The Amazon search engine is a major factor in how your products are found by potential customers. It’s also a major source of frustration for most Amazon sellers. But by knowing where and how to optimize your product pages correctly, you can realize big jumps in page rankings, traffic, and sales.
Before we continue, a disclaimer: This post is all about the copy and the keywords. I won’t linger on other important aspects of your Amazon product pages, like images, video content, or the buy box.
A9 is the search algorithm that powers Amazon’s search engine. It decides, through preset ranking factors, what products surface first within their respective categories. Like Google’s search engine, A9 wields a lot of power and influence over how customers find and ultimately decide to make a purchase.
Google is rumored to use over 200 ranking factors, but A9 is concerned with TWO primary things:
Keyword Relevance: Do the keywords on your product page match what customers are searching for?
Conversion Rate: When customers land on your product page, will they convert? 5-star customer reviews, winning the buy box, and your brand/product features and benefits are all important factors to conversion rate.
In other words, Amazon wants to surface the product that will be most likely to result in a sale. Unlike Google, which values intent and authority, Amazon understandably values conversion and customer experience above all else.
When the Amazon search engine assesses your product page and decides how relevant it is against a customer query, it’s looking to match the top-ranked keywords in your category with your page’s core information.
It’s crucial that you know the hierarchy of those keywords and where to sprinkle them within your page. In fact, the Amazon search engine looks at very specific places within your product page for those keywords (more on that in a minute).
The first task in optimizing your product page is to do some keyword mining. To do that, you’ll need to do three primary things:
Find the most relevant and top volume phrases for your product
Identify the keyword phrases used by your competitors
Create a list of all the possible keywords, sorted by volume and relevance for your product
There are several tools out there that speed up the process of keyword research. Here are my favorites for Amazon optimization:
MerchantWords (paid): This is the best, most comprehensive Amazon research tool I’ve found after trying many. The higher tier accounts even allow you to conduct keyword research on specific ASINs (read: Your competitors).
Sonar (free): Sonar is a very comprehensive but also very slow keyword research tool (You didn’t hear it from me).
Keyword Tool: Free to a point but then prompts you for an upgrade.
Ahrefs (paid): Ahrefs is an all in one SEO research tool. It allows users to search by platform (Google and Amazon) as well as research backlinks. Ahrefs has a limited free trial, followed by a monthly cost.
If you don’t feel like investing a whole lot of time in learning a new keyword tool, however, you can still do meaningful research using the Amazon platform.
Here’s a step-by-step process for researching the top keywords for your product right from the Amazon search bar:
Start on Amazon’s homepage and filter to your category.
Start typing your product type, like “sheets”. Watch and grab the keywords that are suggested to you as you type.
You’ll want to do this for as many keywords as you can think of that are related to your product. For example, if you make organic cotton percale bed sheets, you’ll want to search on all of those terms, plus the wider category like “bedding”.
Finally, drill down to a page of search results where your product is likely to live and be highly relevant, like “organic cotton sheets”. Skip the sponsored products and open 5 product pages from the first page of results (look for products that are most like yours).
Compare them, copying down the title, bullets, and ranking information for each, like so:
When you’re finished, you’ll have a set of competitors with keywords to choose from. While you won’t have the exact search volume, pay close attention to where your competitors are placing their keywords. Look for patterns that can give you a clue about volume and importance.
Why did I include the # of reviews, the rating, and the best sellers rank? These speak to conversion. Seeing both side by side can help you get a better sense of why that product is performing so well.
(50 characters max)
By far the most important opportunity to increase your search presence, you need to have the top ranking and most relevant set of keywords in your title. Start by selecting the highest (head term) keyword phrase that most closely describes the product and then choose from other high volume keywords. Your title should look something like this:
Brand | Head Term | High Volume Descriptor | High Volume Descriptor | High Volume Descriptor | Color/Size/Set
(500 characters max across 5 bullets)
First, you’ll want to focus on the benefits for the customer, and write them out. Most of us know this but still struggle to do it (especially when it comes to our own products), so it may help to write down all the features of your product and then convert them to benefits.
To practice, let’s try putting some bullet points through the Why does my customer care? machine to get us from feature —> benefits.
These are the original bullets from our competitor above:
Highest Quality Egyptian Cotton Sheets → Soft on Skin & Free of Harmful Dyes
Comfy Sheets 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets → Sleep Better on 5-Star Hotel Quality Sheets
QUEEN Size Luxury 4pc Bed Sheets Set → A Complete Bedding Set in the Size You Need
Pocket-Friendly Prices → Affordable & Built-to-Last
Each bullet point should lend something unique to your product; repeating the same 1 or 2 features again and again is worse than having fewer bullets.
(250 character max)
Generic keywords are so, so (yes, it warrants two) important and are often overlooked by sellers. Think of this section of your page as your metadata. It’s your chance to throw in the misspelled, seasonal, and less crucial keywords you couldn’t fit into the rest of your page. Generic keywords are highly used by Amazon to determine keyword matches, and this space is where your ‘long tail’ (i.e. relevant but less high in volume) keyword phrases should live.
Unlike the other sections we’ve discussed here, your Product Description is your chance to shine as a brand. That’s because this section is more important for conversion than keyword relevance. You can feel free to add additional keywords here, but it’s not the your top goal. Rather, your job is to focus on introducing your brand in a meaningful way.
There are a few good approaches to that:
A+ content or photos (visual guide)
About us / Company story
Emotional appeal (What makes your brand unique? What makes your story special/interesting).
Product comparison table
Finally, here are some tips to watch out for while you’re working through your product page optimization:
Don’t repeat keywords. If you use it once, it’s enough. That is a weird concept for a traditional Google SEO’er like myself, but keyword density doesn’t appear to be a consideration for A9.
Same goes for your generic keywords: If a word is used across multiple phrases, you only need to list it once, so you can add more overall words into your list.
Generic keywords are a great place to experiment across variation sets and with seasonal events. Update them for Mother’s Day, and then be sure to jump back in and update them again for Prime Day.
I recommend creating 8-9 bullets for each product, and then mix and match them across all the variations in that set. That allows you to test which bullets are performing better and gives you additional keywords to pull from to bring customers into the product set.
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