Amazon SEO Strategy for 2020 and Beyond: An Amazon SEO Tutorial

Amazon is a search engine and thus SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works for Amazon; here’s a quick tutorial to Amazon SEO with links to the best resources. Amazon, in short, is the #2 search engine after Google (not counting YouTube), and so if you’re into e-commerce or selling on Amazon you’d be crazy not to pay attention to how to SEO a product on Amazon.Amazon keeps Google engineers up at night. Why? Because it’s not only “a” search engine – it’s THE search engine when it comes to stuff to buy. And what can be more lucrative than controlling the access point to “stuff to buy.” Well, that’s what Amazon is and does. And so SEO is how to optimize your product listing so it ranks high on Amazon (and sells more stuff).

 

You need to have an “Amazon” strategy. This could be a) Amazon-only, meaning you will sell your products only on Amazon (much as I do my popular books), or b) Hybrid, you could sell on both Amazon and your e-commerce website, or c) e-commerce only, meaning you do NOT sell on Amazon. But turn this around and ask not what YOU want but what your CUSTOMERS want? If they likely want to buy on Amazon, then you gotta haveto must be on Amazon. You can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend like that’s not where shopping happens. If you have something truly nichey, then perhaps you can do without Amazon – but again it would have to be a product that consumers just would not look for and/or not find on Amazon.

OK, so if Amazon matters to you and your products are listed on Amazon, how does search engine optimization happen on Amazon? If you’re familiar with SEO for Google, it’s going to look familiar. In the way that Italian is familiar if you speak Spanish, or Portuguese if you speak French. They’re similar but not exactly the same. So let’s dive in.

FIRST: KNOW YOUR KEYWORDS

As with Google SEO, you need to research your keywords. Fortunately, this is simpler on Amazon as – unlike Google – it’s largely about transactional searches. People go to Amazon to search for ‘Nike Tennis Shoes’ not ‘How Do I Start Running?’ but then again, is it ‘Nike Tennis Shoes,’ ‘Nike Sneakers’ or just ‘Nike Shoes?’ You can simply go to Amazon and start typing to see what comes up, using Amazon autocomplete. Or, you can use a tool like Sonar by Sellics which pulls data from Amazon. Or use some of the Google tools like the Twinword Keyword Tool. Do your homework and figure out your ‘core keyword’ and related, helper keywords.  Build a short keyword list for your product based on what people are likely to search for that’s likely to end in a sale.

SECOND: OPTIMIZE YOUR PRODUCT LISTING

Products live on Amazon product pages, and they need to be optimized. This starts with a snappy but keyword-heavy TITLE for the product, preferably some bulleted lists, and some great text. Take a look at related Amazon searches and “reverse engineer” the product pages of similar or competitive products. If you sell Garage Door Remotes then do that search on Amazon, ignore the ads, and look at the top three or four organic listings. For instance, take a look at the product page for Chamberlain Group KLIK3U-BK Clicker Universal 2-Button Garage Door Opener Remote with Visor Clip, Black as an example, and make some observations:

  1. The product name is optimized against the target keywords and/or closely related keywords (e.g., ‘opener’ and ‘remove’).
  2. The product description is keyword heavy and often uses bullets. Amazon SEO
  3. The product has a good photo, usually with ‘zoom in’ capability.
  4. On the invisible backend, the product has keywords embedded in it.

Related to this, if you’re an author, like I am, optimize your author page. If you’re a seller, optimize your seller or store on Amazon. For example, I am a huge drinker of Mexican Chiapas Coffee and here’s the Amazon store for Fresh Roasted Coffee. Notice how the name of the business is a keyword as in “Coffee”. That’s not an accident. And here’s the Neil deGrasse Tyson store on Amazon vs. his author page.  Be sure as well to choose relevant categories on Amazon when you input your book or product.

THIRD: OPTIMIZE EXTERNAL VARIABLES

Next, work on external variables to the product. (This is the ‘Off Page’ in Amazon SEO). Here, the most important variable is the quantity, velocity, and quality of customer reviews. Don’t do anything ‘illegal,’ but work on ways such as product inserts, follow up emails, and other ways to ask those happy customers to review your product. Amazon clearly favors products that have many positive reviews; so play the review game and get reviews. Realize, however, that the official Amazon policy is thou shalt not solicit reviews in any way, shape or form. Other external variables are whether people come to Amazon to buy the product, so mention and promote your product on your website, to your newsletter, and even consider purchasing external advertising on Google to bring traffic into Amazon. Nothing is going to please Amazon more than lots of sales, and lots of ‘new sales’ or even ‘new customers’ who originate outside of the Amazon ecosystem.

Related to this is the challenge of sales. Amazon wants to sell products, so products that sell rank on Amazon and products that rank on Amazon sell. You want to create and nurture such a ‘virtuous circle.’ Thus optimize your price against competitors; not too low, and not too high, but in the Goldilocks zone. If you’re a seller, consider offering incentives, promotions, or even kick backs / refunds to encourage people to buy your products on Amazon. Amazon likes sales, sales velocity, conversion rate, and profitability. It promotes products that will make it money. So be win/win and encourage sales. Indeed, you may have to price low out of the gate to get that sales velocity going and only later change your pricing to increase profitability. It does without saying that you should monitor your sales on Amazon and your product / price / offer against others.

FOURTH: CONSIDER ADVERTISING ON AMAZON

Amazon has, unfortunately, figured out that it can make money on ads. So now you can advertise you product on Amazon. Here, unlike with Google, things that sell even via ads tend to rank organically. In this way, new products may have to advertise to “break out” and then scale that back to a more organic strategy. Amazon has a robust advertising micro site at https://advertising.amazon.com/, and that is a topic unto itself. But the bottom line is: products that sell rank and products that rank sell and advertising is a way to catalyze this equation. So consider the judicious use of advertising on Amazon.

RESOURCES: RESOURCES ON AMAZON SEO

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Jason McDonald

About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.