— April 14, 2018
With over 500 million products in stock, Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world. As a result, sellers have to compete against each other to get their products in front of as many people as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to rank high in Amazon’s search results.
Use strategic SEO basics — like keyword research — to give your Amazon product descriptions a boost so that your products are seen by the right customers. SEO isn’t just for Google searches anymore. The truth is, SEO is an underutilized tactic when it comes to positioning products on Amazon.
People search Amazon because they’re ready to buy something. Use this to your advantage by combining customers’ readiness to buy with an SEO strategy.
We’ve taken the keyword principles people use on sites like Google and rejigged them to apply to Amazon. By finding the right keywords and using them in your product descriptions, you have a leg up over the competition and have a better chance of improving your sales.
Here’s what you need to do.
Amazon’s SEO algorithm: the basics
As Amazon continues to grow, there’s more competition for products to stand out. This means that the higher in placement products appear on Amazon’s search engine results pages (SERPs), the more likely they are to be bought. After all, only 30% of shoppers make it to the page two of search results.
To rank product search results, Amazon uses an algorithm called A9. Here’s how it works:
A9 is programmed to help customers find products that they want as quickly and easily as possible. The algorithm uses different variables to help decide how products rank. The two that we’ll focus on here are:
- Click to sales rate (CTS). This is the number of customers who click on your product in the search list and then go on to buy your product. This is a valuable metric to influence SERP rank because Amazon looks at your number of recent sales to decide where your products will rank. It doesn’t matter who you’re competing against as long as you’ve made more sales in the last month than other companies. The more short-term sales you have, the higher your SERP ranking.
- Sales page content. This is where you put your keyword research into practice. You can put your keywords in the product title, the subtitle, product description and Amazon’s special keywords section. These keywords clue A9 into what products you’re selling so that your products show up for the right customers. The right mix of keywords means A9 does a better job of matching your product to searches so you make more sales and rank higher.
These two factors work together because optimized content puts you on the first page making sales. The more sales you make, the higher you stay on the first page. This is what the cycle looks like:
But for this cycle to work you need to know which keywords to use and how to incorporate them into your Amazon product description. When done right it’s really easy for people to find you. Here’s how to get started.
Choosing the best keywords for your product
The keywords you use have to reflect what your customers are interested in. Just like Google, Amazon logs all of the searches people make. This approach gives Amazon insight into what topics are trending and what’s more important to its massive user base.
When customers land on Amazon’s homepage, they’re greeted with a list of categories and some of the best selling items within each one.
This is a gold mine of information for you because depending on the categories you sell in, you have a good idea of the types of products customers are looking for. These lists tell you what your target customers need most and what they’re interested in. When you know what matters most to customers, you can target them more specifically so that when they see your products, they’re more willing to buy them. The end result is more revenue for you because you’re giving customers exactly what they came to Amazon to find.
These best seller categories are a good place to start to build your keyword list. You know what people are looking for, so now you have to cater your product descriptions to speak to these needs and make more money. Here’s how to find and use keywords:
- Make a list of the top 10 – 20 trending items in relevant categories. In each category, check out lists like “most gifted” and “most wished for.” If you sell clothing, your list might include items like dresses and fashion accessories. Click on these types of products and take note of the title used and the descriptive words in the product description. For example, the title might have the keywords “halter dress” and the description might have keywords like “fitted style” or “flowing design.” Add these words to your list.
- Try different variations of long-tail keywords. This will increase your chances of showing up in search results. So instead of always using “halter dress” use “halter dress style” or “fitted halter dress.”
- Update your list regularly. Often when people do keyword research, it’s one time and they use that list forever. A better approach is to update your list regularly. This ensures that your product descriptions always have the most relevant keywords included.
Create separate keyword lists for each of your products. Once you’re done, you’ll have a big part of what you need to start ranking high in Amazon’s SERPs.
Write a buyer persona-based description
Your product descriptions need to find a balance between what’s relevant to different people and the keywords you use. Buyer personas help with this because they make sure that your descriptions are targeted to the “right” people and that your products appear in the right searches. This way you have a much better chance of people buying something.
Let’s say you’re a home decor seller, create personas for the types of people you sell to and define them as:
- New home buyers who are single or newly married and are eager to buy trendy decor for their new home.
- Long-time homeowners with school-aged kids and have accumulated lots of stuff and need creative storage solutions.
As you get to know what each group searches for and what they need, you can match keywords to each group. For example, new home buyers might search for wall decor. Your product descriptions for this group should include keywords like “wall hanging” or “damage-free removable art.”
This speaks to the specific group and makes sure your product shows up in search results when customers type in certain keywords. The better your products rank, the better your chances are to increase your CTS and stay high in the rankings.
Make your content readable for when it’s discovered
Now that you know how to find keywords in Amazon and how to incorporate them into your product descriptions, let’s look at some content tips to get customers to take action when they find your product.
1. Focus on selling the product’s benefits, not its features
This product description for the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker stands out because it leads by mentioning a fact customers can relate to —they want fitness to be fun.
Notice how the product description emphasizes how easy it is to incorporate the tracker into day-to-day life, set it up and learn from the data. It’s easy to list all of the things that make your product great. While this is important, people are more interested in what your product can do for them. Your product description needs to show customers what they get out of using your product and how the product solves a problem.
When it’s clear to people what they get out of using a product, they get excited about it. And the more excited your description makes them, the more likely they are to buy something.
2. Keep the description short and to the point
This description for the Foreo Luna Play Plus Facial Cleansing Brush is only two sentences long, but it packs a punch. You only have a few seconds to get your customers’ attention, so avoid text-heavy descriptions. At best, people scan the content and might miss something important. This short description manages to touch on the results of using the product and the fact that there are additional products people can use in the product line.
This description also subtly references an up-sell — Foreo Luna sells lots of other facial brushes for different skin types and needs.
Intrigued customers will click on links to see your other products and with any luck, add more to their cart. The bonus here is that you can rank high in Amazon’s SERPs for one product and help sell other products even if they don’t rank high in their own categories.
3. Keep the product title length short
As a rule of thumb, don’t use any more than 200 characters including spaces. This product title for an oil diffuser manages to fit in lots of information without going overboard.
This gives your products a better chance of turning up in relevant searches if your keywords are here, especially since the A9 algorithm tracks this. If you show up when customers are looking for what you sell, you position yourself to maximize your exposure and sell more.
4. Use bullet points for long descriptions (or product details)
This improves readability. Remember, your customers are at a place where they’re ready to buy something. The last thing you want to do is scare them away with a block of text. It might have the best information included but if people aren’t reading it, what’s the point? These people are just going to click to the next product on the list and buy something else.
This Instant Pot takes what could have been a boring wall of text and breaks it up into six easy-to-read bullet points. People can quickly get the information they need and then take the next step to buy.
The key to remember here is to move customers through to buy something as smoothly as possible and remove anything — like a wall of text — that hurts that process.
Now it’s your turn to get started
Amazon is the biggest online retailer which means that there’s lots of product competition. Look at any category and there are hundreds of product listings for any customer to browse through.
So even though Amazon continues to grow, it’s possible for you to thrive as a seller on Amazon. The secret to success is getting to the top of SERPs by using SEO. Without this, people won’t know your products exist and your sales will suffer.
Plus, an SEO strategy gives you an edge over the competition because, remember, the more sales you make in the short-term — to become a top seller — the more likely you are to stay on the front page of Amazon SERPs.