Guest Post on Amazon Listing Optimization by Lena R. Liberman, Seller Labs
Cyber5, the five-day sales bonanza from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, arrives early this year as the result of Thanksgiving falling on November 23. The good news about this early arrival is that it gives sellers nearly an extra week of earning time between Black Friday and the end of the year; the bad news is that it means that sellers must have all of their ducks in a row (manufacturer stock levels, FBA shipments and quality controls, listings, Sponsored Products ads, customer service, and all else) ASAP and without as much prep time as usual.
Listing Optimization Tips for Black Friday
With roughly two weeks to go before Cyber5 commences (countdown planner to help), here are four keyword-related adjustments that Amazon FBA sellers can (and should) make in order to optimize their listings for better ranking, discoverability, and conversion.
Tweak, and Trim Your Product Title
Product titles are not only crucial to Amazon’s algorithm but they probably are the
A title can make or break whether or not a shopper continues to read further or goes back to look at other search results. You only have 200 characters for your title so use them wisely. Include brand name, what the product is, what it does, and variations of those for which shoppers may be searching.
Here I urge you to consider the increasing role of mobile shopping and that you need to strike a balance between inserting lots of information and keywords (using your full 200 characters) along with how that title renders in a smaller mobile display.
That said, you want to put the most important keywords first. Default title style to get you started is Brand + Model + Product Type + subsequent information such as material, purpose, size, quantity, color, etc.
Boss Your Bullet Points
Use all five bullet points and make them easy to read, consistently formatted, and full of pertinent keyword-rich information. This will help not only your ranking in search results but your conversion as bullets resonate with both the algorithm’s hunt for keywords and the shopper’s hunt for features and benefits.
Strike relevance gold by picking up Q&As from your listings and from those of your competitors and working that info into your bullets.
Example: If a competitor has Q&A about how a cast-iron pan starts out and how it ages with use, make a bullet about yours being pre-seasoned, rust-proof, and lasting for generations. If you stand by your product (and you should), include (and tout) a guarantee of some sort.
Bonus Resource: Amazon Services Europe literally spells out how they want sellers to craft what Amazon deems Clear and Concise Bullet Points, and as we all know, it pays to follow Amazon’s rules and guidelines. For bullets, Amazon advises sellers to:
- Highlight the five key features you want customers to consider, such as dimensions, age appropriateness, ideal conditions for the product, skill level, contents, country of origin, and so on.
- Maintain a consistent order. If your first bullet point is country of origin, keep that same order for all your products.
- Reiterate important information from the title and description.
- Do not include promotional and pricing information.
Add Punch to Your Product Description
Here’s where you are free to tell your brand story and how your product came about and why it is the best choice available. It’s where you can express what your product does, how it does it, and why that benefits the buyer. This section is an expansion of the title and bullets and it allows you to take a tone with shoppers and present your brand and your product in a way that communicates something unique and worthwhile.
This is not a place to stuff keywords, mention the competition, or make claims that you cannot substantiate. It is a place to tell your story and make a connection with your buyer.
Be thorough but don’t waste the shopper’s time on
Go Behind the Scenes and Add Powerful Backend (Hidden) Keywords
Behind the scenes is where you put the keywords that you want Amazon to index but you don’t need shoppers to see (e.g., if you are selling headphones, your hidden keywords may contain synonyms such as “earphones” and “earbuds.”) These keywords should only include generic words that enhance the discoverability of your product.
Amazon indexes only the first 250 bytes in a product detail page’s backend keywords so you have to be sparing. As a general rule, one character is usually equal to one byte, but there are exceptions for special characters, which can count as multiple bytes so do be mindful here. That limited number of 250 bytes means that finding strong keywords and leveraging them matters more than ever.
Rules, Tips, and How to Get the Edge When Using Keywords
Let’s put the basics out here first. The points below may seem obvious but failing to work in accordance with them can really hurt a listing. That said, take a moment to remind yourself of Amazon’s guidelines for backend keywords:
- Put keywords in the most logical order (a buyer is more likely to search for “big stuffed teddy bear” than for “teddy stuffed
- Use a single space to separate keywords. No commas or other punctuation needed.
- Include abbreviations, alternate titles, topics/ subjects (for books, etc.), and key characters (for books, movies, etc.)
- Don’t provide inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information.
- Don’t include statements that are only temporarily true (“new,” “on sale”).
- Don’t include subjective claims such as” amazing,” “good quality,” etc.
- Don’t include terms that are abusive or offensive in nature.
- Don’t mention competitors or their brands.
Amazon’s algorithm is smart, so smart that you needn’t include certain information and variations of keywords as the algorithm has already picked them up from other parts of your listing or it will parse the common variations behind the scenes. Because bytes are limited, skip adding the following as Amazon already takes these things into account:
- Product identifiers such as brand, product, ASIN, UPC
- Keywords that already appear in the title, description, and bullets
- Variations like upper and lowercase keywords, singular and plural forms of the same keyword. Instead, try keywords that are synonyms, hypernyms, or spelling variations of content
in visibleattributes (e.g. if product title is ‘whiskey’, use ‘whisky‘ in generic keywords).
One of the most-asked questions we get at Seller Labs is “How can I find the best keywords?” This is massive given that having better keywords than your competition is the key to getting the edge in terms of discoverability and building sales and ranking. There is no single easy method guaranteed to rocket your listing to the top of the search results. It takes a multi-pronged strategy and some diligent work. Here’s what we recommend:
- Ask friends and family to describe your product in their own words.
- Do an Amazon search for your product/similar products, as well as searches on other commerce sites like Walmart,
Ebay, and Target.
- Use the Search Term Report in Seller Central.
- Read product reviews.
- Read competitors’ listings, especially the listings for those ranking as top sellers in your category.
- Do a reverse ASIN lookup using a tool like Seller Labs’ Scope.
Scopewill show you the keywords that are driving organic sales for an ASIN. These keywords are ranked on a 1-100 score—the higher the score, the better the keyword. Each keyword will show you where an ASIN ranks in search based on a keyword search term. Scopealso allows you to see the estimated sales a keyword has generated for an ASIN in the past 30 days.
A Final Note on Optimizing Amazon Product Listings
Never consider a product listing finished. No matter how well it is performing, a listing is a living thing that needs tending. Why? Because products have life cycles and audiences respond differently over time. If you write a listing and leave it alone, it will become stale and your competitors will use that to their advantage. Make time to regularly check in with your listings and those of your top-selling competitors. Periodically make updates to title, bullets, description, and keywords.
Always scour for new keywords using a reverse ASIN tool and incorporate those finds into existing listings. Give the changes time to sink in and note which adjustments work and which don’t. Act and react based on what the data tells you, not what you think you know. And never ever stop looking for ways to optimize listings for even your biggest sellers.
Lena R. Liberman