Part one: Amazon SEO - Getting Started

Amazon seems rather simple. Users search for the item they want, skim the top results, and pick one to buy based on features or prices. Easy, right?

Not quite. The simple interface for purchasing goods masks the complex back-end of the system that makes it all possible. This hidden back-end is what sellers deal with every day.

Buying might be simple, but selling is not so straightforward.

The truth is, there are thousands of products that buyers don't even look at, buried in the endless listings on Amazon. They might have poor product reviews, low in-stock rate, insufficient keywords, or a variety of other factors that have caused them to be banished to the lower levels of Amazon's search pages.

So what's the difference between the top results and the bottom ones? One of the answers, of course, is "the top ones sell more." With this in mind, it might seem like a fruitless effort to push your items higher. The top selling products will continue to have the best listing placement and will thus continue to sell even more, creating an infinite cycle.

Don't lose hope! The cycle can be stopped. Amazon's search algorithm uses a lot of factors, not just sales, and you can directly influence many of these factors. So, what are you waiting for? Learn how to optimize all of your Amazon listings and strive for the best possible ranking.

An important note:

Google SEO and Amazon SEO are very different. Google's search algorithm must account for very different factors because every website is structured differently. Amazon, on the other hand, is ranking products that all fit its basic template structure. Due to this difference, Amazon's SEO is focused on product pages and ignores the concept of off-site SEO entirely.

Google SEO is important, but if you're primarily concerned with selling on Amazon, Amazon SEO is arguably a much higher priority. The reason? Although Google seems like the much more popular search engine, a Forrester research study found that over 33% of shoppers started research for an online purchase on Amazon, as opposed to just 13% beginning their search on search engines like Google. That's 2.5 times as many buyers starting on Amazon!

Another big difference between the search giant and the online superstore is that SEO on Google has been much more extensively researched. There are numerous companies devoted to understanding and managing PageRank. On the flipside, the concept of Amazon SEO is relatively new and, technically, isn't really SEO at all—Amazon is a marketplace, not a true search engine. The body of knowledge on this subject consists of a few blog posts, some basic documentation, and a decent amount of speculation and testing by users. Despite this, there is some useful information out there. We're going to break it down for you.

Let's discuss how Amazon's search algorithm, also known as A9, works.

There are an enormous amount of factors that A9 considers, but it all boils down to one concept: maximizing Revenue Per Customer (RPC).

Amazon's overarching goal is to drive business. Everything from the placement of their links to the color of the background has been tested and chosen to optimize sales. Their search algorithm is no exception.

The different pieces of A9 can be broken into two major categories: product listing and sales potential. Over the next two weeks we will go into depth about how to optimize your product listing in both of these areas. Stay tuned!

Can't wait until next week? Leave your comments below! We love hearing from our users, readers, and fellow online retailers.

Update: Part 2 and Part 3 are here! Find out how to create a product listing that is sure to rank highly.

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