warranties and guarantees. Explain important controls and settings, and information on materials used and dimensions.
Add care instructions and a usage guide. And do this in a way that really speaks to how your product is the one that can make a difference in their lives.
Finally, make sure that the text matches the images. As tempting as it may be, don’t include quotes or testimonials.
If you use HTML, keep it simple.
Proof the text for typos and grammar and spelling errors. Remove any time-sensitive or subjective terms.
Split test variations of your listings using a tool like Splitly to verify what really works.
You can easily experiment to find out areas that lack Amazon listing optimization, too. Then you can adjust images, pricing, and other elements to dramatically improve your sales numbers and conversion rate.
Be patient. Amazon listing optimization is not a quick fix -there is no such thing for true Amazon success. By investing time and effort into a good strategy, you will see how it builds up to higher click-throughs, more potential customers, and more sales, which leads back to even higher rankings where the cycle begins again.