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A Comprehensive Guide For Sellers

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A Comprehensive Guide For Sellers


In digital marketing, we talk a lot about what you need to do for your website and how to make it SEO-friendly for users and search bots.

But how much do you know about Amazon SEO?

If you’re an ecommerce business and you’re not on Amazon in 2022, you may not be hitting your sales potential.

Amazon’s a powerhouse, a workhorse, an old reliable when it comes to e-commerce, as most people should be aware of by now.

Everyone wants to get their products on Amazon because that’s where their audiences shop.

And those audiences shop the platform quite a bit.

Amazon generates about $4,722 every second, or about $17 million an hour. The sales giant closed out last year with $469.8 billion in net sales, up 22% over 2020.

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That’s why sellers want a piece of the action, and why it can be so difficult to rank your products on Amazon’s results pages.

As with your website, though, you can practice Amazon SEO to give your products a boost.

It’s all about understanding the algorithm, what shoppers are searching for to find what they need, and how you can outperform your competitors.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to Amazon SEO for sellers.

How Amazon’s A9 Algorithm Works

Before we can talk about Amazon SEO and how you can optimize your product listings, it will help to understand how Amazon’s A9 search algorithm works.

It’s similar but not identical to Google’s.

One main difference?

Amazon queries are only commercial, rather than navigational or informational as with Google.

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Think about it simply.

You make a search. A9 knows you want to buy whatever you searched.

It matches the query to a group of relevant products, and you are shown those products on a series of pages.

How does Amazon even select those particular products, though?

Again, think about it like Google’s algorithms, but exclusively for ecommerce.

The factors Amazon considers for rankings include:

  • Positive customer reviews (better products will sell more and make more money for Amazon).
  • Historical sales.
  • Relevant keywords included in the product listing.
  • The right prices (not too high, not too low, based on the competition).

It’s important to note here that while the algorithm is always looking for relevance based on a query, historical data matters a lot, too, as pointed out in the above list.

The results that have pleased customers in the past are likely to please customers in the future.

New sellers on Amazon are therefore faced with a dilemma: if Amazon prioritizes products with strong sales, but you haven’t made any sales yet or generated any historical data for A9, how can you ever hope to climb Amazon’s rankings?

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The answer lies in performing Amazon SEO, starting with the keyword research that can get you found by the shoppers who matter to you.

Performing Amazon Keyword Research

Just like with Google, an Amazon SEO strategy must be built on keyword research.

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Without the right keywords in your rankings, your products will seem irrelevant and won’t show up for users.

I’ll talk about how and where to optimize your listings for keywords in a minute. First, we need to know where to find keywords and how to perform keyword research.

One great way of performing keyword research that every Amazon seller should know about is using the Amazon search box.

It will autocomplete your queries as you type them, essentially doing the keyword research for you.

Take the example from the screenshot below.

Screenshot from Amazon, February 2022

Say you’re an online music store and want to start getting my turntables listed on Amazon.

Let me see what people are already searching for to get an idea of how to optimize your listings.

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Obviously, [vinyl record turntable] is going to be a strong seed term with plenty of competition.

That isn’t the only search you should do, in this case.

You need to keep searching for all the variations of turntables that you can think of and see what comes up.

Take this next example:

amazon search bar showing product optionsScreenshot from Amazon, February 2022

This search gives some more ideas because the predictions get more specific.

[Turntables for vinyl records], [turntables for vinyl records with speakers], and [turntables for vinyl records with cd player] are all specific queries.

Those are for the people who are further along in their buying journeys.

They know what they want. They just want to see the options.

Search for all the variations you can think of in the search box to get a decent list of keywords for which you could conceivably rank.

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What are some other ways of doing Amazon keyword research?

Basically, all the other ways you know about for doing keyword research for Google.

Use free tools such as Keyword Planner or paid tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs to see the search volumes and difficulty ratings of these keywords.

You can also look at your Google Search Console data if you sell the same products on a website to see how people are finding you on Google.

All of these methods together should present you with a decent collection of relevant keywords that you can use to optimize your product listings.

Amazon Listing Optimization

Once you have your list of keywords, it’s time to use them to optimize your product listings.

If you’re already familiar with writing optimized product descriptions and other content for Google rankings, you’re in luck.

Doing it for Amazon works basically the same way.

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You should start with your product titles.

Amazon requires that titles do not exceed 200 characters and that they include words that describe the product accurately.

This is also a chance for sellers to incorporate relevant keywords, but please don’t stuff.

Don’t stuff keywords in the rest of your product description, either.

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You should use keywords in your prose, your bullet points, and your tech details where applicable. But use them appropriately.

The key is employing the most relevant keywords that also give you the best chances of driving traffic to your products.

Long-tail keywords are okay, too, since not everyone can rank on those perfect seed terms.

Don’t forget you can add keywords to your product pages’ back end, too!

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They can help your visibility on Amazon even though customers can’t see them.

Finally, when you write your product descriptions, don’t be afraid to go long.

Be detailed. Tell a story.

It’s content, and it can help your products rank better.

Amazon Product Images

In any post about Amazon SEO, we have to talk about product images.

Whether you’re doing ecommerce on your own website or through Amazon, the right images can just about make or break you.

People are there to buy a product, and your written description goes only so far.

You can describe a vinyl record turntable all you want.

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You can talk about its colors, its look, and its features.

But none of that matters if no one can see the thing!

This is why product images matter so much, and not just any images, but high-resolution images (more than 1,000 pixels one way), preferably ones taken professionally.

Remember, Amazon lets customers zoom in pretty closely on product images these days, so quality really matters here.

It’s worth it to note that Amazon doesn’t necessarily rank you higher based on your image quality.

You can and should add SEO-optimized alt text to your images so Google can deliver them in image search results, but the play here is really adding images that show your product from all angles.

Let your images show all the details because images can be just as strong in making a sale as product descriptions.

The other angle you should take for your Amazon product images is what are called lifestyle images, or images that show people using the products in the intended ways.

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Why does that matter?

Anything that gets the customer to visualize using your products in their home is a plus.

They can see the item’s size in relation to real-life objects and get a sense of how it would be to use the item.

Zoomable product images alongside lifestyle images are vital to your success on Amazon.

Reviews & Ratings

I mentioned above that product reviews and ratings have a lot to do with where your products fall in Amazon’s search results.

This makes complete sense from a user-experience perspective.

Just like Google, Amazon’s main goal is to present users with positive, useful experiences.

This is why Amazon reviews and star ratings become vital for strong product rankings.

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Think about it logically: will Amazon want to show you a bunch of one-star products on the first results page for a query?

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No, that won’t help anyone.

Amazon wants customers to buy things, so it’s going to show products that many people have bought and liked.

What matters here are the stars and the number of reviews your products have.

Which product would you trust more: one with 17 reviews or one with 4,567 reviews?

Which set of reviews will give you a clearer picture of what you can expect?

So, if product reviews influence Amazon rankings, how do you get reviews? Amazon facilitates this for you with its Request a Review feature.

It’s always a good idea to reach out to customers after a purchase to see if they’d like to write a review.

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The thing is, good products will tend to bring about reviews anyway.

When you’ve made people happy, they will want to share their satisfaction with others.

Negative reviews can always occur, but the trick is to respond swiftly to see what you can do to make the customer’s experience better from this point.

Measuring Product Performance Through Analytics

The final part of doing comprehensive Amazon SEO involves measuring your products’ performance through analytics.

Again, if you optimize a website for Google rankings, then you know the value in analytics.

When it comes to Amazon, you’ll want to track your SEO so you can continue your strategy for product optimization.

Now, if you’re a brand owner, you have access to Amazon’s Brand Analytics.

For all other sellers, though, you have to get into third-party apps that track components such as keywords and product performance.

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Most of these tools are all-in-one solutions, meaning you can perform keyword research, get help optimizing your listings, track your products and inventory, look at your finances, get competitor information, and track your Amazon SEO and paid media in general.

If you’re serious about making a living as a seller on Amazon, it will be worth the investment to get into one of these software tools. You just can’t afford to go in blind and risk not making an impact among everyone else vying for a spot on page one.

Which tools are the best?

There are several Amazon analytics tools that consistently rank highly among reviewers.

Some of those are Helium 10, Sellics, and DataHawk.

Many of these companies offer either free trials or live demos so you can decide which tool is right for you.

A Strong Amazon SEO Strategy Starts Right Now

Sellers on Amazon have a lot of work cut out for them when they want to make it on the platform.

If you’re already familiar with optimizing content for Google, then you’re part of the way there already.

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As long as you know that Amazon rewards sellers who stand out with amazing products that dazzle customers, you know what direction you need to go.

These Amazon SEO tips will get you the rest of the way.

More resources:


Featured Image: MooseDesign/Shutterstock

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How To Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

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How To Use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper

If you drill down to the very core, every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has the same aim: convincing Google your webpage is the best answer to a user’s query.

There are a lot of tactics you can and should employ to achieve this, but that’s the goal.

And, as the Google brain has grown more complex, it’s able to display increasingly more detailed and helpful answers.

For example, if you’re looking to book a flight from Chicago O’Hare to LAX, Google can now show you options in rich snippets on search results pages.

Likewise, if you run a concert venue, you can add code known as structured data to your website that will encourage Google to display your events when they’re relevant to web searchers.

If you’re not familiar with the term “structured data,” don’t fret – there are a lot of SEO professionals and web marketers who aren’t.

In this article, we’ll set that right, plus give you tips on using the Structured Data Markup Helper to easily add it to your site.

What Is Structured Data?

As defined in this post, structured data is information (data) that is organized (structured). Organized information is basically what structured data is.

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For SEO purposes, structured data is a specific type of formatting that gives Google information about the meaning of a page.

Following a standardized vocabulary outlined by Schema.org, it is used across several search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.

Structured data can use syntax like JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata, among others.

Why Is Structured Data Important?

There are several reasons why webpages use structured data.

For one thing, it makes navigation easier for both search engine crawlers and human users.

This is because it provides the information that can then be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of rich snippets, video carousels, and other special search result features and enhancements.

This leads to faster indexing by search spiders and enhances your site’s search visibility. This can also help improve your click-through rate, increase conversions, and grab more voice search traffic.

In an article for Search Engine Journal, Winston Burton, Senior Vice President of SEO at global search and marketing agency Acronym, detailed the results of adding structured data to the client’s website.

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With no other optimization strategies employed, the client saw a 400% net growth in rich result organic traffic and a 140% growth in impressions for the company’s answer center.

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Even if this is a statistical outlier, it still highlights the massive potential of using structured data.

What Is Structured Data Used For?

Now that we’ve covered what structured data is and why it’s important, let’s look into some of the ways it can be used.

In an April 2022 Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Google Search Advocate John Mueller dove into structured data and its uses.

If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s well worth the watch. If you’re in a hurry, the part that’s relevant to the current topic begins at 27:19. Or better yet, read Roger Montti’s coverage of it here.

In this hangout, Mueller was asked a question about how to choose the best format for structured data.

His answer was that it’s not so much about what format a page uses, but rather what kind of rich result is available for the page.

Structured data is very versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to use it to drive clicks. Some of these you may wish to take advantage of include:

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Knowledge Panels

Used for things that are part of the Google Knowledge Graph, they provide a quick overview of information about a topic.

Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022

As a business, you can use knowledge panels to give users at-a-glance information about your brand name, logo, and phone number, among other things.

Rich Snippets

Sometimes referred to as rich results, this is the additional data Google shows users in addition to normal search results. This may include things like music, events, or recipes.

Rich Snippets ExampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

For commercial purposes, this is where reviews can be shown. It can also highlight things like products, addresses, and special offers.

Hosted Carousels

Common on mobile devices, this shows multiple “cards” from the same site.

Not to be confused with ordinary carousels, which can include images, video, and other data pulled from multiple sites, hosted carousels use content from only one “host” site.

Google currently supports the following types of hosted carousels:

  • Educational Course.
  • Movie.
  • Recipe.
  • Restaurant.
Carousel exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

AdWords

If you’re using Google’s automated ads as part of your PPC strategy, you can use structured snippets to give more information to customers.

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For example, you could use them to provide information about a line of products, included features or services offered.

AdWords exampleScreenshot from search, Google, June 2022

But, before you go inserting structured snippets into your webpages willy-nilly, you should know these are subject to standard Google Ads policies and must meet a number of requirements, a full list of which can be found here.

Getting Started With Structured Data

By now you should see the benefits structured data can offer, so let’s look at how to add it to your website.

The simplest way to add structured data to your webpage is by using Google’s Data Highlighter tool.

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To use this, simply open the tool and highlight data like name, date, location, etc. with your mouse.

Google will note this information the next time it crawls your site and present the data in rich snippets on search results pages.

You can also manually markup elements on HTML webpages. Sound intimidating? It’s not. You just have to have a small working knowledge of coding.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1.   Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  2.   Click the “Website” tab.
  3.   Select the type of page you’re marking up (e.g., job postings, restaurants, Q&A page, local businesses, etc.)
  4.   Enter the URL of an existing page or raw page HTML.
  5.   Click “Start Tagging.”
  6.   Highlight the parts of the page you want to be included in rich snippets and identify them in the dropdown that appears.
  7.   Fill in the required information. For an event, this includes the event name, location, and date.
  8.   After you have finished tagging, click the “Create HTML” button and choose an output format. JSON-LD is Google’s preferred format, though you can also choose Microdata.
  9.   Copy the code or download it. If you are using JSON-LD, paste the generated code into the body of the existing page. If you choose Microdata, replace your page with the generated HTML.
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Some other things to note:

  • To test the generated code, copy and paste it into the Rich Result test, which will show you any missing fields you need to fill in.
  • You can have multiple items on one page, but Google recommends that they are all the same type, e.g., all movies or all job postings.
  • All pages you want to display rich snippets for should be available to the public and not hidden behind login screens.
  • It may take a few weeks for Google to crawl your new page, but once it does it can be shown in rich snippets.

Is Structured Data A Ranking Signal?

Now for the $10,000 question: Will structured data markup help your site appear higher in search rankings?

Unfortunately, no.

In a deep dive into the topic, Search Engine Journal found that while it offers many benefits, there is no direct evidence schema markup is used by Google to determine search ranking.

That said, because it helps search engines more easily understand the content of your website, it can help you show up in relevant queries you may have been excluded from in the past.

Key Takeaways

Traffic is always the name of the game in digital marketing. And leveraging structured data on your website is a great way to help attract visitors.

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Not only does it enhance the appearance of your content in search results, but it can help your site get indexed faster.

Rich results (particularly positive product reviews) can also significantly improve your click-through rate and average time on the page.

If your page is used in a featured snippet, it will show at the top of SERPs.

In addition to the increase in visibility that provides, featured snippets are used to answer voice search queries. That means you’ll be the only result for anyone who uses Siri or Alexa for a query.

The final reason you should use structured data on your website is that it gives you more control over your information.

You determine how Google understands your brand and allows you to control how your information is defined.

Structured data is a useful tool in your toolbox. It doesn’t work for every site and every type of content, but if you’re in a field where it is useful, it’s something you need to be using.


Featured Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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