Amazon was little more than an online bookseller when the company first launched over two decades ago. But with a combination of tech savvy policies, outstanding marketing, and a vision for what ecommerce could become, Amazon went on to become the dominant force in ecommerce. As a result, Amazon SEO has become just as important to ecommerce operators as Google SEO.

If you are an ecommerce seller, know this: Amazon and Google search engines are distinctly different entities with different goals. If you want to maximize your sales on Amazon, you need to understand exactly what Amazon SEO is, how it works, and how it differs from SEO for Google and other search engines.

SEO on the Amazon Site

SEO (search engine optimization) is a pretty simple concept in its most basic form. SEO is essentially the practice of using various strategies and tools to make sure your pages rank as high as possible for organic searches. On Amazon, the same basic principle holds true. But there are some key differences.

A Google search is designed to help you discover whatever relevant information you are looking for, whether or not that journey ends in purchasing a product. An Amazon search is designed to help you to buy products. It follows that optimizing for Amazon onsite searches must be done with a slightly different mindset.

A10 and A9 Search Engines

The Amazon website is as much a search engine as it is a selling platform. The latest iteration of the Amazon search algorithm is known as A10.

A10 is viewed as a drastic upgrade from its previous algorithm, called A9. This new algorithm attempts to anticipate what customers actually want so as to ensure that the most attractive products appear in the coveted top three positions. A10 doesn’t seek to merely help you discover available products, it looks to take you directly to the one you are most likely to buy right from the start.

In order to accomplish this, Amazon tracks customer purchases and online behaviors. The collected data is fed to the search algorithm then compared against a variety of ranking factors.

Notable Differences Between A10 and A9

If you have been on Amazon for a while and have focused your SEO efforts on the A9 algorithm, it is time to refocus for A10. A10 brought some significant changes to the table:

In essence, Amazon has made a definitive effort with A10 to direct buyers right to the products they want without forcing them to have to look through multiple listings. As an Amazon retailer, it is crucial to work with your SEO team to create listings that appeal to Amazon’s algorithms.

Page Rank Still Matters a Lot

With the A10 update, Amazon is working to ensure their search engine focuses on product relevance. When an Amazon customer types in keywords to run and onsite search, Amazon wants their algorithms to return the most relevant results every time. In that respect, Amazon SEO is similar to Google SEO.  

However, the A10 update does not change the fundamental truth of search engines: the better a seller’s page ranks in organic searches, the more likely that seller is to win a paying customer. Here are the two most important things you need to know about page rankings on the Amazon site:

Just like with page rankings on Google, it is vitally important that your products appear on the very first page of an organic onsite search. The higher your products are on that list, the higher the chances that customers will click on your listings.

Your effort to further develop an effective Amazon SEO strategy has to account for both relevance and page ranking. Ideally, you want to achieve the highest possible ranking based on offering the most relevant product. Though it seems simple enough, there is a lot to consider here.

Key Amazon Ranking Factors

Amazon, similar to Google, does not release clear details about how their algorithms work. It is up to sellers and their SEO providers to figure out ranking factors  for themselves. Here at Webtek, our team of SEO specialists have determined the following are primary Amazon ranking factors in order of importance:

While we know each of these factors affect Amazon rankings, we don’t know how much weight Amazon assigns to each factor. We also do not know if this list is complete. There could be many other ranking factors we don’t know about.

What we do know is that Amazon’s A10 algorithm emphasizes relevance and customer experience. This means that Amazon SEO optimization needs to start with creating effective product pages that drive traffic. 

Always start by asking if your product listing encourages customers to stick around long enough to read descriptions, read customer reviews, look at pictures, etc. However, the best product pages on Amazon will not be of much help if a seller doesn’t provide quality products, fair prices, and excellent customer service.

Optimizing Your Amazon Listings

Understanding the change to ranking factors and Amazon’s search engine from A10 is important, but only so far as you use the information in optimizing your listings. Just as Amazon looks at several factors to determine ranking, there are several elements you need to consider in order to ensure your listing is optimized.

Seller Authority

You cannot magically increase the amount of time you have been on Amazon. But you can increase your seller authority by doing the following:

Page Content

Page content is critical to establishing relevance. Content is more than just a simple product description; It includes information buyers may want to know, information that could be critical to determining whether they should buy your product.

Keyword Research

Just as with Google SEO, effective Amazon SEO always begins with keyword research. You need to know what keywords your customers will use when searching for your products. Some of those keywords will be generic – like ‘sneakers’, for example. Others will be more specific. They will relate to popular brands, features, colors, and even styles.

If your marketing team already does extensive keyword research to support SEO efforts outside of Amazon, get them involved in your Amazon keyword research as well. They may already have a remarkably effective list of targeted keywords that could perform very well on Amazon. 

However, if you need a well-equipped digital marketing team that has proven experience with keyword research, reach out to us at Webtek to see how we can build your rankings.

Maximizing Conversion Rates

Conversion rates play a crucial role in boosting a seller’s authority. Remember that Amazon tracks your sales volume and compares it against other sellers offering similar products. You will have greater authority than your competitors if you sell more and simultaneously limit product returns. Here are some tips for optimizing your conversion rate:

In relation to titles, Amazon listings technically allow up to 250 characters. However, it is best to keep titles below 200 characters to avoid automatic suppression. That said, use the full 200 to your advantage. More words and characters represent more opportunities for SEO.

If You Sell Elsewhere

Since A10 is focused so heavily on seller authority and customer satisfaction, Amazon algorithms now account for off site sales. You can use this to your advantage by publishing links to your Amazon listings on other sites. If you have your own website or blog, post your listings on it. If you know of family members and friends with their own websites, ask them to post your listings. Driving external traffic to Amazon will increase your seller authority and make search algorithms more friendly.

A New Ballgame

Amazon search is no longer what it was under A9. Amazon has made a concerted effort to transition away from revenue as the main search priority to relevance and seller authority. 

For you, that means taking a new approach to Amazon SEO. You now have every opportunity to compete with bigger and more well-known sellers by employing the strategies we explained in this post. Above all, don’t forget that Amazon’s priority is to match the best sellers to the customers who want their products.

Absolutely continue to research keywords and write accurate product descriptions. But work just as hard on improving your seller reputation, your on- and off site sales, and your inventory. Focus on becoming the best option for your customers rather than just appearing first in search engine results. It will pay off in the long run.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by optimizing your Amazon listing, our SEO specialists at Webtek are here to help you polish your listing for an ideal customer experience.