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Disclaimer: 2-Step URLs may be considered a violation of Amazon’s Terms in relation to “Misuse of Search and Browse”. Use with caution.
The days of simplicity for Amazon sellers are gone. No longer can you find a solid product and just watch it rank high on its own. Amazon has become far too competitive, and sellers are far too crafty.
In the dog-eat-dog world of Amazon, it’s essential to maximize sales from both internal (Amazon search rankings) and external (social media ads, blogs, etc.) channels. For this reason, sellers are looking for a way to drive external traffic, while at the same time increasing their rank for high-volume Amazon keywords.
The 2-Step URL is the latest method used by Amazon sellers to achieve this. In this article, we’re going to have a look at how you could use 2-Step URLs to land super valuable organic sales on Amazon.
What is a 2-Step URL?
The idea of a 2-Step URL is to replicate a search for a specific keyword when you direct someone to your listing. This way, you can run campaigns targeted at getting your listing to rank at or near the top for your desired search term.
A 2-Step URL does exactly as the name says. It provides the customer with two steps. First, they are directed to a keyword search result page. Then the customer clicks through to your product listing, replicating the same keyword search with a unique timestamp.
Your 2-Step URL will look something like this:
This will bring up a search for “coffee grinder” in this company’s storefront. You’ll see the keywords used for the search at the end of the URL.
If the shopper makes a purchase through that link, Amazon’s algorithm will see it as the result of an organic search. Thus increasing your product’s rank in future searches for that search term.
How do I create a 2-Step URL?
The good news is you don’t need any fancy URL creators or shady services to produce your URL. It takes less than a minute to find your storefront URL, and make a URL that replicates the search term you desire.
First, go to your Amazon storefront. Here’s how to get there: go to one of your product listings and click on your store name’s link. So either right under your title, or by where it says “Sold by.” And click on your Amazon seller name (JavaPresse Coffee Company in this example).
[You may have to log out of your seller account to be able to access your storefront. Amazon will only show items in a storefront page that you are able to purchase. This means if you are in a country they don’t deliver to, or you are the seller of those products, they won’t show.]
From this page, click on the link to your storefront.
This will take you through to a page with all your active listings. Now put your targeted keyword in the search bar at the top. You’ll notice that instead of searching within a specific department, the search is now within only your Amazon store.
Once you search for your keyword within your Amazon storefront, you’ll have your 2-Step URL. If you have more than one product appearing for the same keyword, you might want to narrow the search even further to show only your desired listing.
Do this by adding the product ASIN at the end of the URL. After the keyword(s), add “&field-asin=[yourASIN]”.
The result will be a search, within your storefront, for a specific search term, isolated to the ASIN you specified.
Alternative 2-Step URLs
A storefront URL is the most common to use, as it reduces the chances that your customer could accidentally buy someone else’s product. However there are different variations of the 2-Step URL, which some sellers find more or less effective.
2-Step Brand URL
The brand URL works the same way, except the search is within the brand search page. This may or not be the same name as your store, however the brand page appears differently to the storefront page.
In this example, the brand is “Nintendo”:
A 2-Step brand URL with keywords will bring up a search results page like this:
As for how to create a brand URL, it’s a little trickier than a storefront URL. Since Amazon won’t let you do a manual search confined to the brand page, you won’t be able to replicate this URL on your own. Rather, you will need a service or software to automate this search (luckily, LandingCube’s URL builder does just that!).
This is a newly discovered method of using a 2-Step URL. It confines a keyword search to a particular ASIN. As with other variants of the 2-Step URL, a click from this page will result in an organic clickthrough, containing your added search term.
Take this example:
This is effective as it ensures your ASIN is the only one that will show up on the results page. Further reducing the chance of your customer clicking and buying a different product.
To create a field-ASIN URL, copy the format above. All you need to change are the bolded terms (keywords, and ASIN). Be sure to include a “+” sign in between if your keyword has multiple words.
How to Boost Your Listing Using 2-Step URLs
So finding your 2-Step URL is not hard. But how do you use this to get your listing to the top of Amazon’s SERP?
You will need to get this link out to as many potential customers on non-Amazon traffic channels. As much as the Amazon search algorithm changes, three factors continue to be vital to rank high – sales, reviews and conversion rate. That means whatever you do, if you’re not getting a lot of sales on your listing, it’s unlikely you will see much movement.
The first step to using 2-Step URLs for your listing is to choose which keywords to target. If you do your homework at this step, it will show.
The best practice is to use a tool created for Amazon sellers to track keyword search volume. Jungle Scout has a popular tool used by a lot of successful sellers. Or you can check out the tools mentioned in this post, such as Helium10 and Sellics.
Keywords that have a lot of searches are the ones which will be worth your while to target. Getting to #1, or close to it, for these terms will likely deliver your listing a considerable boost in organic traffic. However, you should also consider the relevance to your product. The keyword “blender” may get a lot of searches, but it’s pointless to try and rank for this term if you’re selling a microwave oven. You want to only rank for related keywords, which are likely to result in a sale.
Another factor to consider is the competition. If the top ten listings for a particular keyword don’t have a lot of reviews, then it will be easier for you to overtake them.
Use LandingCube’s URL Builder
LandingCube Full-Time Seller and Large Business plans come equipped with a URL builder, directly in the campaign creation wizard. This makes it quick and easy for you to create multiple URLs, targeted at multiple keywords.
Best practice would be to start out targeting one or two keywords, and depending on the sales velocity your campaign brings in, you may want to expand this to target several more.
Plan your campaign
Once you have your ideal, high-volume, relevant keyword and the corresponding 2-Step URL, you need to plan how you’re going to get your listing to the top. Putting your links out in blog posts and on social media is a start, but to take the top spot, you need to run a targeted campaign aimed at quickly increasing sales velocity.
The best way to do this is by running a discount promo code campaign with LandingCube. Direct external traffic to a landing page, where you give them a single-use promo code. Add your 2-Step URL with the LandingCube URL builder. Once a customer claims a coupon, they’ll be sent to the listing through your special URL, boosting your keyword rankings.
The actual amount of the discount is up to you. But it would be a good idea to run a substantial discount, to encourage the uptick in sales velocity needed to rank your listing #1. Although if you want to get more reviews, especially verified reviews, it’s best to keep discounts below 30%.
Find your target audience
Your targeting is essential if you want to see good results. Sending promo codes to people who have no interest in what you’re selling will just waste time, and ad spend.
If you have an email list of people who have shown an interest in your products or bought from you before, this can be a great place to start. Just be careful when you send offers to customers who have already purchased the same product. It can be great for products like supplements or beauty care, which customers are likely to buy again. But you don’t want to annoy people by sending them discounts for a product they already bought.
Social media ads generally offer high-level targeting and a large user base for you to target. See our guide for how to set up effective targeting for your Facebook ads.
Run your campaign for at least a week
The best way to boost your listing to #1 is running a short, targeted, discount campaign. Essentially making a lot of sales in a short time, through the search term you’re trying to rank for.
Be careful about making your campaign too short, though. You may see a lot of sales in just a day or so, and deem the campaign a success. However, many experts claim Amazon’s search ranking takes into account a rolling average for sales velocity. So it’s important to sustain a high number of sales for more than just a few days. At least a week is best, as with Helium10’s 8-day CPR ranking method.
You may be a bit reluctant to run a promotion that may be costing you money, for this long. But consider the benefits of a successful campaign. Generally, slightly under 70% of clicks on a search engine results page will go to the first five results. Shoppers will very rarely navigate past the first page. If your listing is sitting on page two (or lower), or if you’re launching a new product, you can easily make up the cost of running your campaign with an uptick in organic traffic.
Are 2-Step URLs Legal?
The legality of things such as 2-Step URLs and Super URLs remains a bit of a grey area.
Amazon’s Terms of Service forbids “Activities that could be perceived as attempting to manipulate Amazon’s search results or sales rankings”. Whether this includes directing traffic through specific keywords is unclear.
Amazon has not given any information on the matter, and at this stage, we are not aware of any sellers facing disciplinary action for using 2-Step URLs. If Amazon cracks down, it’s likely they will do so with a change to the search algorithm or URL structure, that may render this method defunct.
2-Step URLs vs. Amazon Super URLs in 2018
Super URLs, up until recently, were the big thing for Amazon sellers trying to artificially inflate keyword search volume. And while it’s not 100% clear, most sellers report that Super URLs don’t work anymore.
2-Step URLs differ from Super URLs in that the customer still has to click through to your product listing. Thus, each time you direct someone to your storefront URL, the result will be a unique click with a unique timestamp.
There are enough reports from seasoned Amazon sellers to show that the day of the Super URL is over, but 2-Step URLs are still effective.
What Does The Future Hold For Amazon Keyword Rankings?
Amazon keeps the details of their search algorithm secret, and that’s not likely to change. The common perception is that an adjustment stopped Super URLs working not long ago. It’s not unlikely that the same thing will happen for 2-Step URLs as well.
By all means, take advantage of unique URLs to target specific keywords. But never rely on this, or Amazon rankings in general, to hold up your business. A single change to the algorithm and everything can come falling down.
To build your business to be sustainable for the long term, focus on the basics. Sell great products, provide great service, and build a powerful brand.