The top of the Amazon search rankings is the holy grail for Amazon sellers. Amazon search is the reason why their third-party marketplace is so big, and why brands – big and small – hustle to sell on Amazon over any other platform.
Come 2022, a lot of things in the Amazon space have changed. One thing that hasn’t changed is customer demand. In the third quarter of 2021, Amazon made nearly 50 billion dollars in revenue from online product sales. That’s a lot of sales for a three month period.
In that same time, Amazon made over 24 billion dollars from third-party seller services, a lot of which comes from PPC ad spend, as sellers pay to get their products in front of shoppers.
Ranking high and getting organic sales is the best way to get your piece of the $50 billion pie, without blowing all your profit margins on PPC.
The process for ranking in Amazon search is vastly different to how it was several years ago, however. Even compared to last year, many sellers will need to completely overhaul their ranking strategy.
An Amazon ranking strategy for 2022 needs to focus more on long-term, sustainable methods, that don’t take shortcuts and which operate in the spirit Amazon wants to see.
Read on for 6 key tips that are central for how to rank rank higher on Amazon today – up-to-date tactics that are effective and within TOS.
Listing Optimization is Still Key
Ranking a product on Amazon starts with a well-optimized product listing.
This was true in 2020, 2021, and is still the case in 2022.
Your product page needs to have all the ingredients to let Amazon’s search algorithm (which people are now calling the “A10 algorithm”) know what exactly the product is and which searches are relevant to it.
It also needs to convince people to follow through and buy your product, so the search engine knows that it’s likely to end in a sale when they show your product high in the search rankings.
These are the two elements you need to nail when it comes to Amazon listing optimization – SEO and conversions. It’s non-negotiable – you need both.
Optimizing your listing for SEO
Amazon search is text-based, so you should have text on your listing that links your product to any customer searches that have the potential to lead to sales.
The more keywords on your listing, the more searches you can show up for, and the higher your potential sales.
Start with a few “top tier” keywords. These are the keywords that are at the intersection of search volume (a lot of people searching for these words or terms) and relevance (when people search for this term, they’re looking for a product like yours).
Even better if you can add a third factor – low competition. If you’ve found keywords that have both high volume and high relevance with few strong competitors, you’re onto a winner.
Top tier keywords go in the places where people see them first, such as the title, followed by bullet points and “about the product” sections.
After this, you can start adding more keywords throughout the rest of the listing. Just ensure that your keywords are always relevant. It’s no good to try and rank for keywords that have nothing to do with your product.
Optimizing for conversions
If keywords are the first pillar of Amazon SEO, the second is conversions.
To rank, you need to get sales, and maintain a high conversion rate. That means making sure a high number of people actually buy the product, or at least add it to their cart, after landing on the product page.
So, while keywords are important, it’s just as important that your listing doesn’t look like an incoherent, unreadable mess of keywords. It needs to read well, and effectively communicate why someone should buy your product.
Finding the perfect mix between readability and maximum keyword inclusion is difficult, but it’s what separates successful products from duds.
The real winners will not only mix readability and keywords, but do it in a way that tells a story, communicates the benefits of the product, and lets the reader know why they can’t do without it.
There’s also one more important factor in optimizing for conversions – images.
Product photos might actually be more important than copywriting. Most people absorb information visually. When they’re shopping online, they’re not prepared to read 1000 words on why your product is great – they’re more likely to make a decision based on how it looks.
The images you share of your product can make the sale or break the sale. Low-quality images will turn people off, and make them think the product itself is poor quality. Similarly, not having enough images doesn’t give them the information they need to be confident in making a purchase.
In contrast, high-quality images, showing the product from multiple angles and in multiple use-cases, do wonders for conversions. Don’t neglect this – a moderate expense up front is more than worth it to ensure your product photos are as good as they can be.
Create More Content – Especially Video
The second key to ranking on Amazon in 2022 is a bit of an extension from what we were just talking about in regards to product photos.
We’ve known for a long time the importance of images on your product listing. But there are many more types of content you can create and share on your product which will help you convert more and rank higher.
In particular, video is extremely valuable and widely underused. People love consuming content in video form (I don’t know if you’ve heard of something called TikTok – it’s pretty popular), and videos can give your customers a real close look at the product, better than any photos can.
Not sure what kind of videos you can create for your product? Here are some ideas.
- A simple 360° view of your product.
- Narrated explainer videos.
- Action videos – show the product actually being used, like this video from Training Mask.
- Unboxing videos.
- Customer testimonials.
- Product reviews.
There’s most likely a ton of things you could do to create video content for your product, no matter how “boring” it might be.
You could also collaborate with influencers to help them create video content on your product, such as reviews or unboxing videos – like the example below.
While it’s a slight diversion from the topic of ranking, it’s worth mentioning, as there are influencers out there who are already in the habit of creating content for their channel, and it might be easier than you think to get them to make a video on your product and introduce it to their audience.
You may just need to pay them with a free product and a one-off commission, or commissions based on how many people they refer.
How videos help you rank higher
Videos themselves are not a ranking factor. You’re not going to outrank a competitor just because your listing has video and theirs doesn’t.
But there are some ways in which video indirectly helps you rank higher.
First, as we talked about earlier, you need to convert viewers into sales or add-to-carts to rank higher. Videos help do this.
Video content also keeps the customer on the page longer. Time on page is a ranking factor. If you’re getting people to spend a long time on your listing, that’s a positive signal to Amazon, as it’s more likely they’re going to end up making a purchase.
When you send positive signals like this, Amazon rewards your listing with higher visibility. Engagement = rankings.
Other forms of content
Video is not the only kind of content that is useful in boosting conversions and engagement.
A+ Content (you might know it as Enhanced Brand Content or EBC) is a great way to add more content to your listing that communicates your product’s value. Today, you’re missing out if you don’t have professionally-designed A+ Content.
Infographics, product comparisons, even sizing guides are all things that you can add to your listing to spice it up.
The days where a simple text-based detail page was all you needed to sell. Competition today is too high, and there’s too much money at stake to do the bare minimum with your product listing.
Figure out how you can communicate as much as possible with visual content. This will help you get more sales and rank higher – guaranteed.
Why Brand Registry is a Must
Some people reading the previous passage would have been saying this:
“A+ Content sounds great, but you need to be brand registered for that”.
That’s correct, and in 2022, Brand Registry is a non-negotiable part of being successful on Amazon.
A few years ago, you could throw generic products up on Amazon, make a ton of sales, put all your profit into Bitcoin and retire to the beaches of Curaçao.
Today, you’re only going to be successful if you have a brand, and you put effort into cultivating that brand.
You need an actual brand to be able to apply for Amazon Brand Registry – obviously. Registering your brand gives you access to A+ Content, and other tools like Amazon Attribution, Storefronts, the Brand Referral Bonus, and more.
Each new tool Amazon adds to help third-party sellers is almost always restricted to vendors or brand registered sellers. If you don’t have this, you’re missing out on free and valuable tools.
Branding also helps you stand out against your competition as well. Put two products up against each other, one with a fun and fresh brand image, and the other a generic, unbranded product. The first is almost always going to win out – even if the generic product is priced lower.
Building a brand used to be an interesting way to stand out. In today’s Amazon space, it’s a must-have.
Play the Long Game with External Traffic
Any ranking strategy in 2022 needs to include external traffic – traffic that originates from sources outside Amazon, as opposed to organic search or PPC, which involves targeting people who are already on Amazon.
When you drive sales to your product from external sources, you’re getting a boost in sales, conversion rate, and you’re sending more positive signals to Amazon.
Your external traffic strategy has to be different to years past, however, since Amazon’s seller policies have become much tighter around what you’re allowed to do to try and improve your product’s search rank.
External traffic strategy for 2022
Today, it’s necessary to play the long game with external traffic. Don’t approach it with the aim of making a quick gain over a few weeks or a month.
Sellers used to be able to skip the hard work of building mature audiences and funnels, by offering customers big discounts outside of the Amazon platform.
Now that Amazon officially says that you can’t do that, there’s no way to escape the work of setting up a long-term external traffic strategy.
When you first start driving traffic, expect results to come slowly, if at all. If you’re running ads, they’re likely to cost a lot, and you may not get many conversions right away.
But over time, you’ll be able to narrow your targeting to audiences that convert the best, and iterate and improve your ads to where you can run ads profitably.
The only way to do this is to invest time (and ad spend). Use tools like Amazon Attribution, and set up deliberate funnels with landing pages to understand your audience as much as possible.
Utilize the Brand Referral Bonus as well to mitigate part of the cost of driving traffic.
As for traffic sources, try the following ways to drive traffic:
- Facebook/Instagram Ads (less effective than they once were, but still a solid bet)
- Google Ads (the most effective, and most underutilized source for Amazon brands)
- TikTok/Pinterest (requires more effort in terms of content creation)
- Influencers (reach out to content creators in your niche – blogs, YouTube channels, TikTok creators, social media influencers, podcast – anyone you share the same target audience with)
Why an Email List is More Important Than Ever
We mentioned email already. But an email list as an external traffic source is worth its own section.
It can’t be stressed enough how valuable it is to have a list of customers, that you control, and that lets you contact them for free, at the click of a button.
It’s simply a huge competitive advantage over other brands, who are likely having to pay for every sale.
An email list gives you a vital direct touch point with your audience, which is tough to come by when you sell on Amazon, especially without breaking TOS.
If you want to start ranking products, and spending less to do so, first focus on building an email list. Use post-purchase insert funnels, sales funnels from external traffic, and anything else you can do to get legitimate signups to your list.
Once you’ve got yourself an email list, start thinking about creative ways to use it to drive sales. Cross-sells, up-sells, new product launches, seasonal promotions, even promotions for no reason – all are low-cost, high-return ways to put your email list to use.
How Your Own Site Can Help You Rank Higher
One more tip to help you rank higher on Amazon in 2022 is to build your own site.
It might sound strange, but expanding your brand’s reach outside Amazon can actually help you on Amazon as well. Not to mention providing a safety net against total reliance on Amazon sales.
If you don’t have a website for your brand, think of this as a big missed opportunity. With e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, it’s pretty simple to create a site, even if you have zero experience in web development.
Even if you have no plans to sell products outside of Amazon (for example, you’re only FBA and have no other fulfillment set up), you can simply point the product pages on your site to the listing on Amazon.
That way, if someone chances on your site, they might click through and buy on Amazon, which will help your rankings.
At the very least, your own site gives your brand more credibility, and you have a space where you share more content about your products and/or brand.
With a bit of work, you can even start generating organic traffic from Google, which is an absolute gold mine.
If or when you decide to actually start selling separately on your own site as well, add an option on your site for people to click and buy on Amazon. You’re going to capture some additional sales from people who prefer the security of buying from Amazon, and these “spillover” sales will deliver positive ranking signals.
In 2022, start thinking multi-channel. Your different channels don’t have to compete with each other – just the opposite in fact. The more places that your brand exists, the stronger your presence on each channel will be.
Is Amazon Search Ranking Still Important?
A lot of people will be wondering if it’s still worth the effort to rank products on Amazon today.
These arguments will point to the increase in sponsored or “special” placements in the search results (pushing organic results further down the page), and the rise in both costs and competition making it not worthwhile.
And while these are legitimate points, it should still be a focus of anyone selling on Amazon to rank for keywords.
There’s still a lot to be gained by generating organic traffic from Amazon search. And while more and more money is being pumped into Amazon PPC these days, that just means there’s more of an opportunity to get ahead if you’re able to get sales without directly paying for them.
Ranking on Amazon essentially gives your product a billboard placement in front of millions of online shoppers every day. Don’t discount how valuable that is.
It used to be that ranking on Amazon meant figuring out ways to manipulate the search algorithm into pushing your products to the top for your most valuable keywords.
Now, doing that (officially called out as “rank manipulation”) is explicitly against terms of service. It’s no longer acceptable to focus on cheap tricks to fool the algorithm. You need to focus on a long-term strategy to actually create and nurture a popular product.
Focus on the tips we’ve presented in this article, and you’ll have a much greater chance of gaining and maintaining high Amazon search rankings, without risking a ban.
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