Amazon Product Listing Optimization Basics
As in love with your brand name and products that you may be, the basic truth is most Amazon shoppers are not looking for your storefront and wares specifically. They may not even be seeking that fabulous feature which makes your product better than the rest, simply because buyers don’t know it exists. If your listing isn’t optimized properly, if it’s incomplete or incorrect, it directly affects product discoverability and conversion. Sellers often believe their listings are perfect since they’ve put a lot of effort into building product pages. And while the listings may look and say everything deemed important (by the Seller); it often isn’t compelling nor aligned with how customers think. The lack of orders proves it. If you’re crossing fingers hoping an Amazon search result will lead to sales; then it’s time to shift and take charge. Activate that untapped super power called Listing Optimization.
The way people shop today has dramatically changed. 79 percent of U.S. consumers shop on the web or their phones (up from just 22 percent in 2000). Amazon boasts over 244 million users and over 2 million sellers (worldwide) with more than 480 million products (485 thousand new products daily). That puts more pressure on Sellers to create a flawless, persuasive sales experience. If you think of listings as your virtual sales rep, every keyword and page detail is mission critical. When done well, optimized listings work 24/7/365.
What Is Listing Optimization?
For the customer, it all starts by entering keywords into Amazon’s search bar which then get matched against the information used in your title, bullet points, product description and the listing’s back office keywords.
For example, searching for “couch caddy” currently results in a page that looks like this…
Although factors such as price, product availability, ratings and sales history do influence where products appear; well-optimized listings increase a product’s visibility extensively. Makes sense right? But that’s not all. You only have seconds to grab their attention and make your product the one they click through to the detail page. It’s all about first impressions, keeping their attention and swaying purchasing decisions.
Keep in mind that Amazon built their search engine so THEY can sell products. Their sole purpose is to convert searchers into buyers. As a Seller, learning how to play by Amazon’s rules to beat your competition means that Optimizing Listings is a playbook must.
Let’s look at the product page sections for listing optimization.
Do Your Listing Titles Make Sense?
Amazon states that each word in the product name (title) is searchable on its own. That’s how important a product title is.
They suggest incorporating the following attributes into your product titles:
Your Brand Name – While this is first on the list, that doesn’t mean your brand name has to show up first in your title; unless you’re well known.
Keywords – Your product title is considered one of the most important places to include keywords. Although they are searchable, this is not a greenlight for keyword stuffing. Select the top two keywords to include in your product title.
Color – If it makes sense to include the color, do so. However, if there are multiple color variations don’t add it in the parent title. Save each color for the child/variation titles.
Size – If that matters for your product.
Quantity – If you’re selling a multipack.
The basic rule of thumb: Write clear, easy-to-read titles for your customers. Product Titles are one of the most important sources in search results. Keep a balance between including keywords for Amazon’s algorithm and making it readable for customers. Avoid non-sense product titles. They won’t be indexed in Amazon’s search results and your listing will be suppressed until you fix it. Don’t worry, follow these essential guidelines and Amazon’s search algorithms will detect your presence.
Keep titles just shy of 200 characters.
Write them also for smart devices which
only display around 45 – 90 characters.
Are Your Images Worth a 1,000 Words?
Product photos are a central element to every product listing. It is a powerful selling tool that complements product titles, bullet points and descriptions.
Amazon calls your first picture, the Primary or Main image. It is the first image that sits front and center on your product detail page and should be of the product plus any accessories on a white background.
Professional Seller accounts have 7 photo slots, yet many merchants upload less than what’s allotted. Or worse, use images that look unappealing which instantly kill any sales potential.
Product images are a viable replacement for touching actual products. It provides a near 3D experience.
Lifestyle photos portray the product’s intended purpose through still life photos. This type of photo depicts a compelling story of how it can benefit the buyer. In this scenario, there is a real life setting enabling the prospect to envision themselves using your product. For example, a person comfortably camping in a tent; or a child happily playing with a toy; or a unique gadget that makes a perfect gift. Each variation shows a particular product in intended action.
While it’s true that smart devices are continuously improving photo resolutions; nothing beats hiring a professional to ensure your photos look fabulous after being uploaded to Amazon. Take the time to read through Amazon’s photo guidelines.
Tell a story with your products-in-use photos.
Imagine how you would demonstrate your
product to customers and shoot those pictures.
Are Your Bullet Points Irresistible?
Bullet points are an absolute must. They heavily impact search rankings if they are keyword rich, informative features. Just like images, not having bullet points is a serious hindrance to good Amazon rankings and could result in a suppressed listing.
While there is room for improvement on these features (including not adding your own bullet points since Amazon automatically uses them); notice how they are written to answer anticipated concerns, multiple usage ideas and important details a customer would want to know. If this Seller did their homework, that content is embedded with the highly searched, pertinent keywords. At the same time, these bullet points are easily readable, which means they won’t confuse customers and risk losing conversions.
Generally, Amazon allows for 500 characters per bullet point although this varies by category. If you aren’t utilizing close to that, then consider it an invitation to improve your listing. Make sure it’s not filled with gibberish or incorrect English.
Once again, this is an often missed opportunity for Sellers who may not believe they have enough valuable content. This is yet another great opportunity to use professional services that know how to write compelling, keyword rich content.
Get into the mindset of your customer and write to that.
Are You Skimping On Product Descriptions?
You get 2000 characters to describe your product. That’s in addition to your 5 bullet points!
The product description is the section to expand on your bullet points. It’s also another part of your product page that you have control over so don’t skimp on the content.
The product description space is your chance to yet again, to plug in your targeted keywords. These should be the exact same keyword(s) you are using in the amazon product listing’s title plus it’s the place to add keywords that have not been used in your bullet points. As a general guideline, duplicating keywords doesn’t help your ranking and searchability.
Using the same couch caddy example, below is their nicely done Product Description:
Notice how they continue to help the customer imagine they are using this product in their home right now and incorporate possible situations whereby this caddy would be super handy. This content definitely improves the buyer experience.
Cover all your bases with relevant keywords and descriptions. Include more detailed specifications, how-to instructions, your company’s philosophy and any bonus information customers would find helpful.
Rules of Keyword Engagement
Keywords have to make sense. Tracking and optimizing them on the level that actually improves your listing visibility and conversions do require using tools such as those offered by ZonGuru. You simply cannot build your keyword database without using them.
If you are running sponsored ads on Amazon, you can monitor keyword performance; however, acquiring a comprehensive list up front to be used in your title, bullet points, listing’s back office, description and sponsored ads, fast tracks your product discoverability and conversion rates.
Knowing Amazon’s best practices for selecting keywords is crucial:
Don’t provide inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information such as competitor product, brand or author name, wrong gender, etc. Providing misleading or irrelevant information is against Amazon policy; your listing will be removed and your seller account will be suspended. Moreover, your product might end up in a wrong browse node and your sales might get affected.
Don’t provide excessively long content. Respect the limits that are set for different fields. Providing overly long content can violate Amazon’s selling policy. For more information, see Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions.
Don’t provide redundant information that is already captured in other fields such as title, author, product description, bullet points, brand, etc. It won’t improve your product placement in search results.
When entering several words as a search term, put them in the most logical order. A customer is more likely to search for big stuffed teddy bears than for teddy stuffed bears.
Use a single space to separate keywords. No commas, semicolons, or carets are required.
Don’t include statements that are only temporarily true, e.g., “new,” “on sale,” “available now”.
Leave out subjective claims such as amazing, good quality. etc., as most customers don’t use subjective terms in their queries.
Avoid including common misspellings of the product name. Amazon’s search engine compensates for common customer misspellings and also offers corrective suggestions.
Skip variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (“80GB” and “80 GB”, “computer” and “computers”, etc.). Our search engine automatically includes different case forms, word forms, and spelling variants for searching.
Don’t include terms that are abusive or offensive in nature.
Abbreviations, alternate names, topic (for books etc.), and key character (for books, movies etc.) could be included as keywords.
Do Your Homework
Creating an optimized product listing requires dedicated time and energy. If you’ve added products to Amazon’s catalog, you’re well aware of the effort that went into it. If you’re concentrating on growing your Amazon business and increasing sales, then making sure every listing is fully optimized should be at the topic of your marketing strategies to reach that goal. There’s no need to get frustration or overwhelmed. You’re not alone. Talk to the pros at MarketHustl.com.
Tina Marie Bueno is a global citizen with an MBA in Int’l Business plus over 20 years of content marketing experience both in the U.S. and overseas. As the Lead Writer at MarketHustl, she strives to deliver relevant content to serve Amazon businesses of all sizes.
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