Feb 20 , 2020
The Amazon marketplace is a complex selling system. Nothing that accounts for half of all online sales presently is going to be easy to understand without getting into the details of what makes it dominant. What I have to share with you next is my personal opinion about how this robust shopping engine works behind the scenes.
How Amazon SEO or Amazon Search Engine Optimization Works:
Amazon’s algorithm matches up a customer on Amazon’s search query with the listing that they think matches up the best with that query. That is simple enough, right? If that was all there was to it, we would all be selling way more product on Amazon! The complex part of it is really the question of: “How does Amazon decide what listing matches best with that customer’s query?”
Is it whoever is paying the most with ads and pay per click?
Does Amazon give preference to bigger brands?
Does Amazon give preference to their internal brands first?
Is it given to the listings that have the query in their search terms the most?
Is it using giveaway sites and super urls?
All of these questions have been asked, and the results are in. Some of them are yes, and some of them are no, but what’s important is that you test everything, or at least find someone to help you that has already tested those things for you.
There used to be a black hat method that brands were using to launch products on Amazon. They would give away product for free, at a cost to themselves, to get a review from a buyer. When Amazon banned this practice and punished sellers for it, they had to turn back to Amazon SEO to get their listings found. I couldn’t have been happier when that happened because the strategy that I used to improve Amazon listings was focused around Amazon SEO.
What happens is Amazon matches a customer’s query with a listing that they think matches up best with that query. The listing has a “keyword ranking” for that particular search query that is higher than any other listing on Amazon’s “keyword ranking.”
To rank higher than other listings for a keyword, you have to have more sales on your listing tied to that keyword query than other listings. To get those sales you have to have those keywords in your title, bullet points, alt image tags, back end search terms, A+, or Enhanced Brand Content pages. Great, informative sales copy matched with intentional keyword placement is pivotal for getting picked up by Amazon’s search algorithm and getting a rank.
Amazon Pay Per Click plays a big part in Amazon SEO. It allows us to get real feedback (think Google Analytics) about what searches convert well for our listings and directs our strategy around which keywords we might want to add, subtract, or move from our listing.
Another reason it plays a big part in Amazon SEO is that if a “paid ad” gets a click for a particular search query, and then that customer buys the item, Amazon scores our listing and ranks us higher in their algorithm for scoring as a conversion. Validating that, Amazon should rank us slightly higher than before the purchase.
Everyone that has an opinion around selling on Amazon talks about the flywheel. The reason that is important here is because true experts believe that every part of the Amazon ecosystem is related. Let’s play this out and help you understand: The advertisement of the search query is what finds the customer and gets our click in this example. The image (the main image for the listing) is tied to the advertisement by default and played a part in getting that click. So the ad and the image, as well as our price and reviews (shown on the ad), get our click. The images then play a part again in converting the customer if they buy so we need to include it again. Our sales copy and keywords sprinkled throughout the listing play a part in Amazon matching our advertisement, and to stretch it, maybe we have A+ page copy as well as a video in our listing to assist in converting the click to a sale as well.
Why this needs to be explained is to understand that there are a ton of factors that all play a part in whether your listings get found. It takes patience and intentionality behind gathering those keywords, to include thinking about where to place them, researching their relevance, comparing with competitors’ keywords, testing within the advertising environment, and working on making Amazon an awesome experience for your customers by focusing on what Amazon thinks is important.
Anything that has a score attached to it in your seller account is important as a good rule of thumb as are the things that you would care about if you were asked to judge your competitors’ product and encouraged to criticize it.
The end goal is simple, how to get there is still up for debate.