Product Discoverability on Amazon SERP

With such little understanding to how the Amazon SERP works, many sellers are left with unsold products sitting in warehouses because consumers can’t seem to find them.

Without fully understanding the factors that trigger the best results in the Amazon SERP, many sellers are losing out on potential revenue.

Last week, Amazon experts Pat Petriello and Jeff Coleman hosted a 60-minute Amazon Product Discoverability course on what drives the Amazon SERP & actionable steps you can take to get your products found.

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There were a lot of questions we didn’t get a chance to answer – so here they are now with answers from Petriello and Coleman.

Q1. Have you seen a significant increase in Black Hat manipulation? I sell in the Bluetooth speaker category and it is getting flooded with completely new sellers every day, both on the best-sellers list as well as with keyword results.

A. There always have been and always will be sellers on the marketplace which try to manipulate rankings for short term gain. Time and time again we have seen that these attempts at “hacks” produce only short term results, at best. The key to long term sustainable growth on Amazon is an understanding that there is no “silver bullet,” and that it takes a comprehensive selling strategy to succeed over a long period of time.

Q2. On titles, you recommend 80 to 100 characters. Have you done studies on 80 to 100 characters versus titles with more characters? I’ve seen other companies advocate longer titles.

A. As mentioned, optimal title lengths do vary by category. For example, longer titles (as many as 500 characters) are accepted in the electronics category, whereas titles longer than 80 characters will often times get suppressed in the apparel category, 80 to 100 characters is a safe place to be, but there is variation by category.

Q3. Are Vine reviews more heavily weighted than normal ones?

A. I’ve never seen anything to indicate that this is the case, but this is not something we’ve tested around.

Q4. For parent-child listings, is there a benefit to showing multiple sizes/colors in the parent photo to attract attention? Or is that overwhelming to people in their search?

A. That is something which you can do for the parent photo, but keep in mind that the parent product characteristics only show up on the SERP in for the Clothing, Accessories & Luggage, Sporting Goods, and Beauty categories. All other categories display only the best-selling child product in search results and on product detail pages.

Q5. We share an ASIN between four different territories, images are shared. Other than having a separate ASIN for each territory is there a way of having different images per territory on the same ASIN?

A. No. Product content is at the ASIN level, so one ASIN can only have one main image. However, each ASIN allows for multiple images, so you can leverage all of those fields.

Q6. Do sales from feedback solicitation tools count as regular sales towards the conversion rate? Or it counts less because it is discounted?

A. While we don’t know Amazon’s exact algorithm around sales history, our research indicates that all sales on Amazon considered.

Q7. What is the difference between the parent and child titles? Where would we enter these in Seller Central?

A. The parent title is associated with the parent product, which is not an orderable product. Each child variation of the parent product has its own title, as well. Titles can be edited in Seller Central in Inventory -> Manage Inventory, and then selecting “edit” for the ASIN you wish to change.

Q8. What do you think about using videos as images?

A. Amazon currently only allows videos as images for Vendors. Videos and 360 degree product shots can help to increase conversion rate by showing a shopper all of the details of a product.

Q9. Are A+ pages relevant to SERP?

A. Having an A+ page in and of itself doesn’t impact a product’s ranking on the SERP. However, A+ pages can impact conversion, which can help to get a product to rank higher for a given search term.

Q10. I have seen many products where someone outranking the other had 6 reviews vs. the other that had 1,500. Both had good titles, 5 stars….any ideas how the 6 gets higher ranking?

A. Organic ranking on the Amazon SERP is a composite of the factors discussed in the webinar. Price, sales history, fulfillment method, and relevancy to the search query are all factors which would impact the product ranking on the SERP.

Q11. Before, to push new information for an Amazon listing you were able to ‘suggest information updates’ on the actual product listing page. I have noticed now that Amazon is no longer offering that option on many listings. We used to use this tool to push our information to Amazon in hope of our information showing on the listing. Now we have no way to audit content and push updates. Do you have any suggestions or comments on this issue? Or have you noticed this option going away?

A. Detail page content control is shared among all of the sellers of a given ASIN. Amazon will take content contributions from each seller to create an optimized detail page. If you are the brand manufacturer, you can enroll your brand in the Brand Registry program to have your contributions supersede those of other 3P sellers.

Q12. Amazon seems to force model or part numbers into title page? It takes space from the title you want to use. Any suggestions?

A. This is not accurate.

Q13. If you have the keyword in bullet points or title does it also need to be in the back end search terms?

A. There is no additional benefit of having the keyword in multiple fields that Amazon indexes. As long as it appears in one of the indexed fields, it will be relevant for search.

Q14. We own both Vendor Central and Seller Central accounts. If an item was created by Vendor Central, but later modified by Seller Central, does that influence how Amazon ranks the products? I have heard some people say if a seller is listing against an existing ASIN, no modifications to product attributes are allowed. Does Amazon prefer product attribute from one to the other? A combination of both, or only vendor central?

A. Content contributions from Vendor Central will always supersede those submitted through Seller Central.

Q15. I have a category of products with about 500 SKUs. It seems some of those SKUs never get any clicks. I cannot tell if it’s because people don’t like the product or because there’s a limited amount of traffic and Amazon is choosing a subset to show in search results. Any thoughts?

A. It’s common that not 100% of a seller’s catalog will generate clicks. Consider advertising your products through Sponsored Products to get them more visibility and also consider the price, fulfillment, review, and sales history factors discussed on the presentation.

Q16. Amazon support just told me that anything over 50 characters was not accepted as a keyword, is that incorrect?

A. You have 5 fields of 50 characters each, or 250 characters total, to leverage for search term space.

Q17. Can I enter keywords and search words for an ASIN which is not my own?

A. No, you cannot submit content for products which you are not selling.

Q18. Are Conversion factors used for both Conversion and Relevance but Relevance Factors are only for Relevance?

A. Conversion and relevancy are the two factors which contribute to organic search ranking on the Amazon SERP. They create a composite ranking which drives where products appear.

Q19. What criteria does Amazon use to rank images high? Is it quality of images, number of images, a combination of both; or, something more?

A.  Amazon does not “rank” images for deciding where products appear on the SERP. Better images lead to higher conversion, which can have an impact on where products rank for a given search query.

Q20. Is there a way to control the reviews that show up on the product page under “Most Helpful Reviews”?

A. The most helpful reviews are determined by the amount of positive and negative votes each review receives.

Q21. Is the metadata on the photos work on the search indexation?

A. No, this is not indexed.

Q22. Is there a limit to the number of bullet points you can have? I thought it was 5?

A. That’s correct, it is 5 for 3P Sellers. Products created by vendors can have more bullet points.

Q23. Is a higher list price with a large discount and lower selling price create more conversion or is it that a lower list price creates higher conversions?

A. Lower prices, regardless of if they are list or sales prices, lead to higher conversion rates. By using both list price and sales price to create strike-through pricing on the detail page, you can encourage additional conversion by creating the perception of additional value.

Q24. You’ve mentioned that one of the criteria is to have FBA in order to rank well, but what if we want to first test the water to see how well the product does before we start sending our inventory to Amazon?

A. There is a balance between making a fulfillment decision with the goal of enhancing ranking on the SERP while also keeping in mind inventory investment to FBA. Once a product proves its value through FBM, then it makes sense to begin considering FBA.

Q25. Any insight into title length for automotive? We currently have the applications for auto parts (make, model, year, setup, etc.) in titles.

A. Amazon indicates a 500 character length limit in the automotive category.

Q26. Can you talk about keyword bombing and how valuable or dangerous it might be?

A. With limited search term space, it’s important to select relevant keywords for your product. Products won’t convert as well for keywords which aren’t relevant.

Q27. If we enter bullets on a listing that is shared with other sellers, do our bullets show when we are the featured seller or for all sellers? How about if they conflict with another seller?

A. Detail page content control is shared among all of the sellers of a given ASIN. Amazon will take content contributions from each seller to create an optimized detail page. If you are the brand manufacturer, you can enroll your brand in the Brand Registry program to have your contributions supercede those of other 3P sellers.

Q28. If Amazon is customer-centric and Price is more important of a conversion factor than fulfillment, why do some FBA items earn the Buy Box even if they aren’t the cheapest price?

A.  Organic ranking on the Amazon SERP is a composite of the factors discussed in the webinar. Price, sales history, fulfillment method, and relevancy to the search query are all factors which would impact the product ranking on the SERP.

Q29. Is there any way to measure my market share of a product compared to my competitors?

A. There is not a way to track market share, but there are tools such as AMZ Tracker for rank tracking.

Q30. How does Amazon take into account misspellings?

A. Amazon’s search system takes into account common misspellings, you do not need to include these in your search terms.

Q31. Are price promotions part of SERP?

A. Yes, price is one of the factors which impacts organic ranking on the SERP.

Q32. Do shoppers normally pick a category before entering a search query or not?

A. The vast amount of product discoverability on Amazon is through search and not through browsing the category structure.

Q33. Is there a Keyword Tool available in Vendor Central? (Some of us do not have access to Seller Central).

A. There is a tool within Vendor Central called Amazon Retail Analytics Premium, but in our experience, the functionality is unreliable and the data is not always trustworthy.

Q34. Do you recommend including ASINs that are not winning the buy-box consistently within Sponsored Ads campaigns?

A. Sponsored Products takes into account whether your offer is in the buy box, so there is no risk in having your product included in a Sponsored Products campaign even if you are competing for the buy box. If you aren’t winning the buy box, your ads won’t surface.

Q35. Can you use one child site for keywords and another variation child for more keywords?

A.  Yes, each child ASIN has its own set of search terms.

Q36. Do product videos have proven conversion rate improvement?

A. We do not have precise data on how videos impact conversion rate, but generally speaking, product detail pages with videos do tend to outperform those without.

Q37. Is there a way to link existing listings as a parent child. This would be the case when the listings were set-up separately. Can they be combined together even if they were created separately?

A. Yes, you can link existing child ASINs by creating a new parent ASIN and then grouping each of the child variations under that parent.

Q38. Is the “Platinum’ program still active? It appears our main competitor has this and their product, even new ones, show up much higher than ours.

A. While the platinum seller program does exist, it has no impact on where products show up in the SERP. The fields for “platinum keywords” are often misinterpreted to be additional search keyword fields, but this is not the case. These “keywords” are used to build out seller specific storefront browse nodes, which shoppers very rarely use to discover products anyway.

Q39. What if you have a new brand you created with no history?

A. While your brand might not be big today, you’ll want it to be indexed for search and also show up on the SERP.

Q40. Should you still have brand name first on product title?

A. Yes, it is still best practice to include your brand first in the title. The more shoppers see it, the more brand equity you’ll build.

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