Tent pole events Prime day and Q4 are just round the corner and they are your opportunity to recover the COVID-19 sales slump. But for that, you will have to make sure that your product is ranking well. Having your product rank high is crucial to your bottom line because otherwise, you will lose visibility and sales. Studies state that the products on the first page get 80% of the clicks, while only 30% of the shoppers go beyond the first page.
You definitely don’t want to lose those sales, do you? Read on our article to know how to rank your Amazon Retail Beauty product on Amazon and the different factors that affect Amazon ranking.
Amazon A9 Search Engine isn't Google
Unlike Google, Yahoo and other search engines, people don’t come to Amazon to know how the weather will be today or how to tie a tie. The audience that visits the Amazon site are essentially “shoppers” who are there with purchase intent and have the cash-at-the-ready.
Therefore any of the tips and tricks we use to rank our website on Google won’t work here; ranking on Amazon is a different ball game altogether. The good news is that understanding Amazon’s algorithm is not as difficult as it looks. It’s just about mastering the few basics and making the shopper’s decision making the journey easier.
How does Amazon’s A9 Algorithm work?
There are hundreds of thousands of search queries on Amazon every day. For each query, Amazon has mere microseconds to decide the most relevant products. Then how does Amazon decide which product wins a spot on the coveted first page and which products are left in the darkness? Here’s what Amazon has to say about that:
“Our work starts long before a customer types a query. We’ve been analyzing data, observing past traffic patterns, and indexing the text describing every product in our catalog before the customer has even decided to search.”
“One of A9’s tenets is that relevance is in the eye of the customer and we strive to get the best results for our users. Once we determine which items are good matches to the customer’s query, our ranking algorithms score them to present the most relevant results to the user.”
Amazon follows a simple two-step process. First, it filters out all the results that match the search query and then sorts/ranks them based on the relevancy. In the first step, Amazon scours through every listing to find if the copy contains words that match the search query.
If yes, the listing will be a suitable candidate to get featured somewhere in the search result pages. But we are not here to rank somewhere; we want to rank on the first page. To determine which products get featured on the first page, Amazon takes into account relevancy factors like sales and conversion.
Now that you are familiar with the working of Amazon’s algorithm, let us understand the factors that affect the ranking.
Factors that affect your product’s ranking
There are several factors that affect A9, but here we are going to cover only the most important ones. To make the information easier to digest, we are going to break the factors down into three categories:
Conversion & performance-based factors
1) Sales velocity
Sales is the single most deciding factor for Amazon SEO. It’s pretty simple and obvious: More sales = more ranking and more ranking equals more sales; it’s all a vicious circle. Once you gain momentum in sales, your journey to the first page will be a whole lot easier.
But what if your product is just launched or isn’t matching the sales volume of the 1st-page competitors? Thankfully, there are various ways through which you can artificially match their sales volume. All you need to do is increase traffic on the listing.
You can either use PPC or external sources to give your product visibility and attract more traffic. It is important to note that the increase in traffic will lead to a rise in sales, only if your product detail page is retail-ready.
In short, before bringing traffic to your listing, make sure it’s fully optimized with informative content and great images.
Would you buy a product that has no reviews or way too many negative reviews? Probably not, and neither will your customers. Amazon is very well aware of that and that is why reviews are a critical factor in determining how up your product will go.
The quality and quantity of your reviews affect the click-through rate, conversion rates and ultimately, sales. Although beneath the folds, your shoppers won’t miss taking a glance at the reviews before making a purchase decision.
There are a number of ways through which you can gain more reviews. You can either use a feedback tool, or you can use parcel inserts to prompt customers to leave reviews. Just always make sure to do everything within the review guidelines set by Amazon and you are good to go.
3) Customer answered questions
The questions that shoppers ask on the product page are just as important as reviews. In the “Customer questions & answers” section, potential shoppers look out for and ask for the information they didn’t get in the product copy.
Other customers who have already bought the item or the seller himself can answer the questions. Sellers should make sure no question is left unanswered and also that the answers displayed are relevant. They can also use these questions to fill out the information gaps in their content.
In the end, it all comes down to the price, doesn’t it? All customers want is a great deal they can brag about. Apart from being a determining factor for the Buy Box, the price also decides the fate of your product’s ranking. This is because competitive prices lead to better conversion and increased sales and increased sales equal to a higher ranking.
Amazon’s algorithm is optimized to display the relevant and best-priced products, so if you are priced higher, your competitors will get the limited seats available in the search results on the first page. A slightly lower price can give you a competitive advantage and you need to moving up in the SRPs.
5) Fulfillment method
Is your product eligible for super-fast two-day shipping? If not, the chances are thin that your product will be on the first page. It is an unwritten rule that Amazon favors sellers who choose FBA as their fulfillment channel versus those who fulfill on their own. Using FBA will also give you the “Prime badge” (unless you use ‘Seller Fulfilled Prime’). Amazon has over 150 million Prime subscribers. Now that’s a huge chunk of shoppers. Unless you have a Prime label, Prime members won’t even click on the listing because the label clearly appears in the search result pages. This is why it is necessary that you use FBA and there’s nothing bad in it. In fact, you will be free from the hassle of storing, picking, packing and delivering the products.
Content is great, but pictures pack a punch. An attractive main image can boost CTR while high-quality infographics, lifestyle and listing images can increase conversion, both of which are fundamental metrics for organic ranking. Images can easily compensate for the lack of physical contact; therefore, you should have enough images that give your product some perspective, shows your product in every angle, highlights product size, gives customers the details and also highlights the USPs of the product. Here are some of our previous blogs that will help you create images that give you the competitive edge and please the A9 god:
- Beauty Infographics for Amazon Product Detail Pages & Why Products Need Them?
- Best Practices For Creating Mobile Ready Hero Images On Amazon
Relevancy based factors
1) Product Title
A good product title can accelerate your CTR and helps Amazon decide if your product matches the customer’s search query or not. If your title lacks the terms of the shopper’s search query, your product won’t rank at all. Optimizing your titles is critical because ignoring it can drastically reduce your chances of success on Amazon. No matter what product you are selling, your title should contain the main and synonym keywords, brand name, color/flavor/variant, size/quantity and one or two benefits. Amazon usually allows you to add up to 200 characters in the title, but the limit changes with categories. Make sure to follow Amazon-style guides for the title because Amazon suppresses listings with over-sized tiles.
2) Bullet Points
Your bullet points should feed customers with the information required to make a purchase. Bullets are essentially located “above the folds,” so shoppers can see them without scrolling down. In fact, bullets are among those things your shopper first sees when they land at the product detail page. Clear, scalable and keyword packed; that is how your bullet points should be. Keep your bullet points comprehensive and information-rich yet never bulky and information packed. Include one keyword in each bullet point and voila, the perfectly optimized bullet points are ready to boost conversions.
3) Product Description
Description is a great place for storytelling and to expand your keyword reach. Amazon Premium Beauty sellers choose to leave the description space blank, thinking shoppers are never going to read anything, but they are wrong. There are a few scrutinizers who read each and everything before buying something. Even if other shoppers don’t bother reading product descriptions, they are a great place to add a few more relevant keywords that Amazon’s bots can scan.
4) Backend Search Terms
Often overlooked but equally important, search terms are invisible to the shoppers, but they play a significant role in improving your product’s searchability and findability.
Most Amazon Professional Beauty sellers make the mistake of adding their main and other high volume keywords in the search term field, while in reality, you should never repeat the keywords used in the title in the search terms. Instead, take your keyword list, create a unique word string and remove all the keywords and terms you have used in the title. The list you get are your perfectly created search terms.
You can use Helium10’s Frankenstein tool to create word strings and remove any duplicates. The limit is 249 characters and to make most of it, avoid adding misspellings, plurals, commas and special characters.
5) Subject Matter
There are five lines of subject matter and you can add up to 50 characters in each line. That means there are another 250 characters you can index for! Subject matter helps Amazon categorize your product and if you are smart enough to add keywords along with describing your product and its features, you might also increase your organic rank.
- Parent-child: Creating variations makes it easy for customers to make choices and find color/size variations. And when you create ease for customers, Amazon is automatically pleased.
- Category and subcategory: Make sure to select the relevant category, or Amazon will have a hard time deciding if your product is relevant to the customer search query or not.
- In stock rate: Nothing frustrates a shopper and Amazon more than seeing the product out of stock after coming to the detail page. Amazon likes sellers who have high stock rates, low cancellation and minimum refunds.
- Bounce & exit rates: It is the time a customer arrives at your product detail page and then exits without buying. Amazon wants shopper’s journey to be as short as possible and so you can’t afford having a high bounce rate.
But hey, we are amidst a pandemic
It’s 2020 and it’s the year of uncertainties. But for Amazon Luxury Beauty sellers, it can be the best year. The changed customer behavior and shutdown of brick and mortar stores have motivated more and more shoppers to shop online. It is said that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken e-commerce 10 years into the future. But with great opportunities, there come new problems. Here are some of the tips from our Amazon Amazon Beauty Consultants that can help you rank well during the coronavirus:
- Everyone’s life has changed now and shoppers expect you to change the way you present your products. Tweak your copy, images and ads to show how your product can make their life in a pandemic easier. This will appeal to the shoppers more than anything else
- Positive feedback is a must: Immediately remedy any negative reviews and make efforts to increase the star ratings and number of reviews. Trust me; nothing affects a buyer’s decision more than reviews. And if you are selling in a beauty category reviews can make or break your product
- Enhance your product: Selling in uber-competitive categories like beauty has its own set of advantages and pitfalls. Advantage being that you have a broad customer base and the disadvantage being the cut-throat competition. If you establish yourself as a brand, it would be easier to get heard amongst the noise
- Don’t stop advertising: If your product is seen more, it sells more. Sellers have cut down on their advertising budgets because of the pandemic, but don’t make that mistake. If your product ranking well organically, PPC is the only way through which you can bring it in front of more eyeballs.
A9 is less complicated than Amazon, but at the same time, it’s intricate and detailed enough to be optimized for. Please the A9 god by checking off on all the above-mentioned factors and you will hit the market place’s bull’s eye. If you have any questions about Amazon product ranking, feel free to ask in the comments or contact our Amazon consulting experts directly! #happytohelp