As most Amazon sellers already know, optimizing product content is an intentional strategy that can have a direct impact on their product(s) organic search ranking.

Unfortunately, defining your product content submission strategy is one of the more perplexing aspects of Amazon selling.

amazon seo

There’s a lot of misconceptions about the Amazon SERP and how it works. The Amazon search algorithm is somewhat of a black box still. Many sellers are still learning what factors drive the Amazon SERP and how each can impact it.

What we’re aiming to do is share some of our most recent findings from our testing and from what we know to be true on how Amazon products rank.

FREE Guide: The 2017 Amazon Sponsored Products Guide

In the following blog article, we will dissect each component of a successful product content submission strategy. From titles to images and descriptions, we will showcase the best Amazon SEO practices and resources.

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Amazon SEO & Product Discoverability

“If your products are not being found it doesn’t matter how compelling your offer is, it doesn’t matter how good your images are and it doesn’t matter if you’re using FBA,” Pat Petriello, Marketplace Channel Manager at CPC Strategy said.pat-petriello

“We also know, primarily that customers search for products using the SERP. As a seller, you are not going to do well unless your products get found.”

“It’s also important to know how buyers interact with Amazon sellers through SERP and to understand how the SERP works.”

“As someone who has been on the Marketplace as a seller (and also on the agency side), I can tell you there is no silver bullet or quick hack, as you will often see advertised. The Amazon algorithm is constantly changing. What this does – is present a number of challenges for sellers on Amazon.”

But before we dive into the specific details of how to optimize your product content, let’s take a step back and discuss which components influence Amazon’s product search algorithm and how Product Discoverability defines your Marketplace success.

Product Discoverability is the ability for a product listing to be found on Amazon. From a consumer’s point of view, Amazon is essentially seller agnostic, focusing SERPs on products rather than the sellers of those products.

As a third-party seller of a given product, sellers have an incentive to increase the overall number of sessions to a product detail page (provided that their in a good position to win the sale for that product).

To relate it more to traditional product ad channels, think driving traffic (see below example).

amazon product content

There are several different levers that influence product Discoverability on the Marketplace, which you may also see as referred to as Amazon SEO.

In addition to Product Content (aka relevancy) other factors that contribute to a product’s discoverability including sales performance history, product reviews, Sponsored Products, fulfillment method, landed price, and inventory quantity.

amazon-seo-infographic

As a seller, the challenge will be to identify areas of your catalog where you should invest resources into making your product content as robust as possible.

Pro-Tip: It should be noted that Amazon content ownership is shared and there is no guarantee your data will be surfaced on an Amazon detail page. Amazon algorithmically pulls what it deems to be the best content to display in order for that product to sell.

One slight exception to this is for brands that are part of the Amazon Brand Registry. This program allows sellers who manufacture or sell their own branded products to have higher authority over your products’ listing content.

Amazon Brand Registry enables brands to:amazon product content

1) Influence the product detail information for branded products

As the registered brand owner, the information they submit to the product detail pages for registered branded products is displayed automatically, which then helps brands to specify the correct titles, details, images, and other attributes for their products.

2) List products without UPCs or EANs

Registering a brand enables manufacturers to specify an alternative key attribute that they can use to list branded products instead of a standard product ID.

The following aspects of product data (which we will talk about more in this series) are also influencers of product Buyability.

What is Product Buyability?

In addition to making your products more discoverable, they also support the end goal of optimizing the conversion rate of the product detail page in general (agnostic of the seller).

Buyability can refer to two highly overlapping concepts:

    • A reseller’s ability to influence their Buy Box ownership percentage
    • The factors that influence the overall conversion rate of a product page.

 

To relate it to more traditional product ad channels, think converting traffic.

For example, let’s say you sell a hammock and that its product detail page received 50 overall orders last month. Your goal will be to have the highest share of those 50 orders as possible and once a high share is reached, you can shift strategy towards increasing the overall number of orders.

Increasing the overall number of orders is usually a result of:

    • Improving the overall conversion of the product detail page with optimized
      product content
    • Increasing the number of sessions to that detail page

 

By understanding the factors that influence these two pillars of success on the Amazon platform – driving shoppers to product pages (Discoverability) and converting those shoppers once they reach the product detail pages (Buyability) – sellers can start to sculpt their overall Amazon strategy and decide when and where it makes sense to focus their resources, one of which we believe is product content.

How to Optimize Amazon Product Titles

Similar to Google’s search algorithm, Amazon has it’s own infrastructure that determines where your product will rank. The best way to think about Amazon’s search ranking is to envision yourself as the shopper.

When shoppers are searching for a pair of “red sunglasses”, it’s likely they will type their query in the Amazon search bar rather than filter through the categories section. Keywords are then matched against the search terms marketer’s have entered for their product.

Because “search” is the way most shoppers look for products, it is important to develop product titles and descriptions with all the necessarily product field optimizations to stand out and rank against competitors.

According to Amazon, “The number of views for a product detail page can increase significantly by adding just one additional search term – if it’s a relevant and compelling term.”

Other factors such as price, availability, selection and sales history will also help determine where a product will appear in the search results. Typically, products with higher sales will be placed higher up on the Amazon ranking search list. The more sales, the better chances of higher ranking.

Creating a Detail Page

A great detail page, as seen below – accurately presents all the product information a customer would want and need in order to make a buying decision. In creating these detail page elements, it is critical to be as accurate as possible with the product information. Customers want to know exactly what they are buying.

Important components of a detail page include:

  • A concise and unique title, in Amazon.com title style
  • 5 bullet points conveying the most important information about the product
  • An accurate description of the product, discussing all its major features in detail
  • A clear product image of exactly what the customer is purchasing

 

amazon-ranking

 

What To Include In Product Titles

As of July 15, 2015, Amazon has implemented a 200-character title maximum for all categories.

According to an email sent out earlier this year, “A title length more than 200 characters will be suppressed from search and browse. When creating new listings, make sure to keep the title, which is the Product Name, for each product less than 200 characters. Customers will not be able to find your listings created after July 15 until you have shortened their title to less than 200 characters.”

Within the 200 character limitations retailers should:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word
  • Spell out measure words such as Ounce, Inch, and Pound
  • All numbers should be numerals
  • Ampersands should not be used in titles unless part of a brand name; spell out and lowercase “and”
  • If the size is not a relevant detail, do not list it in the title
  • If the product does not come in multiple colors, the color should not be noted in the title

 

What Not to Include in Product Titles

Within the 200 character limitations retailers should not include:

  • Price and quantity
  • Do not use all caps
  • Do not include seller information
  • Do not include promotional messages such as “Sale”
  • Do not include suggestive commentary such as “Best Seller”
  • Do not use symbols such as ($, !, ?)

 

Optimize Titles with Keywords

Keywords are a vital component of any product title but retailers should be weary of keyword stuffing – a practice that can be detrimental to your ranking. Products with clear and detailed information are more likely to earn a higher click-through-rate and convert. The increase in sales will ultimately lead to better ranking.

Below is an example of an optimized bubble sleeve case. As you can see, when a shopper is looking for a case cover, they know the product’s important detail information because it is listed in the title including the brand, the color, and the type of devices it is compatible with.

amazon-ranking

Title Formulas for Categories

Depending on the category, there may be additional formulas for each item. Each product category has a specific product title formula.

All categories start with the brand and list the product name but other attributes of the title may include:

  • pattern
  • model number
  • power output
  • size, color, quantity (if there is more than one)

Since the title is the first source of information for the customers during a search, it’s important that all titles follow Amazon’s style guidelines and have correct capitalization and spelling.

Below is a list of Amazon’s title formulas and examples for major product categories (please note this does not include ALL categories with specific formulas but rather an idea of what sellers are expected to build out for their products):

Cookware, Cutlery
Style: Brand + Line + Size+ Product Type
Example:Calphalon Professional Hard-Anodized 8-1/2-Quart Saucier with Lid
Example: Sabatier Precision 14-Piece Stainless-Steel Knife Block Set

Cook’s Tools & Gadgets
Style: Brand (+ Model Number if necessary) + Model Name + Product Type, Color
Example: Vacu Vin Wine Saver Gift Pack, White

Small Appliances, Home Environment
Style: Brand + Model Number + Model Name + Product Type, Color
Example: KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan 5-Quart Mixer, Empire Red

Tableware
Style for Sets: Brand + Pattern + Product Type, Amount
Example: Pfaltzgraff Charlotte 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Bedding
Style for Sheets, Mattress Pads, Blankets: Brand + Line/Pattern + Thread Count + Material + Size + Product Type, Color
Example: Wamsutta Luxury 400-Thread-Count Sateen Queen Sheet Set, Halo

Bath Towels
Style: Brand + Line/Pattern + Material + Product Type + Quantity, Color
Example: Royal Velvet Classic Hand Towel, Peridot

DVD Players
Style: Brand + Model Number + Size + Product Type + Screen Style (if needed) + (Color/Pack Size)
Example: Panasonic PV-D4743S Progressive Scan DVD/VCR Combo (Silver)

Video Games
Style: Brand + (Model Number if unclear what product is) + Product Type + (Platform)
Example: Thrustmaster Freestyler Bike (PC)

How to Optimize Amazon Product Descriptions

The Amazon product detail page bullet points aka “Key Product Features” section is located under the “Descriptions” tab (as seen below).

Effective bullet points are known to increase sales on Amazon. The more descriptive the bullet points for your product pages- the more you will sell on Amazon. Amazon shoppers rely pretty heavily on bullet points to gather product information.

Pro-Tip: Remember, Amazon chooses bullet point information based on aggregate seller data. 

amazon content

Best Practices for Key Product Features:

  • Highlight the top five features that you want your customers to consider, such as dimensions, warranty information or age appropriateness.
  • Begin each bullet point with a capital letter
  • Write in fragments and do not include ending punctuation
  • Write all numbers as numerals
  • Separate phrases in one bullet with semicolons
  • Spell out measurements, such as quart, inch, or feet
  • Do not write vague statements; be as specific as possible with product features and attributes
  • Do not enter company-specific information; this section is for product features only
  • Do not include promotional and pricing information
  • Do not include shipping or company information. Amazon policy prohibits including seller, company, or shipping information

Below is an example of a well-built out key product feature section for an Amazon Product Detail page:

amazon content

Product Descriptions

Every product detail page should also describe the major product features, such as size, style, and what the product can be used for. Amazon encourages sellers to include accurate dimensions, care instructions, and warranty information and use correct grammar, punctuation, and complete sentences.

Do not include any of the following types of information:

    • Seller name
    • E-mail address
    • Website URL
    • Company-specific information
    • Details about another product that you sell
    • Promotional language such as “SALE” or “free shipping”

Below is an example of an optimized product description for dog collars:

amazon content

Tips on How to Optimize Your Amazon Content:

1) Avoid Double Dipping Keywords:david-cooley

A question we get from a lot of sellers is: Should I double dip keywords in my content and in the back-end? 

“Technically, you shouldn’t have to. If you have a keyword in the title – you are not going to rank any better if it’s in the product description, the title, and the back-end. If the content is customer facing – you run the risk it could look like spam and from the back-end perspective –  you are essentially just wasting character count,” David Cooley, Manager, Marketplace Channels at CPC Strategy said.

2) Answer Seller Questions:

If a seller receives questions from their potential customers about products (especially if they are the same questions over and over again) – that’s probably an indication to include an answer to those questions in the content.

For example: If you advertise cell phone cases and your shoppers keep asking if it will fit the new iPhone6, then you should probably add that information into your content section.

3) Focus on the 4 Content Components:

There are 4 main content components to focus on when it comes to selling products via Amazon including: titles, bullet points, product description, and back-end search terms.

Of the weighing factors for discoverability, we rank them: 1. reviews, 2. fulfillment method, 3. price, and finally – 4.content. Sellers should focus on how to optimize and build out each piece of content thoroughly.

4) Avoid Claims & Offers:

When sellers build out their content (bullet points or descriptions) they should not include any “offer” specific content.

Sellers can’t put offer info in their bullet or product description such as “buy 1, get one free” or (for example) make a specific “health claim” for supplements. If you do include claims or special offers in your description – its technically considered an Amazon policy violation and could lead you to a suspension.

5) Remember Content is Aggregated:

Amazon content is not always based on just one seller that submits content. Amazon aggregates relevant product information across sellers who are selling the same Amazon item  (as identified by ASIN or UPC).

Amazon compiles all the submissions into consideration and creates the best title or bullet points – but there is no guarantee the title you type in the back-end is going to be exactly the same public facing.

6) Maximize Your Character Count:

Advertisers should maximize the character count for their product’s title, bullet points, product descriptions, back-end search terms.

By filling out the product description & bullet points completely it helps the product rank higher. Additionally, it also helps with conversions because customers are going to better understand what your product is.

Note: There are different bullet point / character maximum counts for vendors vs. 3P sellers. 

“Because your product description is indexed for search, the more information in your back-end search terms, title, the more content you will get indexed for search. This will also help you rank better and for more keywords,” Cooley said.

How to Optimize Amazon Product Images

Every product on Amazon needs one or more product image. The primary image of your item is called the “MAIN”.

The MAIN image represents an item in search results and browse pages, and this is the first image customers see on an item’s detail page (see below).

amazon product image

According to Amazon, advertisers should choose images that are clear, easy to understand, information-rich, and attractively presented. Images must accurately represent the product and show only the product that’s for sale, with minimal or no propping. 

david-cooley“Amazon has the right to remove images that do not meet their image standards. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure that they have all necessary rights for the images submitted,” David Cooley, Manager, Marketplace Channels at CPC Strategy said.

How to Add Amazon Product Images?

You can provide one main product image and up to eight alternate image views (depending on your category) for your product listings on Amazon. You can add an image either when you create a product page or after the page is already created.

Pro-Tip: It can take up to 24 hours after adding an image for it to appear on the website.

amazon product images

To add an image to an existing listing:

  1. On the Inventory tab, select Manage Inventory.
  2. Click the Edit button on the far right of the listing you want to edit.
  3. Select Manage Images from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the next window, click Browse File for the first empty image area.
  5. Select an image from your computer and click Open.
  6. Click Upload images to add your image to the listing.

To add an image to a new listing:

  1. In Manage Inventory, click Add a product, located near the Search box.
  2. For images, click Add Images.
  3. In the pop-up window, click Browse File for the first empty image area.
    The Main image is labeled in the top left corner.
  4. Select an image from your computer and click Open.
    The image path appears below the Browse File button for that image space.
  5. Click Upload images to add your image to the listing.

 

Amazon Product Image Standards

Accurately Represent the Product: Images must accurately represent the product and show only the product that is for sale, with minimal or no propping.

White Background: Main images must have a pure white background (pure white blends in with the Amazon search and item detail pages. For additional images – white background is recommended but not required.

 

amazon product images

No Illustrations: Main images must show the actual product (not a graphic or illustration).

3

No Accessories: Images must NOT show excluded accessories, props that may confuse the customer.

amazon product images

Exclude Text: Text that is not part of the product, including but not limited to or logos/watermarks/inset images are not permitted.

 

amazon product images

The product must fill 85% or more of the image & images should be 1,000 pixels or larger in either height or width. This minimum size requirement enables zoom function on the website. Zoom has proven to enhance sales. The smallest your file can be is 500 pixels on the longest side. Consistently sized images are strongly recommended.

amazon product images

Amazon accepts JPEG (.jpg), TIFF (.tif), or GIF (.gif) file formats (JPEG is preferred).

Product must not be on a mannequin or pictured in packaging.

amazon product images

Product must have good depth of field meaning the image is completely in focus.

Product must be clearly visible in the image (e.g., if on a model, s/he should not be sitting).

Image must not contain nudity.

Aggregate Amazon Product Images

Amazon content is not always based on just one seller that submits content. Amazon aggregates relevant product information across sellers who are selling the same Amazon item (as identified by ASIN or UPC).

Amazon compiles all the submissions into consideration and creates the best title or bullet points – but there is no guarantee the title you type in the back-end is going to be exactly the same public facing.amazon product images

“Images, much like product titles are also aggregated. In our experience, if a vendor and a third party are both selling the same item, Amazon will typically pull images from the vendor side,” Jordan Gisch, Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy said.

“If there is no vendor present, then the images from the third party that is brand registered will outweigh the other sellers. Of course, like many components within Amazon’s algorithm, there is room for some variation but this what we’ve historically seen among our clients.”

Amazon Brand Registry is a critical component for manufacturers on Amazon.com who want to gain better control over their product listings.

The goal of the Amazon Brand Registry is to make it easier for sellers to manage their own brands and product listings on Amazon. To learn more about how to Amazon Brand Registry can help you – visit our recent blog post here.

 

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About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.