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Amazon Holiday Tips: Winning More than Just the Buy Box

While making a sale is a primary goal when selling products online, your strategy should be about winning more than just the buy box if you are looking for long-term success. Like most things in the marketing world, it takes time to develop a well-rounded strategy that will engage customers and meet your business goals. As a top digital marketing firm, today we wanted to share an SEO strategy for long-term Amazon marketing success as a good starting point for those businesses looking to increase sales on this immensely popular platform.

Your goal should be to have all products consistently ranking near the top for relevant search terms for long-term success. The reason is simple; 70% of Amazon customers never scroll past the first page of results.

Understanding A9

That is not a typo. A9 is the name of Amazon’s product search algorithm. Like most algorithms for online businesses there is the expectation that it will continue to develop and adjust to meet Amazon’s business goals.

For now, it is a relatively simple keyword search tool. It has not yet developed into a sophisticated query analysis tool that can understand search strings, questions, or provide intuitive results. While it has developed an ability to allow for misspellings and slight variations, ultimately it is looking to match relevant terms. It also considers prior customer preferences and quantity of past purchase for specific products and niches.

Stock and price are also measured by the algorithm. Being out of stock can cause a listing to drop lower. Large price gaps between top competitors can also cause listings to appear lower.

It is important to recognize the abilities and limitations of a search engine before you jump into optimization if you want to maximize your efforts. For Amazon, the approach is slightly different compared to optimizing a website for Google. Just like Google, they are rather secretive about updates which is why we recommend creating a Google alert to stay abreast of leaked and announced changes.

Optimizing your Product Listing

A critical thing to remember about using Amazon is that it is a buying platform. This is not a search engine, social media site, or a place go to do product research. The goal of the entire site is to get people to buy something and convert as frequently as possible. That is why taking the time to properly optimize your listings will create long-term success.

The key areas for optimization are Visibility, Relevance, and Conversions. People need to find your listing, see the significance, and then decide to purchase. Of these, visibility is obviously the most important because if people can’t find it, they can’t buy it. However, the other areas need attention as well to maximize your opportunities.

  • Consider SEO tools – There are a handful of useful SEO tools built around Amazon that can help with your optimization process by doing things such as identifying keywords, requesting feedback or reviews, and monitoring feedback and reviews. Keyword Inspector, Salesbacker, and Feedback Genius are a few examples of the many tools available.
  • Amazon listing title – This is the most important piece of optimization on Amazon. There are three things to understand with the title; character length, use of elements and order of elements. Due to character limitations for ads and mobile users, it is critical that your most relevant keywords are placed first so customers see exactly what is being sold. If you have a brand name that should be considered a keyword as well and included in the description, which is also an Amazon recommendation. However, don’t stuff a description with keywords, instead focusing on the top two or three. The description can then include other important pieces of information such as product line, key feature, material, color, size, and packaging.
  • Use bullet points – Bullet points are one of the best ways to showcase features and benefits within a description. Product bullets are reviewed by the A9 algorithm but carry less overall weight compared to the title. Keywords not being used in the title can then be included in your features and benefits. You can also point out compatible products and product warranties. This is an area where experimenting with combinations and order of points can result in higher conversions.
  • Utilize storytelling with products – Storytelling is a powerful way to convey messaging about products and should be combined with calls-to-action to maximize conversions. Talk about the brand and products along with how they help meet needs while sprinkling in a few keywords. Use strong CTA’s and phrases such as “But It Now”. Make sure not to keyword stuff and instead focus on the overall quality of the content and its ability to sell.
  • Use quality photos – Quality photos are an absolute must. They should be high enough quality to allow zooming in so customers can clearly see what they are purchasing. Multiple photos should always be used to maximize conversions by showcasing products from all angles including in use.
  • Include backend search terms – Backend search terms are like leftovers; they aren’t the first choice, but they can still fill you up. Examples would be familiar words for your niche, slight spelling variations or misspelling variations, and even terms in other languages depending on your customer demographic. They can be included in your product descriptions for an added boost.
  • Obtain social proof – For Amazon, the best social proof available are customer reviews. Customers often rely on reviews to make better decisions about products and brands. Using an email feedback tool to help increase communication with buyers is a great way to obtain reviews and honest feedback as well as product campaigns. The key is to only use real reviews because Amazon looks for fake reviews regularly.
  • Drive sales with external traffic – Facebook advertising, social media marketing campaigns, Google AdWords and other methods can and should be used to drive traffic to your listing pages. Popular items rank higher in the results so doing what you can to create a surge in sales will then increase rankings for greater visibility which in turn will lead to more sale opportunities.
  • Use FBA if reasonable – Shockingly (not really), products that use Fulfillment by Amazon regularly rank higher than items that are Fulfilled by Merchant. If this is a reasonable option for your business, we recommend using it. The biggest reason for the rankings jump is reputation. Amazon simply has a better, more consistent fulfillment reputation compared to merchants.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it isn’t just about winning individual battles; you want to win the war. On Amazon the best way to do that is by employing a strong SEO strategy tailored to fit the platform. Once your strategy is in place it should be consistently applied on all products, analyzed regularly, and optimized where needed to maximize result rankings and thus conversions.

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