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How to optimise your Amazon listings in 2020

12 October 2019

By Jon Akass

Jon is a Product Owner at Upp and writes about how retailers and brands can improve their ecommerce performance.

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You can have the best deals on the web lined up, but if your product listings aren’t optimised, you are always going to be a step behind — Amazon is no exception.Shoppers want to understand the product you are offering. This is especially true on Amazon, where the market is saturated and there is a lot of competition. Customers need to be able to find your listings and your product information needs to then clearly communicate why your product is worth buying.

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You need to make sure that your product information is accurate and clean — informed by high-quality data, compelling descriptions and matched to the specific data requirements of Amazon. Not only does this help to educate shoppers on Amazon, it is essential to boosting your organic search ranking — delivering the visibility you need to get in front of shoppers in the first place. 

At no point has the competition on Amazon been this fierce. For merchandising managers, or anyone working in ecommerce, staying on top of the latest trends is critical to growth. This is your crash-course on product listing optimisation on Amazon in 2020. Let’s get started.

Why is Amazon listing optimisation important?

Amazon listing optimisation is your ticket to ranking on the platform. If you fail to take into consideration the right criteria, your visibility will be minimal and you will lose sales to competitors — it’s that simple.  

None of that needs to happen, however. A little attention and effort during the listing process will allow you to optimise your product information correctly and ensure the visibility of your products. Even if the Amazon product listing process seems quite limited, there’s a lot that you can do to ensure your listings are properly optimised.

How to optimise content on Amazon product listings

Now it’s time to look at the practical steps you can take to optimise your content on Amazon. To make it easier for you to digest all this, we’ve broken it down into 5 main steps. They’re all important to how you optimise your listings, however, you will need to take a different approach to each.

Step 1: Diligently choose product categories

It’s hugely important to ensure that your products are listed in the correct categories. If they’re not, you’ll find that search performance will suffer. Unfortunately, there are thousands of categories and subcategories on Amazon. Work carefully to ensure that the chosen product categories are fully relevant to your products and consider how they relate to relevant search terms.

Step 2: Optimise product titles

The title of your product listing will be heavily weighted by the Amazon search ranking system. Just like with organic search results on Google (and product listing titles on Google Shopping) it is critical to get your titles right on Amazon. 

Clear titles are also important to customers. Alongside the product image, your title will be the first thing that potential customers look at. 

Titles that conform to Amazon’s style guide perform better in product searches. Some of these are specific:

  • Use capitals for each non conjunction/preposition word
  • Do not use ALL CAPS 
  • Use numerals
  • Don’t use symbols or Type 1 High ASCII characters

Amazon also suggests that you include all relevant product information, such as product type, size, colour, material, brand and manufacturer. They discourage the inclusion of promotional info such as ‘sale’ or ‘free-shipping’ , along with commentary. 

Different product types are granted different lengths of title, most commonly there is a 200 character limit. You should include as much information as possible. However, you also need to be concise — creating easy to read titles that are limited to the information highlighted in the Amazon style guide. Make sure to put information you think customers will value up front. Think about the reader and think about the Amazon algorithm — optimise for both.  

Step 3: Use bullet points

When someone arrives on your listing, they’ll want to immediately read the bullet points. This part of the listing is where you get across some of the most important information about the products in a clear and concise way. People tend to be drawn to this section because they want to know what the product is about without reading a daunting block of text.

You can use this space to list all of the key features and benefits that the product brings. These are the things that will ideally make people want to hand over their money to buy the product. If you want to optimise well, it’s recommended that you include 5 or more bullet points in each listing.

Step 4: Create engaging product descriptions

In the product description section, you have a 2000-character limit — roughly 300 words. This is your opportunity to dig deeper into your product and allows you the space to talk about what makes your products different and worth caring about. Talk about what it does, why it’s the best version of what it is and why people should want to buy it.

When optimising your product description, you should aim to keep the sentences relatively short so as not to overwhelm people. It’s also important to include your target keywords in this section without overstuffing them.

It often works well to tell a story around your product. You can then get the reader invested in the benefits and features of the product you're trying to sell and really make them believe that this is something that they need in their life.

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Step 5: Take image choice seriously 

People connect with products visually — no amount of words can do the job of one good image. Don’t skimp on quality. If you’re serious about boosting your online sales, get a professional photographer to capture your products at their best. 

Amazon allows you to include 9 product images on your Amazon product listing. The best approach is to use them all — there’s really no such thing as having too many images for the customer to browse when they’re deciding whether or not they want to buy something. 

You also need to match Amazon’s image guidelines to avoid penalisation and successfully upload an image. Let’s start with technical requirements:

  • TIFF, JPEG, GIF or PNG formats only
  • Image pixel dimensions of at least 1000 
  • File names consist of the product identifier

Then there are a number of image style requirements. These are the strictest for the main product image that will appear on Amazon product detail pages:

  • The image must be the cover art of your product, or a photograph of the product — no illustrations allowed.
  • The images must not contain confusing additional objects. 
  • The images much not be out of focus, poorly lit or contain unrealistic colour grading.
  • Your product should fill 85% or more of the image frame.
  • Books, music and DVD images should be the front cover art and fill 100% of the image frame.
  • The background must be pure white (RGB 255, 255, 255).
  • No additional text or inset images.
  • No offensive images.

Additional images, products, and text (if they add useful context) can be added. However, all other requirements stay the same.  

You should also consider size. People like to zoom in and look closer when they’re buying clothes on Amazon. The more detail, the better. Variety is good within the full spread of images in your product listing — different angles, feature lists within the image, products on their own and being worn by models. However, most of your images should be simple, straightforward, and with a white background that focuses all attention on the product — your main image has to fit these criteria. 

Reviews and Ratings 

The reviews and ratings sections on a product page are essential on Amazon — they help customers know whether a product is worth buying. Many Amazon shoppers rely on this feature when choosing which user to purchase from. Bad product reviews damage sales, but so can no product reviews.  

Make sure that you incentivise customers to leave product reviews. A social media presence can help you do this, cultivating an online audience that will help you grow across channels. Whilst doing so, you should also do what you can to mitigate any negative feedback that can turn away new customers. This can mean commenting on negative customer reviews and showing your perspective so that other customers reading these reviews are provided with context.  

Questions and Answers

Customers will often ask specific questions about a product so they can find out the information they need before buying it. You should manage this section and do what you can to answer these questions. That way, people won’t be left in the dark. 

It can often be hard to fully understand what your customers want to know about your products and the Questions and Answers section provides you with insight while offering you an opportunity to inform customers better. This public communication between the customer and seller provides context to other buyers and helps assure potential customers of your responsiveness as a brand while delivering you valuable customer insights. That’s an opportunity all ecommerce business’ should take advantage of.

Amazon listings

Getting ahead of the competition

Using tools that allow you to access and assess customer data is a massive part of getting ahead of the competition in the world of ecommerce. Keeping your product listings up to date manually can be time-consuming, limiting your ability to focus on the more creative aspects of online campaigns. 

Leading-edge online retailers are by-passing the complex issue of listing optimisation management using ecommerce software solutions that deploy machine learning to pull customer insights from across the web and automate the updating of product listing. Pulling listing best-practices straight from the source, these tools improve the quality of listings while reducing the challenge of optimisation on Amazon, along with other channels like Google Shopping. Your decision-making is improved and time is freed to focus on other aspects of your campaign.    

By choosing the right ecommerce platform, you’ll make the process of using customer data and optimising your Amazon listings far more effective and efficient. Your ability to operate a multi-pronged approach and capitalise on what every online channel has to offer your brand will become far simpler. However, what is important to your success on Amazon is to follow the strategies outlined in this article. How you get there is up to you. Good luck and get listing!


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