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Before we run through our TOP TEN TIPS FOR AMAZON SEO lets quickly point out some common SEO misconceptions.
Amazon SEO is different from SEO on a website. There are similarities, but remember that Amazon is a retail site for finding and selling products, so it operates to maximise that.
In conventional website SEO backlinks matter, in Amazon SEO they don't.
Using PPC to drive traffic to a website won't really make much difference to a sites SEO ranking. But in Amazon spending on ads can make a tangible difference because of Sales Rank.
In website SEO you are optimising in order for a website or a specific page to get found. In Amazon you are optimising for each and every product you sell.
Amazon joins the dots when it comes to keywords, it knows what terms relate to what products so there is no real need for keyword stuffing.
Amazon cares about your selling history and customer reputation and that can really make a difference to being found on Amazon Search.
Over 50% of all product searches start on Amazon, so you are already well ahead when it comes to potentially selling stuff.
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Every aspect of an Amazon listing is important, but if you get the Title wrong then the chances of success are very poor.
It's surprising, but not uncommon, to find Amazon Titles that fail to tell the potential customer what the item is. Often Retailers are simply too close to the goods they are selling and forget to stand back and look at things with a clear head.
In some cases poor SEO on Amazon is because the Amazon Title used has been taken from another website or from a Suppliers stock list. The title may have been fine on a website that was all about the item in question, but on Amazon the title needs to be full and comprehensive, or the customer will not find it when they search for it.
To make sure you maximise the chances of your product being found on Amazon you have to maximise the use of the title. Amazon are tightening up on the available characters you can use so you need to make the title get right to the point.
So how best to use the available space that Amazon allows for the Product Title?
It's common for brands to be searched for on Amazon, so if you want to have successful listings then make sure you include the brand name in the title.
Make sure you include the name of the product, amazingly this is a common thing to forget! And use the name that customers know the product by, don't use obscure technical terms or similar odd terms.
Ideally you should highlight any important item specifics in the title to improve your Amazon SEO: consider including color, size and material for instance.
Your competitor's listings are a good source of learning. If they are selling well and rank highly then look at their listings and see how they are structured and what they emphasise in the titles of their products.
It can take a little time to figure out what category an item should be in, but it's important to get it right or you won't maximise your sales.
If you can't settle on a category, or are unsure, then again it's worth looking at what your competitors are up to. Your products need to be shown alongside your competitors offerings, and to make sure that happens it's best to share the same category.
Unlike eBay, Amazon only permit you to list an item in one category, so you can't "hedge your bets" by trying to add it in more than one. And don't be tempted to try and create multiple listings of the same item, if that activity gets spotted (and it will) you risk suspension and possibly a ban.
Certain Amazon Categories are restricted and Amazon requires to do a little diligence before "ungating" sellers keen to sell in specific categories. For instance Perfume is gated to protect the consumer against counterfeit items. Don't think that this can be avoided, sellers that put gated items into non-gated categories are simply wasting their time. It won't produce sales and it's likey to cause a problem with your account when Amazon spot it.
You need to provide sufficient information that describes the features and benefits of the product in a clear and concise way. This might be the only time the potential customer see's your product, so don't be negligent in describing what it is.
You need to highlight the features and of course the benefits of the item on offer. And remember that if you are using copy from another website or from a suppliers database then the chances are that you'll need to rewrite it, or improve it, so that it makes sense in an Amazon context. It needs to be a full description that tells the shopper everything they need to know.
Make sure that the copy you write reflects and expands on the information you put into the title. Think about the keywords that customers will use to search for the item, and make sure they are in the copy (without cramming them in like crazy).
And keep a list of the keywords you come up with and use in the description - you'll need them again.
There are up to 5 Bullet Points that Amazon allow you to create for a listing. They give the reader a quick way to see what the product is all about. And they give you a great way to convert interest into buying.
Most listings don't make full use of the available 255 characters and that's a pity.
Make sure you use the Bullet points to drive home why this product is the product the shopper is looking for. You can use your keywords in them, but don't stuff them full of SEO tricks. Use them to convery the features and benefits and that will work well.
It's estimated that potential shoppers only dwell on a listing for a few seconds, and because the bullet points stand out so clearly on a a listing they are vital when it comes to, not just SEO but also, conversion rates.
Amazon allows you to enter keywords when you create a listing. Like keywords when creating a website they are not as influential as they used to be, but they are a useful way to help you consider the important aspects of your product. If you spend time thinking through the keywords then you can use them in the title and in the description and bullet points.
Like all Search engines, Amazon's SEO relies on the actual title and content of the copy.
But put the effort in and use as much of the 255 character space as you can. There is no need to punctuate and no need to add plurals and derivative terms. Amazon deals with that for you - Amazon wants to help sell stuff, so has made sure that it's search engine is optimised to deal with related searches very well.
Images should be on a clean white background and should not include logos, or text. They'll also need to be a decent size, 1000px will work well and allow the shopper to zoom in when they hover over them.
Don't show accessories on the same image, as you might find a customer complains that they also expected the other items when they purchased.
At the bottom of many listings, Amazon allows the shopper to compare the item against similar items in the Comparison Grid.
To benefit from this it is important that you include as much technical information as you can in the detail area of a listing.
Listings that ignore this level of detail will not do as well as they otherwise might. When a shopper scrolls to the bottom of a page to find that a competitor has fully explained all the technical information but your product has left the areas blank, they'll opt for the product that doesn't leave them wondering.
The Sales Rank of an item is directly related to it's popularity on Amazon. Getting a good Sales Rank established can take time, but that can be accelerated by using Sponsored Listings. Sponsored Listings appear in several places as well as below the Buy Box and can help you win early sales and influence the Sales Rank.
As your Sales Rank improves so the product will rise in the search results, it's a popular way for many new products to get established.
Ultimately as the Sales Rank improves you can opt to stop spending money on promotion. And don't forget to examine the terms that are used to find the sponsored listing. You can use them within your organic keywords and in your copy.
You don't have to spend a fortune on Sponsored Listings and you can set a daily budget to keep spending under control.
The Brand Registry is increasingly important in Amazon and if you are a brand owner you can add your branded products to it.
It ensures you can prevent others from listing your products if you do not want them to.
And it also allows you to create Enhanced or "A+" content. A+ content is an extended content area allowing you to spend more time explaining the benefits and features of the product.
There is little evidence to suggest that this improves SEO, but it does improve conversions, so if you have the opportunity to include A+ content, it's worth making the effort.
In addition to copy and content work to improve your Amazon SEO, it should be clear that your sellers reputation also matters when it comes to being found in Amazon Search.
For instance you can only win the Buy Box if you have stock, can fulfill fast and have a good selling history.
Equally products that get marked "Amazon Choice" in the search results, only get marked as so because of popularity, price and sellers ability to keep customers happy.
The message should be clear: if you don't service your customers well, it won't matter how much time and effort you put into SEO activities.