2019 Amazon Listing Optimization Guide
Written by: Ryan Flannagan

It’s exciting to think that you can open a successful business on Amazon. Once you realize just how beneficial Amazon’s marketplace can be for your business, you’ll find there’s no real comparison out there for businesses. 

The problem is, though, that there is incredible competition as well. Amazon doesn’t readily share how many sellers it has. It also doesn’t share information about how much each seller is making. Some expert reports indicate there are well over 1.7 million sellers listing products for sale on the site. Your challenge is to stand out. 

In a market full of so much promise and so much competition, what can you do to stand out as a business owner to bring in the profits? One of the tools you have is optimization. Amazon product listing optimization is the method of creating listings for each of your products that are designed to bring sellers to you and to sell at the highest profit margin possible. 

This isn’t Google.  Google is built around user interest and functions in the open.  Amazon is a captive marketplace, all but closed off from outside influence and built specifically to maximize profit – for Amazon.  Therefore it’s necessary for anyone starting on Amazon to throw out the traditional SEO rulebook. Rather, you need to focus on the specific Amazon optimization methods that work. 

Here, we’ll break down, step-by-step, how to create a product listing that’s optimized to bring the site’s most likely buyers for your products to your listings. Put the extra time into this process. It pays off.

Why Aren’t Keywords Good Enough?

If you’ve used search engine optimization previously, you’ve seen just how powerful Google is. A bit of a tweak of their algorithm, and down go your page views. Optimizing your Amazon product listing is a powerful method of drawing customers into your business. It’s more than just getting the site to rank your listing, though. You also need to make the content of your product listing eye-catching and detailed enough to get buyers to buy.  More purchases means more visibility, and, in turn, more purchases.  This is what we call the “flywheel effect” of Amazon.

What Are the Benefits of Organic Amazon Keyword Ranking?

Let’s be clear here. There are dozens of benefits to using the right tools to rank your product listing organically on Amazon:

  • You get more visitors to your product detail pages, the most likely pages where customers will buy from you.
  • You get visitors that are more likely to buy from you – these are targeted buyers who know what they want and just need a push to buy it.
  • Those visitors who come to your site begin their brand journey with you on this listing. If your listing is basic, boring, or lacking information, they will quickly start looking  for another buyer.
  • You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t invest in ranking. Simply, you will see less success on the site if you don’t optimize including from a lower click through rate and less traffic.
  • If they do buy, perhaps because your product is the only option, your buyers are not likely to come back to you. They won’t remember you or what you provided to them.

It’s valuable and it’s necessary. With Amazon product listing optimization, you will have higher conversion rates, more sales, and bigger profits. There isn’t a top-earning product listing on the site that’s not properly optimized.

Jumping In – Learn Amazon A10 Algorithm’s Role

We’ve alluded to optimizing Amazon product listings as a bit like search engine optimization. However, Amazon doesn’t use the same algorithm or methods to rank as the search engines. You can’t apply what you know about Google directly to Amazon.

Rather, you need to learn Amazon A10 Algorithm. A10 is a subdivision of Amazon. The organization takes incredible amounts of data along with the way people use the site to determine how to properly index its catalog of products. As soon as a person arrives at the site and types in a few keystrokes, the program is making suggestions about what the consumer is looking for and provides options.

To achieve this highly accurate type of organization, A10 uses artificial intelligence to scan product listings, read them, and to analyze all of the data on them to feed into this system. It ultimately determines which products are going to match the consumer’s inquiries on the site best and then ranks them from best to less match-worthy.

We don’t have a way to access all of the details of A10. However, we do know that this is an ongoing, ever-evolving system that pulls information on a routine basis with the goal of providing more relevant product options for the Amazon buyer.

As such, sellers need to keep informed on the latest changes & updates regarding A10 so our products rank the highest within the algorithm.

How to Optimize Amazon Listing Data Based on A10

To get started, let’s focus on the core elements that are essential as you work to build your product listing.

#1: Relevant Content

At the core of Amazon’s product listing methods is relevancy. To be relevant to any search a consumer is conducting, your product listing needs to contain good-quality content. Amazon positions those listings with the search terms and keywords specifically used by the user towards the top. Text relevance, as it is called, is important. Things like keyword-rich content really helps here.

#2: Sales Velocity Figures

This can pose a bit difficult for those just starting out, but sales velocity will become more important to your product listings over time. In short, this is based on the speed at which users purchase product on a listing and the dollar amount of those transactions. All things being equal, the product listings with the highest velocity will alwaysr ank higher for any given keyword.

#3:Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

Fulfillment By Amazon means Amazon is managing your inventory in their warehouses and handles the shipping process (along with customer service and other aspects of the transaction) for you. A product of using FBA for your listings is that it tends to cause listings to rank higher in search results than those that are not. For this reason, you want to be within this program if you can. Want to learn more about Amazon FBA? Check out our in-depth Amazon FBA Guide.

Begin with the Keywords – What Words Are People Really Using?

In all forms of optimization – on and off Amazon – many product sellers fail in this area. They simply think they “know” what keywords are the best suited for their products. They guess at what people are looking for instead of conducting real research.

Keyword research is an essential step that doesn’t have to be hard to do. Your goal is to determine which terms people are using when they are searching for the products you are selling. These are the terms you will use within your product listing.

Though more comprehensive keyword research is best, you don’t have to start there to get your listing up. If you are not interested in investing much in keyword research just yet, consider these tools to help you get started.

To get started, work to create a list of the most likely words people use within their searches for the products you offer. You’ll want to include a mixture of keywords including those that are more in-depth and those that are very specific. Longer keywords may have less competition from other listings and therefore may be easier to rank for and corner a consistent source of sales.  Broader, shorter keywords may be harder to rank for but may have such a great search volume that just making it to the first page of search results is a win.

How to Find Keywords – A Prime for Keyword Research

Let’s break down the process of finding keywords by a few rules. Follow these steps to get your keywords organized and ready to include: 

  • Use the tools recommended. Create a list of the keywords that seem to fit your products the best across each of the tools. You’ll need to come back to this list over time. Keep it organized in a spreadsheet, for example, so you can list the popularity of each keyword.
  • Come back to this list over time, at least one time a month, to update it. Search terms will change throughout the year.
  • If you are not sure a term fits with the products you offer, go to Amazon.com and type that keyword into the site. Does it bring up products that are similar to your own?
  • Take a look at your competitor’s listings. Check out what keywords they are using. You don’t have to use the same thing, but you want to include some of those keywords if their listing listed before your own.
  • Keep track of which keywords you use and where. Over time, you’ll want to test these keywords to see which ones work best to create the best sales for you.
  • For content that is to be seen by users, make sure your keywords don’t repeat often, and are formed into logical statements (no stuffing!).
  • For optimization inside of the backend keyword section, be sure to add your product’s categories, misspellings, features, variants and any way you might imagine a potential customer would search for your product.
  • You also want to consider who your target buyer is. In some areas, keywords need to be selected based on that audience.

How to Optimize within Your Product Descriptions and Listings

A product listing on Amazon has four specific components that you need to optimize. This includes the product title, the product’s images, the features section, and the product description. Each one of these areas is equally important.

  1. Title
  2. Images
  3. Features
  4. Description

Optimize Your Amazon Listing Product Title

Here’s where to start. Your product listing title is the first thing that should grab the attention of your buyers. It’s always important to ensure this has your main keywords included. Here are some rules to remember:

  • Use your brand name. If your brand name is important to your target audience, include it. There is always an advantage to customers recognizing your brand name and associating it with a quality experience, and it is significantly more cost-effective to maintain repeat purchasers than it is to acquire new ones.
  • Add keywords that “sound” right. You don’t want to include keywords that don’t read well or flow in normal speech. It’s a good idea to ensure these keywords are spot-on specific to your product.
  • Include a keyword (if possible) with features listed. Choose a feature that helps your product to be more desirable to the buyer.

Optimize the Amazon Listing’s Product Features List

This is another key component of Amazon listing optimization. While keywords are important here, your features need to sell your product. They should always be clear and easy to understand.

They also must be accurate. Here are a few key rules to follow:

  • Incorporate long-form feature lists. This gives you more room to include a keyword that’s important to your product.
  • List out features based on importance to the consumer. Those that are most likely valuable to them should be at the top of the list.
  • Incorporate features that help your product stand out from the competitor’s. This is where the reader will scan first, making it a valuable element within their buying decision.
  • If you have any to offer, including guarantees here. This is one thing that eases the minds of consumers, giving them a reason to buy from a seller they don’t know.
  • Provide a least one benefit statement. That is, your product listing should include one example of how the product works to solve a problem that your customers have.

Product listing features should not be copied from other listings. This doesn’t help your listing to rank better. Even if you have a product that is just about the same, you want the features to make it stand out. Remember, A10 uses this list to rank your product. What do you want it to rank for?

Optimize the Amazon Listing’s Product Description

The product description is an area where you’ll have more room to talk about your product. To a degree, this is a good place to include keywords because it gives you more freedom. However, if you pack it full of keywords, it’s not going to read well. This is your primary way to sell your product – don’t let it short-sell your product. Here are a few rules for optimizing this area:

  • Expect your buyer to read it. As a result, it needs to read well. Make it feature-focused and detailed.
  • Use a feature – benefit structure when possible. Don’t just talk about a feature, but tell the reader what that feature is important to them.
  • Keep it easy to read. You can incorporate taglines, for example, to help to break up the sections to ensure it remains easy to read.
  • Use keywords as they fit with the features you’re describing. Be sure to be descriptive. Use power words within your product descriptions.
  • When possible, explain to the customer more than what the product is. Give them an indication of why they need it.

Product description areas are a good area to provide a storytelling experience. Discuss what the product is and why customers buy it. This is where you’ll want to polish your marketing a bit to ensure it is thorough but easy to understand. Keep the tech-talk to a minimum unless that’s what your target audience expects.

When creating the content for your product listing, there are various components that need to come together. However, it is best to write out your content as a first step. Be sure each important feature as a way to stand out. Then, go back and include a few of the keywords you’ve determined are valuable. This way, you know you’re communicating the value.

This content isn’t set in stone. That is, you can come back and change it at any time. You are likely to do this as you create your first product listings. Be as clear as you can, but ensure it reads well. (Don’t forget to the spellcheck, too!)

What About Videos and Images?

You are allowed 7 images for each listing and each image should be giving your user a greater and greater sense of what the product is, color in all the little details of the product you are selling. You can also include relevant videos, such as a demonstration of how your product works.

These are also areas to add a few keywords. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when it comes to videos and images:

  • They simply must be professional.  Professional product photographers have different skill sets from other disciplines of photography, and Amazon photographers are an even more niche subset of that discipline.  Do not rely on the expertise of your cousin who loves photography. Search for and hire a professional with experience with commercial product photography. If your images do not look professional, your customers will move on to the next best thing.
  • Include keywords and descriptive words within the tags for your images. This is an easy place to add a few more.
  • Choose images that make sense. For example, show the product being used. Show the product from all sides. There’s no benefit to pictures that don’t tell the specific story of your product.

Invest in clear and easy-to-read images. Close-ups can be important for many products. Remember, this is a big selling feature. If you can’t show people what they are going to buy – and ensure they understand it – chances are good they will look for another product that gives them what they need.

How Much Do Customer Reviews Help with Product Listing Optimization on Amazon?

An area you may think you don’t have a lot of control over is customer reviews. However, product ratings and reviews have a direct link to how well your listing performs on Amazon. People want to buy things others have purchased and appreciated. This is especially true if they don’t know your product or your brand well.

Having 5 reviews increases purchase likelihood in 4 times

The more customer reviews you have, the more likely your Amazon listing will be placed in front of your target buyers. There are two main components of your product reviews that matter here – customer reviews themselves and also the question and answer section.

Boosting Customer Reviews

A component of your optimization needs to focus on getting customer reviews. When you sell a product, you need to connect with the buyer to encourage this. Don’t assume it’s going to happen. Most of the time, customers will leave a review if they are happy with the customer service they get.

  • Send them a message over Buyer-Seller Messaging Services asking them how well their product fit their needs.
  • Ask for the review in follow-up messages.
  • Use your package for a bit of help – a simple parcel insert requesting a review can help this to happen.

It’s important for you to know all of Amazon’s guidelines for reviews. You can view them at the Customer Product Reviews page. These can change from time-to-time. Most importantly, don’t try to pay for reviews. Don’t ask people to review your product if they have not purchased it either.

You can consider using Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program. This allows you to get your first reviews on a product faster. That, ultimately, can influence if you get additional sales. If you enroll in this program, Amazon will contact some of the buyers of your product to ask them to review it. There are a range of rules and guidelines for this process. Keep in mind that Amazon will reward those who leave a detailed review with an incentive.

What To Do About Negative Reviews

This is one of the biggest fears for many sellers: the dreaded negative review. It’s important to have a system in place to help mitigate when negative feedback is received. If you receive a negative review, you can always comment on it, or identify the reviewer and send them a message in Buyer-Seller Messaging. Provide your perspective of what happened or went wrong. However, never attack or accuse the reviewer in a negative way, or tell them to remove their review.  Rather, provide good customer service here. Although unlikely, doing so might convince the customer to come back to the review and amend or remove it.

Consumers spend 4 times more interacting with negative reviews, it increases conversion rate in 67%

Utilizing Questions and Answers

There’s another area of your product listing that can provide an excellent amount of support for you – the question and answer section. This is an area where prospective customers can ask you, as the seller, or other customers, to provide information and clarity about the product to them. Sometimes, the questions are answered in the product listing’s description (if not, you may want to add these details). However, there’s more to it than just this.

You should address any questions as soon as possible. Be sure your customers are only receiving accurate information if provided by other customers. This is an excellent time to showcase your skills as a brand. Be sure to be professional and upbeat. Engage with your customers here. You can always use this as a way to connect with your customers.

Amazon Product Listing Optimization Opportunities Not to Miss

Now that you have the basics of your Amazon product listing in place, it’s time to review some additional tips and tricks that can help you to ensure it performs at its best.

Investing in Professional Copywriting

Here’s the secret to how so many Amazon sellers do well with product listings that look so professional, beautiful, and spot on accurate. They hire a pro to do the work for them. Is it worthwhile? Quite frankly, the answer is yes in most cases.

Professional copywriting services can help not just to get the details on the page but also to sell it without being pushy. If you have ample experience in this area and understand marketing concepts, then you may not need a pro. However, if you’ve never written content for digital marketing purposes, now is the time to take a closer look at how a professional Amazon marketing agency can help you.

23

seconds is all you have to sell your product. Every word matters

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seconds is all you have to sell your product
Every word matters

This is also a good way to work on branding for your company. Initially, you may be focused on getting that first product up and selling. However, over the next few weeks and months, you’ll want to add more. By having a consistent brand voice from a pro copywriter, you’ll build a successful customer base.

Tap Into Videos on Amazon Listings

The largest brands on the site are implementing more use of video because of the response it gets. Why don’t more sellers do so? It could be because it seems hard to do or too costly. Others aren’t sure what to provide in a video.

Here are some tips:

  • Incorporate a customer experience video that showcases what a customer purchased, what they received, and how they made it work. Unboxing types of videos aren’t hard to get from your customers who love your product and your excellent customer service.
  • Highlight product features in the video. It’s always important to put images to words. Features that are hard to understand or see the benefit of can be explained better in videos.
  • Demonstrate how it works. Seeing is believing when it comes to products.

Keep in mind that not all sellers have access to videos. It’s important to consider this opportunity, though, if it is available to you.

Fill Out Search Terms

You want keywords to help get people to your listing. The search terms section of your Amazon listing can help. This is a back-end feature – not something your customers will see. It’s easy enough to fill in. Add the primary keywords you’ve researched here, including any that you could not get into the product’s title. Avoid including keywords you used in the title already. You also do not want to include the brand name, terms like “cheap” or “discount” or your seller’s name.

Split Testing Your Amazon Product Listing

Split testing allows you to test the waters for any product listing you create and launch. It gives you a way to find out what works and what doesn’t work as well. To do this on Amazon, your goal is to find out what consumers are really looking at and reacting to within your product listing.

There are many aspects of your listing that you can and should consider split testing. Here are a few of the key elements of your listing to review in this manner.

Images

Because these are so vital to your product’s success on the listing, it is very important to have the most effective image possible. With split testing, you can try out different options to see which one brings customers to you. Using a unique image, one that’s not like everyone else’s, you may be able to stand out enough to get sellers to you.

Product Titles

We’ve talked a good deal about the importance of the Amazon product listing’s title. This is a good place to do some testing, too. Here, you want to see how people respond to the words you include, especially if you are placing a lot of features or a keyword here. Product title split testing can reveal what consumers are most likely to click on, but also how well one version or the other performs with Amazon’s algorithm.

Feature Lists

Yet another important component, be sure your feature lists are on-point. Split testing gives you some insight into that. Are you using the right features? Are you ordering the features with the most important towards the top of the list? Is your feature list too hard to read? You want to really consider every aspect of this list to ensure it is bringing people in to the product description or encouraging them to buy.

Product Description

This is also a valuable area for split testing. You can try out different formats. Consider ordering the information in a different manner. You always want the description to read well to humans, but you also know the value of putting a few keywords into it. Consider the placement of those keywords. Keep in mind you need your description to be readable. For that to happen, you want to keep paragraphs short and to the point

Explore Amazon PPC Strategies

Sponsored Product Ads, the most common Pay-per-click ads on Amazon are not necessarily the first step for sellers. It’s more important to optimize your listing so it performs well. However, as you increase your inventory levels and seek your rankings begin to rise organically, you may want to consider PPC strategies that can drive up your sales. 

Because consumers who shop on Amazon usually already have an idea of what they want to buy in mind, paid search can work well, especially if you are targeting long-tail keywords. Paid search results are those boxes you see on the listings that seem to be in the middle of all of the organically ranked product listings. They can also show up along the sides. 

If you want to use PPC, you will need to develop a strategy and test it. That means choosing profitable keywords that convert to sales for your product. You also want to focus on the cost of these bids. Over time, you’ll devise a plan that works – or you’ll turn to an Amazon strategist to help you to use PPC to its best level for your product.

Tips and Common Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid with Amazon Product Listings

You’ve got the key information you need to start your Amazon seller’s account and get your first listing up. The question is, what’s going to hold you back? Before you run off, consider these tips and tricks.

Here’s What Not to Do

You don’t want to get thrown off the site already. That’s why you need to avoid these common mistakes that are costly.

  • You can only have one seller account. Don’t try to have a second. It’s a violation of Amazon policy.
  • Don’t tell customers to go to your website to learn more or to make a purchase. That’s a no-no. Amazon’s rules are very specific in this area. They want the entire transaction to remain on the site.
  • Don’t include inaccurate information or leave out key information that’s critical to the buying decision. You don’t want to mislead customers on your product in any way.
  • Never include sales or coupon information in your product titles. You don’t want to include anything like “lowest price on Amazon” in these titles.
  • Do not ever purchase your own product, have employees or family members purchase your product, or offer compensation of any kind (discounts, rebates) in exchange for reviews.  Seller accounts can be suspended indefinitely for these kinds of actions.

Here’s How to Improve Your Rankings on Amazon

Now, consider a few tips and steps to take to get better rankings as your product listing goes live. Remember, coming back and reviewing, improving your product listing on Amazon is always a good idea. It gives you a constant way to improve.

  • Make your product descriptions tell a story. It’s important to show a real impact in what they can offer to the would-be buyer. It’s a good idea to provide more detail to ensure the reader truly grasps the benefit of the product.
  • Use backend terms fully. Include Spanish keywords here. You can also add a lot of descriptive text that you couldn’t really fit well into your product description. For example, add keywords that describe the item in various ways.
  • Do encourage authentic reviews of your products. Amazon doesn’t allow fake reviews. However, you can encourage your buyers to leave a review for you. To do this, consider an email feedback sequence that encourages buyers to leave a review. There are tools to help you with this.
  • If you have not done so, use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). It is one of the best ways to rank above the competition not using the service. For some sellers, this can seem like a big step, but it doesn’t have to be and it can be the catalyst to driving sales to your listing.

View your Amazon product listing as your storefront. If you were selling your product in a store, what would you do to position it front and center? How would you dress up the store to ensure people came to it? Optimizing your Amazon listing page is a valuable step in this process. It’s the best way to encourage people to stop by and get to know what you have to offer.

If your first listing attempt doesn’t seem to create the buzz you desire, update it. Add better photos. Take a look at your keyword usage – is it too much? Look at your description and your competition. When you consistently work at these areas, you are likely to see your listing improve.

Stay up to date on Amazon’s rules and A10 changes. Or, make the entire process easier by hiring an Amazon consultant to help you with every step of the process. The bottom line is that this is where you need to be to sell through e-commerce today. There’s a rich opportunity for sellers who commit to improving their listings and who have a valuable product to offer. Is that you?

Need Some Help with Your Product Listing?

This is a critical component of doing well on Amazon. Learning how to optimize listings on Amazon can define your success. That’s why it may be best to have a pro step in to help you. Contact us to learn more about the services we offer as Amazon consultants.

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