How to Rank on Amazon: A Guide to Amazon SEO in 2021


Most small retail businesses have had to face the reality that you’ll need to compete with Amazon. Some have decided to embrace it and now conduct much of their eCommerce business through the retail giant. Others keep a presence on Amazon but have worked to grow their business through their own platform. Still, others have sought alternative digital markets.

For those businesses who have chosen to focus on selling on Amazon, some important developments have emerged in the past several years that require attention.

Because the marketplace has become so competitive and saturated with online retailers, Amazon SEO strategies are vital for long-term success. And though simpler than Google’s SEO strategies, Amazon’s search engine, A9, is still evolving and updating. Getting the basics down is pretty easy though. And improving your rankings will have a big impact on sales. 70% of users never navigate past the first page. And the first three listings get about two-thirds of all sales.

Check out the guide below to get an idea of how to rank on Amazon and start generating more traffic to your shop.

an infographic on how to rank on Amazon

1. Start With a Basic Premise

Amazon cares about its shoppers. That’s it.

A large part of Amazon’s success can be chalked up to its willingness to provide exceptional customer service, return policies, prices, promotions, and overall shopping experience.

So it’s been with that in mind that Amazon has developed A9. The search algorithm is designed to best answer user queries and guide them in the buying process. 

This might be obvious, but it’s critical to remember this as you take the steps below towards optimizing your Amazon storefront and product pages. It helps you get in the mind of the shopper and allows you to better anticipate their questions and concerns.

2. Get to Know A9

Amazon named its search algorithm A9, and, like Google, it’s continually evolving and getting more complex. But in a different way.

A9 is built as a product search engine, so it’s become quite adept at picking up on variations and spelling differences, while still being able to direct users to the right destination. As a seller, this is one of the most important aspects of the search engine to keep in mind.

Remember, Amazon’s whole goal is to sell. A lot. And A9 is built to convert the most sales as it possibly can. Listings that have a vast sales history and great conversion rates will be more likely to rank highly.

That might make it seem like a Sisyphean task. After all, those that already have a strong sales history will rank higher, and therefore be able to sell more, and so on. But remember that optimizing your product listings still plays a critical role in determining where your items show up for various queries.

3. Optimize Your Product Titles

Much like the title of a blog post or landing page, your product title is the most valuable aspect of each listing. 

Typically, your title should contain the following items:

  • Brand name
  • Product type
  • Color
  • Size
  • Quantity
  • Distinguishing features

Usually, an Amazon product title will have 115-144 characters for desktop users and 55-63 characters for mobile users. So your real estate is not unlimited. You have to choose what is the most important/relevant to the listing.

Practically, you want your users to understand exactly what you’re selling. So including key descriptors early is important.

But you must also think about how to rank on Amazon. The algorithm ranks importance by order of appearance within the title, so you want the most important keywords to appear early.

Whether or not you choose to list your brand name first is a matter of much debate. Typically, retailers do opt to use their brand name to increase recognition and establish the fact that they are a unique seller on the platform. 

Make your titles natural and avoid keyword stuffing. Like Google, these attempts are heavily penalized. For clarity, use symbols and punctuation to break up different sections of your title.

4. Don’t Forget Product Bullets

As a general rule, whatever keywords you couldn’t fit into your title you should use in the bullet section. These bullet points are located underneath the title and are intended to tell the shopper about the product in a bit more detail. It’s an ideal area to add information about specific features and benefits of what you’re selling.

After the title, this is the best attention-grabbing section of the listing. And with diminishing attention spans and the constant marketing bombardment, users need quick bites of information.

Amazon sellers (direct B2C retailers) can have 5 bullet points with a character limit of 500 for each. Each bullet point should start with a capital letter, end with no punctuation, and be void of links.

Like your title, avoid keyword stuffing, add meaningful details, answer common questions, don’t oversell an item, and include product updates.

5. Tackle Product Descriptions

If your title is your H1 text and bullet points H2, then you can think of your product descriptions as H3. And these will impact your ranking far less than your title and somewhat less than your bullet points.

Instead, treat your product description as a selling opportunity. Tell a story about your brand or product. Focus on creating engaging copy first but don’t ignore keywords – these are still helpful to include. 

It’s also a good place to include long-tailed searches. You don’t want to make it too messy, but including some additional items that wouldn’t fit in the title or bullets is great.

6. Add Backend Search Terms

Ok, this is finally the spot where you can stuff away with your keywords and slight variations of them. A9 is better at recognizing misspelled words, additional languages, and spelling variations. Part of this is powered by their backend search terms that users can upload.

You might consider including Spanish words, common misspellings, and specific long-tail searches that some users might include. 

There are various tools available to help users brainstorm potential backend search terms. When inputting them, treat it the same way you would tags on YouTube. Just add spaces between each term.

7. Sell, Sell, Sell

While product listing optimization is a big part of the process, nothing will move your Amazon ranking like making more sales. Again, Amazon’s entire goal is to sell. So if your product performs well, they’ll move it up the charts.

Businesses that also sell on proprietary websites or other third-party channels must consider this. A greater volume of Amazon sales will beget more sales.

Even better than simply increased sales are increased sales against your competition. If a certain product suddenly becomes popular and sales of that item increase across all sellers who carry that item it’s unlikely to move the needle much. But if sales for the item stay stagnant among your competitors but increase at your store, you’ll see a dramatic boost.

In competitive spaces, most businesses that are new to Amazon will need to drive traffic to their page either through internal or external resources:

  • Internally, retailers can advertise their shop on Amazon. Like Google, Amazon offers a pay per click (PPC) option. To get traction off the bat, set up a few ad campaigns to get more visitors to your page.
  • Externally, send users to your Amazon shop through Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, or other other social media platforms. You can also find referral blogs or comparison sites that will link to your Amazon account.

Getting shoppers to your page can be expensive, so again, see above to optimize your page to maximize conversions.

Learn More: Amazon Business Models Guide: 5 Ways to Sell on the Amazon eCommerce Platform

8. Get More Reviews

Any eCommerce retailer knows the importance of having great product reviews. And a lot of them. Reviews build more consumer trust and encourage shoppers to make the final decision to complete the purchase. Therefore, Amazon rewards sellers that have real, positive, and numerous product reviews.

And don’t try to go the fake review path! It worked for some sellers for a while, but Amazon has gotten extraordinarily good at sniffing out fake reviews. Sellers that are caught are severely punished or banned entirely.

To generate more reviews, implement an automated email marketing campaign for all shoppers. Once a purchase is made send the shopper an email reminding them to leave a review. Don’t be afraid to emphasize how important it is for your business to get great feedback on your products.

There are a lot of different options for feedback tools/email marketing automation. Most offer free trials, so try out a few and see which works best for your business.

9. Other Ideas on How to Rank on Amazon

Like Google SEO, Amazon SEO involves a lot of speculation and trial & error. As we’ve mentioned, the algorithm is evolving. And it’s doing so largely on its own. Even Amazon may not have definitive answers to all of the factors that go into product ranking. 

We do know that the issues discussed above are vital for securing a top spot, but there are some strategies of lesser importance that still might have an impact.

  • Use Fulfillment by Amazon – Items that are fulfilled by Amazon instead of the merchant itself tend to rank better.
  • Add your brand in your product listing – Brand names that contain important keywords tend to do well.
  • Fill all applicable fields – In your product pages, add information in all fields, even if it seems trivial. Doing so shows A9 that you’ve been thorough and informative.
  • Add quality photos – Not only will this increase conversions, but the algorithm will also reward you. It adds to the user experience and Amazon likes that.

For more advice on how to navigate selling online, check out the rest of our blog. We have vast resources on eCommerce business and strive to help our customers succeed in creating an omnichannel shopping experience. KORONA offers a fully integrated software with WooCommerce for online shops. To learn more, click below to set up a product demo with one of our product specialists.


About the Author

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Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.

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