With nearly $386 billion in sales in 2020, Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world. As an Amazon seller, your competition is tough. Everyone is vying to get their products in front of as many people as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to rank high on Amazon’s search results.
Use strategic ecommerce SEO basics — like keyword research — to give your Amazon product descriptions a boost so that your products are seen by the right customers. SEO isn’t only for search engines like Google or Bing anymore. The truth is, SEO is a large part of your Amazon strategy.
Buyers searching on Amazon are at the end of the customer journey — they’re ready to buy something. A killer SEO strategy will optimize your Amazon product descriptions to make sure your products are at the top of the search bar and one click away from checkout. Are you ready to take advantage of your customers’ readiness?“
Here’s what you need to do.
Understand Amazon SEO
Amazon SEO is optimizing your product listings to rank higher in Amazon search results for related keywords, very similar to Google SEO. Product listings that are optimized are easier for Amazon to show to shoppers who are looking for something similar to your product
You want to get your products in front of as many people as possible and run a successful Amazon business, and focusing on Amazon SEO is one way to do this.
Consider Amazon SEO like a jigsaw puzzle with multiple pieces, which includes:
Amazon keyword optimization
Amazon product title optimization
Product image optimization
Amazon product description optimization
The Amazon algorithm
As we are focusing on product descriptions, let’s go into further detail about keywords and the algorithm.
How does Amazon’s search algorithm work?
Amazon’s search algorithm’s goal is to connect buyers with the products they’re looking for as quickly as possible, which isn’t far from Amazon’s core philosophy, to be the most customer-centric company on Earth. Amazon is very secretive about what influences its algorithm, but here are some directional patterns we can reasonably infer through our own data and what others in the industry are saying.
The information the algorithm considers when determining product ranking includes:
Keywords: does your listing include the search terms consumers look for?
Sales conversion rate: do your items sell well?
Customer reviews: are customers satisfied with your products and service?
Price: are your products priced competitively?
Performance history: do you have a record of sustainable sales?
Delivery time: do customers receive their products quickly?
As you can see, it requires a bit of work and critical thinking to engineer your way to the top of Amazon Search, and you can learn more about it with our Complete Guide to selling on Amazon.
How do Amazon keywords work?
Amazon keywords are search terms that shoppers type in the Amazon search bar. For example, a buyer types “wristwatch.” “Wristwatch” is the Amazon keyword. If you are selling wristwatches, but you do not use the keyword wristwatch in your product title or product description, you are at risk of missing the target audience.
Take a look at the difference in search results for the two terms “wristwatch” and “watch.” The results for “wristwatch” are below.
As you can see, Amazon associates different keywords with different product types. Wristwatches tend to be non-digital watches, whereas watches tend to be digital watches, like Android or Apple watches.
Familiarize yourself with Amazon’s rules
Before unleashing your copywriting skills, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules. If you don’t abide by the rules, you can find your product listing removed, or worse, you can get suspended. You can find a full list of Amazon’s rules for product descriptions on Amazon Seller Central. But some of the more important ones revolve around prohibited terms. These terms are prohibited from product descriptions:
Reviews or quotes
Plus, product titles must not exceed 200 characters. Try not to go overboard in your product titles, but make sure the titles are descriptive. Here’s a good example:
When you’re writing your product descriptions, you need to have your potential customers in mind. Your product descriptions need to find a balance between the right keywords and what’s relevant. Buyer personas help with this because they make sure your descriptions are targeted to the “right” people and that your products appear in the right searches.
This way, you have a much better chance of influencing people’s purchasing decisions.
Let’s say you’re a home décor seller. Create personas for the types of people you sell to and define them as:
New home buyers who are single or newly married and are eager to buy trendy décor for their new home.
Long-time homeowners with school-aged kids who have accumulated lots of stuff and need creative storage solutions.
As you get to know what each group searches for and what they need, you can match keywords to each group. For example, new home buyers might search for wall décor. Your product descriptions for this group could include keywords like “wall hanging” or “damage-free removable art.”
This speaks to the specific group and makes sure your product shows up in search results when customers type in certain keywords. The better your products rank, the better your chances are to increase your click to sales and stay high in the rankings.
Choose the best keywords for your products
Make sure your keywords reflect what your customers are interested in. Just like Google, Amazon is a data powerhouse — all of the searches people make are logged. This approach gives Amazon insight into what topics are trending and what’s more important to its massive user base.
When customers land on Amazon’s homepage, they’re greeted with a list of categories and some of the best-selling items within each one.
This is a gold mine of information for you because depending on the categories in which you sell, you’ll have a good idea of the types of products customers are looking for. These lists tell you what your target customers need most and what they’re interested in. When you know what matters most to customers, you can target them more specifically, so when they see your products, they’re more willing to buy them.
These best-seller categories are a good place to start to build your keyword list. You know what people are looking for, so now you have to cater your product descriptions to speak to these needs and make more money. Here’s how to find and use keywords:
Make a list of the top 10–20 trending items in relevant categories. In each category, check out lists like “most gifted” and “most wished for.” If you sell clothing, your list might include items like dresses and fashion accessories. Click on these types of products and take note of the title used and the descriptive words in the product description. For example, the title might have the keywords “halter dress,” and the description might have keywords like “fitted style” or “flowing design.” Add these words to your list.
Try different variations of long-tail keywords. This will increase your chances of showing up in search results. So instead of always using “halter dress,” use “halter dress style” or “fitted halter dress.”
Update your list regularly. Often when people do keyword research, it’s one time, and they use that list forever. A better approach is to update your list regularly. This ensures that your product descriptions always have the most relevant keywords included.
Create separate keyword lists for each of your products. Once you’re done, you’ll have a big part of what you need to start ranking high in Amazon’s SERPs. You can learn more about the best product categories to sell on Amazon.
Use Enhanced Brand Content (EBC)
Amazon Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), which is now known as A+ content on Seller Central, is a way for you to modify your product listings with content such as enhanced images and custom text placement — to help magnify your brand’s story. However, EBC is only available to registered brands in the Brand Registry.
With Amazon A+ content, you can include explanatory pictures about the product features and how to use the product.
The main benefit of EBC is that more buyers are drawn to your listings, giving you more conversions; this can lead to an increase in sales, which contributes to the algorithm and makes your products rank higher.
Learn from high-quality product description examples
One of the best ways to create product descriptions that rank high is to learn from already existing examples. You should use existing listings as a style guide to create your own listings. As a general rule, your product descriptions should have the following information:
Benefits of your product
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Take a look at this candle listing. The product title is less than 200 characters, yet descriptive — the brand name, size and scent are clearly displayed. Even with a quick glance, buyers can see enough information to make a decision.
Here are a few things we’ve picked up from these product descriptions:
Focus on selling the product’s benefits, not its features
This product description for the Duo Meal Station stands out because it leads by mentioning a fact customers can relate to —they want healthy food for their babies.
Notice how the product description emphasizes how easy it is to incorporate the food processor into day-to-day life; its large capacity saves you time, and it’s easily programmable.
It’s easy to list all of the things that make your product great. While this is important, people are more interested in what your product can do for them. Your product description needs to show customers what they get out of using your product and how the product solves a problem.
When it’s clear to people what they get out of using a product, they get excited about it. And the more excited your description makes them, the more likely they are to buy something.
Keep the product description short and to the point
As you can see, the candle’s product description is concise and gets straight to the point. Leading with the burn time information is a good way to appeal to buyers. People looking to buy candles are interested in knowing the burn time.
As you can see, the information is presented clearly and listed as bullet points. This makes the information easily digestible whilst covering the key features and benefits of the product.
Now it’s your turn to get started
Amazon is the biggest online retailer, which means that there’s lots of product competition. Look at any category, and there are hundreds of product listings for any customer to browse through.
So even though Amazon continues to grow, it’s possible for you to thrive as a seller on Amazon. The secret to success is getting to the top of SERPs by using SEO. Without this, people won’t know your products exist, and your sales will suffer.
Plus, an SEO strategy gives you an edge over the competition because, remember, the more sales you make in the short-term — to become a top seller — the more likely you are to stay on the front page of Amazon SERPs.
But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.
Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.
Here are four things you should consider:
Does this match my needs?
It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.
Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:
Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.
It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.
Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.
Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.
If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.
Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.
Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.
With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.
Is this the right amount for me at this time?
The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.
Elon Musk said Sunday he “somewhat agonized” over the font designs for his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire businessman added he “loves fonts” and has tweaked the logos over the years.
He revealed the SpaceX logo also holds a hidden meaning, representing a rocket’s arc to orbit.
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In a series of Sunday tweets, Elon Musk said he “somewhat agonized” over his choice of fonts for his businesses and revealed a hidden meaning behind the SpaceX logo.
Responding to a tweet about serif and sans-serif fonts, the billionaire businessman took a break from posting cryptic memes and discussing politics to say he loves fonts and put significant consideration into how his companies are presented to consumers.
“I somewhat agonized over the Tesla & SpaceX font design (love fonts tbh),” Musk tweeted. “There are some similarities, particularly use of negative space. We’ve made many little tweaks over the years.”
The Tesla logo — a T-shaped design with a custom, sans-serif font spelling out the brand name — is meant to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. The SpaceX logo, written in a similar font with an extended X, references the reusable rockets made by the company.
“The swoop of the X is meant to represent the rocket’s arc to orbit,” Musk tweeted.
Other business logos have also held hidden messages: Baskin Robbins, a chain that sells 31 flavors of ice cream, has a secret ’31’ hidden in the letters of its logo. Likewise, Amazon’s arrow logo is meant to represent a smile, while the circular ‘B’ logo for Beats by Dre represents a person wearing the popular headphones.
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The internet has revolutionized the business world and changed how we conduct business. Any business that aims to increase its visibility and boost profit needs to pay much attention to top ranking factors, including local SEO — which introduces the topic of the local search algorithm.
Local SEO is one of the top practices that help boost a business’s visibility and generates more sales.
However, achieving better local SEO rankings is not a walk in the park, especially due to increased competition. To appear higher on local results, businesses and marketers need to understand how the local search algorithm works.
Knowing this helps guide the steps for improving rankings in the local pack.
The competition gets stiffer as more businesses open and optimize for local searching. Besides, Google is updating its algorithm consistently, meaning only businesses that can keep up with these updates can appear at the top of local search results.
Luckily, you have come to this post as this article looks at everything you need to know about Google’s local search algorithm and what you can do to get that top spot in the local pack.
Understanding the local search algorithm
Google aims to provide the best results that match a specific local search query. It constantly updates the local search algorithm to determine which business to rank on top of local search results.
Ideally, Google wants to provide local content that is relevant and valuable to users. As with search engine optimization, keyword stuffing cannot give you that top spot in local search results.
SEO specialists and marketers should consider Google’s local search algorithm updates and make the necessary changes to rank higher. Failure to consider these updates means losing your local search presence, resulting in fewer leads and conversions.
Local algorithms check the Google My Business (GMB) listings to determine where to rank a business in local search rankings.
Ideally, Google’s local algorithm ranks businesses with information that matches a searcher’s query. And the higher a business ranks in local search results, the more chances a potential customer will click on it.
This post looks at the three major pillars that determine local search results to better understand the local search algorithm: proximity, prominence and relevance.
Of course, other factors make up Google’s local search algorithm, but since we cannot identify all of them, we’ll focus on the most crucial ones in this post.
By understanding these pillars, marketers can better position themselves for local search success.
Proximity is one of the major ranking factors when it comes to local search. That means the distance between a business and a searcher is a ranking factor in local search.
When a searcher searches for something, Google considers how far the searcher is from the location of the term they use in the search. When a searcher doesn’t specify the location, Google calculates the distance based on the information they have regarding their location.
Ideally, Google aims to provide the most relevant results to a search query. For instance, why would Google provide a list of coffee shops in Los Angeles if the searcher is searching from Colombia?
That would be irrelevant local search results that won’t benefit the searcher.
Unfortunately, while proximity is a major local search pillar, it’s one of the factors that businesses have little control over. After all, you cannot change where your business is located, right?
You can only ensure your business location is as clear as possible, so that it appears for related nearby queries. Here are steps you can take to achieve this:
Claim and verify the Google My Business listing
Ensure local listings are accurate and optimized for local products or services
Get the Google Maps API Key and optimize for your location and routes
Set up your profile correctly (for Service Area Businesses) to avoid violating Google’s guidelines
Users can perform several types of local searches, including:
Users will perform geo-modified searches when they are planning to visit somewhere. For instance, a searcher in Los Angeles planning to visit Toronto, Canada, may search for a “coffee shop in Oakville.” The results will differ from if they searched for “coffee” while physically in Oakville.
To be specific, geo-modified searches are mainly based on relevance and prominence as opposed to proximity when a user searches for something when outside the city included in the search.
Searchers perform this type of search when looking for something around them. For instance, a user in Los Angeles performing a local search for “coffee.”
Ideally, the user only needs to search for something and is shown results based on proximity. They will get the results that are closest to them.
“Near me” searches
“Near me” searches have been so popular in recent years. Although their popularity has significantly declined, users still perform this type of search when looking for something locally.
For instance, some users could add “near me” when searching for a coffee shop, hoping to get the most relevant results near them. As we’ve stated, this trend has lost popularity because when you perform a local search, you are searching for something near you.
It is not necessary to add “near me” to what you’re searching.
Prominence refers to how important Google thinks your business is, which gets factored into the local search algorithm.
In other words, it refers to how well a business stands from the rest in various aspects, including directories, links, reviews, mentions, among other things.
If search engines view your business as trustworthy and credible, they will likely show it on top of related search query results.
The local search algorithm views businesses/brands with a stronger online prominence as credible and trustworthy. Some of the factors that determine prominence include:
A local citation is the mention of a business’s information online. The mention can include the partial or complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business.
Citations are an excellent way for people to learn about local businesses and impact local search results.
A business with high-quality citations can rank better in local search results, although businesses must continually manage citations to ensure data accuracy.
Backlinks play a crucial role in local business prominence. Gaining relevant backlinks from high-quality sites is an excellent way to build a business’ online reputation.
If you’re trying to outrank your competitors without much success, your backlink profile could be the reason.
In that case, you should check your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with yours. When doing this, pay attention to the number and quality of their backlinks.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have high-quality local backlinks pointing to your site to improve your page’s authority.
Next, you need to pay much attention to reviews to improve local prominence. Many customers look at a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to engage more with the business or not. Besides, many positive online reviews can increase a business’ ranking factors.
Consider this scenario. A potential customer is looking for a pub around Oakville. When they perform a search, they are presented with two results: one with over 100 reviews and another with less than 10 reviews.
Which business do you think the searcher would trust? The one with 100 reviews, obviously.
As with search engines, customers need to trust a business before they decide to do business with it. Similarly, search engines can view online reviews and analyze them to determine a business’s online prominence.
That said, here are strategies you can use to boost your online review signals:
Have a strategy
You won’t have a strong online prominence if your products or services are not of a high standard. So, the first step to having many great reviews is to develop great products and services.
After that, develop a strategy to encourage your happy customers to leave honest but valuable reviews of their experience doing business with you to help boost your online reputation.
Monitor and manage the reviews
Having many reviews is one thing; you need to develop a plan to engage with your customers for better results. Responding to reviews shows people that you care and are genuine about your products and services.
People will avoid businesses that don’t respond to customer reviews (whether positive or negative).
Search engines, too, can tell whether you engage with customer reviews or not and will use the information to determine where to rank on local search results.
When responding to online reviews, pay special attention to negative reviews and how you respond to them. While no business likes getting negative reviews, how you respond to them can positively impact your business — respond positively to turn the negative reviews around.
As earlier stated, Google wants to provide the most relevant results to a local search query. This key ranking factor will determine a business’s position in local search results — how well does a local business match a search query?
Even if your business ticks the above pillars (prominence and proximity), if the content on your page isn’t well structured and doesn’t cover the topics that a searcher is looking for, you won’t appear on top of local search results.
Here are factors that businesses should consider to create a relevant listing:
Local page signals
Local listing categories and attributes
Social posts and responses to online reviews
Local listing signals and categories
A business GMB listing and category can impact its relevance score for local searches. As such, complete your business profile carefully and continually add quality content to the web page to ensure it is relevant for proximity searches.
More specifically, ensure that all information on all listing pages, including Yelp, Bing, and Google, is complete and accurate. Aside from these factors, here are two crucial features you should pay attention to:
Selecting the right categories for your local business listing is among the crucial factors for ranking locally. With over 4000 GMB categories, you want to choose categories that best describe your business — ensure they are relevant and specific.
Here are guidelines to follow when selecting a category:
Describe your business as opposed to your services
Be specific to minimize competition
Reduce the number of GMB categories to describe your business better
Without a proper description, users won’t know what your business is about. This section is about adding an introduction to your business so that customers and search engines can know more about your business.
However, don’t use this section for marketing your business. Just give users and search engines descriptive info that can help determine whether your business matches their needs.
Local page signals
Another way a business can improve its standing in the local search algorithm is by optimizing web pages for specific keywords. For multi-location businesses, it’s essential to have separate, localized pages for each location, with relevant information and contact details for customers to reach you.
Performing competitor research is advisable to determine what terms or keywords to use for a specific query. Here are top on-page signals to consider when trying to gain relevance for a given topic:
Keyword research — Before creating local content, you need to find keywords that matter to your business. Perform keyword research to determine highly relevant keywords with high intent. When finding relevant terms to use in your content, base your research on the customer perspective; think about what they search for and the type of content they are looking for.
Create local content — After finding the right keywords, it’s time to create your content. Google values the quality of content more than the length of the content, so keep this in mind when creating content. Another crucial thing to pay attention to is localizing the content. For example, you can create content on local news and events or use your city’s name within your content.
The goal is to create a connection between what’s happening in your local area and your business. Also, use pictures with your specific geolocation to increase your content relevance.
Creating quality and relevant content is only the start. You need to optimize your content for on-page signals so local search algorithms can discover and rank them better. Here’s how you can optimize your local content for on-page signals:
Meta descriptions — Include keywords in your meta descriptions to encourage searchers to click through and increase visibility
Title tags — Title tags are some of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank content. Incorporating keywords naturally in your title tags can help boost local rankings
Image tags — Another way to improve local rankings is by including relevant keywords in your image tags. Including geotags also comes with an added advantage
Headings — Users and Google value pages with clear structures. Consider creating headings within your content to capture readers’ attention and encourage them to read on. However, ensure your heading tags describe the content that comes after them well. Also, include keywords in your heading tags to help search engines understand them and their importance.
Off-page local signals
Gaining high-quality backlinks is a great way to boost credibility and trust. Backlinks refer to external links from another website to your site. Aim to have more high-quality backlinks to boost your website authority.
Ideally, having many quality backlinks shows search engines that your website or page is credible and trustworthy, which boosts the chances of ranking it higher in search engine results.
Guest posting is one of the best examples of link-building strategies you can use. Finding great guest posting opportunities provides an excellent opportunity to share your content to a new but relevant audience, which helps boost your website authority.
Another strategy you can use is to create longer and better content than what is already available on the web. When your content is high quality and relevant, it will be easier to get high-quality backlinks.
Review and social signals
Online reviews can also help boost relevance for your local business. Aim to get as many positive reviews from your happy customers as possible.
Remember, when customers perform a local search, they get not only the relevant businesses but also reviews related to the search. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher chances a potential customer will do business with them.
Closing thoughts on the local search algorithm
Ranking on top of local search results can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t when you know the vital things to focus on. As you have seen above, the local algorithm is based on three pillars: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Of course, other factors determine local search rankings depending on your industry and competition.