Complete Guide to Amazon SEO
Wondering how to get your Amazon listings on the first page? Read on to learn how you can rank well using SEO.
October 20, 2021
How to Master Amazon SEO and Move Your Products up the Search Rankings in 2021
Did you know that there are over 30,000 listings on Amazon for the search “dog bandana?” You can’t even scroll through all of those listings. Why? Because nobody wants to. Most Amazon shoppers find what they need on the first page of listings, scrolling through the first 2-3 pages of Amazon's search queries, if absolutely necessary.
This is why it is crucial that you find a way to get your item on the first page of an Amazon search. You can invest in all the right products and have a brilliant business strategy - but if you don’t know how to get your product on the first page, you’re not going to make any profits.
The way to do this is by harnessing the power of search engine optimization, or SEO. In this article, we’re going to give you the basics concerning what SEO is and how to utilize it to maximize your exposure on Amazon.
What is SEO & Why Is It So Important on Amazon?
Before we jump in, let’s define our terms. Amazon Search engine optimization has become a popular topic among bloggers, e-commerce experts, and just about everyone who is active on the web these days.
Search Engine Optimization is the science of understanding what keywords are highly used in search engines, and using that information to craft copywriting with the maximum number of applicable keywords in every element of a piece of writing. This means that the title, description, body content, meta content, and even the URL are “optimized” to contain keywords that are popular at the time of its creation.
This sounds easy enough, but it can be complicated. Keyword popularity is not steady - it changes over time and fluctuates dramatically as trends change and seasons change. In addition, there is a balance between picking the most popular keywords and picking keywords that are just heavily used enough. Good SEO copywriters have an understanding that you might not want to aim to be at the top of a group of 70 million items (whether they be blogs, listings, etc.). It’s much easier to get lost in the crowd there. Rather, you want to be at the top of a smaller, but still impactful group.
Additionally, SEO involves pairing popular keywords together to target a specific audience or niche, rather than the generic crowd of people. SEO is complex, always changing, and cannot simply be learned by reading a few blogs online (even if they are written by the pros). Many companies have someone hired specifically for SEO - apart from their other marketing, social media, and copywriting personnel. This job is critical to the functioning of a healthy business. Especially an e-commerce business.
If you’re reading this article, odds are you don’t have the capacity to hire someone to handle your SEO for you. This is the challenge for many new Amazon entrepreneurs. As a new business owner, you have to wear all the hats - even the ones you aren’t formally trained to wear. Sometimes, that leaves you feeling completely out of your element. But always avoid SEO black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, buying links, spam, or leaving negative reviews on competitor pages to lower their page ranking.
Regardless, it’s important that you learn enough of the basics to get yourself on the first page. This is possible for you, even if you can’t hire someone to do it for you or use you can also use Amazon SEO tools which are not that effective though- and in fact, it’s necessary if you want to succeed with your Amazon FBA business but always avoids SEO black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, buying links, spam, or leaving negative reviews on competitor pages to lower their page ranking.
What This Has to Do With Amazon
You may hear all this and wonder what search engine optimization has anything to do with Amazon. The reality is that now, Amazon is more of a search engine than an online store. The sheer quantity of listings available on Amazon makes it impossible for anyone to scroll through every option, just like it’s impossible to scroll through every page of a Google search.
At the end of the day, Amazon wants to sell more items. To make this happen, they have developed algorithms to sort through the massive amount of listings so that shoppers see what is most relevant to their search first. When they do this correctly, they sell more products.
Amazon uses their Amazon A9 Algorithm software to properly organize listings according to their popularity and relevance. This algorithm is always changing and we’ll never know precisely how it works, but we do know that one of the primary ways this algorithm sorts listings is by their text match relevancy. In other words - how well the words of the listings match up with the search. The algorithm also uses elements such as:
All of these elements work together to ensure that customers see the items that Amazon presumes they are most likely to purchase. Many of these elements can only be improved once you have worked on your keywords enough to increase your organic impressions and sales (the number of times people naturally see your product in their search and buy your product apart from advertisements). Only then can you begin to get the sales, reviews, and clickthrough results that you need to boost your algorithm performance even more.
What About Paid Ads?
So can’t we just sponsor our products constantly so they remain in the first page results? While using PPC advertisements is helpful (especially in the beginning), it can’t be everything. Organic impressions and purchases will rank you higher in the algorithms than sponsored ones.
Sponsored products tend to show up first in an Amazon search, but Amazon also tells buyers what products are showing up because someone paid for the ad and which ones are natural results. Smart buyers tend to bypass the advertisements and look first to the relevant listings.
PPC can do you a lot of good on Amazon, but it can’t be your only strategy. You need to utilize smart SEO in your listings to ensure that your post shows up first when a customer searches online.
What Are Keywords?
Hopefully, by now we’ve convinced you that you need to use SEO on Amazon if you want to do well. So let’s get to the next step: understanding keywords.
Keywords are simply terms and phrases that people enter into search engines online. In regards to your listings or articles, keywords are the primary topics covered in your post. If you’re interested in some of the more nitty-gritty science of keywords, you can find a helpful article here.
Where Do You Find Keywords?
How Do Amazon SEO Keywords Work? Amazon keywords are the search terms (i.e. words and phrases) that people type into the Amazon search bar to find products.
There are many paid apps and services that can help you find relevant keywords to rank well on any given social media or web platform (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Amazon, etc.). Springing for a paid service is your best bet in the long run, but there are some free alternatives if you’re just getting started.
Here’s some options that won’t cost you:
- Google Search Console
- Rank Tracker
- Keywords Everywhere
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
- Answer The Public
- Google Trends
- Keyword Tool Dominator
Most of these options do have priced packages, but their free versions will at least get you started. It’s always a perk if the service has Amazon-specific keyword assistance - but even without it, any keyword generator will help you understand what people are looking for and talking about online. You can also use Amazon Keyword Research Tools to do the hard work for you.
We found some additional helpful tips for finding keywords for your Amazon listing in this video. Check it out!
How to Optimize Your Listings
Once you understand what SEO is and why you need to use quality keywords, the next step is to understand where you need to optimize your listings. The basic answer...everywhere. Anywhere you have an option to insert copy relevant to an Amazon search, you need to do so. You should never leave any field in a listing empty, and they should always maximize keyword usage.
The basics of an Amazon listing include:
- product title
- Bullet Points
Each one of these elements must be maximized. That means you need to include the max amount of characters possible, and utilize as many relevant keywords as possible within those characters. Max out the description field, bullet points, variations, and title with your keyword research findings. Include alt text for all images that is optimized for popular search terms. There is also a specific keyword section in the Amazon listing. This will not show up on your live listing but gives you space to let Amazon know which search terms your listing applies to. Don’t forget to fill this out either!
SEO Alone Isn’t Enough
While you can’t achieve a top ranking Amazon listing without SEO, you also can’t achieve a sustainably top ranking Amazon listing only using SEO. As we mentioned earlier, there are so many factors that contribute to Amazon’s algorithms apart from optimized copy.
- Sales history
- Seller authority
- Clickthrough rate of PPC ads
- Off-site purchases
- Buy box
You need to ensure that each of these categories is performing well in order to achieve long-lasting success on Amazon. That means your price has to be just right. You want to make sure you’re using FBA so you are eligible for the Prime checkmark, Prime shipping, and the buy box (eventually). You will need to gather genuine, positive reviews from your buyers. Your product must be consistently stocked. And on top of all this - you need to master the art of good marketing.
That means using Amazon’s PPC advertisements to their fullest capacity and gaining traffic outside of Amazon. Creating PPC advertisements is not difficult - you don’t need to use a third party to do so. They have their own easy-to-use Sponsored Products Campaigns (instructions from their website below).
Notice how keywords are still necessary for your Amazon ads. While there is an option for Amazon to handle this automatically, if you have a good understanding of SEO you can probably get better results by doing it yourself. You’ll want to use the same keyword research we described earlier to target your sponsored products to the right audience. Ideally, they would be so organic that shoppers forget your product is an advertisement, and assume it is naturally part of their search.
PPC advertising is effective. Amazon notes a 40% increase in orders and a 54% increase in impressions on listings that started sponsoring products. Once you start generating organic traffic, you can start to scale back on your PPC. Amazon PPC is an important marketing tool to master for long-term success on Amazon, but right away it can be an effective way to begin ranking your product and making sales. Step Four: generate sales velocity with an external traffic funnel For the best results, combine your PPC spend with traffic sent from outside Amazon.
When you get a good PPC campaign going on Amazon, the results are exponential. The more impressions, sales, and click-throughs you get - the more your product naturally soars in the organic search. Good SEO strategy paired with quality PPC campaigns is the secret equation for ranking success on Amazon. BOTH of these things require keyword research and optimization.
What About Off-Site Purchases?
Amazon rewards sellers who are able to generate traffic (and purchases) on their site from other sites or platforms. This is why it is so important to utilize social media (or your blog if that’s your thing) to advertise your products. While there are millions of shoppers already on Amazon, they are always eager to increase their audience. If you can manage to get your Instagram followers to purchase your product on Amazon, they will reward you by ranking you higher in the search results.
So, if you don’t already have social media for your business - get to it. You want to be active on all the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok). This may vary of course based on the age range your product targets (if you’re selling denture care products, you can probably stay away from Instagram and TikTok).
Instagram and TikTok have become easy social selling tools because of their engaging nature. Many young people are inspired to purchase by popular trends and videos. On Instagram, you can now mimic TikTok by using their Reels feature. Use this to gain exposure to people who are not already following your page. Scroll through the reels on IG to find trending songs/audio clips, and make your own engaging content there. Not everything has to be an advertisement - just add value and humor to your followers’ lives in a way that connects with your product. Then, intersperse content highlighting the uses of your product and invest in a good link in bio service to ensure followers can easily find what you’re selling.
The more you can get people who are not on Amazon going to Amazon because they want your product, the better. This is part of the secret sauce that most FBA sellers don’t have, because it’s simply harder. Put in the extra work and gain yourself an audience within Amazon and beyond Amazon, so you can rank well on Amazon.
Amazon SEO strategy is one of the most important things for you to learn and practice when it comes to ranking well on Amazon's search results. It all boils down to this: do quality keyword research, fill every text field with optimized terms, use PPC ads with optimized keywords, and gain outside traffic to your store. All of these strategies, combined with professional management of your storefront, will result in your products soaring to the top of the search results quickly.
David Zaleski is an entrepreneur, Amazon seller, and the founder of EcomHub. He's been operating in the eCommerce space since the age of 14 years old. At the age of 18, he started his own Amazon business with just $4,800 in start-up capital.See more posts from this author