Amazon SEO: A Practical Guide for Indian eCommerce
India, the second-most populous country in the world, is home to one of the fastest-growing eCommerce markets in the world. This has been predominantly attributed to the high penetration of the internet and smartphones in the country. As of 2020, India had surpassed 696.77 million internet users (roughly 40% of the Indian population), and the number of smartphone users had skyrocketed to 760 million in 2021.
These advancements had a direct impact on the Indian online retail market, which was roughly 25% of the total organized retail market. And the biggest contributor to this was Amazon. As a result, Amazon has become a household name today and is synonymous with online shopping in India. As of 2021, Amazon India has 100 million users and 10 million active prime users.
However, at the core of Amazon India, you will find its 2,18,000 active sellers. Amazon has become an amazing platform for sellers from any part of the country to sell any product. It even partnered with many government agencies to help these sellers reach great heights.
However, with such a large directory of sellers, it becomes highly daunting for a new seller to become successful in this marketplace. This is where SEO kicks in. Amazon has an SEO engine that can be utilized to your advantage. This article is all about the importance of SEO when you run a business on Amazon and become a successful seller. Read on...
What is Amazon SEO?
Let’s start with the very basics. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a powerful method used by search engines (like Google) and eCommerce websites (like Amazon) to provide users with the most accurate content (or product) they are looking for.
When you search for something in Google, thousands of related results spring up in the search results. However, we often get our answers from the first page of the results. Now Google uses its homegrown SEO algorithm to search all the websites and choose the best ones that match your needs and search results.
Most large organizations like Amazon have their algorithm to handle SEO. Amazon’s algorithm is called the A9 algorithm. It uses artificial intelligence to find the quality of your content, image, keywords used, product title, and pricing strategy to decide whether to display your product on the starting pages of a user’s search results or not.
If your product ranks at the top of the search results, it directly results in more sales. It is estimated that 66% of shoppers search for new products on Amazon.
In summary, ranking plays a major role in the success of your business in Amazon, and for that, you need to master the A9 algorithm. If you can do that and update your product with SEO best practices, there is no doubt that your product will be at the top of the list in search results.
How does the Amazon ranking algorithm (“A9”) work?
As we have seen in the previous section, A9 is the name given to the algorithm that Amazon uses to rank products in searches. A9 is a subsidiary of Amazon and has been created mainly to increase the number of transactions carried out every day.
The algorithm is so powerful that despite Amazon receiving millions of unique search queries every month, it analyzes and decides which products to show and at what position in a split second.
Now Amazon is filled with millions of products, out of which many products are similar in design and features. A9’s primary purpose is to help buyers choose a product that will ensure maximum conversion (search to purchase). In other words, the A9 algorithm ranks the product that the user is most likely to buy as the first product and next likely as the second, and so on. In summary, all products are ranked based on the purchase probability.
The next question that might crop up in your mind is - what factors influence the purchase probability of a product? For that, you need to understand the working of the algorithm better. Here are the two steps involved in it -
Amazon picks the keywords used in the user query and chooses only the products that exactly match it. The important thing to note here is that all the keywords in Amazon search query must match your product keyword. If your product does not have all the keywords present in the user query, then your product won’t be displayed in the search results. This step helps Amazon eliminate a vast majority of the products that the user is not likely to purchase.
The algorithm will now analyze all the filtered products and rank them according to the purchase probability of the product. The purchase probability is hugely dependent on the performance of the product. Three key factors that determine the performance of the product include -
Click through Rate: Number of times past users clicked on your product
Conversion Rate: Number of users who purchased your product after visiting the product page
Sales: The number of pieces of this product you have sold so far
So these are the important KPIs to work on while selling your product on Amazon. To improve these KPIs, you should SEO optimize your product by providing quality images, neat descriptions, garner good reviews, and use Amazon PPC advertising.
Apart from these, Amazon also considers the following factors to decide the rank -
Price of the Product
For instance, it compares the price of your product with your closest competitor, and if your price is lower than the competitor’s, then you have a better probability of ranking higher.
Similarly, the stock of your product is also important. When your products go out of stock, they will be pushed to the bottom of the page.
Lastly, it also considers the shipping cost and the fulfillment service. If you have lower shipping costs (or free) and using a trustworthy fulfillment service, you get a higher rank.
As the number of products and users keeps increasing, Amazon’s algorithm keeps getting smarter. So far, it has learned to identify spelling mistakes and even display similar products with similar keywords when the query keyword is imperfect.
How to improve product ranking on Amazon?
So far, we have seen the importance of product ranking and how the A9 algorithm works. Let's now dive deep, and see what a seller can do to improve his/her rank. Amazon keeps changing the rank every time a user searches for a query, so it is difficult to hold on to a permanent position in the search results. However, if you can incorporate all the below strategies, your likelihood of getting a high rank consistently increases.
1. Product Title
The product title is the most valuable asset available to you. It can impact your ranking both positively and negatively. Your title should contain all the important elements like -
Next, you need to know which keyword to place in the title. The title is usually around 100-144 characters. So use this space wisely. Find the most relevant keywords for your product using popular keyword management tools. Alternatively, you can pick keywords from your competitors who are doing good.
Pro tip: Do not stuff the title with keywords. Use three to four keywords and place them at strategic points. For example, place the most relevant keyword first. Then make use of special characters as breakpoints and then add the next keyword, and so on.
2. Optimize product listing category
Most of the users use filters in Amazon to get more relevant results for their search. As a seller, it is important for you to categorize your product well. Imagine you are selling an iPhone 6 Red variant and categorized it as Electronics > Mobile Phones > Smartphones > iPhone > iPhone6. If the user filters the color as red, you will potentially lose a sale despite having the same product the user was looking for.
To handle this situation better, classify your product using the in-house product classifier tool. This tool will help the sellers to find the most relevant subcategories for their products.
3. Set the perfect price
The price of the product is supremely important for most users. Since there are hundreds of similar products on Amazon, users most likely will select the cheapest product, especially when they cannot identify any differentiation factor. Now that doesn’t mean you always need to have the lowest price.
Make it a point to study your competitor's price for the same product and list the unique features that are present in your product as compared to them. Quote a price that compensates for the additional feature but is also not too high from the competitor’s price point. If you do not have any unique or additional features, always try to aim for the same or lower price than them.
4. Focus on the format of the description
There is a considerably large space given by Amazon to write about your product features. Make good use of this space. Do not crowd this place with heavy paragraphs stuffed with keywords. Try to use bullet points wherever possible and list each feature individually. Use keywords only when necessary.
Ensure that the description is lucid and attractive at the same time. You can even talk about your brand in the description to add the trust factor in the minds of the visitors.
Pro Tip: Try including long-tail keywords in the description that will boost your rank.
5. Backend Utilization
As a thumb rule, don’t overuse keywords in the title, description, or features section. Everyone knows that keywords play an important role in your product ranking. But the product details page is not the right place to dump the keywords. Instead, focus on the backend. Amazon offers you 250 characters listing space whose content is not visible on the product page. You can list all the keywords that you couldn’t list on the product page.
The keywords can also be uploaded in the form of .XML, & .CSV files. Sellers can also include keywords with wrong spellings to capture the audience who misspell in the search query.
How to use images to increase click-through rate and conversion rate?
Images are an integral part of Amazon SEO. Sellers should add high-quality images capturing multiple features of the product. Images are also one of the top purchase criteria for many buyers. Some even decide whether to purchase the product or not by looking at the image.
The best practices in Amazon (related to images) are -
Image size should be greater than 1000 x 1000 pixels.
All products must have a white background.
Products must fill at least 85% of the image.
The actual product must be captured as a photograph and not as illustrations.
Incorporate 3D product images or videos if possible as it gives better clarity about your product.
Mannequin or packed product images should not be used.
Do not watermark your images with your brand’s logo
Use HD quality pictures
Having high-quality images will boost your sales significantly. Remember - the first impression of your product is made by the images when the user searches for the product. Therefore, an attractive primary image will improve the CTR of your product, while having additional images on the product page will improve the conversion.
How to research and optimize keywords?
By now, you would have realized that it is imperative to include all the keywords in your product that a potential user might enter while searching for your product. To choose the right keywords, you need to perform keyword research for your product.
Here are two ways to go about it -
1. Use Amazon’s search bar
This is the simpler method out of the two. In this, you can use the autocomplete suggestion feature of Amazon to find the most relevant keywords for your product. However, this method offers your very limited keyword data and might not prove very useful in the long run.
2. Use Keyword tools
The internet is flooded with a plethora of tools that can not only generate keywords for your product but also supplement it with supporting data. This data will then help you choose the top keywords that can give you a better chance of ranking higher. The best tools for SEO for identifying, analyzing, and checking keyword ranking for your products include -
The number of sellers and buyers in the eCommerce ecosystem has been exponentially rising in the last few years. Amazon, the largest eCommerce platform in the world, has an important hand in it. However, competition is also on the rise, and it is becoming increasingly challenging for new sellers to make it big in this marketplace. This is where SEO can help, and this post has walked you through the different steps to boost your product ranking.
However, handling SEO and other related stuff can take a significant chunk of your time and hamper your other growth plans. This is where Powerhouse91 can help. We are the fastest-growing company that buys and operates eCommerce brands on Amazon and help them scale up their business rapidly.
If you like to know more about what we do and how we can help you achieve your eCommerce dreams, talk to a Powerhouse91 expert now.