The value of SEO (search engine optimisation) is now well established, with business from small to large seeing the incredible power of SEO to bring organic online traffic, drive sales and significantly increase revenue.
SEO also holds incredible value for those with businesses ecommerce on platforms like Amazon. Similar SEO techniques can be applied to increase organic rankings for Amazon searches, and while there are some differences when it comes to strategy, the ultimate result of growing your business is the same.
In this guide we look at the basics of SEO for ecommerce, how SEO works on Amazon, and how you can drive more organic traffic to your listings to drive sales and exponentially increase profits.
Beginners’ Guide To SEO For ECommerce
SEO and Ecommerce
Whether you are listing your product on Amazon or another ecommerce platform, the most important thing you can do to get more users to view your product is to increase your ranking in search results on that platform. Ranking as the number one product for searches, or at least on the first page, makes a phenomenal difference.
Getting visitors to your listing is the first step of any successful ecommerce business model. The second and equally vital step is to convert visitors into actual sales: that is, get them to finalise their purchase. Having all the views in the world ultimately does not generate any results for your business if those visitors don’t actually buy your product.
However, as we will discuss further in the following sector, these two steps are actually interlinked when it comes to selling on Amazon. This is because Amazon takes sales conversion rates into consideration when ranking products. Thus increasing conversions is not only good for business, it is also great for ecommerce SEO which in turn is good for business, and so on.
How Amazon’s Algorithm Works
Although there are a variety of ecommerce platforms, Amazon is by far the most popular with both sellers and customers, so let’s take a moment to look at how Amazon rankings work.
Similar to how Google determines the rankings on its results pages, Amazon works on an algorithm, which is called the A9 algorithm. This algorithm works slightly differently to Google’s, and is based on the following:
- Relevance to search query
- Sales conversion rates
- Visibility of the product and organic traffic
The first factor, relevance to search query, basically comes down to the keywords you use in your listing. Having the right keywords, particularly in your listing title, will tell Amazon that your product is relevant to a given search query, thus improving your rankings.
Sales conversion rates are also very important, because this indicates to Amazon that your product is more likely to sell, which of course makes money for Amazon itself. In this way, Amazon has a vested interest in promoting products which are more likely to make sales: which it determines by looking at sales history and past conversion rates.
Product visibility and organic traffic rates does not have as much influence as the first two factors, however this still plays a role.
Keyword Research and Optimisation
As already mentioned, having the correct primary keywords will improve your listing’s relevance score and thus boost your rankings on search results. This is all about not just ranking highly in as many searches as possible, but ranking in the right searches. You want to be visible to customers who are likely to buy your product, and so appearing is irrelevant searches is largely useless.
The right Amazon software can help you to identify relevant, high volume keywords that will improve your listing’s SEO. Use online tools to conduct keyword research in preparation for building your listing, to identify keywords customers are searching for. Look for keywords which are high volume, relevant to your product, and to your ideal customer. Be creative: think about what you would search for if looking for the product, which may include long tail keywords.
The most important part of your listing when it comes to keywords is the title. You want to include as any primary keywords as possible while maintaining readability and having good copy which will be effective in converting users into sales. You can do this by breaking up primary keywords with dashes or pipes, as well as using long tail versions of keywords linked together with connectors, both of which improves readability. You should also keep in mind that your title should communicate the benefits of your product, and do this using primary keywords whenever possible. This approach will aid in rankings as well as conversion rates.
The Role of Conversion Rates
The second major factor which ecommerce platforms, most notably Amazon look for when deciding which products to rank highest on search results pages is conversion rate. This is because these platforms take a percentage or a fee for each sale, and so they have a vested interest in promoting products which are more likely to sell.
Obviously, improving your conversion rates is not just great for rankings, but it is also an end in itself more conversions means more sales, more revenue and a more successful business! There are many ways to improve conversions on your listings, but there a few key things you can do.
Firstly, you should make sure your images are optimised for maximum conversions. The majority of online shoppers make their purchase decision based on three aspects: the title, the price and the images. Use images which are clear and visually appealing, and always shoot product imagery on a white background: this presents products best. Think of ways to communicate the features and benefits of your product through the images: this may be your only opportunity to sell potential customers on the product.
For example, you can include text or explanations within the images as to the features of your product. You can also showcase product benefits and advantages through using images or custom graphics which convey these aspects. Always use high quality photos which are large enough to enable zoom: aim for 2560 on the longest side, and no smaller than 1260.
Also keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of ecommerce shoppers make up their mind without reading the complete listing, so first impressions really matter. The images on your listing are a big part of this, but you also want to ensure that the overall look of the listing is strong. This is sometimes referred to as the “glance-able” test. Preview your listing to see if the product, its features and its benefits are clearly communicated within a few seconds of clicking on the listing. Be sure to do this on both desktop and mobile, as the majority of visitors actually shop on mobile devices.
Finally look at your listing copy, specifically the bullet points when it comes to Amazon listings. Being persuasive in your listing is essential to achieving high conversion rates. Be sure to communicate clearly what your product does, what features it has and any secondary uses of the product. Use persuasive language and sell your product by explaining what benefits it has for your customers, as well as your unique selling point (USP).
Drive Organic Traffic To Your Listing
After keywords and sales conversions, the other way you can improve the rankings of your listing is through increasing organic traffic. This, of course, will have the additional benefit of bringing more potential customers to your listing.
Content marketing can be a highly effective way to drive traffic, whether to a website or a listing. By creating quality content which is useful and interesting to your customer base you can attract new sales leads and build awareness for your brand and your products. You can also include links within the content back to your product listing, thus driving organic traffic. Blogs are a great platform to do this, but there are also other types of content which can be equally effective for this type of content marketing, such as social media and infographics.
Another tried and tested way to drive traffic to ecommerce listings is through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Although these do represent a higher investment compared to other forms of digital marketing, such as SEO and content marketing, they can be effective in driving traffic and boosting rankings. Of the three types of PPC ads, Headline Search ads generate the most traffic but they are also the most expensive. On the other hand, Sponsored Product ads and Product Display ads involve a lesser cost, but are also less likely to deliver strong results. You may consider using PPC advertising only during the first 7 days of your listing on Amazon, which is the most critical window in terms of securing great rankings.
SEO is a critical part of any ecommerce business strategy, and particularly for sellers on Amazon. Understanding how rankings and Amazon’s algorithm works can help you to rank your products, in order to drive more sales, exponentially increase profits, and grow your business beyond what you may have thought was possible.
Tom Buckland is a consultant specialising in technical SEO & Amazon Marketing. He is the founder of Cardiff-based Digital Marketing agency HQ SEO and Amazon SEO Consultant. He loves helping businesses profit through smart digital marketing strategies.