Dec 07, 2017 4 Min READ

How To Optimize Your Amazon Listings: The Ultimate Q&A Part One
Chad Rubin

Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.

4 Min READ
How To Optimize Your Amazon Listings: The Ultimate Q&A Part One


Do you want to optimize your listings and make more sales?

There’s a lot of information about that out there. A lot. Digging through all of it to find the parts that matter to you can take days. But with the holiday season just around the corner, you don’t have that kind of time. That’s why we asked sellers just like you to send us their questions. We got quite a lot! So in this first part, we are going to answer seller’s questions around optimizing product descriptions and keywords.

Before we start... No one knows exactly how the Amazon algorithm works. The advice that follows is based on personal experience, a lot of testing and discussions with other sellers and isn’t set in stone.

Optimizing product descriptions

Product descriptions are key. They tell the customer more about the product and help drive conversions. That’s why it’s crucial you get them right.

1. Can the search algorithm understand bullet points?

Yes. While the words you use in the bullet point don’t have the same weight as the product title, they are indexed by the search engine. The algorithm uses them to understand your listing better.

2. Does Amazon index bullet point sentences in ALL CAPS?

As far as we are aware, using ALL CAPS doesn’t affect the search engine’s ability to index your bullets. From a stylistic and copywriting point of view I’d discourage you from using them for the entire bullet point. They just lose their power. Use them sparingly to emphasise key benefits for maximum effect.

3. Should I hire a copywriter for my listings or can anyone do it?

It depends. The right copywriter can bring your product listings to life. They are trained to get into the customer’s head, mimic their language and put together the words that will make them hit that buy now button.

However, a good copywriter isn’t cheap. If you can afford to hire one and the ROI makes sense, then invest. But, if you are just starting out you can use copywriting principles and formulas to create appealing listings yourself.

4. I’m selling the same product as a competitor. How do I stand apart in the listing?

Write better copy than them. Buying is an emotional process. Instead of focusing on the product’s features, focus on what it can do for the customer.

Ask yourself: why are they buying this? How will this product improve a small aspect of their life? What are the emotions that power this purchase? Use the answers to tell a compelling story.

The world of keywords

If you want to get your product in front of potential customers, you need to use the right keywords.

5. How many keywords should I use in the title?

There isn’t a one size fits all answer here. It really depends on how and where you use the keywords. Keyword stuffing in the product title is a no go. However, you do want to be descriptive and highlight some benefits.

Let’s say you are selling a barbecue kit. When a customer searches for that term, they’ll be faced with over 7000 results. Most won’t make it past the first page. That’s why you need to get a little more descriptive. Describe your kit and focus on the benefits: Non-stick barbecue grill for easy grilling, perfect for the barbecue lover.

6. Is there a character limit for back-end keywords?

From April 2017 onwards Amazon only indexes the first 250 characters of the back-end keywords. While you can use more words, you won’t gain anything from it.

7. How will the recent changes to the keyword algorithm affect me?

All out algorithm changes are rare. However, the A9 team does tweak the algorithm regularly based on user behavior. The biggest change that we are aware off is the character limit for back-end keywords. To protect yourself and your listings from future changes, put the most import words first.

8. What’s the best way to optimize keywords for search?

Prioritize. List the most important keywords at the start. Next, optimize for long tail keywords. It’s been reported that 57% of sales on Amazon stem from long tail keywords.

Amazon limits the number of characters that appear in search depending on placement and the type of device used. Mobile titles usually have between 55 and 63 characters, whereas desktop results normally sit between 115 and 144. That’s why prioritizing is crucial.

9. What are the best tools for keyword research?

You’ve got a lot of options.

If you are looking for a free research tool, try Sonar. You’ll see the search volume and Sonar will suggest related words.

If you can invest in a tool, check out the KeywordInspector’s suite of tools or try the Helium 10 Toolkit. Both are designed with Amazon sellers in mind.

10. Should I use a variety of keywords or focus on three to four specific ones?

It depends on what you are selling. Tailor your strategy to each listing. Sometimes, you may focus on several long tail keyword variations. Do the research and base your strategy on the language a buyer would use when searching for the listing.

11. How can I rank for major keywords without breaking the bank?

Be as descriptive as possible. Let’s say you are selling a whiskey decanter. Ranking for the term “whiskey decanter” won’t get you very far because most of the time, the customer already has an image in their mind. Maybe they picture a crystal decanter sitting in an oak cabinet. Or pouring a drink out of something elegant and modern at the end of the day. Optimize for what your customer is looking for- not just the thing, but the benefits that come with buying the product. This strategy will get you further than ranking for “whiskey decanter.”

12. Should I list my competitor’s name in keywords?

I can understand the appeal of this one. By listing your competitor’s name in your keywords, you hope to capture any direct searches from customers looking for the competitor.

I’d strongly advise against it. Instead, focus on keywords that emphasize your value and show the potential buyer why your product will serve them much better than whatever your competitor is peddling.

13. Should I overlap keywords in my title, key features or product descriptions?

While it’s fine to have the same base keywords running through your title, key features, product description and back end using the exact same language won’t help you.

Amazon is extremely picky about showing the most relevant results. Use long tail keywords to describe your product and emphasize the benefits in a few different ways. That will give you a much better shot with both the search engine and the customer. No one wants to read the same three words on repeat, right?

14. After investing heavily in campaigns, I hit a 22% conversion rate but I’m still only listed on page four for my keyword. What can I do to increase my ranking?

Try rearranging the keywords in the listing title with the most important words at the front. A seller in a similar situation used this technique and moved from page 8 to page 1 of the listings.

Coming up soon

In Part Two, we’ll cover questions about Amazon’s Q4 changes, how to improve your seller ranking and other burning questions including how to start your first private label.


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