The answer lies in two basic facts:
1) Brand Name – To be able to sell a product well, not only do you need a product worth selling but also a popular platform to market it from. Online users prefer to buy products from reputed E-commerce websites and Amazon is a prime example of a trusted E-commerce store.
2) Less Competition – Another reason why vendors have resorted to selling their products on Amazon is that it is relatively easier to compete with other brands within Amazon search results than to compete in a much bigger sphere of competition that includes other E-commerce sites and popular brands.
Why is Amazon Important For Vendors?
The first question that probably comes to mind before you start reading this piece is the need for an Amazon store when you can simply sell products off your website.
Okay, so now we know that Amazon is actually important. But if it is easier to market on Amazon, then why do we really need an Amazon SEO strategy?
Why is Amazon SEO Important?
In many discussions about SEO, you might hear a voice coming out of some corner of a room questioning the relevance of having a separate SEO strategy for Amazon. After all, Amazon is an E-commerce website where people usually look for things that they’ve already made up their mind to buy.
For instance, if an Amazon visitor is looking for a jet black pair of distressed jeans, then chances are that they won’t settle for a white pair of trousers just because they happened to see them on the top. Unlike Google, visitors on Amazon mostly have a general idea of what they are looking for. So, why spend time and resources on a separate strategy for Amazon?
Well, it is wise to do just that because the way people buy products is rapidly evolving. In the past five years, there has been a rapid shift in the shopping tendencies of a large section of the urban population. Over 65% people buy a product every month using their smart phones or computers. Gone are the days when you left your home with a grocery list and picked each of the items off the shelves of a brick-and-mortar supermarket and carried it all the way home.
Today, shopping is a mobile process (literally). And this is why it is essential that you spend your money and other resources in developing a strategy for optimizing Amazon search results. Earlier this year, Google has led the lead by announcing its Mobile Update for webmasters. Perhaps, a strong signal why Amazon Vendors should start thinking – Mobile First Strategies for their products.
Let’s take the example of Jim. Jim is a weary tax assistant who is having a particularly bad day and is now commuting back to his home from his workplace in the Subway. Since bad days are rarely merciful, he also forgot his earphones at work. Now, in this phase of ennui, Jim looks at the shoes of a fellow traveler and takes an almost instant liking to them. So he promptly performs a few swipes, taps on his smart phone and types “Red Converse Shoes” on the search bar of the Amazon app that Jim installed on his phone for those times when you find something interesting that you’d like to buy but forget about it as you motion through the grind of daily life. Jim scrolls a bit and chooses the pair of shoes that listed all kinds of information from water resistance to cleaning methods in its product description. And voilà! Shoes bought. Conversion noted.
A happy seller and a momentarily happy Jim.
This is why Amazon SEO is a separate SEO entity. There are lots of buyers out there who take less than 5 minutes between thinking about buying a product and paying for it online. It is essential that your product ranks high on Amazon search results because mobile buyers have the attention span of a seven-year old at Disneyland.
So, now that we know how important Amazon SEO is, the real question that arises is: How do we make our products tick once they are up there on one of the most coveted E-commerce websites on the Web?
There are two ways to go about it:
1) Amazon Store Optimization (Amazon SEO)
2) SEO of your Amazon Store/Products on Google
Difference Between Amazon SEO & Google SEO For Amazon Products
Search engine optimization is key to improved visibility for your products in organic search engine rankings. Improved rankings on Google help your product pages on Amazon get increased traffic and a higher conversion rate. Optimizing a product page on Amazon is vastly different from optimizing a website on Google. Yet, there are some important factors that you should keep in mind while optimizing any of them.
1) End Points – An Informative Search Result vs. A Great Product
Both Google and Amazon satiate our basic cravings of knowledge and material comfort. Google is a search engine and Amazon is an E-commerce store. And this is where the differences start mushrooming. One of the starkest differences between Amazon and Google is the way they define a ‘success’ event.
Google adds a “+1” to its success counter when it provides a highly informative search result to a user who entered a search query on Google. This ensures that the next time the said user has a question, he will simply choose to enter his search query and will be taken to the web page that Google deems the most relevant. This same cycle gets repeated billions of times every day on Google. And this is what makes Google rich. Therefore when optimizing for Google, one needs to focus on factors such as user friendliness, content quality, and other factors that add to the user experience, simply because these factors tell Google that the users it sends to your website will be satisfied. And hence will return again when they have a query or a question.
Amazon, on the other hand, adds a ‘+1′ to its success counter when a you visit it in search of a product that can range anywhere from a certain book to a certain car wiper that makes your windscreen sparkle like your teeth if you were in a toothpaste commercial, and find it on the top of Amazon search results.
The faster you find the required product, the greater will be the probability of you coming back to Amazon the next time you want to buy something.
To summarize, Conversion Rate is the king on Amazon. Conversions make money for Amazon and thus, when optimizing for Amazon, one needs to ensure that their product and its product description are presented in a way that maximizes conversion rates.
2) Structured vs Non-Structured Meta Data
When it comes to Meta data, there are three variations that you’ll often find in the case of websites – No Metadata; Unoptimized Metadata; Optimized Metadata. Google has always preferred well-structured metadata but it doesn’t really enforce it with an iron sword.
However, Amazon is pretty stringent about a product’s metadata. Amazon provides multiple pre-set fields (some fields even come with a pre-defined list of valid values).
3) I-Can-Tell-You-Something-New Content vs I-Can-Make-You-Buy Content
Having duplicate content on your website and related links is the fastest way to get thrown into the depths of internet abyss by Google. Google is pretty stringent about duplicate content or the kind of content that offers no valuable information to the users.
Whereas, Amazon doesn’t really care how your product is described anywhere else on the internet. Be it duplicate, or repetitive, it doesn’t matter as long as the product description compels the users to buy your product and increase your conversion rate.
Simply put: Content Writing Vs Copywriting
4) On-page and Off-page Activities
As mentioned above, Google places great emphasis on the quality of its search results. Therefore, optimizing a website involves building high-quality backlinks in conjunction with optimizing the website as it increases the website’s authority as well as its trust factor in the eyes of Google.
On the other hand, Amazon doesn’t rely that much on external certificates of trust. That leaves you with optimizing your product pages for maximum conversion rates. Therefore it is imperative that you follow all the guidelines that Amazon has listed in order to make sure that your product features among the top results.
So the bottom line for Amazon SEO – Optimize your product page, have multiple photos of your products, write complete & compelling descriptions and add as much information as you can.
Ranking Amazon Product Pages On Google
In order for your products to have an increased conversion rate on Amazon, it is imperative that your products appear at the top of Amazon searches. But conversion rates come into play only when buyers visit your product page in the first place.
To ensure greater product visibility of your products on the internet, a potent concoction of Product Page Optimization and Off-Page Optimization must be whipped up.
1) Product Page SEO
The on-page optimization activities required for improved Google listings for websites and better Amazon searches for product pages are poles apart. In this case, you are advised to stick to the Amazon optimization guidelines for your product pages.
The differences between the on-page optimization process between Google and Amazon are listed below.
Title Length – You can write up to 500 characters in the title tag of a product advertised on Amazon.
Keywords – Amazon allows you to include as many relevant keywords in the title, bullet points and product description as you’d like. Google would call this same activity “keyword stuffing”, if conducted for your website.
2) Off-page Optimization
Having multitudes of backlinks about your products spread across the length and breadth of Google doesn’t directly affect your products’ rankings on Amazon searches. Building a link to your product’s Amazon page does not result in an improved ranking for your product on Amazon. However, it does open an avenue for more potential buyers to visit your product’s Amazon page.
While more visitors might skew your conversion rate, it never really hurts to have more eyeballs on your products.
Below are some ways you can draw more attention to your products on Amazon from the outside:
Quality content always does some good even if we are talking about Amazon SEO. Having a blog that is updated regularly and is filled to the brim with high quality content has a huge possibility of ranking high on Google. This is good news for your product’s Amazon page as a high Google ranking translates into a lot of people being informed about your product (or brand). This means more potential buyers and a chance of increased revenue for you and thus Amazon (which means Amazon might rank your product listing higher).
b) Dedicated Product Pages
While blogs cover a wide area of interest, dedicated product pages do a great job of nudging on-the-fence buyers into a purchase. Moreover, a dedicated product page helps you inform a potential buyer of the benefits of your product in much greater detail than is possible on an Amazon product page.
Google vs Amazon SEO : Factors That “Actually” Affect Rankings
There are several factors, other than those listed already, that can help your product get higher visibility when users search for keywords relevant to your business.
1) Information Fields
Unlike Google where you start from the scratch, Amazon gives vendors a well-defined list of fields that contains information about various aspects of your products such as its color, size etc. Many of these fields are optional and thus most vendors often overlook them. But if you want your product to rank higher on Amazon searches, then you must fill all the given information fields with utmost care.
These optional fields play a big role when buyers use filters. Let’s say you are selling a pair of red coot on trousers on Amazon and you exercised the caution of a 5-year-old running down a hill while filling the option information fields for this product. When a certain buyer uses a filter for color and selects ‘Red’, Amazon will filter out your product because you didn’t tell Amazon that these trousers were ‘Red’. It is always better to spend fifteen minutes more on filling all the given information fields than to have a fifteen percent conversion rate because you didn’t.
Amazon’s guidelines on putting up product images requires you to upload images larger than 1000 x 1000 pixels. A high-quality, easily visible picture is considered as a positive ranking factor by Amazon’s algorithm. Moreover, human beings are visual in nature. We, subconsciously, place great importance on how a particular product looks. A high quality image can be the difference between ‘almost bought your product’ and ‘bought your product instantly’.
Word-of-Mouth publicity is great. It is free, it is convincing and most importantly, it provides you and your products a social proof of acceptance. A study last year found out that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more.
Reviews often convert on-the-fence buyers into buyers and thus, are great assets since there is no cost to them.
However, one needs to keep in mind that reviews, though convincing, can also put you in a soup if they are fake. Amazon has started bringing its gauntlet down for websites that provide reviews in exchange of money and is likely to increase the heat on such practices.
Upcoming Changes In Amazon Search Engine Ecosphere
A search engine ecosphere is like a human trying to sleep in 110 Fahrenheit with no fan in sight – constantly shifting. Amazon has been constantly evolving its search and ranking algorithm so as to provide buyers with the most relevant products.
With Google being rumored to introduce the “Buy Now” button in Google Shopping Listings, Amazon is likely to become more aggressive in its advertisement campaigns. As of now, Amazon spent a whopping $157.7 million on Google Search ads and was Google’s biggest search marketing advertiser.
Amazon has also been in the news for planning to develop its own advertisement platform to compete with Google. It is safe to say that as time goes both Google and Amazon and other big internet players will constantly try to one-up each other and transform the skyline of E-commerce marketing.