Why Amazon Matters
For many retail companies, Amazon is a vital sales channel for their products. Amazon.com is one of the world’s most often visited sites, and the local sites such as Amazon.co.uk are frequently the top ecommerce sites in the region. More than just casual traffic, Amazon attracts traffic who are looking to buy.
How Amazon ranks items for sale
Amazon uses their own company called A9, who designed the Amazon Search Engine. Like other search engines including Google, A9 indexes each product page, searching for data points that it can then match with the searches of customers. And like other search engines, it does not like to be tricked into showing pages which are not relevant, this gives a poor visitor experience and that is not what Amazon is about.
Amazon A9 though does differ in one very important aspect from other search engines, Amazon looks only at the relevance of what you put on your product page. Backlinks, social media and other off-page SEO have no effect on A9.
A9 is designed always to maximise Revenue Per Customer (for Amazon not you we are afraid). Therefore Amazon wants to present the most buyable item to customers. Let’s explore in more detail the factors which will affect that.
In A9’s own words:
One of A9’s tenets is that relevance is in the eye of the customer and we strive to get the best results for our uses. Once we determine which items are good matches to the customer’s query, our ranking algorithms score them to present the most relevant results to the user.
A9 is seeking relevancy, and the first place it looks is in the title, descriptions and contents of your listing. They don’t rank equally; more weight will be given to the title. So choose this carefully making sure it contains the keywords you want to rank well for but avoiding stuffing it with keywords and making it unreadable. Ultimately it is people who will read your title and decide to click or not.
Adding plenty of well-written content though is not a waste of time, the more content you add the more you are giving Amazon A9 to work with and to Index and the more searches A9 will find you are relevant for. All the content is indexed by them after all. This is especially useful for the long tail keywords; those keywords are searched for less often but are highly relevant to your product.
Finally, when setting up the product listing make sure that you reinforce the keywords in your content by adding them to the keywords in the listing setup. You are showing Amazon where your product is relevant. Bullet points are great for keywords.
Make sure you use all the opportunities to add content, not just the description but also and other features/Bullet Points and the various specifications you can add where they are relevant to your listing. Amazon won’t even show your listing without these.
Don’t be tempted to keyword stuff or use keywords which are not relevant to your product, just to get your product highlighted in other searches. Amazon will quickly detect this and as mentioned previously they don’t like it and your listing will likely suffer a penalty.
Well now you have been indexed and your relevance to a search established. That is not the end of the story though. Amazon demands a high level of customer satisfaction. Getting orders out swiftly, the speed at responding to customer queries, and the rate of orders with no problems are all part of the metrics. Good sellers rank better than those who don’t meet Amazon’s expectations.
Effective Order Processing
One of the key metrics Amazon tracks is the speed of shipment, Amazon demand that their customers (remember that Amazon consider them as their customers) receive goods quickly. Using an Order Processing Management system which processes the orders, and updates Amazon automatically, not just with the status but also the tracking method and tracking number. Despatch Cloud is a multi channel Ecommerce solution which integrates with Amazon MarketPlaces and Seller Fulfilled Prime, Amazon Vendor.
Positive reviews are also a vital factor in the A9 ranking engine. Amazon weigh the more recent reviews more highly than older ones, and likely they weigh the verified purchase reviews more as well. Again search Amazon for any product and you will see how many of the top results have a high number of positive reviews.
Remember Amazon are looking to maximise their sales, not yours. They use both predicted and real conversion rates to predict what you will sell. Higher prices reduce the predicted conversion rates and thus Amazon will reduce your ranking compared to alternative products. It some cases it may be better to offer small units at a lower price than better-value bigger units.
Sales rank is obviously one of the most important factors. A simple search on Amazon should demonstrate the importance of how many units you sell. You can buy your way in to this to an extent by paying for your product to take a prominent position.
Good for product, not so good for brands
For almost all companies their brand is one of their most critical selling points. Unfortunately, while Amazon is designed for selling product it has few facilities to help you develop as a brand. Therefore, Amazon can only be part of your online strategy.
But that said, take every opportunity to promote your brand and utilise the Amazon Platform to gain extra sales.
Clear and good quality photos, Amazon won’t even display your listing with images below 1000×1000 pixels.
Use Parent/Child listings, where similar products are linked, it has been reported that Amazon tends to rank listings with multiple options better than those without and this maximises reviews.
Categories and subcategories are vital for searches, as once a customer has selected a category then the A9 search engine restricts the search to that category. Pick wisely.