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Long gone are the days where SEO meant a focus only on search engines like Google and Bing. Smart marketers now consider social media channels as search engines as well. Positioning for keyphrases in YouTube and Pinterest can be just as valuable as showing up in Google, depending on your target market.
So what about Amazon? How can Amazon Sellers get smart and treat the search box on every page of Amazon like the true search engine that it is?
The first step is to think of your efforts in service of the customer. Everything you’re going to optimize is with the end goal of helping Amazon to match your product with customer search queries.
How Amazon is fundamentally different than Google
The reason that algorithms exist is to protect the product. If Amazon can’t show people what they are looking for, then people won’t choose to shop on Amazon. Google has a similar goal–to give users the information they seek. But there is fundamental difference: while Google mainly sells ads, Amazon sells products.
Amazon’s algorithm is designed to show customers the products that convert the best, so that Amazon can generate more sales. On the other hand, Google tries to show users the search terms that are trustworthy and linked to often, as these are measurements that a piece of content is of excellent quality.
To summarize the difference, with Google you try to build trust, but with Amazon you try to up your conversions, (which is already your goal).
To duplicate or not to duplicate?
Depending on how many channels you sell in, you might want your ecommerce product page to show up in Google and for your product to rank well in Amazon’s search list or gallery. If you focus too heavily on Google and not on Amazon, you might miss a key opportunity: the fact that Amazon results will show up in Google! Working strategically on your Amazon positioning can get your Amazon product to show up in Google easier than your ecommerce site because Amazon is such a large, established domain that Google already trusts.
If you know anything about SEO, you know that duplicate content is typically a bad idea. You should never post the exact same piece of content in multiple places, so what about Amazon and Google? Can your website’s product page have the same content as your Amazon product page?
While it might be okay for certain titles and sentences to be the same, you’ll likely end up with a completely different strategy, and that’s a good thing. On a website product page, you should focus on targeting just a couple keyphrases with excellent traffic and low competition, but on Amazon, you can add a lot more structured data, so the pages will ultimately appear very different from the front and the back ends without you having to worry about that issue.
Amazon-optimize your product page, title, and search terms
First things first: a winning title. In your 200-character max product title, you probably already have key information like brand name, color, ingredient, and size, but do you have a keyphrase?
Amazon doesn’t outright recommend to sellers to put a keyphrase or keyword in their title, but it’s essential. The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a helpful tool for identifying what search terms are the most popular with users. You can assume that what people search for in Google, they also search for in Amazon, and then test your assumption and keyphrase usage over time.
Need an example?
Let’s say you offer an awesome canvas duffle bag, and your title is something like this Large Army Green Canvas and Leather Duffle Bag. Now, that definitely satisfies Amazon’s requirements for a title, but it might not be catering to searchers. Here are some things that people might use your duffle bag for:
- Carry On Luggage
- Weekend Trips
So, take a look at which term is the most popular in Google Analytics and the least popular among competing products, then place that as the first word of your title: Carry On Army Green Canvas and Leather Duffle Bag.
But don’t throw away those other search ideas! They become usage possibilities that you can place in the structured data form for search terms that Amazon provides.
If you’re smart about SEO on Amazon, you’ll place keyphrases in the data forms but not place too many in your title. Keyphrase stuffing is never a good idea and can harm your conversions. It’s best to choose just one or two keyphrases or words for the title and to place the rest on the backend.
Here are all the places you’ll want to place relevant keywords:
- Search terms
- Title (1-2 max)
Remember that SEO for Amazon is different than for Google. Do not use variations of spellings, but focus instead on usage, so if you sell a party supplies, don’t worry about writing “birth day” and “birthday.” Instead focus on covering birthday, quincenera, wedding, etc.
Getting an excellent seller rank and informative reviews is top priority for Amazon sellers. Don’t take wait for glowing reviews to come to you. Instead, you’ll need to encourage your buyers to leave honest feedback. There are a few ways to do this. You can generate an email that the buyer will receive and request a review and you can place a review button or CTA in the sidebar or product pages of your website.
But don’t be afraid to ask customers directly. If you have a customer who loves your product and posts about it on social media, you can send them a direct message asking if they’ve reviewed you. Remember–you can’t offer anything in return, and it isn’t wise to try and game the rules.
You can also ask for reviews in the text of an Instagram or Facebook post. Say something like that, “We appreciate our customers’ feedback so much. If you haven’t done so, would you please leave us a review on Amazon?” Of course, you won’t want to jam your followers’ feeds with this request, so do it a few times a year at most and phrase it uniquely with a new “likeable” photo each time.
Generate off-Amazon traffic
The main factors that count for Amazon search placement are:
- Product optimization
- Seller rank
- Page view and CTR
We’ve covered the first two, so now let’s dive deeper into the third. Of course, having an excellent product with excellent reviews is going to help your CTR rate and conversions, but you’ll also want to focus on driving some traffic to Amazon.
If you bring traffic directly to your Amazon page that is already intent on selling, then your page view to purchase rate is going to bump up, which will help increase your chances of getting traffic from Amazon search.
This is where a commitment to marketing can pay off. The only way to see results is to pick 2-3 objectives at a time and focus on them. Examples include building your Instagram or Pinterest presence or being active in a relevant forum, Facebook group, or on Quora. Building an engaged, branded presence strategically and over time can allow you to drive traffic to Amazon and increase your sales. Since those customers know you on other channels, they’ll be more likely to leave personalized reviews than a buyer who has never interacted with you online before.
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