Amazon Listing Optimization Guide (2021)

Alex Stoykov

CEO & Head of Client Success

Alex Stoykov

CEO & Head of Client Success

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Introduction

If you take a few minutes to browse Amazon listings, you’ll start to notice that some listings stand out as being exceptionally detailed while others are, well, pretty unclear.

While you may be able to get a few sales with a subpar listing, you aren’t going to get far with building a lasting brand. To do that, you’ll need to optimize your listing.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you must know about Amazon listing optimization.

 

 

What Is Amazon Listing Optimization

Put simply; Amazon listing optimization is going through each element of your product listing and improving it.

Optimization is a process of testing and tweaking different pieces of your listing until it reaches its peak performance. You will have to optimize your product listing multiple times as your listing matures and your goals shift.

Let’s take a look at how you can optimize your entire listing, starting with your product title.

 

Product Title

1. Avoid using all capitals in your titles.

You might notice that some product titles are in all capital letters. The thinking behind this may be that it makes the title stand out, but what it really does is make the title difficult to read.

Our brains have been trained to perceive all capitals as excited or aggressive, which can throw off your customers. You want your titles to be inviting, not alerting.

2. Use title case.

Instead of using all capitals, use title case.

If you aren’t familiar, title case is when you capitalize the first letter of each word (aside from small insignificant words).

Title case is what you’re customers are used to seeing. It will add emphasis to the critical words in your product title without being off-putting.

3. Use the word “and,” not the symbol.

Amazon has explicitly stated they don’t want your product title to include symbols.

Plus, when your customers type in a search term, they are more likely to use the word “and,” not the symbol (&). It is easier and more natural when typing both on a keyboard and on mobile.

You want to show up for the terms your customers are most likely to use. By using the word “and,” you will show up in more searches and keep Amazon happy.

4. When entering any numerical information, use numerals.

Amazon also tells sellers to use numerals in their titles instead of writing out the numbers (ten versus 10).

Given that you have limited characters for your title using numerals will free up space for more information about your product.

5. Avoid adding price or discount information.

Your price is listed alongside your product. There is no need to mention your price or any discounts you may be promoting in your title.

6. Don’t add promotional terms.

Phrases like “best” or “top-selling” shouldn’t be included in your product title.

Your product title is reserved for factual information about your product only. Anything that doesn’t directly describe a product feature will need to be avoided.

7. Don’t add any other symbols.

You may be tempted to use other symbols (like *) in your title to try to highlight a key detail, but it’s against Amazon’s guidelines.
Absolutely no symbols should be used in your product title, no matter what you see other sellers doing with their listings.

 

Key Product Benefits

Your bullet points are where you’ll want to succinctly call out the most important benefits of owning your product.

Notice that I didn’t say to list the manufacturer specs of your product.

If your bullets only tell me the wattage of your wireless speaker, I’m not going to connect that to the benefit because I have limited technical knowledge when it comes to speakers. What I want to know is if the speaker is going to be powerful enough for me to hear it if I walk out of the room.

You get five bullet points to tell your customers your most valuable product benefits concisely.

The screengrab below is a good example of optimized product feature bullets. It matches the features you need to know with the benefit of owning the product. The introduction phrase could be more clear, though.

Before you add your key product features to your listing, write down every feature your product has and what is the benefit the customer gets from that feature. Narrow it down to the benefits that would make the customer most likely to purchase your product over the competition.

Your final step for your bullets is to make them easy to scan. Format them so your product’s value is evident at a glance by front-loading important information and strategically using all capitals for specific benefit-driven words.

 

Product Description

1. Dig Deeper Into Your Key Features: Since your bullet points only have limited space, you may not be able to cover your main features and benefits as fully as you’d like to. You can use the product description to dig deeper. For instance, if the technical details of your product are crucial to understanding its benefits, but most of your target audience isn’t privy to that knowledge, you can more clearly explain without the short character restrictions in the description.

2. Describe Extra Features Not in Your Bullets: Maybe your product has more than five features that your customers truly need to know to make a purchasing decision. This is often the case for complex categories like technology. The description is your chance to tell your customer what else they can expect to gain. Be sure to use accurate punctuation so that each point is sep arated. If not, the features will run together and be difficult for your customers to understand.

3. Call Out Other Possible Uses: If your bullets focused on one target audience, but your product has three potential audiences, you could use your description to call out those other uses in an attempt to caption a broader market. Be aware that if you go this route, you need to have already gained traction with your primary audience, or it could throw them off and make your description too vague to convert well.

4. Back-Up Your Product With Proof: Amazon does not want you to make claims about your product based on your opinion. Meaning you shouldn’t promote your product under any claims that you cannot back up. However, if you do have proof, your product description is the perfect place for it. If you’ve had any product research done, won any industry or consumer awards, or have a key influencer endorsement, the description is a great place to talk about those.

 

Product Images

Main product images have slightly more guidelines than additional product pictures. Your main image is the only image your customer will see before deciding if your listing is worth viewing. It’s also the image that will show when you’re running any Amazon PPC ads.

But Amazon is particular about how your main image must be composed.

The main image must be on a plain white background, cannot contain any props, and must take up at least 85% of the frame. Your main product photo is not the place to get creative. You want to make sure your picture captures your product at the right angle, that there’s good lighting so the color renders accurately, and that it is high-resolution.

Amazon requires every photo to be at least 1,600 pixels on the widest side (and no less than 500 pixels on the shorter side). This applies to your additional images as well.

The additional photos on your product page are where you finally get to be more creative with how you demonstrate the value of your product.

You want to include as many images as possible in your listing. Your product images should show your product from each angle and in multiple-use states (such as a lamp on and off). Many product categories benefit from lifestyle photography as well.

Finally, don’t forget the value of adding product photos with explainer text to showcase any non-visible product benefits.

 

Keywords

Before you initially set up your listing, you probably completed keyword research. If you aren’t sure your keyword research was comprehensive enough, go check out our post on that next.

When your listing is in its infancy, you want to focus on long-tail keywords with less competition. You can then slowly move to the highest search volume broad keywords once your product listing has the sales and social proof to back it up.

Also, you want to be sure you aren’t using the same keywords in multiple spots. The keywords that you use in your title shouldn’t be reused in the description or backend. One use of the keyword per listing is enough for the Amazon algorithm.

The next step is to make sure the keywords you chose are working.

The most basic way to know if your keyword is working is by performing a quick search of your targeted keywords and seeing where you show up in the search and if other products showing up at the top of the results are similar to yours. This method is free but time-consuming and probably not as accurate as other methods.

You’ll have to keep in mind that your listing won’t rank high in the results even if you are using the right keywords until you start to build sales and reviews.

Plus, since we don’t know exactly what Amazon uses in their algorithm to determine what to show, you can’t know that your product may not be showing up differently in someone else’s search results.

Another option is to wait until you’ve started to get more traffic and sales (be prepared that this could take a while if you’re only using an organic approach) and then test alternate keywords by switching one out for another over a period of time and tracking the results.

The best way for you to test if you are using the correct keywords is to use Amazon PPC.

Running PPC campaigns will come with multiple benefits.

1. You’ll learn what keywords work for your product.
2. You’ll likely get some sales.
3. It will help your organic ranking.

When you run campaigns, you get access to your search term report. The value of the search term report cannot be understated. You can use it to continue to improve future paid efforts, but they also help guide your organic approach.

The search term will help you identify if your listing isn’t getting enough traffic indicating either the wrong keywords or that your price, title, and/or main image need to be adjusted.

It can also tell you if you have keywords that are getting clicks but not converting, telling you that your keywords aren’t the problem, but the listing details are probably to blame for your lack of sales.

There is a lot you can do with this keyword information to build your listing to a point where it is performing organically.

Considering how fundamental using the right keywords for your listing is, it’s not something you want to skip.

 

Backend Keywords

A note on your backend keywords versus the keywords you use in your listing.
Your backend keywords provide you a unique opportunity to use keywords you don’t necessarily want your customers to see. You should take advantage of this.

Amazon claims they cover slight misspellings of keywords, but it’s hard to say how far that goes. If there are any common misspellings of your product, like if you sell vacuums, for example, you want to include those misspellings in your backend keywords.

You may also want to include alternate or slang terms your customers may use depending on their demographics, like location and age.

 

Product Reviews

Product reviews can make or break your listings. You need to make it a priority to get new reviews and to manage reviews as they come in.

There are programs and tools available that can help you do this without the headaches.

To get your initial product reviews, Amazon offers the Amazon Vine program to help sellers. The Vine program is available to sellers with less than 30 reviews, but you have to give your products away for free to Amazon-selected reviewers.

(Note: They used to have an Early Reviewer Program as well, but it closed effective April 25, 2021.)

If you are making sales, but those customers aren’t leaving reviews, you may want to sign up for a tool to help you follow up.

Feedback Express is a tool that will automate sending feedback requests to your customers, and it will help monitor your reviews for negative feedback. This allows you to try to address the negative review before it potentially impacts future sales.

 

Seller Rating

Your seller rating has to do with your customer service, cancellations, fulfillment, and other aspects surrounding your product.

It doesn’t reflect your product ratings or reviews.

Your product could have rave reviews, but if you fail to ship your products timely and your customers reach out to Amazon, it will lower your seller rating.

Though it isn’t really a part of your listing, you need to maintain a strong seller rating so you don’t fall out of favor with Amazon’s algorithm, and so your customers don’t look elsewhere for the product.

 

8 Additional Amazon Listing Optimization Tips You Should Consider

1. ESTABLISH 3-5 TARGET KEYWORDS TO INCLUDE.

You’re going to want to have an exhaustive list of keywords for your product, but you won’t be able to use them all in your listing.

The point of developing the list is to 1) make sure you aren’t missing opportunities and 2) to have keywords you can test in your listing and PPC campaigns if your original choices aren’t performing.

However, you’re going to want to pick a handful (3-5) that you are focusing on more than the others. You will want the strongest keyword in the front section of your product title. The others you will want to find a way to incorporate in your product description.

2. CONSIDER OPTIMIZING YOUR TITLES FOR MOBILE USERS.

Amazon recommends that you have fewer than 80 characters in your product title, even though they technically allow you to have more than double that amount.

But because many shoppers are using mobile, the longer titles will have information cut off.

If you feel like you can’t fit all your key information into 80 characters and you choose to create a longer product title, at least make sure you include the essential information in the first 80 characters.

This includes your strongest keyword, your brand, product type, and other details like product material, size, or color that your customers would want to know before they choose to click through to the rest of your listing.

3. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE OVER KEYWORDS.

In case you weren’t aware, Amazon places customer experience above everything else on its marketplace. Sellers that choose to do the same are more likely to be successful.

One thing that takes away from a positive customer experience is listings that are stuffed with keywords and are near impossible to gather meaningful information from. These listings mix and match every keyword they can fit into their listing without worrying about providing the customer with clear product details.

Try to use only keywords that naturally fit into your title and description.

Choose keywords that make sense together, such as keywords that use similar terminology. You can use one-off keywords in your backend to keep your listing cohesive if you genuinely feel they are needed.

4. BUILD YOUR BRAND.

Don’t forget that established brands can price their products for better profit margins because they have a customer base that has grown to trust them.

Be sure to include your brand in your listing both in your title and in other places, like your bullets and photos, when it makes sense. Your product packaging should be branded, and you can use those photos in your listings.

If you haven’t trademarked your brand yet so you can access A+ content, you’re going to want to.

A+ content opens up a range of advanced product page features that can set your brand apart from your competitors.

5. HONE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION.

What is the value in using your product over all the other choices available?

Above all, that’s what your listing needs to tell your customers. Try to hone your product’s value proposition so you can add it to your title, description, photos, and A+ content.

Your product may have several features that you think make it better than similar products on the marketplace, but ultimately you need to capture your customer’s attention quickly, and a concise value prop will allow you to do that.

Look at your customer feedback to see what is most often positively mentioned about your product to make sure what you think is valuable matches what your audience thinks is.

6. USE COMPETITOR KEYWORDS IN YOUR BACKEND KEYWORDS.

Once you’ve launched your listings and start gaining traction, you may want to entice some of your competitors’ customers to try your product.

This strategy is especially valuable if your competitors have a fully established brand with shoppers searching for their branded keywords.

You, of course, don’t want their keywords in any of your customer-facing product information, but you can add them in your backend keywords. This way, when a customer searches for their product, you could show up in the search results as an alternative.

Your product listings won’t likely show up as the first result, but they could show up on the first page if they don’t have many listings for the product type and continue to build your brand awareness organically.

7. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF GRAPHICS.

Your product images can be more than photos of your product. In many cases, they should be more than standard product images.

Product images with added graphics to provide additional details or even infographics that strictly provide extra details without your product’s image can be wildly valuable to your customers.

You want to include explainer graphics for any technical products, products that require measurements or sizing, and anything that’s operation is more than turning the product on and off.

The more your customer feels like they will already know what to do when the product gets to them, the less resistant they will be to purchasing.

8. MAKE EVERY PART OF THE LISTING WORK INDEPENDENTLY.

You should never assume a customer is consuming all of your listing before deciding to buy or not.

People shop differently. Some people only look at photos, some read copy, and some pour through every piece of it before hitting “add to cart.”

Your customer base likely has a combination of each type of buyer. You need to set your listing up so that every element can convert independently of the other elements. Any key detail you add in your description should also be in your photos and vice versa. Your A+ content should reiterate your bullet points.
To fully optimize your listing, you need to evaluate how well each element would perform if none of the other elements were there to support it.

 

Scheduling Amazon Listing Optimization

So, how often do you need to work on optimizing your Amazon listing?

There is no one set answer to this because not only do you need to regularly check and update your listings based on their performance and your current competition, but you also have to watch for any updates to Amazon’s terms, guidelines, or algorithm.

You need to be checking for any performance changes at least weekly and adapting your listing if needed.

When it comes to Amazon changes, try to be proactive if you have the warning instead of reacting after your listing takes a hit.

If you find it too much to keep up with, let us take care of it for you. We’ll look at what you have and develop a custom marketing plan.

We handle not just listing optimization, but keyword research, managing your reviews, A/B testing, PPC management, and everything else you need to grow your Amazon business.

 

Final Thoughts

Amazon listing optimization is a multi-step process that you’ll need to repeat as your listing develops.

You can work through your listings one element at a time, or you can enlist professionals to help.

No matter what you decide, this article helps you understand how the Amazon optimization process works, so you know where to focus.

Alex Stoykov

Alex Stoykov

Over his career, Alex has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping clients' marketing game.
Alex Stoykov

Alex Stoykov

Over his career, Alex has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping clients' marketing game.
Alex Stoykov

Alex Stoykov

Over his career, Alex has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping clients' marketing game.

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Olifant Digital Today

Get in touch with us and receive your free marketing proposal. We’ll only offer you our services if we believe that we can help your business growth.

Start Growing With Olifant Digital Today

Get in touch with us and receive your free marketing proposal. We’ll only
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