Amazon SEO basics was covered brilliantly by Dave, so I’m not going to touch on how to properly optimize your listing in this post, nor am I going to touch on how SEO for Amazon works, nor the A9 algorithm. 

This post is going to be about how using Amazon’s native features in combination with your network can drive increased organic traffic. Some of these features like Reviews require a little more leg work, but according to Dimensional Research, 90% of consumers online believe their purchasing choices are influenced by product reviews. This makes them crucial to your Amazon listing. We’ll also touch on Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA), back-end search terms, Amazon’s Choice, and Q&A. We’ll also give you a rundown on how partnerships help Amazon listings perform well on organic Google SERPs.


The Importance of Product Reviews on Amazon

If sales velocity is king on Amazon, product reviews are queen. If you haven’t been in the know, Amazon has been cracking down hard on fake reviews. While Amazon likes to think of it’s platform as a democratic utopia where the best products get the highest reviews, that simply isn’t the case. The size of the platform coupled with high competition rates and the power of reviews on the user’s purchasing habits means that fake reviews are running rampant on the site.

While it’s not overtly stated that reviews are important to Amazon’s search algorithm, just take a look at this search result for a cassette player which excludes Sponsored items (yes, they’re coming into fashion again, time is a flat circle – and yes, I bought one after writing this article):

This is the top of the ASERP (Amazon SERP):

top of the Amazon SERP

And this is the end of the same ASERP:

bottom of the Amazon SERP

Notice the correlation in rankings between products that have some reviews and products that have many reviews. Products that rank at or near the top may have a lower star rating, but more reviews than the products near the bottom of the ASERP which may have a higher star rating. This indicates to me that quantity > quality in the algorithm.

With that all said, we can hypothesize that more reviews, similar to SEO structured data on Google, has an impact on click through rate (CTR), which can lead to more sales, increasing the sales velocity, which impacts the overall product ranking on the site.

How to get more reviews on Amazon

There are a few tried and tested ways to get reviews on Amazon, but honestly, it’s a process that will bleed into other aspects of your business.

Provide a great product and customer experience

The first thing to do is to provide the customer with a high quality product and a high level of customer service throughout their experience. Negative reviews can come from a variety of sources, but commonly, they come from customers who feel misled by the product or service, and have had bad experiences with the customer support teams. Your best bet is to be honest about the product you’re selling and provide as much accurate information as possible about the product to cut down on any confusion or false expectations. There are many fields on the back end of an Amazon listing, so be sure to use all of them!

Send follow-up emails to customers after they purchase from Amazon that ask for reviews

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about digital marketing, it’s that if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. People are less likely to write a positive review than they are to write a negative review on their own (Trustpilot, 2018), so they might need a little nudge.

There are a few ways to prompt more reviews.

Using the internal platform and tools to prompt product feedback

Amazon by default asks for customer feedback after their purchase, but the generic email can fall victim to the “spam” and “promotional” tabs in your Gmail. By sending personalized review requests shortly after the customer has received their products, you increase the chances of a positive review.

Write custom email sequences not only helps build customer rapport, but helps customers feel good about providing honest feedback and reviews. Tools that are rated highly by Amazon specific agencies include:

Both allow you to create custom review prompts to enable customer engagement.

Using an external email platform to prompt brand feedback

Setting up an email feedback sequence is easy with any email platform like MailChimp or Klaviyo. 

  1. Create a list in your preferred email platform that groups all Amazon purchasers together. This list can be further segmented into different categories if you find it useful to target users by website category.
  2. Create a generic review email that states that they have recently purchased from Amazon.
  3. Direct them to the “review the seller” page on Amazon (or any review platform of your choice (website, Trustpilot, Google, etc)

Request Amazon reviews via your other marketing channels

If Amazon is a priority, we recommend using your other marketing channels – social media, newsletters, content – to prompt reviews. There’s a chance that everyone on your newsletter has bought, or has thought about, buying your product, whether that’s on your own site or on Amazon.

Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)

FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. If you enroll in FBA, you don’t have to worry about order fulfillment as Amazon does that for you, and you get in front of Amazon’s Prime customers. Out of the top 10,000 sellers, 66% of them use FBA (BigCommerce)

Essentially, FBA means Amazon will ship anything you keep in stock for a storage and fulfillment fee.

FBA works by guaranteeing that both parties will uphold their end of that relationship.

  1. You send your products to Amazon who store them in their famous warehouses.
    1. You tell them what products you’re sending, and they tell you which warehouses to ship your products to. 
  2. When a customer purchases one of your products, Amazon packs it, ships it, and tracks it all for you, and handles any returns and refunds.
    1. Once Amazon receives your products, they’ll sort and add them to their inventory.
    2. Your products are then stored safely in their warehouses.
    3. Once sold, Amazon ships and takes care of any customer questions and returns.
      1. But if you’re talking about any feedback on your product? That’s all you.

Simple right?

Why FBA matters to your organic strategy

Amazon has more than 300M active users with 90M Prime users in the US. That’s 30% of users that can access Prime deals! Only brands that use FBA can get access to those coveted 90M Prime users who spend more money with Amazon than regular users, spending $600 more per year on average.

To recap:

  1. FBA can get your product into the hands of customers who are more likely to purchase it and spend more money and time on Amazon than any other consumer.
  2. Using FBA can help increase sales velocity, helping to increase reviews, and helping to increase ranking.

Back End Search Terms

In 2018 with the A9 algorithm update, Amazon changed the way search terms and keywords were placed in Amazon products. Prior to the change, Amazon gave you five (5) distinct keyword fields, each with 250 characters to play with. Now, there’s only one field:

back end of Amazon

Keyword stuffing was overused by many sellers, meaning you’d get results like this:

keyword stuffing on Amazon

(5 Best Practices for Optimizing Amazon Product Titles – WebFX)

Now meta keyword strategy for Amazon has been reduced 5x, how does one optimize their listing to the best of their ability?

Simple.

Ensure you have as many keywords in this section as possible that make sense for your product that have high search volume and don’t duplicate.

For example, if I’m selling a portable bluetooth speaker, using keywords like “speaker” or “bluetooth speaker” may not be the best use of characters as they are broad and have high competition. Using something like “portable bluetooth speaker” will still capture the same intent, but be more accurate in what you’re selling.

How to become “Amazon’s Choice”

I know I’ve fallen prey to the “Amazon’s Choice” product before. Amazon’s choice was originally developed to help users expand their shopping experience with Alexa – Amazon’s voice assistant. Amazon’s Choice is a feature that algorithmically finds the “best fit” product for a someone’s search query. Having a badge like “Amazon’s Choice” increases click through rate and can have a huge impact on sales velocity.

Here’s Amazon’s choice for a cassette player for me:

amazons choice

They must know I have a collection of early 2000’s CDs in my car too…

There are a few things your product has to be to qualify for “Amazon’s choice” status. The product must:

  1. Be Prime eligible
    • We discussed FBA and Prime just above. This is just another feature of using Amazon’s platform as a whole.
  2. Be in stock
    • We can control stock levels for the most part.
  3. Be available to ship immediately
    • This comes with controlling stock levels.
  4. Have a low return rate compared to similar products
    • Whilst we can’t know the return rate of other products, we can do everything in our power to reduce our own return rate. Some ways to do that are very similar to the tactics we use when looking for reviews:
      • Resolve bad reviews with a positive customer experience.
      • Fix the product when there are multiple complaints, and take every complaint seriously.
      • Use accurate descriptions on all products so users know what they’re buying.
  5. Have a high rating
    • We talked about reviews previously, but there is another aspect of having a high rating. The quality of your reviews is also important. If 50 people give you 5 stars, that may be more important to Amazon than if 150 people give you 3 stars. Like everything, it’s a balance.
  6. Be a popular item or best-seller.

Using Amazon to its fullest potential is key in attaining and maintaining these tags.

How to rank in Google and Amazon

Building your Amazon presence is much like building your website up to perform on Google, many of the same keyword and competitor strategies and tactics work across both; building a keyword rich product description, building up best practices with product listings and creating a brand strategy is all part of building a strong online presence. Unfortunately, keyword placement on Amazon is half the battle – the easier half.

There are two elements that we have control over for Amazon that will help the product listing perform well in organic search on Google.

  1. Schema and Reviews
    • Every Amazon listing contains automatic schema markup. This means that as soon as your product ranks in Google, the rating will come through to the SERP. This is where your review strategy comes into play.
  2. Q&A’s for Amazon
    • Amazon and Google both use Q&A Schema markup to bring questions to the Google SERP and help users make decisions about products. Q&A’s are written by the seller and can be updated as often as you’d like.

Let’s focus on Q&A’s

Just like reviews, Q&A’s are the voice of the customer, and it’s important to engage with this aspect of the listing to build trust and brand faith. Here’s an example Q&A section for a Bluetooth Portable Speaker:

bluetooth portable speaker q&a

If we can answer consumer questions before they’re asked, it gives us less legwork for long term product performance.

Finding questions to answer can be easy. There are two methods: The involved, company-wide effort, and the easy quick-win marketing way.

The Involved Way: Use Google, competitor Amazon listings, and your company resources to find questions your customers might ask.

  1. Take questions from competitor listings to start building your Q&A seed list. I also recommend talking to your customer service department to find out what real customers are asking. 
  2. Find popular questions (ones that appear repeatedly) that are relevant to your product.

The Easy, Quick Win Marketing Way: Use a platform like AHREFS that lets you segment long tailed keywords. 

  1. Find the competitor listing you want to take the Q&As from and copy the URL.
  2. Paste the URL into AHREFS and navigate to Organic Keywords. Segment to your region.
  3. Only include positions 1-10
  4. Exclude brand names, model names, product numbers, or anything specific to the product.
  5. Set the word count to 5 and above.
  6. Find the questions that are relevant for your product and add them to your seeding list.

No matter what your process is, you should end up with a list of questions that are relevant to your product and brand that you can add to your Q&A section.

Partnerships & Outreach

Extending past organic search and Amazon can help your Amazon listing performance. Just like in SEO, link building and outreach has its place in increasing brand awareness and product performance.

Partnerships and Influencers

Building partnerships and outreaching to influencers and micro-influencers is one of the easiest ways to extend the reach of your product amongst customers who don’t have previous exposure to your brand.

Build your list of potential influencers and partners based on the relevancy of the influencer to your brand, not their numbers. Engagement is a great way to gauge an influencer – A micro-influencer with 1,000 followers who are loyal and engaged may work better (and is cheaper) than an influencer with 1M followers who don’t care about the relationship.

Reaching out to influencers and driving their engagement to your product on Amazon can increase sales velocity, and therefore rank.

Bridging your industry niche can be another strategy used by many brands to extend their reach. We recommend creating a bridge and targeting influencers in a different niche. For example, if I’m selling leather boots, I might be inclined to reach out to other shoe-type brands and influencers who sell something adjacent like sneakers. This is OK, but what’ll really take your brand outreach strategy to the next level is if you find out who is actually buying your leather boots and why. If it’s doctors, nurses, and airline pilots who like how comfortable they are for long shifts – which it was in the case of this one client – it may be a more interesting tactic to reach out to nurses magazines, doctor and nurse influencers, and the airline association to continue the engagement there and send users through Amazon.

The Summary

Using SEO best practices and knowing Amazon’s algorithm is only the first step in the process of optimizing for Amazon. Using a wide variety of techniques and available features on Amazon immediately lifts your Amazon game and can contribute to increased Sales velocity as Dave described.

To succeed on Amazon, you need to cover the basics like keyword optimization and competitive analysis. To elevate your Amazon SEO, you need to:

  1. Foster product reviews and create an environment of two-way communication in them
  2. Engage with all Amazon features like Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)
  3. Use all available fields in the back end of your product listing
  4. Answer questions before they are asked using the Q&A feature
  5. Use your outreach network