Saturday, June 24, 2017

SEO for Amazon: Three Simple Tips

The recent news of Amazon's $13.7 billion bid to buy Whole Foods has amplified online speculation that the cyber behemoth is taking over the world. We write this tongue in cheek, of course, but a search for "Is Amazon Taking Over the World?" does yield about thirty million results and a first SERP of articles affirming, essentially, "Yes."

The first result, from Motley Fool, "3 Reasons Amazon.com Is Taking Over the World," predicts that Amazon "will become the most valuable company in the world in the next decade."

The fourth result, from Newsweek, "How Jeff Bezos is Hurtling Toward World Domination" wonders whether we can survive without Amazon.

At the very least, Amazon's competitors in Silicon Valley and elsewhere seem sufficiently spooked, and the company is even beginning to see a backlash.

Recently, USA Today, quoting Jim Cramer, reported "Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison told investors on an earnings call that their cloud is cheaper than Amazon. And Walmart has reportedly told vendors to stop using Amazon's cloud service."

Walmart may even pose a counter bid to buy Whole Foods, which will raise the ultimate price.

"Amazon better not get cocky," Cramer said.

Yet Amazon and Jeff Bezos have good reason to be cocky: "With Amazon’s stock surge in the wake of the Amazon and Whole Foods acquisition," Market Watch reports, "Bezos became a whopping $1.88 billion richer." Amazon's stock has recently crept to the $1,000 mark. And Amazon may even become the first company worth $1 trillion.
Will Amazon become the first company worth $1 trillion?

That's a whole lot of money, of course, yet it's helpful to remember that a great deal of Amazon's profits are generated by other companies, specifically third party sellers. As Amazon itself says:

"Since 2000, Selling on Amazon has been helping individuals and businesses increase sales and reach new customers. Today, more than 40% of Amazon's total unit sales come from third-party selection."

If you're a small business, we hope this is not news to you. After all, it would be foolish to ignore a marketplace with this sort of sales potential. The key, of course, is not to simply sell on Amazon, but to sell well on Amazon. To do that, you need to rank well in Amazon's search results.

Yes, like Google, Amazon is essentially a search engine; yet unlike Google, Amazon's search engine is focused solely on products. So yes, you can perform SEO for Amazon products--in fact, you must, if you want to share in the success. The optimization process, however, must be focused solely on sales--or, in SEO speak, "conversions."

Over at Moz, Nathan Grimm, who has produced a studious, comprehensive analysis of "How to Rank Well in Amazon," discusses the difference between Google and Amazon:

"Because the two search engines measure success differently, the metrics you analyze to predict rankings success change. When optimizing for Google you focus on improving user engagement metrics and building external trust factors, because those factors tell Google that the users it sends to your website will be happy. Happy users equals more money for Google. When optimizing for Amazon, focus on improving conversion rates. More conversions equals more money for Amazon."

Essentially, Amazon ranks products that sell well and products that sell well rank higher and higher with each sale.

If you want a lengthy outline of optimization for Amazon, check out Grimm's post. If you want the gist of optimization for Amazon, in plain language, read our three simple tips below.

Use Precise Keywords for Your Product Title

When you sell on Amazon, you must create a Product Detail Page. As Amazon notes:

"Detail pages become a permanent part of the Amazon catalog, and you - along with other sellers - can create listings for these products on Amazon.com. Customers can find the pages and listings you create through search and browse, and add them to their Amazon shopping cart or Wish Lists."

To attract these browsers, of course, you want to detail your page with the most explicit information possible. Your "Product Title" is the most important detail. You have a 500 character limit to describe your product in detail. Some SEO experts advocate a form of Amazon keyword stuffing. As Search Engine Journal notes:

"Here is the key to ranking on Amazon. You only need your keyword to appear once. If you can get that keyword into the title, you do not have to worry about including it anywhere else. With 500 characters, you can pretty much include every possible keyword in the title."

However, 500 characters is a lot, and stuffing a title with keywords is antithetical to today's SEO practices. Even if keyword stuffing is not penalized explicitly by Amazon, customers are inherently distrustful of the practice. As Grimm notes in his Amazon SEO review: "Since sales factor prominently in ranking, keyword-stuffed titles that discourage users from clicking will ultimately harm your rankings."

Write Clear Bullet Points and a Descriptive Product Description

Bullet points appear under the title and can be as simple or complex as you prefer. Just remember, here too, you have the opportunity to add keywords that might help your product rank better on Amazon

Simple Bullet Points for Vans Authentic Sneakers: Canvas, Rubber sole, Metal eyelets--all viable keywords. If you prefer, you can be more descriptive.

The "Product Description" is important for both SEO and conversion. By writing a precise product description, you give Amazon more to work with--ditto the search engines, like Google, who might use text from the product description to rank your product.

By telling the story of your product here, however, you also give potential customers who happened to have reached your page (presumably because of your product title), an inducement to buy. .

The product description here tells a intriguing story: 
"Vans' storied history, and our connection with skate and surf culture, began in 1966 Southern California with the rolling out of a single pair of shoes."

Get Product Reviews from Your Current Customers 

Reviews are important for both SEO and conversion. A review, by nature, is the sort of unique content SEO loves. The more you have, the more your product will be revealed in search results by Amazon and Google. Also, the more reviews the more trusted your product. Once you've attracted a potential customer, reviews will help to inspire a conversion.

To get reviews, ask your customers! You might do what many Amazon sellers do: send an automated email to those who have recently purchased your product. And, of course, if you have a list of loyal or repeat customers, reach out to them for reviews.

Just remember, don't write bogus reviews for your own product. This is unethical and rarely effective.

SEO For Amazon with Stepman's SEO

If you're looking for an SEO company that understands how to effectively promote products on Amazon, we suggest contacting our sponsor, Stepman's SEO: 215-900-9398. Stepman's SEO combines traditional marketing methods and organic SEO to design thoughtful, inspiring, and effective Amazon marketing campaigns.

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