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How to Unlock the Amazon SEO Code to Ramp Up Sales in Your FBA Store

Vincent Wong Updated on June 17, 2021

Optimize amazon SEO

Hate leaving money on the table?

By ignoring Amazon SEO, potential sales slip from your grasp. Creating a standout FBA brand with product market fit and an in-demand product is only half the battle. Many FBA owners tend to neglect Amazon SEO and think that simply creating a product listing is enough to make their product sell.

However, promoting your products is slightly more difficult since there’s no one to actually talk to. A physical store has clerks and assistants who can help a customer check for sizes or answer any questions about products. You lose that customer service when selling through Amazon FBA.

A common sentiment among Amazon FBA sellers is “Amazon Advertising through PPC campaigns should be enough.”

This statement is right about one thing, at least: Promoting your products will dramatically increase sales. But if you don’t optimize your storefront or product listings, you’ll lose potential sales because it becomes that much harder for customers to discover your products.

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t on everyone’s radar when it comes to ecommerce. By learning about Amazon SEO, you’ll not only gain an understanding of how Amazon keywords and the ranking algorithm work, you’ll also learn how to leverage a powerful tool to generate organic traffic to your product listings.

This creates a compounding snowball effect: an increase in internal traffic means you’ll see more sales. And it cost you nothing except the time it took to optimize your listings.

We’ll cover the basics of what Amazon SEO is, provide some practical tips for optimization, and look at how Amazon SEO improves your FBA business’s value.

What is Amazon SEO and How does it Work?

It’s no surprise that your first thought when you hear SEO might be of Google or other search engines.

Amazon is a unique combination of a marketplace and a search engine for customers to research products, which is why SEO comes into play.

SEO is how search friendly your online business is. When customers input a search query, the results page will return the most relevant articles or links. The more relevant and useful the article is, the higher up it appears on the search engine results page, also known as the SERP.

Search engines need to work double-time to crawl through millions of pages to determine which is the most useful in answering a customer’s search query, but Amazon’s search engine is different from search engines like Google and Bing.

Since Amazon is a marketplace, the primary focus is on sales.

This means Amazon’s search engine is designed to help buyers find products they want to buy. By using a complicated algorithm, Amazon checks your product listing pages to see what you’re selling and compares the information to competing products in the same Amazon categories and sub-categories.

To win the Amazon SEO game, you need your products to be visible and relevant to a customer’s buyer intent. If your listing isn’t optimized for SEO, your products won’t appear when customers type in keywords you could easily rank for.

Let’s look at what’s under the hood of Amazon’s search engine. The thing that makes this engine tick is known as the A9 algorithm. Understanding A9 could be the difference between your FBA business generating a five- and six-figure annual revenue.

What is Amazon’s A9 Algorithm?

To determine your product ranking, the A9 algorithm prioritizes product listings based on several ranking factors, such as search relevance and social proof, but the most important ranking factor is keywords.

When crawling through the entire marketplace, the algorithm detects if certain keywords are present in your listings. The A9 algorithm is less sophisticated than Google’s algorithm, since Google can identify keywords and their variants to match a user’s search query with the most appropriate results.

Amazon’s search engine looks for whether your storefront has the right keywords or not. At first, the A9 algorithm could be manipulated since it looked for near-exact matches. Now, it takes into consideration differentiating features like color and size when returning results.

With the theory out of the way, let’s look at some practical tips to turn the SEO tides in your favor.

Amazon Advertising: When SEO and PPC Join Forces

The principles are the same for paid advertising and organic search results: you’re trying to be seen by your target audience when they’re doing a product search. Paid advertising increases the chances of your product appearing near the top of SERPs in sponsored ads, but it doesn’t guarantee that customers will click on your ads.

However, customers will be more willing to explore products found through organic search, which is why SEO is powerful for increasing trust signals.

Start your Amazon keyword research by using tools like Jungle Scout or Helium10. As part of your Amazon SEO strategy, identify important keywords that your competitors include. Ideally, you’re looking for higher search volume and low competition, but the keywords need to be relevant to the actual product.

For example, you’ll find diminishing returns if you choose “kitchen sink” when your product is a faucet.

To see what people search for, consider using Amazon’s autocomplete tool. It’ll give you a glimpse of what types of keywords customers use as well as what types of variants exist for long-tail keywords.

Above all, avoid keyword stuffing. Many moons ago, the more-is-better tactic was used as a surefire way to gamify and beat the system. If the A9 algorithm detects keyword stuffing now, you’ll be penalized and your products will drop further down the ranking—definitely not the desired results.

So where do you place the keywords? We’ll break it down according to the different elements that make up a product listing.

Product Listing Optimization

According to Amazon, optimizing your product listing affects its visibility and relevance to a customer’s search.

“Customers must be able to find your products before they can buy your products. Search is the primary way that customers use to locate products on Amazon. Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the information (title, description, etc.) you provide for a product. Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.”

It’s worth bearing in mind that you can’t account for every single metric. There are a myriad of small adjustments you can make to your product page to try and satisfy these requirements.

The bottom line is that the optimizations and tweaks to your product pages need to increase your Amazon sales. Optimize your page by including features that the A9 algorithm will index and include some elements that’ll improve click-through rates (CTR).

As your product appears higher in search results, your sales potential will increase. You might even win the buy box as your best seller rank improves as well.

But remember to focus, focus on your customer as the end-user and what the experience is like for them instead of trying to gamify the system.

Product Listing Title

The title, alongside the product’s image, is the most important piece of information. It’s the first thing a customer sees when they do their search and may be the difference between a customer looking at a competitor’s listings and putting your product in their cart instead.

In total, you have up to 200 characters to use for your title, although product listings from organic search results display up to 144 characters and paid ads showing up as “sponsored products” have only 33 characters.

The seed keyword needs to appear early on since A9 indexes keywords that appear at the beginning of the title. Many brands, however, tend to lead with their brand name.

Consider putting in a long-tail keyword to expand your organic reach. Including a CTA can increase the product listing’s CTR by injecting a sense of urgency. And of course, include the product name in the title for relevance.

If you need some inspiration, check your competitions’ listings to see how they’ve ordered their titles.

Your aim is to stop a buyer in their tracks by telling them what you offer. If you’re successful, the rest of the copy in your listing gives you a further opportunity to address these concerns.

Optimize Amazon Images

Though the A9 algorithm doesn’t appear to index images, choosing the right images is important for your CTR.

Combined with your title, your product image can stop a potential customer from scrolling and click the listing to find out more

To catch their attention, consider these key questions: What pain points does your product solve? Does your image convey that?

Including a model of someone representative of the target audience using your product in the picture can be very effective. A customer can easily visualize what they will look like using your product. Make sure your images are of high quality with the product against a white background and at least 1,000 pixels in height and width.

Take note of Amazon’s guidelines to ensure you don’t breach any requirements that will prevent you from using images that can result in a higher conversion rate of sales.

Bullet Points

Once you get the buyer in your listing, it’s still not time to rest on your laurels. Their attention span is limited, and they need to know what makes your product worth the price.

Think of your product page as a reverse pyramid of information density. The most important information needs to appear first, but it needs to be as concise as possible. The further down the page, the more detail you can share about the product specifications.

In the product description, you have room for five bullet points. This is precious real estate and should be reserved for talking about the product’s benefits, not the features.

Let’s look at the bullet points for the Powlaken Meat Food Thermometer. It basically measures the temperature of meat, but the bullet points convey much more detail. The seller instills confidence in your cooking and emphasizes that with this product, you’ll be ready to cook for loved ones during any season. And it’s ready to use right out of the box.

As this example shows, you have room to inject some personality and flex your creative muscles while addressing the customer’s pain points.

Treat your bullet points as a TL;DR: if the customer doesn’t make it past that point, at least they have a good idea of what your product is and how it helps them.

Product Listing Details

As the customer makes it further down the product page, you have more opportunities to turn their interest into a sale.

Smart and effective copywriting is key to selling the rest of the features. Even as you provide more granular information on the product, you can continue to hammer home the benefits.

If you’re part of the Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 program, you have access to Amazon A+.

Formerly known as Enhanced Brand Content, it’s a range of tools to help you add more flavor and customization to your product page to make it really stand out.

While Amazon A+ content isn’t indexed by the A9 algorithm, it’s a great way to jazz up your copy while introducing a story-telling element to your brand and the product.

If you fully utilize the tools from Amazon A+, you can create a unique theme and look for your brand, further differentiating your product from the competitors.

However, be wary of the types of images you use and how much detail you include. User experience is important even if it isn’t indexed.

Search Relevance

This covers how you can optimize your storefront and product listings available for customer viewing.

Another way to get indexed by the A9 algorithm is to include backend keywords through your Amazon Seller central account. It’s the only place you can consider keyword stuffing since this view is only visible to you.

Instead of using the main keyword you were planning to rank for, consider targeting keywords that you couldn’t fit in the product listing itself. Think of backend keywords as a way to target keywords that have lower priority.

They don’t have to be exact matches and can even be keywords in shoulder niches of similar products.

Performance Factors

Factors outside of your control, such as the number of Amazon sales and the general collective experience of customers and expressed through reviews, are outside of your control, yet they play an equally important role in whether your product will have a high Amazon ranking within a sub-category.

Advertising Outside of Amazon

Driving sales is every FBA business owner’s goal, but you still want to consider your target audience.

You wouldn’t advertise a tool to help accountants to a dentist who needs sterilizing equipment, would you? In the same way, be tactful in how and where you promote your product to draw in the right crowd.

Expand your traffic outside of Amazon through paid search engine advertising. It works similarly to Amazon PPC, but is slightly more sophisticated since Google doesn’t always need exact match keywords in the copy.

You could take the principles you learned about Amazon SEO and apply them to a blog. Blogs are a great way to provide help and additional value to your target audience by offering content that addresses the concerns of potential customers.

For example, if you sell furniture, you could write about which types of material are best suited for different weather conditions and best practices to keep furniture in optimal condition for longer. This kind of free information helps customers get the maximum value out of their purchase if they decide to buy.

This process works off the rule of reciprocity. When you help and give so much value for free, a customer feels obliged to reciprocate the favor. If you include links to your storefront and product listings in the blog post, there’s a good chance that a reader will click on the link and consider buying your product to return the kindness.

Similarly, you can also create another revenue stream by applying for an affiliate marketing program in which you earn a commission on a sale when someone clicks an affiliate link. Through this small additional step, you’ve earned more profit, and the best thing about affiliate marketing is you can continue earning commissions without needing to tend to the blog.

Consider building up a following on social media networks to create another organic source of traffic. You’ll need to schedule content regularly to stay top of mind and create value for your target audience, but there are time-saving tools to automate this process.

An email list is an under-utilized tool. Growing and monetizing an email list is a great way to build a loyal audience because subscribers have greater buying intent than someone casually browsing or price matching: since they provided you with their email address and personal details, you know they’re engaged and looking forward to hearing what offers you have.

An email list is even better than a blog at delivering curated content because you’re in control of what appears in front of the potential customer. A blog is reliant on your content ranking on search engines, while you can dictate when an email newsletter is sent.

Deliver value in your emails by recommending informational content about the product and providing suggestions on how it could be used. You could also promote complementary products or special promotions during seasonal periods.

Stay Within Reach Through Competitive Pricing

Keep pricing competitive by investing in Amazon repricing tools so you can monitor the market prices of other products in the same sub-category.

As an FBA owner, you’ve probably struggled with figuring out correct pricing. Too high, and people will go for a cheaper alternative. Too low, and customers will question the quality of your product.

The fact is that customers will usually choose the cheapest product that has a good reputation.

As tempting as it is to undercut competitor products, you still need to generate profits, and you may not be able to sell in enough volume to justify slashing prices too much.

As an FBA seller, you can take advantage of Amazon Prime status. In fact, some customers filter their search results to only include Prime products.

In this way, the fact that an FBA business is eligible for Amazon Prime status and next-day delivery provides you with a competitive advantage. You can increase your pricing slightly since the customer will see free next-day delivery as additional value.

Customer Reviews

The number of positive reviews plays a large role in your product’s rankings. With enough reviews, your product could even receive the Amazon Choice recommendation.

Knowing how powerful reviews can be, avoid posting fake reviews or any reviews that have been incentivized. These can be picked up on pretty easily, and even if they aren’t detected by Amazon, other customers can tell if something sounds too good to be true.

If you’re launching a new product or just getting started with your FBA business, one way to gather authentic reviews is through the Amazon Vine program.

In this exclusive program, customers with a track record of providing authentic and helpful reviews are invited to review new or pre-released products. Having someone from Amazon Vine review your newly released product removes any indication of foul-play and can provide valuable feedback.

If a customer forgot to leave a review, you can reach out to them through the Amazon Buyer-Seller Messaging service. Check out this guide where we go into further detail about how you can respond and send Amazon messages through your Seller account.

Leveraging this messaging service can help you nurture customer relationships and turn a disgruntled customer who left a bad review into a brand advocate as a result of the level of customer service.

It can be time-consuming to respond to every single message, so consider using tools to create automated email funnels.

How to Improve Your Amazon FBA Business through Amazon SEO

Combined with Amazon PPC, mastering Amazon SEO helps you leverage the powerful marketplace search engine that Amazon offers.

An effective Amazon SEO strategy directs customers to your product listings from a variety of sources, as outlined above, not just from Amazon. The sooner you implement and optimize your product listings, the sooner you can create a new organic traffic channel that drives customers to your store. It’ll be handy to monitor the effects of these changes through the analytics dashboard in your Seller Account to see the increase in sales that you can attribute to SEO.

Once you’ve started optimizing Amazon SEO, you’ll generate momentum in your Amazon Flywheel.

A flywheel takes time to start spinning. As more and more customers find your product in the marketplace through organic searches, you’ll start seeing more sales. As more sales accumulate, more people begin leaving positive customer feedback about the quality of the product and how it helped them solve their problem.

Set the Amazon Flywheel in Motion to Attract Buyers

Taking the time to optimize your storefront for Amazon SEO generates momentum that will be reflected in traffic and sales, both highly attractive aspects to a someone interested in buying your business

Although you might have mastered SEO at that point, a buyer may not be as familiar. You can add even more value to a deal by creating SOPs for the potential buyer.

SOPs act as a manual that anyone can follow, and they simplify the process as much as possible. Well-documented processes allow the buyer to outsource the task to hired help or delegate to their team.

Even if the buyer has experience with ecommerce and optimizing a storefront on a different platform, they may not be as familiar with the niche, but SOPs take the guesswork out of the equation and streamline your operations as they increase the likelihood of a deal.

SOPs are just one example of seller support. Making sure the transition of ownership is smooth is also a contributing factor to a successful deal. How you deliver the support demonstrates your commitment to ensuring the deal is successful.

A common fear buyers have is that once they take over the business, they’ll be left on their own. Once finances start to drop or things don’t run as intended, they worry they’ll have no one to turn to since the seller is long gone, having ridden off into the horizon on their horse.

To ensure the level of quality is maintained, consider offering a buyer a mixture of email and video or phone calls to walk them through the SOPs.

This gives the buyer a chance to clarify any misunderstandings over the processes and essentially improves the likelihood of the buyer stepping into ownership of their new asset with minimal disruption.

Take Your FBA Business to the Next Level Through SEO

Optimizing your FBA store could be the difference between customers choosing your product over competitors. Once it’s done, you will have created a completely free way of gaining more traffic and, over time, sales.

As your Amazon Flywheel accelerates, more sales mean more revenue and profits. One of the many reasons FBA businesses are lucrative is because there are so many ways to optimize your store.

Many FBA owners don’t crack the A9 algorithm code. Buyers are willing to pay top dollar for your store if you master Amazon SEO. If you’ve already optimized your store, use our valuation tool to see how much it’s worth—it may be much more than you thought.

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