E-commerce & Internet Retail

How to Optimize Your Amazon Product Listings

  • July 3, 2018
  • Carina McLeod
  • 7 minutes

For an item to sell on Amazon, it needs to be discovered and it needs to convert. When shopping online, buyers don’t have an aisle to browse or an item to touch. They rely on search results to provide them with options and product content to give them specific information about the items they are interested in purchasing.

Just adding a product and brief description to Amazon is not enough to guarantee a sale. With the extensive selection on Amazon, a customer might not even be able to find your product. If they do, they might not get the answers they need from the limited product detail available and continue their search, browsing through the competition. Brands must optimize their content for search and conversion to make their listings both discoverable and buyable.

Discoverability

The more discoverable an item is, the more traffic can be driven to the product listing, increasing the chances of a sale. For an item to be discovered, it needs to appear in the results when a customer is searching on Amazon. The customer may be browsing, looking for ideas using broad search terms such as “cat food” or “laundry detergent.” Alternatively, they might be quite specific about what they are searching for, using terms like “organic cat food” or “eco friendly laundry detergent.” A brand will want their product to appear for a variety of keywords that are relevant to their product for maximum customer reach.

As a first step, brands should compile a list of relevant keywords they want their products to rank for when customers are searching on Amazon. This should include broad and specific terms, and they must be relevant. Amazon cares strongly about relevancy. For more information on keywords and search relevancy, please check out a previous article I wrote about the importance of keywords on Amazon.

With a list of keywords, brands can then ensure these are included in their content. Brands should add these words to the fields that are indexed for Amazon search. These are the title, bullet points, product description and backend search terms. When adding keywords, brands must avoid keyword stuffing that can lead to incoherent content. This can have a negative impact on conversion and discourage customers from clicking on the product. The key is getting the right balance between keyword-rich and compelling content.

Bonus: The Importance of Keywords on Amazon

Compelling content

There is no point in doing all you can to rank high in search results if a customer doesn’t click on and ultimately buy your product. The content needs to appeal to the customer, enticing a click and converting that click into a sale. Boosting clicks and conversions not only helps sales and rankings. Amazon also favors items with good click-through and conversion rates, helping products appear more frequently in search results.

The first piece of content a customer sees in the search results is the title. That title needs to entice the customer to click through to the product detail page. While titles can have up to 200 characters, it doesn’t mean every character should be used in an attempt to make the title keyword-rich. This can make the title incoherent, overcrowded and hard to read, which could be a turn-off for the customer. This is especially true for the mobile experience, where fewer characters appear in search results. Customers are drawn to the first few words in a title, so word order is important. The goal of a good title is to immediately tell the customer what the product is and entice them to click through to the product page to read more and make a purchase.

Once you get the customer to click on the item and go to the product page, you then want them to make a purchase. This is where the bullet points, product description and A+ or Enhanced Brand Content come into play. The customer has been enticed to click on your product page, and now they want answers. The content should focus on how the product will benefit the customer and answer the typical questions. It must be accurate, coherent and not mislead the customer. As mentioned earlier, avoid keyword stuffing that makes the content incoherent — this is why Amazon created backend search terms.

For the bullet points, reword the features into benefits. For example, if a feature of a washing detergent is “in-wash pre-treaters,” that shouldn’t be the main focus, as it means very little to the customer. You want to translate that feature into a tangible benefit and focus on what is important to the customer. For example, “Fights the Toughest of Stains: With in-wash pre-treaters, this washing detergent tackles those hard-to-remove stains including grass, mud and juice.”

The product description should go into more detail. For example, talk about how the item works and how the customer can use it. For lesser known brands, consider including a short brand story. Brands should also consider uploading A+ or Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), especially for technical and complex products. A+ content and EBC pages are more visual, making them more appealing to the browsing customer, helping boost conversions.

Your product content needs to build customer trust and eliminate any uncertainty in order to convert a click into a sale. Avoid jargon and abbreviations, and keep the language simple. Don’t assume a customer understands the technical terminology your brand uses to describe the products. You want to appeal to the mass audience.

Bonus: Deconstructing Amazon A+ and Enhanced Brand Content

Listen to the customer.

Amazon has a wealth of content already available on their website with customer reviews and customer questions. Customer reviews tell brands what features interest the customer, what they like and don’t like, and if they were misled in any way. Customer questions highlight possible purchase barriers and if there is any missing or unclear details about the product in the bullet points and product description. When brands are optimizing and writing their content, they should be taking notice of this invaluable detail. They should also have some competitors’ listings to benchmark against.

Content is a requirement, not an option.

These days, content optimization is a requirement for brands to be successful on Amazon. It is no longer a “nice to have.” The Amazon environment is becoming more aggressive each day, and if you don’t optimize your content, your competitors could and will rapidly take market share from under your feet.

OneSpace uses consumer search data to drive the creation and optimization of product content at scale, helping brands tailor content to shopper behavior and quickly deploy updates across retailers. Learn more.


Carina McLeod is an Amazon Retail Specialist with over 12 years’ experience working with Amazon. She spent over 7 years working as a Vendor Manager at Amazon UK, working across multiple product categories including Home & Garden, Personal Care, Sports & Fitness and Clothing. Her specialty was launching new categories into the UK market.

In 2013, Carina set up her own consultancy business, eCommerce Nurse, helping manage and support both Sellers and Vendors in growing their businesses on Amazon. In 2018, she launched Vendor Society, a membership website that provides Amazon Vendors affordable learning resources and support to help them maximize their sales potential on Amazon. Through her years of experience, she can happily say she speaks ‘Amazon’ proficiently, knows their requirements and systems, and most importantly knows what it takes to become a successful Vendor and Seller on Amazon in both North America and Europe.

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