Chapter 2 – Amazon Fundamentals of SEO
Every online marketplace has its unique set of rules and regulations governing the content allowed on their platform. While content best practices for buyability apply across marketplaces, it’s crucial to understand that each marketplace’s algorithm assesses discoverability differently. In this guide, we will focus on Amazon’s algorithm, given its prominence in the e-commerce world, and note that the following best practices are tailored for Amazon sellers.
The product title holds immense importance in your Amazon product listing, alongside the product photo and price. It is among the first elements potential customers encounter on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Therefore, optimizing your product title can significantly impact your search performance and visibility.
Crafting a compelling product title involves strategically incorporating high-performing keyword strings relevant to your product. These keywords play a vital role in driving your product up the SERP faster, making it more accessible to potential customers. By aligning your title with frequently searched terms, you increase the chances of your product catching the attention of shoppers, ultimately leading to more clicks and conversions.
An optimized product title enhances your product’s relevance to Amazon’s search algorithm. When customers search for specific keywords, Amazon’s algorithm considers products with matching titles as highly relevant, boosting their ranking on the SERP. This increased visibility can result in more organic traffic to your product listing, further bolstering your chances of making a sale.
To create a highly effective product title, conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant and popular search terms for your product. Include these keywords in a concise and attention-grabbing title that clearly communicates the essence of your product to potential customers. Striking the right balance between informative and engaging will ensure that your product stands out amidst the competition and attracts the attention it deserves.
Character Maximum: 200 characters
Character Suggestion: 80-120 characters Structure Suggestion: Brand, Product Line, Material/Key Feature, Product Type, Color, Size, Package/Quantity
Example: JumpOff Jo Rocksteady Balance Stepping Stones for Kids, Promotes Balance & Coordination, Set of 6 Balance Blocks, Low Set
Key Product Features
When it comes to captivating potential buyers, key product features play a crucial role. Positioned as bullet points near the top of Amazon listings, they are among the first elements shoppers encounter upon clicking into a product page. With five valuable bullets at your disposal, you have five opportunities to highlight the most compelling aspects of your product.
A widely embraced strategy that resonates with Amazon shoppers is the “two-tiered bullets” approach. Our extensive tests and analysis indicate that a significant majority of consumers are drawn to bullet point content displayed in this manner. The two-tiered method involves beginning each bullet in bold, eye-catching ALL CAPS, followed by the continuation of the sentence in standard case. This technique allows shoppers to swiftly grasp essential product facts, even when skimming through listings. If a specific feature piques their interest, they can then delve into the rest of the bullet for more comprehensive details.
Understanding how Amazon populates its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is crucial for optimizing your product’s visibility. From our indexing experiments, we’ve discovered that Amazon typically considers only the first 500 characters of your combined key product features. Consequently, strategically incorporating your target keywords within this character limit is vital for maximizing search performance and ensuring your product stands out to potential buyers.
Character Maximum: 500 characters per bullet
Character Suggestion: 100-150 characters
Structure Suggestion: QUICK CALL OUT – Followed by a more detailed explanation providing another opportunity for more keywords
Example: BUILT FOR STANDARD U.S. CRIB MATTRESS – Measuring 28 inches by 52 inches, the crib sheet’s fitted sides ensure a smooth, snug, and secure fit.
One of the challenges of online shopping is the inability to physically interact with products. Therefore, having high-quality images and videos in your media gallery is crucial. By optimizing this gallery, you can visually address consumer queries and enhance their understanding of your product.
Adhering to Amazon’s guidelines, ensure that the main image features your product on a true white background without any additional text, badges, or unrelated products. Supplemental images can accommodate some of these elements, as long as they comply with Amazon’s rules. Aim to upload images with at least 1,000 pixels on one side to enable Amazon’s zoom feature, giving shoppers a closer look at your product.
In your media gallery, there are two key photo types that work well together: studio and lifestyle images. Studio photos showcase your product on a pure white background from different angles, allowing you to highlight intricate details or overlay text to explain its unique features. On the other hand, lifestyle images depict your product in real-life settings, enabling consumers to visualize using it in their daily routines. A recommended approach is to include 2-3 studio photos and then complement the gallery with captivating lifestyle images.
If you are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry, you have an added advantage: product videos. The product video occupies the last tile in the media gallery and is denoted by a “Play” button icon, indicating its presence. To optimize engagement, keep these videos under two minutes, allowing consumers to quickly gather valuable insights before making their purchasing decision. A concise video ensures that shoppers can easily grasp the essence of your product.
By curating an appealing media gallery with high-quality images, videos, and a blend of studio and lifestyle shots, you can overcome the challenges of online shopping and provide consumers with an immersive visual experience, boosting their confidence in making a purchase.
Image Suggestions: 1:1 aspect ratio, JPEG format, and at least 1,000 pixels on one side
Media Gallery Order Suggestion: 2-3 studio images followed by lifestyle images
The product description section on Amazon offers a valuable opportunity to delve into the finer details of your product or elaborate on key features mentioned in the title. It serves as a platform to share your brand’s unique story and values, helping to build brand awareness and connect with potential customers on a deeper level.
While it’s essential to make the most of this space, it’s worth noting that Amazon now replaces the traditional product description with A+ Content submitted through Seller Central. However, this doesn’t mean you should overlook the product description. In our experience, Amazon still indexes the product description, making it a crucial element for search visibility and discoverability.
With up to 2,000 characters available, the product description grants you four times the space compared to the key product features section. However, presenting this content as a large, unbroken block of text can be overwhelming to shoppers, leading them to skip it altogether. To ensure your product description is engaging and easily digestible, many savvy Amazon sellers leverage Custom HTML coding to incorporate paragraphs, line breaks, bolded headlines, and bullet points. While Amazon’s system doesn’t explicitly permit the use of HTML, many sellers have successfully utilized it. Just be aware that Amazon may remove HTML formatting without prior notice.
Character Maximum: 2,000 characters
Character Suggestion (non-HTML): 500-1,000 characters
A+ Detail Page
The A+ Detail Page, exclusively available through Amazon’s Brand Registry program, empowers brand owners to go beyond the standard product description. With this valuable tool, brands can share additional content and imagery, offering a more comprehensive view of their products. This enhanced A+ content is strategically designed to boost conversion rates by providing shoppers with an immersive experience that showcases additional details, specifications, and visually appealing images.
According to Amazon, A+ content can lead to a conversion rate improvement of up to 5%. However, in our internal observations, we’ve witnessed even more significant improvements, up to 15%, contingent on the initial state of the product listings. By replacing the traditional standard description, A+ Detail Pages become an influential conversion tool that holds immense potential to drive more sales.
One of the outstanding features of A+ Detail Pages is their high level of customization. Brands have the freedom to experiment with various best practices to make their content uniquely engaging and informative. One common element that proves to be of immense value is the comparison chart module. This module enables direct linking to other product listings, creating an opportunity to display additional products available within the brand’s catalog or recommend alternative options that better align with the shopper’s needs.
Incorporating A+ Detail Pages into your product listings can prove to be a game-changer in enhancing customer engagement, ultimately driving more sales and revenue.
Featured Products Max: 6 products
Comparison Metrics Max: 10 metrics
The “Keywords” tab nestled within your Amazon product catalog wields significant power in boosting discoverability. Although these keywords don’t appear visibly on the frontend of your Amazon listings, they are vital for the Amazon algorithm to index your product and populate the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The “Keywords” tab offers a range of fields, including Search Terms, Intended Use, Other Attributes, Subject Matter, Subject Keywords, Target Audience, and Platinum Keywords, where you can input valuable keywords and phrases.
To optimize your listing’s visibility, it’s best to utilize the “Keywords” tab to insert additional keywords that couldn’t be naturally included in your listing content. Instead of resorting to keyword stuffing in frontend-facing fields, leveraging these backend fields is a more effective approach. Moreover, consider incorporating common misspellings and associated items with your product to capture a broader audience.
To uncover potential keywords for these backend fields, conduct thorough keyword research and explore PPC advertising reports. However, bear in mind that adhering to Amazon’s guidelines is crucial; refrain from using competitor names, non-compliant terms, or any ASINs. With a character limit of 250 per field, keep it concise, separating each keyword with a space, and avoid unnecessary punctuation or repetitive terms.
Character Maximum: 250 characters
Example: River jungle gym active wobble hopscotch preschool family exercise physical motor traction girls boys learning teen Curriculum development...
Create Your Listings
When venturing into the world of e-commerce, creating well-optimized product listings is a fundamental best practice that can significantly impact your success on any marketplace. Having keyword-rich and carefully crafted product copy in place before listing will prove invaluable, saving you from potential headaches later. The process of editing listings post-creation can be fraught with challenges, making initial optimization essential for a smoother selling journey.
Before diving into the listing creation process, ensure you have the following content elements prepared and fully optimized: an attention-grabbing product title, key features or bullet points highlighting unique selling points, high-quality images that showcase your product, and a compelling standard product description that resonates with customers. While some content areas in the “backend” of product listings can be modified later, having them ready from the outset is a proactive approach that sets you up for success.
Additionally, you’ll need certain essential details to create a new product listing, including a product number (UPC, EAN, etc.) for identification purposes, a SKU for internal inventory management, accurate product specifications such as dimensions and weight, and pricing information. Ensuring these details are meticulously prepared ensures a seamless and error-free listing process.
To further assist you, Appendix B provides a comprehensive checklist format, outlining the essential fields you must focus on during the Amazon listing creation process. As you can see, the initial groundwork requires attention to detail, but investing time and effort upfront will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. Now, let’s delve into the two main methods of creating listings on Amazon, enabling you to make informed choices that align with your selling strategy.
Single Listing Creation
Creating a listing on Amazon is a straightforward process, but knowing where to start and which fields to complete is key to success. To begin, log in to your Amazon Seller Central account and navigate to Catalog > Add Products. Look for the “List a new product” box and enter your product name, UPC, EAN, or ISBN to initiate a search. If Amazon doesn’t find an existing listing that matches your query, you can proceed by clicking “Create a new product listing” to kickstart the creation process.
The first step in creating your listing is determining the most suitable category for your product. You have the option to use the search feature to narrow down categories or manually explore the product categories to find an appropriate sub-category. Once you’ve identified your category, click on the hyperlink to access the listing creation page. Here, you’ll encounter multiple tabs that group similar listing fields together, marking the beginning of the content creation process.
Now comes the crucial part: crafting compelling content for your listing. Each tab corresponds to specific details about your product, such as title, description, key features, images, and more. Take the time to optimize each field by incorporating relevant keywords and highlighting unique selling points. Ensure that your product title is clear and concise, immediately conveying what your product is and its main benefits. In the product description, provide comprehensive information about your item while maintaining readability and engaging potential customers.
Don’t overlook the importance of high-quality product images. Clear, well-lit images that showcase your product from different angles will increase customer trust and boost conversions. Take advantage of Amazon’s guidelines to ensure your images meet their standards.
On the first “Vital Info” tab, optimize your product listing by providing key information. Start with the Product ID, which can be your UPC, EAN, or ISBN. Next, carefully craft your product name, ensuring it aligns with your optimized title. Pay special attention to the manufacturer and brand name fields. While they may often be the same, remember that the brand name appears just below the title on the product detail page, making it crucial to get the spelling correct from the start. These details are not easily updated post-creation, so accuracy is essential. To guide you through the process, Amazon offers small information icons next to each field. Utilize these tools to ensure your product information is optimized and accurate.
Moving forward, let’s shift our focus to the “Offer” tab, a crucial section where you’ll set essential details for your Amazon listing. Firstly, you’ll specify your selling price, a critical factor that directly impacts your product’s competitiveness. Here, you have the opportunity to strategize and determine a pricing structure that aligns with your business goals and market positioning. Additionally, you can create a custom SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), a unique identifier that streamlines inventory management and tracking. If you prefer not to generate your SKU, Amazon will automatically assign a lengthy alpha-numeric string.
Next, you’ll provide the product’s Condition, clearly indicating whether it’s new, used, or refurbished. This information is vital for potential buyers to make informed purchasing decisions. As transparency fosters trust among shoppers, ensure you accurately describe your product’s condition. Moreover, this tab lets you define how the inventory will be fulfilled. Depending on your business model and logistics, you can choose between Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM). Each fulfillment method has its advantages, so carefully evaluate which aligns better with your operational capabilities and customer expectations.
The “Compliance” tab plays a crucial role in ensuring your product’s adherence to regulatory requirements and safety standards. This section allows you to provide essential battery information, if applicable, and include any necessary warnings, such as Prop 65 notices. Additionally, if your product type requires a Safety Data Sheet, you can conveniently upload it in this tab.
By accurately filling out the Compliance tab, you demonstrate your commitment to product safety and compliance with relevant regulations. This, in turn, enhances your product’s credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers and Amazon’s algorithms. Moreover, meeting compliance standards can help prevent potential issues or delays during the review process.
Enhancing your product images on Amazon is a vital aspect of captivating potential buyers and boosting your listing’s performance. In the “Images” tab, you can seamlessly submit up to nine images, offering a valuable opportunity to showcase your product’s best features. To get started, click on “Choose File,” navigate to your computer’s image files, and easily upload them. Certain categories even allow up to ten images, maximizing your visual impact.
For products that are part of a Parent-Child relationship, pay attention to the “SWATCH” image slot. This designated image will be displayed in the variation preview on your listing, aiding customers in identifying different product options effortlessly. To ensure compatibility, Amazon accepts JPEGs, TIFFs, and non-animation GIFs, allowing you to present your product in the best possible light.
The “Description” tab is a crucial section of your Amazon listing, housing the core product information that requires optimization for maximum visibility. This section allows you to input up to 2,000 characters of product copy. Initially, you’ll only see one Key Product Features field, but you can easily add more fields, up to a maximum of five, by clicking the “Add More” link. Keep in mind that the character limit in the Key Product Features fields varies across categories, so hovering over the information “i” badge helps you identify the specific limit for your current category.
Leveraging this tab effectively empowers you to showcase your product’s unique selling points and key features. Craft compelling and informative descriptions, highlighting the benefits and advantages that set your product apart from competitors. Engaging, SEO-optimized copy in this section improves your listing’s relevance and rank in search results, increasing the chances of attracting potential customers.
The “Keywords” tab within Amazon’s Seller Central houses crucial fields to enhance your product listings’ discoverability. While these fields don’t directly display on your listing, they play a significant role in optimizing your product’s visibility in search results. Similar to the Key Product Features, you can input up to five fields in most of these sections. However, to reveal all of them, you’ll need to click the “Add More” link.
One particularly vital field to focus on is the “Search Terms” field, offering you a valuable opportunity to include up to 250 characters of keywords that may not be visible on the listing’s frontend. Leveraging this field allows you to add relevant and targeted keywords that align with shoppers’ search queries, potentially increasing your product’s chances of being discovered and indexed by Amazon’s search algorithm.
The “More Details” tab on your Amazon product listing holds vital product specifications that provide essential information to potential buyers. While Amazon offers various fields in this tab based on your product category, you don’t need to fill out all of them. Instead, focus on the fields relevant to your product to ensure clarity and accuracy in your listing. The following fields are minimum requirements for creating a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) listing:
- Unit Count
- Unit Count Type
- Item Dimensions
By inputting these essential details, you can proceed to “Save and finish” your product listing. Once you click this button, Amazon will generate a unique Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) for your product. With your ASIN in hand, you can immediately preview your new listing by clicking on the title in your Amazon catalog or navigating to the following URL: https://www.amazon.com/dp/*ASIN
Multiple Listing Creation
When managing multiple Amazon listings simultaneously, time-saving solutions become crucial. Amazon offers a bulk upload system that streamlines the process. Instead of creating individual listings one by one, you can opt for the “Download an Inventory File” option. This takes you to the “Add Products via Upload” page, where the initial step involves selecting categories to classify your diverse products accurately. Once all the categories are chosen, proceed to generate your advanced template, which is essential for handling multiple listings efficiently.
Downloading the Excel template becomes the next step, and you can access it from the download area on the same page. The Excel template provides a convenient framework to fill in the necessary details for each product, such as titles, descriptions, prices, and quantities. This way, you can manage a batch of listings with ease, making updates and adjustments efficiently within the Excel file before uploading it back to Amazon.
Amazon Flat File
When you access the Amazon flat file, also known as the template, you’ll land on the “Instructions” tab, offering valuable introductory information. However, for actual listing creation, navigate to the “Template” tab. Each row in this tab represents a single product, allowing you to fill in all product details horizontally. While the fields in the flat file are tailored to your generic category, keep in mind that every flat file is unique, reflecting specific product requirements.
Embrace this simplified guide as a rough generalization of the common fields required in most flat files. As you delve into these spreadsheets, be aware of the underlying rules set by Amazon, designed to assist you, but occasionally leading to confusion, glitches, or frustration. As you become more familiar with flat files, you’ll develop strategies to troubleshoot common issues, streamlining your listing creation process and enhancing efficiency.
Navigating Amazon’s flat files can be overwhelming, but fear not; we’ll break it down for you. The flat files, which are essentially spreadsheets, are color-coded to simplify the process. The first eye-catching orange section, known as “Vital Info,” demands your attention.
The journey begins with inputting the Product Type, easily selectable from Amazon’s dropdown list. Proceed to the Item Type Keyword, where again, you’ll find dropdown options tailored to the categories you chose when generating your template.
As you venture further, ensure the remaining orange fields are meticulously filled out following the same rules. Set the Standard Price to reflect your item’s selling price, while strategically leaving the quantity field as “0” during the initial creation. Why? Providing an actual number may signal to Amazon that you have immediate inventory, potentially leading to unforeseen issues. By opting for “0,” you gain the freedom to optimize your listing comprehensively before offering inventory.
The following section highlighted in yellow is designated for “Images.” Within this section, you are required to input image URLs for your product. In case you do not possess public image URLs for all your images, you have two alternative options to consider: Firstly, you can provide a placeholder image URL in the Main Image URL column during the initial listing creation, and later, manually upload all the images. Alternatively, you can explore the option of using a public image hosting site, upload the images to your server, or find creative solutions to obtain public URLs that Amazon can use for uploading the images. Employing these approaches will ensure your product listing on Amazon is visually engaging and appealing to potential buyers, ultimately enhancing your chances of gaining higher visibility and sales
As you navigate horizontally through the flat file, you’ll encounter an orange section containing fundamental product details. Among these, the UpdateDelete column plays a crucial role. For new listings, set this column to Update, while for updating existing listings with specific fields, opt for Partial Update. If you intend to remove an existing listing, select Delete as the value. In this section, you’ll also find the product description column, where it’s essential to input the complete description in a single cell, ensuring a seamless representation of your product.
Optimizing your Amazon flat file with accurate and comprehensive information contributes to better visibility and search performance. By utilizing the appropriate values in the UpdateDelete column and crafting concise yet impactful product descriptions, you enhance the overall effectiveness of your Amazon product listings. Ensuring that your product data is well-organized in the flat file simplifies the listing process and improves the accuracy of updates and deletions, ultimately leading to an enhanced shopping experience for potential customers.
In the upcoming section, we will delve into the green section, primarily centered on enhancing product discovery. While numerous fields may not directly align with your product, we’ll focus on the ones that are pertinent to your listing. Key Product Feature columns and all fields under the “Keywords” tab, such as Search Terms, Intended Use, Target Audience, Other Attributes, and Subject Matter, will be our primary areas of attention.
By refining and optimizing these key fields, we can significantly impact your product’s visibility and relevance to potential buyers. With a targeted approach, we aim to maximize your product’s discoverability and searchability on Amazon’s platform, positioning it more favorably among relevant search results. Our strategic utilization of relevant keywords and compelling product features will elevate your listing, making it more appealing to your target audience.
Dimensions & Fulfillment
As you continue scrolling down the product page, you’ll encounter two prominent blue sections, loaded with essential specifications. In these sections, you’ll record crucial details such as product dimensions, weight, fulfillment method, and more. Keep a close eye on the Fulfillment Center ID, which indicates whether you’re shipping the product (DEFAULT) or leveraging Amazon FBA (AMAZON_NA) for fulfillment. The product’s physical attributes are clearly organized with the following common column titles for the dimension fields: Item Weight, Item Height, Item Length, Item Width, Unit Count, and Unit Count Type. Utilizing these fields strategically will enhance your product’s discoverability and visibility, leading to improved rankings and higher conversion rates. By providing accurate and comprehensive specifications, you demonstrate professionalism to potential buyers and improve their overall shopping experience. Make the most of this valuable section to optimize your product listing and thrive in the competitive Amazon marketplace.
Compliance & Offer
The rose section is dedicated to crucial compliance items that demand attention, such as safety warnings, battery notes, and Prop 65 warnings when applicable. These elements are essential to ensure that your products meet all necessary regulations and safety standards, providing customers with a trustworthy and reliable shopping experience.
Check & Upload Your Inventory File
Once you’ve filled out all the product details in the spreadsheet, it’s time for the crucial checking process. Save the file on your computer, then head back to Amazon Seller Central and navigate to the “Add Products via Upload” page. Click on the “Check and Upload your Inventory File” tab, and upload your file for verification. This helpful tool will detect any inaccuracies or missing information in your template, guiding you towards a successful upload without adding products to your catalog at this stage.
After uploading your file for checking, move on to the “Monitor Upload Status” tab, and patiently wait for the check to complete. Once done, download the “Check My File” report to review how your upload performed. The “Checked File Summary” tab will display the number of records checked and any warnings or errors detected. Here, you’ll find guidance on what needs to be rectified to ensure a smooth process.
Make the necessary corrections to your initial upload file based on the report’s feedback, and then repeat the process until you achieve a successful check. Once you pass this crucial step, return to Seller Central’s “Check and Upload your Inventory File” tab, select “Inventory Files for non-Media Categories” as the file type, and proceed with the upload. Depending on the file’s size and the tool’s usage by other users, this process may take minutes or hours.
Like the previous check, navigate to the “Monitor Upload Status” tab and wait for the results. Keep in mind that Amazon might still identify errors in your flat file that were not caught during the initial check. However, you can always download the report, review the errors, and make the necessary corrections to attempt the upload again.
As you troubleshoot this process, you might discover that your listings were partially created successfully. In such cases, modify the “UpdateDelete” column in the flat file to “PartialUpdate” to avoid creating new listings unnecessarily.