How to Improve Amazon Rankings

March 23, 2021
Posted in News
March 23, 2021 Alex Smythe

How to Improve Amazon Rankings

As an Amazon seller, you want to reach as many interested shoppers as possible, but to do that, you need to know how Amazon decides where your products end up in any given search that happens on their platform.

The Amazon A9 Algorithm focuses on a number of direct and indirect factors to determine how your product places in related search results. However, two of the most important considerations are 1.) On-Page Optimization, and 2.) Sales Velocity.

On-page optimization refers to anything from image quality to text relevancy, and sales velocity is all about your number of sales within a given time period. In both of these cases, you’ll need a deeper understanding of how Amazon’s search engine really works and how potential customers are finding your product on the platform.

This guide to keyword research and strategy is designed to give you a basic game plan for quickly improving click-through and conversion rates to boost your overall Amazon ranking.

How to Boost Your Amazon Ranking

Amazon is both a search engine and an ecommerce platform. 

Look at it this way…

On Google, there may be a number of reasons why a user is searching “traditional Irish folk music.” They could be doing research for a project, trying to jog their memory about a particular performer, or looking to buy an album.

Unlike Google, Amazon assumes everyone is interested in making a purchase.

That’s why it’s in Amazon’s best interest to match each search with the products that are most likely to end in a sale.

It makes sense, then, that to improve your Amazon ranking, you need to consider how well your advertising strategy and product detail page are optimized to precisely reach the right shoppers and convince them to buy.

To do that, you need to make sure both your Amazon PPC and SEO strategies are working together to not only boost visibility but also maximize sales.

1. Use Automatic Targeting for Keyword Research

How do you get your products in front of the right shoppers? It starts with understanding the intent behind the searches that lead to your product.

Keyword research is the first step in coming up with a winning Amazon PPC and Amazon SEO strategy. If you know which keywords to target that are most likely to end in a sale, you can use them to optimize your ad campaigns and product listing.

Amazon Ad Keyword Targeting

Amazon allows advertisers to choose between 2 options for keyword targeting in their ad campaigns:

  1. Manual Targeting
  2. Automatic Targeting

With manual targeting, you choose the keywords and phrases you want to use and make your bid. That’s great if you already have high-performing keywords researched, but what if you don’t know what keywords will perform best?

If you want to run an inexpensive test for the types of search terms your potential customer is using, automatic targeting can help you figure out which keywords to implement. 

The benefit of using automatic targeting that all you need to do is allocate a small budget and set your campaign to automatic targeting, and Amazon will do the rest.

Automatically running these keyword “tests” will save you a ton of time optimizing your keyword strategy because the Amazon search engine will provide you with a list of proven, high-converting terms (many of which you may not have considered) to implement in your manual campaigns.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work these winning keywords into your organic Amazon SEO. (Don’t worry, we’ll have more to say on that in step number 3.)

2. Optimize Your Keyword Strategy to Boost Click-Through Rates

Advertising on Amazon can quickly become expensive if you don’t approach it with a smart strategy that incorporates the right keywords and phrases to optimize your ads to deliver conversions and sales.

You’ll build sales velocity by optimizing your Amazon PPC ads, and those higher sales will translate into better ranking.

However, learning the right keywords to use is just the first step. After that, you need to learn how to best match them with relevant search queries to improve your overall ad performance. That’s where Amazon match types come in.

Amazon Match Types

Choosing a match type for your keywords tells Amazon how to match your keyword to related search queries. Selecting the right match type will help your ad reach the most relevant audience so that you’re not wasting money (and hurting your ranking) by serving ads in searches that aren’t likely to end in a sale.

There are four Amazon match types: Broad, Phrase, Exact, and Negative.

  • Broad Match Type: Broad match is the most general, and it means that a search term may match if it contains all the keyword terms in any order. Broad match keywords will often cost a lot less than other types of keywords, but if you’re not careful, they may lead to your ad appearing in irrelevant searches and fail to convert into sales.
  • Phrase Match Type: Phrase match means that the search term must contain the exact phrase or sequence of words in order to match the chosen keyword. Typically, the phrase match type gives you more control over the search terms your keyword matches for while being less expensive and restrictive than the exact match type.
  • Exact Match Type: When you choose “exact match,” you are telling Amazon that the search term must exactly match the keyword or sequence of words in order for the ad to show. Typically, because you are narrowing the type of searches your ad will appear in, exact match keywords are the most competitive and therefore, the most expensive.
  • Negative Match Type: With this type of keyword parameter, you’re telling Amazon to disregard any search terms that include the keyword you’ve identified. For example, if you sell adult baseball caps and want to avoid showing up in searches for kids’ baseball caps, you’d set “kids” or “children” as negative keywords.
May contain additional words in the middle of search term May contain additional words at the beginning or end of search term May contain conjunctive words (and/or) May contain singular or plural versions of the search term
Broad
Phrase
Exact

Amazon frowns on low click-through rates (CTR). Because click-through rate is the ratio of people who click on your ad divided by your total ad impressions, a low CTR signals to the algorithm that your ad either doesn’t appeal to shoppers or isn’t relevant to their needs.

If it’s the latter, then selecting the correct match type for your chosen keywords can make a significant difference in improving your CTR. Additionally, using negative keywords will help minimize the number of times your ad appears in irrelevant searches, again improving your overall CTR.

If your goal is to improve your Amazon ranking, tweaking your match type strategy to focus on improving your ads’ click-through rates will help you to increase conversions and build sales velocity, which will, in turn, improve your overall ranking.

3. Create Keyword-Rich, Customer-Focused Listing Content

If you know which keywords you should be using and how to best utilize them in your ad campaigns, the next step will be to incorporate them into your listing content. This will help you improve your organic Amazon ranking because it will improve the relevancy of your listing in the eyes of the Amazon algorithm.

There are four opportunities to weave your keywords into your Amazon listing:

  1. Product Title
  2. Key Product Features
  3. Product Description
  4. Backend Search Terms

Be careful, though!

Remember that you’re not just writing for the Amazon algorithm. You’re writing for Amazon shoppers. That means you need to strike a balance between SEO copywriting and persuasive, customer-focused language that appeals to your target audience.

Product Title

They say that it only takes 5-10 seconds of meeting someone new to form a first impression. The same is true of your product title.

While you have a limit of up to 200 characters, only the first 5-10 words in your product title are what appear as a search result, making these 5-10 words the most important piece of copy for your listing.

(No pressure, right?)

While you’ll want to strategically incorporate one of your top keywords into your product title, at the end of the day, it’s not the Amazon algorithm buying your product. It’s real people.

Your title needs to appeal to humans, specifically to your target audience and what they are looking for. It should speak to their needs and sound natural to the reader.

Let’s take a look at an example…

What’s great about this title is that it uses high volume, relevant keywords (“shoe deodorizer”) while also keeping the copy customer-focused. It also uses dashes to break up the text and make the information easy to understand at a glance.

Key Product Features

Trying to get your entire product description and targeted keywords into the tight 200 characters of the product title can be challenging. That’s why you have much more space to make your point after the shopper has reached your product page.

Topping off at a 1000-character limit, Amazon’s product features section gives you a bit more room to stretch your legs, but you still need to use that space wisely.

Your product features should be formatted as a bullet point list and include key product benefits. Bullet points make it easy for a reader to quickly scan the words for key information, which is why it’s the standard format for Amazon listing content.

Some sellers are tempted to use this space to list exact product specifications or manufacturer descriptions, but that approach does nothing to help you rank better or persuade your target audience of prospective customers.

A good list of key features starts each point with a key benefit that directly appeals to what your customer needs.

In this example, you’ll see that the copy highlights 5 key benefits: stylish, safe, engaging for infants, easy to clean, and a money-back guarantee.

Each one of these key points helps to overcome the customer’s potential objections while highlighting more specific product features and keywords (“gender-neutral,” “hypoallergenic,” “waterproof,” etc.) to support each benefit.

Amazon Product Description

Your product description section should be the area you expand on your key product features and benefits, as well as include long-tail keywords that you’ve identified in your keyword research.

The best practice for Amazon SEO is including your main keyword near the start of your product description. Plus, if you did not have an opportunity to use a keyword in your product title or key features, you can add it in the description.

Like all marketing copy, the best type of copywriting tells a narrative, a story that shows the obstacles and challenges that a person may experience before purchasing your product and highlights how your product can solve those issues.

The language you choose should be friendly and conversational, not scientific. This section is a little more “human” in your content.

Do

  • Strategically incorporate relevant keywords into your copy in a way that sounds natural.
  • Create a buyer persona by considering your ideal customer and what they want. Then, overcome their objections with specific product benefits.
  • Highlight differentiators between your product and your competitors’. Think about what you have to offer that others don’t.
  • Tell a story. Everyone loves a good story, and it can help contextualize your product to show how it might fit into your customer’s life.

Don’t

  • Stuff your listing with keywords. Remember, you’re selling to humans, not to algorithms.
  • Be too self-centered. Your product content should highlight not only the features of your product but also how those features translate into concrete benefits.
  • Follow the crowd. A lot of sellers practice the “monkey-see, monkey-do” approach. Instead of copying your competitors, focus on what makes your product special.
  • Copy and paste a manufacturer description into your content, and call it a day.

Backend Optimization 

Amazon sellers have the opportunity to provide more information about a product in the administrative backend of the product page.

Utilizing meta tags in your product page’s backend helps Amazon recognize the relevance of your product offering.

There’s a catch, though.

If you think that you can just throw irrelevant or unrelated keywords into the backend to drive traffic, think again! You should never use this section as a way to stuff keywords that aren’t specific to those you targeted on the frontend.

If you wouldn’t use it on the frontend, don’t put it in the backend.

Keyword stuffing on the backend will only drive your results lower by appealing to irrelevant audiences.

Backend optimization needs to be carefully crafted to include relevant keywords and be fewer than 250 bytes. (If you aren’t familiar with bytes, Amazon has a handy explanation.)

Unless you’re already experienced in this optimization strategy, an Amazon search professional can utilize it best, so consider contacting an expert (like our CANOPY listing optimization team) for help.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to improve your ranking on Amazon, there are a few things to recognize so you can create a better optimization strategy. 

The first thing is to understand that searchers on Amazon are on the platform to make a purchase, and it’s in Amazon’s best interest to connect shoppers with high-quality products that fit their needs.

That’s why the Amazon search engine is designed to provide the most relevant products for every search. Too many Amazon sellers focus on driving a high volume of traffic, and fail to consider relevancy to their audience. (We call this, “Trying to please everyone.”)

Instead, you need to focus on selecting keywords and phrases that connect your product with the right shoppers at the right time in the purchasing journey.

Taking this critical focus to your strategy will help you to improve your Amazon ranking and organically get your product in front of more people. Hopefully, this guide helps you implement a more comprehensive strategy to improve your organic ranking and increase conversions. 

If you still have questions or want help with any of the strategies in this guide, give us a call! Our team of Amazon insiders and experts work with some of the top brands selling on Amazon today.

From Amazon account management to Amazon listing optimization to PPC and DSP advertising, you’ll find everything you need to grow your Amazon business “Under the CANOPY”!

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