Breaking Down Amazon's SEO Algorithm for Ecommerce

Kelly Shelton

August 24, 2020

SEO. It’s more than just a hot ecommerce buzzword: it’s the key to getting your brand discovered on Amazon. With a little algorithm know-how, SEO can push your products to the top of search rankings and help you crush it in sales.

Here are some things every ecommerce brand should know about Amazon SEO and what differentiates it from SEO on other platforms.

Amazon algorithms vs. other marketplace algorithms

Although it may be easy to assume they’re the same, all SEO is not created equal. What you see in Amazon search results won’t be the same as what you see on Google’s PageRank. This is because Google and Amazon users have different intentions when they’re using the search function.

When shoppers are on Amazon, they are zeroed in on making a purchase and usually know exactly what they’re looking for. For example, 80% of all Amazon clicks happen on the first page, and 35% of Amazon shoppers click on the first product that pops up in their search. To ensure sales, Amazon prioritizes listings that have characteristics like high impressions, lots of off-site traffic, and a good seller performance to increase the likelihood of conversion.

In contrast, when shoppers plug their searches into a search engine like Google, their intent is usually discovery. Google prioritizes relevant links (i.e. if someone’s looking for “plumbers in Salt Lake City,” websites that talk about plumbing in Salt Lake City will rank first) as well as the user experience and credibility of a link.

Knowing that Amazon prioritizes listings most likely to lead to a sale can give brands a sense of what they need to target to improve SEO.

What Amazon SEO looks like today

Amazon’s algorithms are always changing—for example, while keyword stuffing on the backend of your Amazon listing worked yesterday, it doesn’t work today—and frustratingly, the company doesn’t publicize which variables are most important or exactly how they’re weighted.

In fall 2019, Amazon’s A9 algorithm (named for the amount of factors the algorithm takes into account when determining keyword rankings) was changed to an A10 algorithm. While there’s little we know about A10 yet, we do know what A9 factors continue to affect keyword rankings today.

The A9 factors vary in importance, but each is worth considering for brands looking to improve their keyword rankings.

Seller Authority: Are you an active, authorized seller who has plenty of ratings and reviews? Is your feedback rating good and are your performance metrics healthy? How many products do you have in your catalogue? All of these things determine your seller authority and therefore your keyword ranking.

Impressions: Impressions are views a product has across the Amazon site, affiliate links, and partner links.

Internal Sales: These are sales initiated from the Amazon website without being searched for, like “frequently bought with” items.

PPC Sales: Paid-per-click (PPC) sales used to be a major factor affecting keyword ranking on Amazon, but it’s no longer one of the main forces in keyword searches.

Click-Through Rate: The click-through rate is how often your product is clicked on in search results. The more detailed and compelling your listing, the higher your click-through rate.

Off-Site Sales: Off-site sales is one of the most effective factors that can improve keyword rankings. Off-site traffic driven to an Amazon listing is three times more likely to improve a listing’s ranking than PPC.

Conversion Rate: This is the number of views on a listing that are then converted to sales. Like impressions, the higher your conversion rate, the better.

Sales History: How well your product historically sells and how often its in or out of stock are big factors that determine how you’ll rank organically on Amazon search pages.

Organic Sales: This is when shoppers search for and then purchase your product without any marketing or promotion driving their purchase.

The Best Seller Ranking

In addition to A9 factors, the biggest piece of SEO on the Amazon site is the Best Seller Ranking. The Best Seller Ranking is determined by the number of sales your brand makes, and that is determined by factors like your customer reviews, your seller performance, the price of your product, and how quickly you ship. Getting the coveted Best Seller badge means sitting comfortably at the top of keyword rankings for your product.

Amazon Enhanced Brand and A+ Content

Another area where SEO can be effective on Amazon is in the EBC/A+ content space lower down on the page of your listings. These exist to provide a better shopping experience for your customers on Amazon, and on average, A+ content increases sales by 6%.

EBC/A+ content provides more visuals and technical explanation to persuade shoppers to purchase your product, and reinforces your brand equity. One of the most valuable parts of EBC/A+ content is that it’s optimized for mobile. Customers can see a whole listing rather than the first 200 words.

What Amazon SEO will look like in the future

While A10, again, largely remains a mystery, there are some things we know peripherally that could hint at other ways the site will be measuring rankings in the near future. Amazon has already put patents on image search features, like using image alt text for keyword indexing. This could mean photographs that include descriptive keywords may also be used to increase keyword rankings in the near future.

How to improve your keyword rankings

With an idea of how Amazon’s algorithms scrape search results and what is most effective for improving rankings, there are a few things you can do as a seller to take advantage of Amazon’s SEO.

Use relevant and accurate keywords in your titles/descriptions. The most immediate way to improve your SEO is to make sure that your product listings include all of the relevant keywords a prospective buyer would search for, such as the size, color, and model of the item. Pattern can help you mine Amazon keywords to find thousands of relevant and even unexpected options for your product that can be used to push it to the top of search results.

Clean up the copy on your listings. Your copy should be engaging, informative, and well-written to attract potential shoppers. Bulleted lists with your product’s most important attributes listed at the top are an especially effective way to clean up your copy and incorporate relevant keywords.

Use high-quality images. High-quality photographs that show your product from multiple angles and give customers the ability to zoom in allow them to trust that what they see is what they’ll get from your brand. You’ll want at least seven images in your stack, and incorporating video can also be helpful.

Improve your seller performance. The more products you’re selling, the more likely you are to appear at the top of search results, and in order to sell more products, you need to make sure your seller performance is in good health. This includes improving customer ratings and reviews and having a pricing policy that allows you to win the Buy Box.

Reviews are particularly important for sales, as a Pattern analysis showed that the average conversion rate for products with 3.0 to 3.9 stars is 41%, and the average for products with 4.9 to 5 stars is 50%. Just having a few reviews on your listing can be immensely helpful. An item with one one-star review will pull 76% more sales than an item with zero reviews.

Pattern partners with brands across the world to help them optimize their listings for search results and increase sales. With the use of their in-house specialized software Predict, Pattern automates the selling process and gives you the data you need to succeed on Amazon. To learn more, contact us below.

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads
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Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.