Ranking products on Amazon relies on three things:
- Traffic to your Amazon listing
- The conversion rate of said traffic
- Reviews (positive reviews, of course)
That is the secret sauce of Amazon SEO.
A basic list, but it’s the fundamentals of Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) where most sellers go wrong.
“There will always be new tactics and shiny objects to help give you an edge on Amazon (and we all know it’s important to take every edge). But the real big rocks are moved with boring, solid fundamentals focusing on visibility and conversion.”
Packed with tried-and-tested strategies from the ECF community, this guide will help you understand the nuances of Amazon SEO optimization. It will equip you with effective SEO strategies and tools to boost product visibility and increase conversions.
Table of contents
- Understanding Amazon’s Product Ranking Algorithm
- Amazon SEO Ranking Factors
- Discovering The 1%ers: Amazon SEO Strategy & Optimization Advice
- To Increase Traffic to Your Amazon Product Listing
- Optimizing Amazon Listings for Higher Conversion Rates
- Managing & Encouraging Amazon Reviews
- Final Thoughts: Mastering The Basics = Mastering Amazon SEO
Understanding Amazon’s Product Ranking Algorithm
Amazon’s product ranking algorithm—A9—determines what position your product listing has in Amazon’s search results.
A9 shares similarities to Google’s algorithm by analyzing the textual content of a product listing (title, description etc.) to identify relevant keywords. It then evaluates the relevance and prominence of these keywords to gauge how well a product aligns with a customer’s search query.
Author note: There is speculation out there on whether Amazon’s A9 algorithm is now A10. I reached out to one of ECF’s Amazon experts Joshua Rawe to clear this up:
“Many ex-employees claim there is no ONE algorithm and that there is no algo named A8, 9, 10, etc.
However, so many articles are written referencing A9 or A10 that it’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
At the end of the day, we’re all just talking about figuring out how to manipulate a machine to show your product for keyword searches. Whatever you want to call that machine is up to you, but the community seems to really like the Algorithmic (AX) approach.”
So we’re going to stick with ‘A9 algorithm.’
Amazon A9 VS Google’s Algorithm
The key distinction between A9 (Amazon’s product ranking algorithm) and other search engines like Google is that Amazon is primarily a buying platform. People searching on Amazon intend to purchase, so its algorithm prioritizes products likely to sell.
Amazon SEO Ranking Factors
- Keyword relevance: How well your product listing matches the keywords shoppers use in their Amazon search. This includes optimizing the title, description, and backend search terms (more on this soon).
- Conversion rate: Higher conversion rates indicate customer appeal, and Amazon’s algorithm rewards this.
- Product images & video: A+ Content enhances product listings with high-quality visuals like short-form video and text, indirectly supporting SEO efforts by boosting engagement and conversions.
- Amazon Sales Rank: It rates sellers based on past sales performance, account health, reviews, and product price. Higher sales rank signals greater selling potential.
- Inventory levels: Maintaining adequate inventory keeps you in Amazon’s algorithm’s good graces. An inventory management tool could help improve tracking and alert you when stock is low.
- Customer reviews: Positive reviews, especially those with high ratings and detailed feedback, contribute to improved rankings and visibility.
- Fulfillment method: Utilizing Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program enhances delivery speed, customer experience, and visibility through the Prime badge.
- Sponsored advertising: Leveraging Amazon’s advertising platform, like Sponsored Products with CPC ads, boosts product visibility in search results and detail pages, connecting you with high-intent shoppers.
Amazon seller Joe Reeves leveraged some of these Amazon SEO ranking factors to achieve an astounding $5 million in wallet sales within a year.
The moral of his success story:
“Every little quarter or half a percent of optimization gets you that much closer to a better listing. Even a 1% improvement in profit can result in a substantial $10,000 increase for sellers making $1 million a year.”
Discovering The 1%ers: Amazon SEO Strategy & Optimization Advice
Here are some of the small but powerful SEO optimization strategies and tips from the ECF community for boosting traffic, improving conversion rates, and encouraging reviews.
To Increase Traffic to Your Amazon Product Listing
Amazon Keyword Research
Using the most relevant keywords on Amazon product listings involves front-end and back-end optimization.
- Front-End Keywords: Visible, customer-facing keywords in the title, bullet points, and product description.
- Backend Keywords or Search Terms: Hidden keywords are entered in the backend (When you log into Seller Central) to improve search visibility.
You’ll want to optimize both.
The type of keywords you should focus on for higher conversion rates are long-tail keywords. Potential customers might use longer, more specific phrases when searching for a product.
Long-tail keywords often have lower search volumes but can have higher conversion rates due to their specificity. For example, “wireless Bluetooth speaker with deep bass” or “waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker for outdoor use” are long-tail keywords.
Recommend FREE Amazon SEO tool for keyword research: Sonar
Add keywords in your title, product description, and key features/benefits bullet points—but avoid keyword stuffing. Stay focused on writing high-quality, informative content that naturally incorporates the important keywords as much as possible.
An ECF Member shares his keyword strategy:
- Focus on “buying keywords” (these change in each niche). That way, you’ll target customers closer to the end of the buying cycle.
- Next, I’ll use MerchantWords. It’s an awesome tool, but take the results with a grain of salt.
- Lastly, I mix Google and Amazon keywords, ranking my Amazon products in Google. I’m a big fan of TermExplorer.com for longtail keywords in Google.
Drive Amazon External Traffic with Canonical URL
Amazon assigns a unique canonical URL to each product listing to make sure that search engines index and rank the correct URL. Optimize your product title with relevant keywords for improved visibility and ranking in search results.
Learning Take Five: This 5-minute video will help you understand the concept of optimizing your canonical URL.
Another ECF Member shares some notes from his optimization playbook:
- Create an optimized canonical URL for new listings using the top five SEO keywords separated by dashes. Note: Once created, the canonical URL is unchangeable.
- After setting up the canonical URL, update the title with the most relevant keywords that you want to rank for. Aim for a title length of 150-200 characters and include the most valuable keywords. Ideally, prioritize the first 80 characters for optimal mobile viewing.
“Crafting a compelling title requires a mix of art (good copywriting) and science (important keywords).”
Optimizing Amazon Listings for Higher Conversion Rates
A client asked an ECF Member (an Amazon expert) why they had stagnant sales on Amazon. The problem? They had never optimized the channel.
So they immediately started listing optimization (images, copy, back-end keywords) and switched to FBA.
“We saw a 2x increase in Sessions and a 1.5x increase in Sales on their top listing.”
Moral of the story: Optimize from the beginning.
Related: Is Selling On Amazon Worth It? A Practical Guide For Founders
Constructing Your Product Listing with A+ Content
Before building your own, look at the listings of the hottest-selling Amazon products in any category for inspiration.
After? Show your listing when it’s live and solicit feedback in the forum. One ECF Member did this, garring 61 replies with an average read time of 20 minutes!
That’s a lot of value you can get from the ECF community in the space of a month if you join today.
Another ECF Member spoke about the results of running small-scale tests with 65 Amazon shoppers. They found the listings with clear headers, common objections addressed, unique feature details, and plenty of customer photos with reviews were more successful.
Here are the learnings to help you nail your product listing build from the get-go:
Use clear and concise information:
- Header Section: Highlight key product details and specifications for easy comprehension.
- Answer shoppers’ questions and provide important specifications quickly.
- Clear information on product features, materials, and usage scenarios.
Quickly overcome common objections:
- Address concerns and doubts shoppers may have about the product.
- Increase confidence by highlighting solutions to common issues.
Detail product differentiation:
- Emphasizing unique features or qualities of a product compared to competitors can significantly impact shoppers’ decision-making.
More reviews with customer photos:
- The presence of customer photos in the review section played a role in influencing shoppers’ choices.
- Listings with more images allowed shoppers to visualize the product better and build trust before purchasing.
Protecting (Optimizing) Your Product Listing Page
Now that you’ve built and optimized your product listing, monitoring and adjusting your Amazon SEO and listing optimization efforts are just as important.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Howard Thai, an Amazon Algorithm expert, shares on Helium 10’s podcast his strategies for maintaining keyword ranking and enhancing conversion rates:
- Use tags and strike-through price: He suggests using three or four tags (save, green, orange, and red) and the strike-through price to highlight discounts or savings.
- Leverage Amazon Choices: According to Howard, having your product listed as an “Amazon Choice” can enhance visibility and credibility in a specific category, which may lead to higher conversion rates.
- Offer Accessories, bundles, or optional items as add-ons: This strategy can increase the perceived value of your Amazon posts, leading to more sales.
- Showcase new models and variations: When people scroll through product listings, they are more likely to stop and investigate if they see new models or different product variations. Make sure that you display these prominently.
- Use high-Quality A+ Content: Update and modify this content multiple times (he mentioned possibly 15 times) to automatically gain Premium A+ status, which can help improve product visibility and potentially increase conversions.
Another suggestion from an ECF member is weekly price testing to gauge profitability instead of session-by-session Amazon split testing tools.
“Instead of split testing price session by session, we prefer to do it week by week. We want to see the “snowball effect” (if any) on organic sessions in addition to looking at conversion rate. So we do Wk1 at Price A, Wk2 at Price B, Wk3 back to Price A, then Wk4 back to Price B. We ultimately want to see which weeks were the most profitable overall.
This ECF member recommends swapping out keywords in the title based on what you’re ranking well for vs what you want to be ranking well for. This is also helpful if you’re not indexing for a certain keyword.
“Use Helium 10’s Index Checker to help you track this.”
Choosing the Right Amazon SEO Tools
Different tools cater to various needs. That’s where ECF’s Review Directory could come in handy (exclusively available to our members ).
Another ECF recommendation is watching this Amazon SEO Tools deep dive video. Fair warning: It’s an hour long, but according to a few members, worth it.
One of the ECF members used this video when vetting for their software partner late last year.
“I went with Ad Badger, but it’s not one size fits all. Figure out what matters for you.”
For quick scan purposes, here’s a summary of the recommended Amazon SEO tools taken directly from the comments section of the video:
Best value for money:
- Jungle Scout
- Helium 10
For higher Amazon SEO ambitions:
- Analytic Index
- Data Dive
For sellers looking for just one main Amazon FBA software with Amazon SEO tools set:
- Helium 10
- Jungle Scout
- Viral Launch & SellerSEO
Using PPC Campaigns to Test SEO Fit
One ECF member explains using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) to test keywords for organic search rankings on Amazon. The overall strategy is to use PPC data to gain insights into keyword performance and determine the competitiveness of specific keywords for organic rankings.
He breaks down the process by looking at three main metrics: clickthrough rate (CTR), conversion rate (CVR), and conversions per search impression (CPI).
“Conveniently, all three of these metrics have a sponsored products metric equivalent if you pull a placement report for your campaigns. Typically, I will test my head terms for search in a single keyword campaign as the placement report only reports at the campaign level, not the keyword level.”
To determine the effectiveness of keywords, he explains what you need to look at for each metric:
- Click-through-rate (CTR)- Look at CTR only in the “Top of Search on Amazon.com” placement. This controls for the variable of where the ad is served and gives you a more true read on how your product would perform in a top organic position.
- Conversion Rate (CVR)– I’m willing to combine conversion for both “Top of Search on Amazon.com” and “Rest of search” to get a little more data.
- Cost-per-impression (CPI)– For this metric, I take the CTR & CVR calculated above and multiply them together.
This strategy should help you make informed decisions and avoid wasting time and resources chasing unachievable rankings.
If you plan on running sponsored advertising, Joshua Rawe, Amazon expert and ECF Member says you’ll find that top-of-funnel search terms will perform worse (on a conversion rate basis) than long-tail search terms.
His advice: Start with highly relevant, detailed search terms and run broad match modifiers (+) on them.
Broad match modifiers make sure specific keywords are always included in the search terms targeted by your advertising bids. You can apply broad match modifiers by adding a “+” symbol before a word.
For instance, using the keywords “+men shoes” with a broad match will make your ad appear for queries containing the word “men,” including terms like “men sneakers” or “running shoes for men.”
However, it won’t match with “running shoes” alone. This feature means you don’t miss out on potential customers actively searching.
“Then scale up from there. You’ll find Conversion rates improve as your review rate and count increase. Don’t expect to crush it with ads on launch day.”
Managing & Encouraging Amazon Reviews
To reiterate: Positive reviews increase conversion rates and influence search rankings.
Here are some strategies and tips you can use:
- Review Acquisition and Defense: Implement initiatives to generate positive reviews and intercept negative reviews before they occur. Use a “vent” email triggered by a customer refund, allowing customers to vent their dissatisfaction to you directly instead of posting a negative product review.
- Request a Review Button: Use the “request a review” button available on all orders to remind customers to leave reviews. Bulk request reviews from repeat customers who haven’t received a refund.
- Product Insert: Redesign your product insert to motivate positive reviews and intercept negative ones.
“Through all these efforts, we’ve increased our client’s star rating from 4.2 to 4.7 and doubled their review/rating count from 550+ to 1200+.”
Launching a Product with Zero Reviews
The same ECF member suggests launching your product at roughly 50% of the target price, earning the right to raise your price as reviews accumulate.
He gives three reasons why:
- Favorable Algorithm: Amazon’s predictive algorithm prefers lower-priced products, especially for new ASINs. Since the algorithm lacks conversion data for new listings, it relies on predictive factors like relevancy and conversion likelihood.
- Attract Organic Visitors: Offering a lower price to competitors gives buyers a compelling reason to take a chance on your product despite having no or minimal reviews.
- Cost Efficiency: Setting lower prices reduces the financial burden of rebate campaigns or giveaway services used for product launches. With a lower price point, the expense associated with these tactics is generally lower. It allows for more cost-effective strategies to gain initial traction and reviews for new products on Amazon. Once you’ve achieved ~20+ reviews, then it’s time to start raising your prices.
Mail-in Rebate Strategy
One ECF member recommends offering a generous mail-in rebate to your email list for all Amazon purchases within the first month. While it doesn’t incentivize reviews directly, it starts the conversation with customers who might be willing to leave a review.
According to Joshua Rawe, this strategy has worked well with his clients.
“Getting early reviews is key to building sales momentum. The standard review rate on Amazon is roughly 1.5%, so if you rely entirely on sales you’ll be waiting forever to get your first 25 reviews.”
Final Thoughts: Mastering The Basics = Mastering Amazon SEO
The advice and strategies in this guide share a common objective: driving more traffic and turning that traffic into sales. Whether through keyword research, content optimization, external traffic generation, or review management, the goal is to increase visibility, engagement, and sales.
So, as you begin your journey to master Amazon SEO, remember to stay grounded in the fundamentals. Continuously refine and optimize your strategies based on the insights shared here and stay on top of the evolving dynamics of the platform.
Want More? Access 3000+ Discussions about Amazon With The Occasional Amazon Listing Teardown
Connect with over 1000+ like-minded members who are eager to share their experiences, opinions, and feedback. Many of them are on their own journey to master Amazon SEO, just like you.
You can learn more about the community or apply to join today.