So far we talked about how to optimize your listings through keywords, product descriptions, and overall listing efficiency. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the finer points of listing optimization and management. We’ll break down some of the key terms and metrics you need to stay updated on when you run a product listing on Amazon.
There’s also a brief section on the various SEO tips you can use to maintain a high ranking on Amazon. You can take it as a holistic overview of everything we discussed so far, from a search engine optimization standpoint.
Significance of Listing Optimization
The more you optimize your product listings, the higher up the rank on Amazon’s search algorithm called A9. We’ll be covering how it works in the sections below. Just like Google search these days, customers usually find what they’re looking for in the first page result. Most of them rarely consider progressing to the next page.
Shorter attention spans and lack of time are all factors that affect such behavior. So you need to do everything possible to optimize and update your listing so that the product ranks as high as possible.
Google and Amazon Optimization: the key difference
The basic function is similar. Google’s SEO algorithm and Amazon’s algorithm work the same way: by returning relevant results for user queries. However, the key difference lies in their primary goal.
Google is focused on providing information whereas Amazon is geared towards driving sales. This is why Amazon’s search algorithm uses several metrics and rates that allow it to rank products, based on their sales performance and potential.
Amazon’s Algorithm: A9
There are two major factors that Amazon’s A9 algorithm takes into consideration when it evaluates product listings. They are relevancy and listing performance
.Relevance is partially related to the user’s query or input whereas performance is related to historic, factual sales data.
Ranking based on Relevancy
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that go into consideration when Amazon ranks your product’s relevancy. It basically assesses how relevant your product listing is to the user’s search query. If the relevancy ranks high, you’re likely to appear higher up on the search results that the algorithm returns.
The following are some of the important factors:
This is why we frequently emphasize the importance of using the most apt product titles. As we mentioned in previous lessons, find the most relevant keywords to use in your product titles so that the algorithm picks up on it.
When brands become widely reputable, the seller’s name or the brand name becomes part of the keyword. This is often the case with tissue brands like Kleenex where the product is synonymous with the brand’s name. Users often search using such terms to get what they’re looking for. When you do start out as a brand on Amazon, make sure the seller’s name you’re using on your listing is memorable.
Keywords you use across the title, description and more are one of the most important aspects that the algorithm considers. They indicate which search queries your product is aiming for and match your listing with them.
Name of the Brand
If you’re a retail arbitrer selling products of other brands, there’s a field right below the title where you can mention the brand’s name. This helps keep you in the loop when specific brand-related queries pop up.
Every single word in your product description is significant to the algorithm. It is thoroughly assessed before Amazon decides how relevant your listing is to the user’s query. Using simple, popular terms and accurate keywords are a must.
The extra features that your product offers are also important components that you should consider optimizing as much as possible.
Ranking based on Performance
Performance-based data is the second major factor that influences your ranking in Amazon’s algorithm. This has a lot more to do with how well your product is selling, your conversion rate and average sales performance. The following are some of the metrics that Amazon considers in this regard:
The price of your product affects your conversion rate, without a doubt. Sometimes a user might choose another lesser priced product over yours, which reflects on your conversion rate. Pricing affects performance and the algorithm takes that into account when it matches your listing with a relevant search query.
Click-through-rate measures the total number of clicks your listing has gotten for each different search query. When you compare them together, you get to know which search queries match your product listing the most. You’d also be able to make changes to your listing to make it more relevant to your target search queries.
We’ve covered the various factors that affect your Amazon conversion rate in the previous lesson. It basically measures how many sessions have converted into sales and determines the rate based on this metric. It is highly useful for deciding how effective your listing is. You don’t have to worry about increasing page views affecting your conversion rate. A view is counted as a session based on how long the user has stayed on the page, not how many times they have clicked your page. So even if a user were to check another listing and return back to yours, it still only counts as one session.
As we’ve stressed frequently in the previous articles, the quality and effectiveness of your product images affect whether the user clicks on it or not. It also influences whether the user buys it or not. So not only do good product images have an effect on click-through-rate, they indirectly affect the conversion rate as well.
For eg: A user might search for a comfortable pair of shoes and click on your listing simply because your visual is more attractive. Audiences are naturally drawn to aesthetically pleasing images. So product images definitely affect performance and thereby also affect the algorithm ranking.
As we focus on all the things a seller can do to promote the product listing and make it rank higher on the Amazon algorithm, we shouldn’t overlook how your customers also help. A stream of good reviews updated regularly can help boost your brand and listing tremendously on Amazon. It is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. The higher your product is rated, the higher you rank and the more visits you get. If customers notice consistently positive reviews, they are more likely to purchase the product if it satisfies all their criteria.
Now that you have a good grasp on the various factors that affect your listing’s ranking, let’s focus on the few steps you can take to improve your optimization. In this section, we’ll focus solely on those aspects that we haven’t covered in other lessons.
We talked about keywords in the title, product description and features. Let’s move on to backend keywords. These are also known as hidden keywords. They are visible to Amazon, not to the site users. What they essentially do is indicate what your product is to the company. They serve the same function as a meta title or meta description serves on a Google webpage.
Pick and choose the five most relevant keywords that will give your listing a boost on the site. Make sure they are popular but also related to your product. Also try to find common variations instead of going for similar keywords.
The following are just some of the general guidelines you need to follow:
- Avoid punctuation. You might end up excluding the listing from a key search term.
- Each keyword has a maximum character limit of 50.
- You don’t have to correct spellings or rectify variations. Simply use the terms as you find them to match with those queries.
- Don’t use the same keyword twice
- Avoid using brand names.
Besides relevance, look for performance indicators when you’re searching keywords. You’ll find ones that have a higher search volume. These imply that the product has great demand and using them as hidden keywords in your listing can be very useful.
Amazon Platform Resources
Amazon offers a tool called Automatic campaigns that greatly helps with your keyword research. It basically does a review of your current product listing and suggests alternate search queries you should be targeting. It also offers a keyword report, which is very helpful. You can access the tool through your dashboard. Just click Reports> Advertising Reports > Search Term Report.
Reviewing Conversion rates
You can access insights into your listing’s performance and conversion rates by clicking Business Reports> Seller Central’s Detailed Sales Page and Traffic> Unit Session Percentage. Refer to the previous lesson where we’ve covered this in detail.
The following are just a few tips to help optimize your product reviews:
- Avoid misrepresentation. Most bad reviews come from unsatisfied customers who buy the product and realize that it doesn’t match their expectations.
- Encourage customers to drop a feedback or review on Amazon itself. Send them a follow-up email whenever they make a purchase in case they forget.
- Respond to negative reviews and pursue ways to resolve the issue if the concern is genuine. This can actually better your reputation as a responsive seller.
Let’s cover a few key tips to help optimize your pricing:
- Evaluate and compare prices across competing products. Check out their bundling or cross-selling strategies and see if you can implement something similar.
- If your product is a tad overpriced, justify it in the product description. Explain what makes you stand out as a better choice than the lesser priced products.
- Look for alternate ways to source and manufacture the product. If you can cut costs and sell at a better price, that’s a significant plus.
Optimizing your listing is a work half-done. The next step is to constantly review and update it according to results. The metrics and tools we mentioned in this article can help you do that more effectively. Remember listing management is a continuous process. You need to keep a keen eye out for market fluctuations, notice trends and spot performance patterns.
At the end of the day, being successful in listing management is all about how much effort you’re willing to put into it. If you’re serious about scaling upwards, staying updated on the latest news is the right approach.