With the every increasing selection on Amazon, products can easily get lost down the ‘black hole’. Adding a product to the Amazon retail catalog is no longer enough and doesn’t guarantee the product will be visible or convert into a sale. Vendors must do all they can to ensure this doesn’t happen: they want their products to be easily discovered, clicked on and purchased.
What does ‘listing optimization’ mean on Amazon?
When selling on Amazon, brands must focus on two key areas, search and conversion. If customers find your products, it will bring traffic to your listings. If the customer can make an informed buying decision, it will convert a click into a sale. Listing optimization focuses on this; managing the content to ensure the product appears on the first few pages of search results and producing engaging, relevant content for conversion.
Sellers have been focusing on optimizing their listings for many years. On the vendor side, this is a relatively new topic. In the past, vendors have relied on Amazon to manage this for them. However, Amazon only sets the products up based on the information provided by the vendor. It is up to the vendor to provide Amazon with optimized content.
Step 1: Optimize your listings for Amazon search visibility
When a customer comes on to Amazon, they will type in the search box the key terms of the item they are interested in. It may be a keyword such as “kids bike” or a brand such as “Lego.” It can also be a more detailed search such as “girls pink bike for 6 years” or “girls pink bike with basket.”
Vendors need to put together a list of keywords that are relevant to their products, so when a customer searches for an item on Amazon, their product surfaces on the search results page.
To help vendors discover these keywords, there are a variety of tools available. Sellics offers a ‘Content & SEO’ tool to help vendors discover and build their keyword list.
Once the vendor has devised a list of keywords, they can then ensure these are added to the fields that are indexed for search on Amazon. These are; the title, bullet points, product description and backend search terms. Now when I mention add, this doesn’t mean squashing keywords into the title and bullet points so they are not coherent or inline with Amazon policies. It means adding them across these different fields, inputting the most relevant terms in the title and bullet points and the less customer facing terms in the backend search terms.
Vendors don’t need to duplicate these terms across each field, this will not impact search.
Instead what is important to Amazon is relevancy; if the keyword appears in the content, if the customer clicked on the item for a specific keyword and if that click then converted into a sale.
To help vendors ensure they have populated all major keywords into their content, vendors can use the keyword matching feature in Sellics, which automatically highlights missing keywords from listings.
Step 2: Optimize your listings for conversion
Whilst it is important that items appear in search and drive traffic to the product listings, the pages need to convert into a sale. There is no point investing in traffic, if the customers come to the product page and leave straight away without making a purchase. You want the customer to come to the product page and entice them to make a purchase.
Conversion also plays an important role in Amazon search visibility. If a product has a good conversion rate, Amazon will see the item as relevant and this will help items rank well in the search results. If an item has a low conversion rate, it will struggle to get the right level of visibility in search.
For conversion, the vendor will need to look at: content, product reviews, imagery, availability and pricing.
These factors can also influence search, if the item is not in stock it won’t appear in search. If the product has a poor review rating, this will impact an items ranking in the search results. If the price is too high it won’t drive any sales. For the content, whilst the titles, bullet points and product description will be keyword rich, they also need to be coherent and customer facing. It needs to answer those typical customer questions and focus on the benefits it will bring to the customer.
It is good to call out specific features but how do they actually help the customer? A+ Content should also be added to the product pages, highlighting the benefits in a more visual way for the customer, which is important these days as the shoppers attention span becomes more limited. The vendor should also optimize their images, and can add up to 9 images in total. They should include lifestyle images, showing the item in use. Videos should be added to the product listings in the image gallery as well, these should be kept short and relevant to the product.
Lastly, the product needs to be available and not overpriced. Whilst the vendor cannot control what Amazon orders and the price they sell at, they can ensure they remain in stock at their warehouse and offer Amazon competitive prices.
Vendors also need to be aware listing optimization is more difficult to manage on the vendor side.
Whilst vendors upload new items themselves and make edits directly in the catalog in Vendor Central, any changes that are made will not immediately go live on Amazon. This is because Amazon owns the content, they may make edits accordingly to their style guidelines and policies.
Changes made to listings will need to be reviewed and approved first by the catalog team, to ensure they adhere to Amazon’s guidelines. Once approved the changes will appear on the website. Note that any content that doesn’t adhere to Amazon’s guidelines will be edited and it is important vendors familiarise themselves with this.
Listing optimization is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a requirement if a vendor wants to succeed on Amazon. Gone are the days when limited content and single images were acceptable. Content is advancing and the landscape on Amazon is getting more aggressive by the day, which means vendors must invest in optimizing their listings.