A lot of people ask me one big question every day: how do I get my products to rank on Amazon? If you understand what Amazon is about, the answer is simple. Amazon want you to sell. The more you sell, the more money they make. This sentiment is behind all their ranking factors and your thought process when listing a product should be, “Will this help the product sell?”.
The second question I get asked a lot is, “Is Amazon a search engine?” In short, yes, it is. Over 63 percent of the UK start their product search on Amazon, while Google makes up most of the remaining 37 percent (most, not all).
Amazon vs Google
Let me be clear here, Google is search! There’s very little we can do to change that. But Amazon is eCommerce and if you understand this core difference you can start to optimise your Amazon listings.
The main difference between these search engines is Google cares about advertising, whereas Amazon only cares about selling. On Amazon, there isn’t a big distinction between SEO, CRO and PPC as you often find with search marketing, such as on Google. To effectively optimise and help you rank higher on Amazon, there are five key areas to consider:
- Outside referrals
In terms of organic ranking, content is a very important factor and you really need to place the focus on your product. Organic is about making your product listings and your store look the best.
Just as it is one of the key elements for good old SEO, the title for your product listing is an important part of your organic optimisation:
- Use your keywords in order of importance even if that means putting your brand second
- Optimise your title readability for mobile, desktops and ads
Title text length
- For desktop, organic results use around 115-144 characters
- Organic mobile titles will pull about 55-63 characters
- It’s worth noting that PPC will pull 30-33 characters of your product title
Amazon keyword research
For keyword research there are many tools you can use. Ahrefs, Helium 10, JungleScout and Factor A are some of them. You can even use Google Ads! But I would always advise using your backend search terms.
Backend search terms are by far the most important tool for organic ranking on Amazon. Include all of your keywords that you can’t fit into your product listings and descriptions. It’s not visible to customers but is indexed by Amazon however, it’s worth nothing there are only an extra 250 characters available to be indexed. This is where you should include common misspellings, but you don’t need to worry about punctuation, singular or plural words as Amazon will take this into account.
Amazon offers two advertising solutions. The Amazon DSP is programmatic advertising based on CPM (cost per mille) and the Amazon Sponsored Ads solution is based on CPC (cost per click). This is the one we’re interested in because Amazon DSP has a required minimum of £10k a month!
PPC set up
This is where we can welcome you to Amazon AdWords. The Sponsored products solution is primarily based on keyword targeting very similar to Google Ads and this is the easiest way to drive your sales up on Amazon.
Start by running automatic campaigns suggested to you by Amazon, then transfer the successful keywords to manual PPC campaigns to target your keywords before pumping up the bids to drive exposure.
Running your paid activity for a short period of time at an initial loss or better yet, break even, will be worthwhile in boosting your organic ranking. Plus, you get the added benefit of having an initial surge of data that you can use to refine your own process and learn more about your customers.
This can be done by:
- Typing in the campaign name so you can monitor the results
- Adding in how much your daily budget is
- Picking the dates you want your campaign to run
Now it’s time to set the keywords you want to target – again, you have the choice to do this manually or automatically through Amazon. Like on AdWords, you can decide if you want the keywords to match exactly, broadly or as a phrase. A mixture of all three is the best way forward.
It really depends on what your ACOS is (Advertising Cost of Sales) which is the percentage of ad spend divided by the attributed sale. You can see this number in the Keyword section of your advertising tab. Attributed Sales – how many sales you made that week that are directly linked to your ad – are also important. If by the second or third campaign you’re not showing a weekly ROI, there’s a good chance you’re not targeting the right keywords.
If your targeting is poor this will only cost you money and it will also be ruining your CRO on your Amazon account, which is an Amazon Ranking factor. While impressions – the number of times your ads are displayed – are important, they aren’t worth lowering your rankings for.
The best tool I can recommend for CRO is the free tool, Sellerly by SEMrush. This offers the ability to A/B test your products and ads alongside:
- Managing your product listings directly by integrating your Amazon Seller Account
- Testing different titles, descriptions, and prices to find the best combination
- Tracking each experiment live
- Discarding any changes in one click, leave only what’s worthwhile
Here are some other factors to consider in line with your CRO:
- Customer reviews: The higher your reviews, the higher Amazon is going to rank you. Like Google, you need to get a few reviews before Amazon starts to rank you against bigger competitors.
- Image size and quality: Use all the photo spaces you’re allowed. Each one must be 1000 x 1000 pixels so your buyer can zoom in from all angles.
- Price: Amazon will always value its buyers over its sellers. It will always push the best seller, which is most likely the lowest price, to the top so you need to audit your competitors regularly to see what they are charging.
- Exit rates: If someone looks at your product then immediately exits the Amazon site, Amazon will lower your ranking. If you are in no way misleading within your product listings, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Bounce rate: If someone lands on your product then leaves quickly to look at someone else’s, Amazon will penalise your ranking.
Even though these factors are important, there is one way to best optimise your conversions: offer a deal.
Sales and data
As I said right at the start, Amazon only cares about sales, especially those that come from outside referrals. The best way to see improvement in your ranking is to sell more than your competitors who are targeting the same keywords. The only way to do this is to know your customers by collecting their data.
Your data needs to be connected across all platforms. First things first, you need to cleanse your data to make sure it’s relevant and up to date before you do anything with it. There is no point jumping neck deep into direct and digital marketing campaigns if half the people you’re trying to contact have no interest in you or your product. Data specialists can help you review your data to understand:
- What your customers looks like
- Who your most profitable customers are
- What the lifetime value of a customer is and how this differs through different mediums
- How much you want to spend per customer acquisition
- How your customers like to interact with you
- What devices your customers interact with you from
- What time of day your customers interact with you
There’s no side stepping it, if you are any type of eCommerce, you need to be on Amazon. The chess pieces are in play and Amazon is gradually moving for checkmate on all commerce. The search engine has most recently expanded into the grocery market – how long is it going to be before they move into travel and then even property? They are even buying deserted shopping centres as bricks-and-mortar stores slowly recede, plus they’ve introduced Amazon Go stores to the UK which we will likely agree are the next big thing in retail. Adapt early and fast or be left behind. Need further info? Get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.