Amazon SEO is one of the most important things to understand as an Amazon seller. It’s the basis for why selling on the Amazon marketplace is so beneficial.
In this post, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about SEO on Amazon. We’ll explain what it is and how it works, and share the three foundations upon which Amazon SEO operates. After that, we’ll help you craft your Amazon SEO strategy, as well as how you can maintain your performance long-term.
Keep reading for more on how to do SEO for Amazon.
What is Amazon SEO?
Amazon SEO, or Amazon Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing product listings for Amazon’s search results. In particular, it’s about generating the most visibility and traffic possible.
Why is Amazon SEO Important?
Better Amazon SEO means the potential for more sales, and less money spent to generate each sale.
Amazon gets over 200 million visitors per month. Most of these visitors search for things to buy using Amazon’s search engine.
The higher you can rank your product for relevant keywords, and the more overall keywords your product shows up for, the greater the number of Amazon shoppers who will see your product (and potentially buy it).
The most important part, the part that makes Amazon SEO performance so valuable, is that these sales are essentially free. Organic sales – meaning sales that come from customers finding your product in organic search results, not from paid ads – have a higher profit margin, as there’s no ad spend required.
That means the higher the percentage of sales you get from organic search results, the more money you have to take home as profit or reinvest into your business.
The Impact of Sponsored Results on SEO
Today, there are more sponsored (paid) results in search results, and special results like editorial recommendations, Amazon’s choice, and related searches, which take away from organic places on the first page.
Does that mean that Amazon SEO is no longer as important as it once was?
To an extent, yes. There are fewer organic results, and the top organic result is no longer as high up on the page as it once was.
But that doesn’t mean it’s no longer worth investing in Amazon SEO. There’s still more than enough organic sales potential through Amazon search. Sure, there are more opportunities to pay to bypass organic results. But the competition in Amazon PPC is higher, and thus so is the cost, increasing how much you can save by generating sales organically instead.
How Does Amazon SEO Work?
For all search engines, there’s some kind of search engine optimization process.
Google, for example, is the world’s most popular search engine, which is why Google SEO is a massive industry.
All forms of SEO start with an understanding of how that particular search engine works. You want to know what factors the search engine uses to decide which products to rank, and in which position.
With this information, you can reverse engineer it to maximize the chance of your results coming out on top.
All search engines are run by a software algorithm. Let’s look at how Amazon’s algorithm works.
The Amazon Search Algorithm
The algorithm that runs Amazon search is known as the A9 (or A10) algorithm.
These terms are not used officially by Amazon (at least not anymore). Whether Amazon uses them internally is unclear. But that’s what you’ll see in the Amazon seller community.
Amazon’s A9 algorithm is a proprietary software, built by Amazon. It was originally its own company, hosted at A9.com (this domain now redirects to Amazon.com).
The focus of the A9 algorithm is to deliver the best results for Amazon whenever someone searches for a product. This means maximizing revenue generated per search.
How does it do that? By recommending products that are most likely to lead to a sale. This is what we’re going to explore in-depth in the next section.
The algorithm is constantly being updated, improved, and refined, to better serve this focus. There are many minor updates, though it’s believed that a larger rework of the search algorithm took place around 2020. After this update, most people now refer to the A9 algorithm as the A10 algorithm.
The name is not important. What is important are the goals of the search algorithm, which have not changed. With these goals, we get three core tenets that Amazon sellers should follow with Amazon SEO.
The 3 Core Tenets of Amazon SEO
There are three things at the heart of Amazon SEO. While the weight of certain ranking factors may fluctuate with algorithm updates, these core principles don’t change.
So, when crafting your SEO strategy, it’s advised that you focus on these tenets, as opposed to individual ranking factors. The core tenets are how the search engine gives each customer results that are optimized to maximize revenue.
To improve SEO for your Amazon product listings, focus on Relevance, Popularity, and Customer Experience.
Let’s dive deeper into each of these three elements now.
1: Relevance (Keyword Optimization)
The first tenet is relevance.
Shoppers want to see relevant results for their search queries.
If you search for a toaster, you want the results to show toasters. You don’t want food processors, microwaves, and hot plates in your search results.
Search queries can get more specific than this as well. You might get people searching for “waterproof hiking backpack over 40ml”. It’s in Amazon’s best interest to show results that fit this query.
The Amazon search algorithm uses keywords to figure out what product listings are relevant to a search. It scans the words on a listing, in areas such as the product title, product description, and backend keywords fields, and decides whether or not it fits the search.
Of course, it’s not only keywords that dictate relevance. The Amazon search engine has become more sophisticated over the years, evolving past being 100% reliant on keywords. It also takes into account conversion rate and click-through rate for particular keywords, to further ensure that product listings only show up for relevant keywords in search results.
2: Popularity (Sales and Conversion Rate)
The second tenet is popularity. Once the algorithm has ensured that the search results show only relevant products, it wants to provide popular and best-selling products as recommendations.
One reason for this is obvious. Amazon wants to recommend products with a proven history of converting shoppers into buyers.
Sales history, sales velocity, and conversion rate all play a part in this.
Additionally, showing popular products in the search results is more likely to convince people to come back and shop on Amazon again. A lot of Amazon’s revenue comes from repeat customers. They’re more likely to generate repeat buyers if people are confident they’re getting the best quality products recommended when they use the Amazon search box.
3: Customer Experience
The third and final tenet is the customer experience.
This is, again, a way to maximize repeat customers. It’s not just about the quality of the product (though this is important too), but that customers have a pleasant shopping experience.
Product reviews and seller feedback play a part in this. It also takes into account how smooth the path is for a customer to make a purchase.
This can be as small as ensuring products are in stock, and that Amazon customers have enough information on your listing to make an informed purchase.
The Amazon search algorithm is sophisticated enough to be able to generate granular information related to the customer experience, which it uses in its search rankings. As an Amazon seller, you don’t need to know the specifics. You just need to know that you can benefit from providing a great customer experience.
7 Steps to Craft Your Amazon SEO Strategy
The previous information was mostly theory. Let’s now look at the practical side.
Here are seven things you should do as part of your Amazon SEO strategy to get your product listing to the top of the search results.
The first step is keyword research. Keywords are the foundation of almost any type of SEO. If you don’t even know what search terms you’re trying to rank for, the rest of the strategy doesn’t matter.
There are two steps here. First, come up with a few keywords that will be your core keywords. These are the most relevant keywords, with the highest search volume. You’ll put more effort into ranking for these keywords, because they have the highest sales potential, should you get your product listing to rank.
Second, find as many relevant keywords as possible. Most products have a huge number of search terms that shoppers might use to find them. The more of these search terms you can show up for, the more searches your product will show in, and the higher your sale potential is.
Get a keyword research tool, and spend time coming up with a full list of keywords for your product. Check out what keywords competitors are mentioning, in their product titles, product descriptions, etc. Spare no effort at this point, as it will increase the overall potential of your SEO strategy.
Long-tail Keywords vs Short-Tail Keywords
One note on keyword research is to understand long and short-tail keywords.
You’re going to find some keywords that are short and broad. For example, “pillow” or “backpack”.
These generally have a lot of search volume. However, they’re not very focused. If someone searches for “backpack”, there are a lot of different types of products they could be looking for.
On the other end, you’ve got long-tail keywords. These are longer search terms, with multiple words. Examples could be “hiking backpack with water bladder” or “pillow standard size set of 4”.
These keywords tend to have fewer people searching for them. But they’re much more focused, and generally much more likely to lead to a sale.
Don’t get caught up in looking at search volume alone when judging the most important keywords for your product listing. You may get in front of more people by ranking for a short-tail, high-volume keyword. But these people are not as far along in the purchasing journey and are often not ready to buy right away.
You might find you get more sales by focusing your SEO efforts on long-tail keywords with less search volume but more focused intent.
The next step is to place the keywords you’ve found in your product listing.
There’s an art to doing this effectively. You’ll have a large list of relevant keywords, and only so much real estate to use them.
You have to balance keyword inclusion with writing your product listing to maximize conversion rate as well. Which means your product listing has to read well, and the keywords should feel natural. Keyword stuffing will just turn away potential customers.
It’s also important here to prioritize the most important keywords in the most important areas.
Your product title is the top spot. This is where you’ve got the least room, and where the most important keywords should go.
You’ve got more of a chance of ranking and getting click-throughs if the keyword is in your product title. So reserve this space for 2-3 keywords that are super-relevant and that have the most search volume.
After this, add keywords to your bullet points and product description. This is a good place to start adding long-tail keywords. Fill your bullet points with specific use cases for your product, which generally have high search intent. “Running shoes for _____”, for example.
Try to include as many keyword variations in the bullet points, while keeping it brief and readable. Amazon only indexes the first 1000 bytes (characters + spaces) in the bullet points, so if you go overboard, the algorithm will just ignore the excess.
Finally, you can add any relevant keywords that you weren’t able to fit in your product description, bullet points, or product title in the backend keywords section.
These are not visible to customers, only to the algorithm. You can go crazy here and fill up all the available space. But still, only add keywords if they’re relevant to your product.
Images, Pricing, and Conversion-Optimized Copy
Amazon SEO is all about satisfying the algorithm. But Amazon doesn’t want product listings that are written for an algorithm. They want product listings written for humans, because Amazon customers are humans.
The algorithm takes conversion rates into account for rankings, so craft your listing to maximize conversion rate.
While conversion rate may be important for Amazon SEO, it’s also important for your business in general. Higher conversion rate equals more sales.
Copywriting, product images, and pricing are three key parts of your product listing to focus on here.
Many Amazon product descriptions are, truthfully, quite awful from a copywriting perspective. They’re focused only on keywords and are hard to read. They also talk solely about features.
Instead, you should focus on benefits.
Features explain what a product is or what it does. For example, size, capacity, material, and functionality.
Benefits explain what it means for the customer. How the size or capacity helps them. Why that type of material is a good thing. Why a certain functionality is useful.
Benefits help sell the product much better than talking about features. Key product features are still worthwhile to mention, but explain why these features matter.
Here are two examples of effective and not-so-effective copy.
The first talks about features – “Velocity Flow Ventilation system”, “NutraFog II anti-fog, anti-scratch and UV-protected shield”. While these lines partly describe benefits, they’re quite cold, and don’t speak directly to the customer.
This example focused more on benefits – what the features mean to the customer. “FOR SMALL & BIG HEADS”, “NO PINCHING”.
Images can be overlooked for SEO because they don’t include keywords. But they’re vital for selling the product, which makes them a key part of your SEO strategy as well.
Use your product images to show your product from different angles, with different uses, and highlighting key features.
High-quality images are important, showing your product off in its best light.
Give potential buyers as much information as possible to convince them to make a purchase. Product images can oftentimes communicate more than product titles, product descriptions, and bullet points.
Consider your pricing here too. Again, you might not think of this as relevant for SEO, but it plays a part.
The right price point will help maximize conversions. You don’t want to be too high, or too low, compared to the competition.
Amazon’s algorithm also wants to see competitive pricing. Amazon wants to be known as a place to find good deals. If your product is way overpriced, they’re less likely to want to recommend it to shoppers.
Other Steps to Boost Conversion Rate
There are a few other things you can do to get higher conversion rates (alongside writing good copy and having high-quality images on your product detail page).
Video, for one, is a great tool to get more conversions. Video content works essentially the same way images do, giving customers a better look at the product, and how to use it.
Many product listings include a video in the image carousel these days, and for good reason – it works to sell the product.
A+ Content is another valuable tool to add more to your product descriptions. This feature (formerly known as Enhanced Brand Content), lets you add rich, more detailed content to your product listing. This is great for going in-depth into the differentiating features and benefits of your product, as well as promoting additional products in your line.
Finally, product reviews are crucial for increasing conversion rate, as well as click-through rate from search results.
You can have the best copywriting, images, video, etc, but potential buyers still want to see some positive reviews. These reviews are proof that other people have bought the product before and been happy with it.
More reviews help tilt the scale in your favor when it comes to clickthroughs for competitive search terms and help push people over the line after they come through to your product listing.
Though Amazon SEO is about building organic visibility, Amazon PPC (sponsored products ads) still have a place in your strategy.
Remember, it’s important to build a history of sales, to show the search algorithm that people are willing to buy your product. But that creates a circular problem when you’ve just launched your product.
If you’re not showing up in Amazon searches yet, you can’t make any sales. Yet you need sales to start showing up in these searches.
When your product is new, you’ll need to pay to jump the queue. Amazon ads are a great way to do it. You can get your product into the SERP for your targeted search terms, and start building the momentum you need to rank organically.
When this happens, you can start scaling back your Amazon advertising campaigns. But at the start, it will help you break the circular loop that a lot of product listings get stuck in early on.
Another great way to boost sales velocity early on in your product’s life cycle is with external traffic.
It’s basically the same as Amazon PPC. The goal is to be proactive in getting people to buy your product and thus generate the momentum you need to rank. But external traffic may even be more effective for this than Amazon ads.
Sellers have believed for a long time that external traffic sales carry higher weight for rankings. While it’s not possible to get actual data to prove this, many experiments strongly suggest that this is the case.
Use channels outside of Amazon to advertise your product and get people to your product listing. This is almost always a sure bet to boost your Amazon SEO.
Extra: Use High-Intent Traffic to Boost Your Conversion Rate
High-level sellers use this trick to boost their Amazon SEO. They don’t just drive a lot of external traffic to their Amazon product – they drive high-intent traffic.
If you’ve been sending a ton of people to your listing, you’re getting a lot of sales, but still aren’t increasing in rankings, this might be why.
You need to set up step in between your traffic source and product page, so people can learn about your product before actually landing on your Amazon product listing.
By filtering your traffic, ensuring the only people who click through to your listing are invested and in the mood to buy, you’ll dramatically increase your conversion rate, and thus your rankings too.
A landing page works great for this. Create a page with your Amazon product images, bullet points, product description and all relevant buying info, hosted outside of the Amazon platform.
LandingCube is the best tool for creating Amazon landing pages. Click here to try it for free – it takes just 2 minutes to create a professional, optimized landing page featuring all your key product details, images and an optin form to collect emails.
Finally, providing a great customer experience should also be a part of your SEO strategy.
Though it’s not clear if customer experience metrics like seller feedback and order defect rate have a direct effect on rankings, they’re good to focus on regardless.
In general, if you’re making Amazon customers happier, you’re going to rank higher.
And as the Amazon algorithm matures, things that go into a great customer experience will only become more important as ranking factors. It’s more likely that the algorithm will reward product descriptions and product titles that are easy to read, and written for humans, not computers.
Keyword stuffing doesn’t make for a good customer experience. Amazon wants it to be easy for people to browse product listings and collect information before making a purchase. If Amazon wants that, you should too.
Maintenance and Optimization of your Amazon SEO Strategy
One final thing to mention about Amazon SEO is how to maintain and optimize your organic search visibility over time.
A lot of people think about Amazon SEO in the context of launching a product. I.e. how to take new Amazon listings and get them to rank.
But you should also consider a long-term strategy for keeping your product listings in the rankings, and incrementally improving your Amazon keyword rankings over time.
This will be easier if you’ve done everything right at the start. Optimizing your product title, product description, bullet points, etc for the right keywords will give you a great foundation.
And once you start ranking for keywords with high search volume, you should start getting consistent sales, which will help maintain your organic rankings.
It’s a good idea to supplement your organic sales with non-organic sales, though. One way is to continue running PPC, particularly for keywords you’re not quite ranking as high for just yet.
Evergreen external traffic channels are another great way to maintain consistent SEO. Google Adwords are particularly great for this. They require very little ongoing work to run, and can essentially operate in the background of your business, delivering a small but steady boost in sales.
These sales will add up in time, and keep delivering strong signals to the Amazon search algorithm, which will help keep your product ranking for your top keywords.
There are many viable SEO strategies to help your product listings rank higher in Amazon’s search results.
There isn’t a single way to approach SEO that works every time. Amazon’s algorithm is too sophisticated for sellers to simply follow a formula to rank products.
The best you can do today is follow a few core principles. Relevance, Popularity, and Customer Experience are important for any product to rank. Do all you can to make sure your product listing is the best it can be in each of these three areas.
Also, remember that Amazon SEO is a long-term game. It may take some experimentation to get your product listing to the top of the first page. And once you get there, you’ll need to keep working to ensure you maintain your spot.
Read through this post several times, and use the information within – as well as data collected from your own experiences – to craft your own SEO strategies. For more, check out the resources below, as well as a few must-have tools to help you boost your Amazon SEO.
Amazon SEO resources
Amazon SEO tools
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