Amazon Listings Optimization: It’s More Than Just Keywords
In the world of selling on Amazon, you’ll hear the word ‘optimization’ thrown around frequently.
In most cases it’ll involve traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO); making sure you have the right keywords in your listing so that your target Amazon searchers can find you.
When to it comes to complete Amazon product listing optimization, however, that sort of approach is only half the equation.
Why? Because of Amazon’s A9 algorithm.
A9 evaluates the one primary metric that matters the most to Amazon: revenue per click.
The more sales per visitor, the higher the revenue per click.
What does this mean for you?
You need a good conversion rate.
High traffic alone isn’t always good. If you get lots of visitors and they don’t buy, your revenue per click goes down.
This ratio of actual sales in relation to traffic is a key part of Amazon SEO and is what makes the required page optimization different compared to optimization for a traditional search engine like Google. You conversion rate will largely determine whether or not you move up the ranks for the keywords you are targeting, thus ultimately needing to be key focus of Amazon listing optimization itself.
With this in mind, we’re going to go over the top strategies you should be using on your:
- Product Images
- Bullet Points
As well as strategies for:
… for COMPLETE product listing optimization.
So buckle up and let’s dig into it!
Table of Contents
Optimizing Amazon Listings For Conversions
Every Amazon listing is comprised of the same elements:
- Product Images
- Bullet Points
You could call it the basic anatomy of an Amazon listing. And how you will prioritize your conversion focus will be in the order shown.
Because if you think about the user experience, that’s the order in which a customer will likely go through your information. And you want to make sure that they make it all the way through.
Amazon Product Title Optimization
The title is without question one of the most important parts of your listing.
It’s the first thing every customer reads to determine if you are relevant to their search.
Firstly, make sure you read Amazon’s guidelines. You’ll find style guides for individual product categories as well as the guidelines that apply to all product categories.
- 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 as 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
Other than that, what should you be pay attention to?
You want to make sure the title contains the top volume keywords in your category. With these being the most commonly used term or terms to find your product, not only is it important for keyword rankings but you want your product to immediately identify as relevant to their search.
Pay attention to character count. From a case study done by Startupbros, they observed a positive correlation between character count and conversions.
From here you can see that the recommended title length is approximately 250 with a bit of a drop off and continued spike at around 400.
However it’s important to remember…
- Product title length must not exceed a maximum of 250 characters (including spaces) for most categories. Some of the categories may have a different maximum title length than 250 characters. To know the accurate maximum title length for your respective category, please refer to your category-specific style guide.
So of your limit, it’s apparent best practices indicate you should be using be using every character possible.
Note: As mobile display will likely cut off the the title, you should consider the risk/reward of doing this in the context of your specific product. We’ll get into that later.
Product Image Optimization (Including Examples)
What makes a good product photo primarily depends upon your product. However, despite the varying answers that you’ll hear, the one concept that matters most in determining whether or not a customer buys a product is this…
“The product that is purchased is the one whose listing does the best job at building trust and instilling the confidence that it can fulfill the the needs of the customer.”
The most determining factor that would decide the success of any of the following strategies, will be how well you accomplish the statement above.
Convey the Benefits
The biggest mistake made by businesses when marketing is forgetting to do this…
Convey the benefits of the product to the customer.
So many sellers get stuck on just stating features.
Now you may be thinking, “But my features are awesome! Those are the benefits! Why shouldn’t I list them?!”
You should of course highlight your features, but the importance of these features is how they improve your customers life.
You need to be able to convey it in the context that shows the benefit to the end user. A feature means nothing if they can’t see how it benefits their own lives.
That is what converts a visitor into a customer.
Product images give you the opportunity to do just that. Show the product and its feature in context of how it benefits the customer.
Let’s go through an example: Resistance Bands.
Here’s an example image from a product on page 1:
And in comparison, an example from a product on page 10:
At a glance, both seem to be quality products. So what’s the difference?
The page 1 result you can see the product in use. The customer can better see how they themselves would use it, thus making them see the benefits and applications in their own life at a glance.
The page 10 result provides no images of context; the onus is placed upon the potential customer to think about how they’d use it.
What’s wrong with that?
The customer has to work to see the benefit to them. In the world of online retail, it only takes a few seconds to lose their attention. That friction is what can prevent them from clicking “Add to Cart” and can cost you a sale.
Call Out Images
Call Out Images are another very common strategy to highlight aspects of your product, but there are right and wrong ways to do it.
Let’s go back to that page 10 resistance band example:
Here you can see they’ve done just that. You can see the feature in the product and it’s details.
The problem, they are only 50% of the way there. Why?
They’ve highlighted the features but I as a customer have no idea how it applies to me.
- Dense Foam
- X-Pattern Stitching
- Contour Design
These all sound sexy, but remember you aren’t Nike. Sexy statements like ‘Just do it’ isn’t what is going to sell your product.
CONVEY THE BENEFIT TO THE CUSTOMER.
How would you do it in this example?
- Dense Foam Padding – Prevents Wear and Tear
- X-Pattern Stitching – To Withstand Intense Workouts
- Contour Design – For A More Comfortable Grip
See the difference?
I made sure to state how every feature benefits me as a user and it’s this context that conveys quality, builds trust, and results in a sale.
And this leads us perfectly into our next point.
Bullet points are an additional area where you can convey the benefits of your features and unlike photos, you have a chance to use more words or explanation if necessary.
Here you can find Amazon’s best practices for Key Product Features.
The important part here is finding that balance between the keywords you use while sounding natural.
Most bullet points will follow this format:
Feature/Benefit: Elaboration using various keywords.
Let’s go back to the resistance band listings.
Here is Page 1:
“High end exercise bands. Our 12″ by 2″ heavy duty resistance loop bands are made of 100% natural latex – free of non-natural Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) – and come in 5 varying resistance levels. This makes them perfect whether you are just starting to workout or a seasoned workout warrior. Our extra light and light bands are great for beginners, while our medium, heavy and extra heavy exercise bands are targeted for more intermediate and advanced strength training.”
In this example you can identify the benefits/features and identify why these features apply to what you’d use it for.
- Safe because of the Natural Latex
- Different resistance levels for different levels of experience
- This is particularly great because as I get more fit, I can continue using it.
- Heavy Duty implies long lasting.
- As I get more fit and become that seasoned workout warrior I can be sure that I won’t need to buy a replacement.
While here’s Page 10:
EASY RESISTANCE ADJUSTMENTS: Our resistance bands can be used together at one-time to create multiple levels of resistance. These are GREAT for P90x, Insanity, Crossfit Training, Yoga, Pilates, Beachbody, Physical Therapy, Strengthening, Toning Upper and Lower body. You can also isolate and target glutes, legs, hips & knees.
With Page 10 you can see that they started to follow the formula and are almost there, however, they aren’t quite hitting the mark in finding the balance between fitting enough keywords and persuading the visitor of the value in their product.
“These are GREAT for P90x, Insanity, Crossfit Training, Yoga, Pilates, Beachbody, Physical Therapy, Strengthening, Toning Upper and Lower body. You can also isolate and target glutes, legs, hips & knees.”
It’s pretty apparent that they wanted to hit the right keywords and, theoretically, it’s a good idea as they’d directly appeal to customers looking for resistance bands for these particular activities. However, if these bands all look the same and have the same applications, is this enough of a differentiating factor to result in a sale?
The difference in ranking arguably answers that question.
Granted, this is just one aspect what makes a successful listing that converts.
In the context of conversions, the product description will be where you cover whatever you couldn’t in the other pieces of your listing.
Amazon have their own recommendations on what makes a great description.
As a seller, what’s important to remember is that if a customer has made it here, it means they aren’t quite sold on your product yet, but are still interested.
The description gives you a whole 2000 characters to convince them and like every other part of your Amazon listing, your focus should be…
Information that conveys the benefits to your customer.
The difference? How you present that information.
Many sellers will get lazy here and just put in keywords or write information in a giant block of text.
Remember, this is your last chance to convince the customer.
Again, expect the potential customer to be looking for how the product benefits them so make it as easy as possible for them to identify with and say “Yes” to your product.
Let’s go back to our Resistance Band example.
In Page 10’s example above, you can see they did well in breaking up their description into points.
This is good, however, you aren’t necessarily drawn to anything in this text. The points just makes the information easier to digest if you invest the time.
Let’s take a look at Page 1:
The difference here is apparent. They not only took advantage of spacing but the use of bold as well. Your eyes are immediately drawn to what they want you to be drawn to: the intriguing benefit/question and then a description.
This description is built with our natural habit to skim content in mind.
By writing the way they have, they incite curiosity and encourage the reader to keep reading and learn why the product is great for them.
In comparison to Page 10, whose listing does present similar information, the expectation is the customer will invest the time reading and finding the pieces relevant to them.
It’s this expectation that will likely lose them some sales.
Listing Optimization Software and Services
Before we cover some “external” factors that will impact your conversion rate and thus your listing overall, we can also point out that there are a handful of software products that can help you optimize your listings, mainly in terms of including all the right keywords in your titles and descriptions.
Our favorite Amazon listing optimization software would be the “Scribbles” tool inside Helium 10. With a simple interface, it lets you add all your important keyword phrases, then as you begin writing your titles, bullet points and descriptions, it shows you which terms have been included and which ones you still need to add.
No software will string together a perfect coherent sentence for you; you still need to add the nuance of human touch. But the fact that it comes as part of a software suite that includes a bunch of other tools we like, Helium 10 is definitely worth checking out. See our thoughts on Helium 10 here.
There are also a number of “done-for- you” services that will manually create optimized product listings for you, but they typically don’t come cheap. We haven’t personally vetted these but we know Merchant Words offer a service (here) as well as SellerApp (here).
In the next section, we’ll cover how to manage less controllable elements that if not managed well will also lose you sales.
What Else Makes a Successful Listing?
Though the following elements may be less controllable, how you manage them can directly determine your conversions and whether or not you find success on Amazon.
These elements are:
- FBA vs. FBM
- Paying attention to mobile
Just like any business, customer service is important and selling on Amazon is no exception.
In every part of your listing you’ve conveyed benefits, or put another way: made promises. The reviews are indicators to the buyer whether or not you’ve delivered on those promises.
Every successful Amazon seller will first tell you that the most important thing is to start with a quality product, and ultimately this is why.
Having a product worthy of good reviews is the easiest way to accomplish them, so start with that. But there are of course things you can do to increase reviews – legally – including the use of autoresponders and feedback request software.
What you’ll have to accept is that there will always be potential problems with some orders beyond your control and that there are some people that will never be happy.
Nothing in life goes 100% smoothly and selling on Amazon is no exception. What’s important here is how you handle the situation when things don’t go well.
Customers want to:
- Feel safe
- Reassured they’ll get what’s promised
- Ensure there’ll be no problems or headaches with their own purchase
When you respond to a customer’s review, this should always be your focus. When a potential customer reads a bad review, what can you say to make them feel:
- That it won’t happen to them
- If something does happen you’ll be the one to take care of them
This is what will build trusts that gets you the sale, despite the odd, inevitable bad review,
FBA vs. FBM
Though this is heavily dependent upon what stage you are at in your business and you may not have control over this, it’s important to recognize that you will likely be losing potential sales if your aren’t Fulfilled By Amazon.
The most recent revealed number of Amazon Prime members as of April 2017 was 80 million subscribers with no signs of stopping.
Whether you can be FBA or not is of course dependent upon your resources as a business and it may or may not be the ideal scenario for you depending on your product, but you should bear in mind that as Amazon Prime membership numbers grow, your product becomes less and less appealing to their growing subscriber base.
Being aware of this and knowing how to address this concern will be a determining factor in your success.
With mobile based purchases on the rise, it’s important to understand how to prepare yourself for this trend and ensure your product listings are tailored for mobile devices.
Just remember that a smaller screen means less information shown.
It’s important to know if your customers are the type that would buy products from a phone before you decide to make these changes.
For example, does your product appeal to an older demographic that isn’t accustomed to smartphone purchases?
If so, your changes might actually result in less sales as you’ve sacrificed listing quality on desktop to improve on a platform not relevant to your demographic.
To Wrap Up: The Single Most Important Factor
In this article, you’ve been shown a variety of ways to optimize your Amazon product listings, but as you have hopefully learned, they all boil down to the one end goal: increasing conversions.
Keywords are definitely important but there’s so much more you can do to stand out from the competition. From attaching benefits to features to making it easier for your potential customer see those benefits, as you apply these strategies to your own listing, the single most important thing you should always keep in mind to execute these strategies effectively is this…
How does this benefit the customer?
Yes, the whole “customer first” saying is entirely overused and cliche. However, despite this being an almost universally known and accepted concept, there are still countless businesses that fail at doing this effectively in their marketing.
Connecting your customers to the benefits and making sure they can identify them at a glance, you as a business owner should be making it as easy as possible to say “yes” to buying your product.
With that said, go and get those conversions!