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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 sökordsforskning.

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.

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?

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, och 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.

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10 sätt kodningsfärdigheter kan förbättra SEO-insatser

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10 Ways Coding Skills Can Improve SEO Efforts

It’s not necessary to know how to code to be a good SEO.

Coding skills are not a prerequisite for SEO competency, but additional skills always make one more effective.

Here are 10 ways that understanding code can help turn a good SEO into a great one.

1. HTML Coding Standards And SEO Go Together

En SEO familiar with HTML understands how a web document should be structured and is alert to the consequences of poor coding practices.

An important building block of a webpage is the HTML elements, which are to a webpage what a foundation, door, floor, and roof are to a house.

Search engines may be unable to properly crawl a web page if HTML elements are used incorrectly.

De officiella HTML-specifikationerna begränsar vilka HTML-element som används i <head> avsnitt (plats för metadata som bara webbläsare och botar ser) och vilka HTML-element som används i <body> avsnitt (dokumentet i sig som användarna ser).

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Men när du sätter <body> element (som <a> eller <div>) inuti <head> avsnitt där metadata ska finnas, kommer sökmotorer att börja rendera webbsidan från det normalt dolda <head> avsnitt, vilket resulterar i att metadata indexeras som en del av själva innehållet. Det betyder att Google will fail to index that webpage the way it’s supposed to be indexed.

That error can happen when a Facebook pixel code is placed in the wrong place within the <head> section of a webpage.

Another example of how a lack of coding knowledge influences SEO is the 400 error response message.

Some SEOs believe a 400 error code is a bad thing because they see that word “error” and instantly think it needs to be fixed because we understand errors as something to be fixed, especially when they’re displayed in Google Search Console as errors.

But an SEO who knows HTML coding standards understands that the 400 error response code only means that the browser REQUEST for a page is in error (because the page does not exist).

In most cases, that’s a good thing, it’s what’s supposed to happen, and there is nothing to fix.

Knowing HTML standards makes a person a better SEO because they have the ability to spot even more problems than an SEO who lacks coding knowledge.

They are also better positioned to dismiss common SEO misinformation that springs from a lack of coding ability.

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2. Structured Data

Structured data is a markup language, which means the code has rules that govern how it is written.

There are a few different ways to express Schema.org structured data, but Google’s preference, JSON-LD structured data, is arguably the easiest to understand, which makes it easier to troubleshoot.

Like HTML, JSON-LD has rules that govern how it is written, with a nested structure where you have a subject of the structured data (called a Type) and then the attributes of that subject (called a Property).

Understanding JSON-LD structured data is easy, regardless if you know HTML or any other markup language.

The benefits of understanding how to code structured data cannot be overstated.

Correct structured data markup is essential for achieving many of the highly coveted rich results positions at the top of Google’s search engine results pages (a.k.a. SERPs).

Incorrect structured data markup will make that webpage ineligible for rich results.

One can rely on Google’s structured data markup checker to verify if the JSON-LD structured data is valid and if it’s eligible for a rich result.

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But just because the tool says the code is valid doesn’t mean it’s eligible for rich results. This is where the ability to analyze JSON-LD comes into play to fix the structured data, so that rich results become an option.

Manual troubleshooting ability is important because Google’s structured data checker tells you when it’s broken and provides a general idea of where it’s broken. Still, it doesn’t tell you how to fix it.

One can rely on plugins, of course. There are benefits to setting something and forgetting about it.

But structured data specifications constantly evolve, and plugins don’t always keep up fast enough. Also, they aren’t always specific enough for every situation.

When ranking high in the search results, it’s generally best to know how to code JSON-LD structured data to obtain the highest advantage over the competition.

3. Communicate Better With Clients

Knowing how to code enables a person to simplify an explanation so that a non-coding client can understand the why of a particular problem and the solution.

One cannot explain what they do not understand.

For example, knowing how to code structured data empowers the SEO to explain that not only it is okay to combine structured data, but also explain to explain the benefits of doing so and how to do it.

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Knowing how to code allows one to explain that a client only needs to drop in a few lines of code into their WordPress website’s child theme functions.php file to avoid installing a bloated plugin to do the same thing.

Leaving aside that an SEO without coding skills wouldn’t even know about the functions.php file solution, a person who codes and is literate in PHP can understand when it’s better to use a plugin over the coding solution and then explain it to the client.

Knowing how to code confers the ability to look at the HTML code and zero in on why the site isn’t indexed adequately or is performing poorly.

I once audited an ecommerce site that used a custom-made template and (poorly) featured a crazy level of incompetent coding. Just fixing those codes sitewide enabled the site to have its content indexed accurately.

Knowing HTML allowed me to catch the errors and then explain to the client why it was broken and how they could fix it.

4. .htaccess Knowledge Is Power

.htaccess is (in my opinion) a tricky language to learn but reasonably easy to understand how to use it.

Simply learning about the benefits of .htaccess and what it’s useful for, and then how to add it to a file can generally take a person far.

For example, you can use a plugin to redirect HTTP to HTTPS, a plugin to redirect specific pages that changed, and a plugin to fix broken URLs to the correct URL.

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But all that can be accomplished with a .htaccess file.

Taking the time to educate oneself on .htaccess can help understand how to improve a website without resorting to another plugin.

A .htaccess file can also be used to prevent other sites from linking to your images and other media files (hotlinking).

The use of a .htaccess file can even be used to stop rogue bots from copying your content by blocking the IP address ranges of bad bots that repeatedly access a website.

Doing something like that with a .htaccess file is significantly better than using a plugin or mod that writes the IP addresses to a database because adding tens of thousands to millions of IP addresses to a database will dramatically slow your site down.

5. Diagnose Hidden Problems

In general, coding-related problems are tucked away from view in the HTML code.

Because most sites are templated, the errors will be multiplied across every page that shares the templated structure. Learning how to use an HTML validator is straightforward, but understanding HTML is important for interpreting the results.

Coding errors can be glaring and obvious, like omitting a closing bracket (>).

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Or it could be subtle, like the use of a non-standard character in the code, like a smart quote, the curly type of quotation mark (“ ”) instead of the expected straight form of quotation mark (” “).

This error commonly occurs when someone copies code from a software device that inserts smart quotes as a default feature.

The curly quotes issue can dramatically disrupt how a webpage is indexed and parsed.

That means that if you use something like this in the HTML code:

<meta name="robots content="noindex>

Google will not see it because the curly quotes (smart quotes) stop it from seeing it as a meta robots tag and will therefore proceed to index the content.

Here’s another example.

If you code a link in this manner:

<a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-ways-coding-can-help-your-seo/45402/example.com/test.htm">exempel</a>

The link will be interpreted like this:

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https://example.com/test.htm

If, however, you use curly quotes for the same code:

<a href="/sv/“example.com/test.htm”/">exempel</a>

The link will be interpreted like this:

https://%E2%80%9Cexample.com/test.htm%E2%80%9D

These kinds of errors are not the kind of thing that an auditing tool is going to automatically find and conveniently add to a list.

You need to know how to code to recognize broken code on a visual inspection or at scale if it shows up as an anomaly on a Screaming Frog scan.

Otherwise, the source of a crawling error will stay hidden until someone who can read HTML or understands the output from an HTML validator can inspect the site.

6. Coding Can Help Break SEO Stalemates

The word stalemate is from the game of chess. It describes a situation where the gameplay is brought to a standstill in which neither side can move to win. It’s essentially a state that counts as a tie.

The same situation happens in competitive industries where everyone uses the same publishing platforms, the same optimization plugins, the same content strategies, and the same link promotion strategies.

The competition between the sites is largely equal, with no site having a clear advantage over the other.

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An SEO with coding skills can break that kind of stalemate.

Coding skills allow an SEO to implement solutions that improve templates, CSS, and JavaScript.

For example, many templates ship with liberal use of headings for things that don’t require a heading element, like the navigation on the side panel.

With coding skills, it’s easy to create a child theme and fix the rogue heading elements so that they use CSS and not headings for styling on-page elements.

I’ve used my coding skill to completely change sections of a template so that it’s more user-friendly, change the colors of various on-page elements so that they’re more accessible for color-blind visitors, and add dynamic bits of content using PHP to custom-make title tags as well as to remove superfluous parts of a webpage.

Coding skills help provide a ranking edge to any site and can be used to improve the user experience beyond what a template offers.

It is especially important in competitive niches where competitors are optimized to the highest degree and where squeezing out advantage is at a premium.

7. Troubleshoot A Hacked Site

Website security doesn’t seem something an SEO should be concerned about.

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But it becomes very clear that website security is indeed an SEO problem when the search rankings of a hacked site start to disappear.

Knowing how to code, particularly with gaining a general understanding of how PHP files work within a given content management system (CMS), can help demystify a hacking event.

Just knowing the broad outlines of how PHP works and how all the parts of the CMS work together goes a long way to understanding what went wrong and how to fix the problems.

Knowledge of JavaScript is also helpful. Many hacks are based on uploading JavaScript files or injecting JavaScript into other files.

Analyzing recently modified JavaScript files can help confirm that a site has been hacked. More to the point, it can help pinpoint if a specific plugin or WordPress itself is responsible for the hacking.

Some vulnerabilities can lay hidden for months or years before they are discovered. WordPress 5.9.2 was released to address cross-site scripting vulnerabilities that were in the WordPress core itself.

In the case of the WordPress vulnerability, the problem arose due to an arcane coding mistake where the order in which security processes were coded created the situation where a hacker could bypass those same security measures.

It illustrates how mistakes can sneak in through legitimate software and not necessarily be caught in time to prevent a hacking event.

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Google might notify the site owner through Google Search Console about a hacked site, but Google Search Console won’t fix it for you.

Some knowledge of how HTML, JavaScript, and/or PHP works can go a long way toward confidently troubleshooting a hacked site.

8. Knowing How To Code Provides Control

When working in a corporate or educational environment where the templates are locked in, and one can’t plug in their way out of a predicament, knowing how to code can speed up the otherwise painful process of publishing webpages.

Whether one works in a Drupal or WordPress environment, having the ability to keep a cheat sheet of code snippets saves so much time, even with something trivial like changing a link without having to go through 10 steps using the native WYSIWYG interface and dealing with idiosyncratic code.

9. Optimize For Page Speed

The suggestions for improving page speed that Google’s PageSpeed Insights provides will no longer be cryptic once one learns how to code.

It’s not like one has to learn how to code an entire website from scratch, either.

All it takes is a general understanding of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML to make sense of what one is supposed to do to make a website work faster.

Concepts like inlining CSS, combining JavaScript, and minifying JavaScript makes more sense when one understands how servers deliver webpages and browsers render the data for site visitors.

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10. Master Python

Python is a programming language that can be used to automate a wide range of SEO tasks from crawling, data analysis, natural language processing (NLP), and much more.

One of the great things about Python is that there might not be a need to code a tool from scratch because there are many Python SEO scripts that can be downloaded online.

A great thing about Python is that one doesn’t have to code scripts for all the different SEO tasks that are needed. Many of those scripts are available as downloadable Python libraries containing the relevant modules.

A Python library is a collection of modules. Python modules are the files themselves.

Enligt Ruth Everett in her Introduction to Python, these are some useful Python libraries:

  • “Pandas: Used for data manipulation and analysis.
  • NumPy: Useful for scientific computing.
  • SciPy: Used for scientific and technical computing.
  • SciKit Learn: Machine learning for data mining and analysis.
  • SpaCy: A great natural language processing library.
  • Requests: A library for making HTTP requests.
  • Beautiful Soup: Used to extract data from HTML and XML files.
  • Matplotlib: For creating visualizations from data.”

Another important Python library is TensorFlow, a free and open source library that can be used for creating machine learning applications.

With TensorFlow, a search marketer can build a neural network or a recommender system.

Directly related to SEO, TensorFlow can be used to automate the process of creating title tags at scale.

En skicklig SEO som lär sig använda Python kommer att kunna skala sina befintliga färdigheter till nya nivåer.

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Lär dig koda

Att få förmågan att koda är (förmodligen) valfritt, och man kan fortfarande vara en kompetent SEO utan den kunskapen.

En person som kan koda är inte nödvändigtvis en bättre sökmarknadsförare än en som inte vet hur man kodar.

Men att lära sig koda kan göra en bra SEO ännu bättre eftersom kunskap ger fördelar.

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