Optimizing product listings for organic Amazon search is critical for success. Learn about the factors in Amazon's search algorithm and how to best set up your product listings.
Amazon makes it very easy for wellness brands to design an engaging and customer-centric experience in their brand storefront. And this is great - because when customers are browsing your products, you have their full attention; there’s no competition from other search results or competitive ads.
But first you have to get them to your product, or your storefront. And that’s where optimizing becomes one of the most important things you must learn to do, if you want to win with marketing your wellness products.
Whether you’re a newer seller, or your health product brand is well-known, optimizing for organic Amazon searches is critical - it’s the very basis of Amazon’s success. Using a number of factors, Amazon’s rankings match customers to products at the very moment they’re likely to purchase.
Amazon’s search algorithm, which is called the A9 algorithm, has four direct factors and six indirect factors. These factors all come together to create a ranking list for any given search that presents the customer with what they are most likely to buy.
The four direct factors are:
Have you ever thought of product stock levels being a part of your marketing plan? It should be when you’re dealing with Amazon! Amazon wants customers to get what they are looking for, so out-of-stock situations can drop an otherwise optimized product down in the rankings.
Amazon tracks your inventory history. More importantly, they track how well you keep products stocked and how much product you move. If you do well in these two areas, your rank will climb. If you struggle to keep products on the shelves, your best seller rank (BSR) will drop.
And if you’re selling on Prime - it’s even more important. If your product can’t be fulfilled under the Prime mantle, Amazon may penalize you.
Realizing that healthy stock levels factor into successful Amazon product marketing may change your decision making. Don’t let out-of-stock missteps undo the rest of the steps you take to climb the ranks.
Sales velocity is a critical piece of your success puzzle on Amazon. It’s a measure of the number of sales, and the revenue. A high sales velocity will help to skyrocket you through the rankings, since it proves your product is a top seller, which Amazon favors.
However, if you try to artificially inflate your sales velocity through fraudulent activity, Amazon can and will place your seller account on hold for investigation.
Fortunately, there are quite a few honest and proven ways to help improve your sales velocity.
If you’re selling on Amazon, you’re constantly looking for ways to get product reviews. This is one of the most foundational ways you can increase sales velocity. Especially in wellness categories, buyers can be skeptical, and anxious about a first-time purchase. Seeing a great star rating, with recent positive reviews will greatly increase your conversion rate, and your velocity, and therefore your organic rank.
The key is that you have to do it in a way that is compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service. That means you can’t offer discounts or refunds or any sort of compensation for a five star review. You can’t pay for reviews, but you absolutely can and should ask for reviews.
Encourage your buyers to review your product in every touch point:
You want to build a healthy ongoing pipeline of reviews to keep your star rating as high as possible, and to continue to have recent verified reviews.
If you do get some bad reviews - every product does - make sure you address the feedback directly and swiftly. Whatever you do, though, do not try to bargain with the customer to change their review. Always adhere to Amazon’s ToS standards. Need more advice? Contact us and we’re happy to help you navigate it.
Another important factor in sales velocity is how you enhance your product’s listing. There are many ways you can do that, but ensure you’re taking advantage of the foundational content we discussed previously.
Images and Video: Build out your listing with the high quality imagery you’ve created to represent your brand. Use multiple angles, and anything you can use to tell the story of the impact your product makes. For example, use before and after pictures (just be sure you have good documentation of their validity).
A common question we hear from brand owners is: Is it worth it to spend extra for professional photography?
With a powerful high resolution camera literally in your pocket, it can be tempting to cut photography from your budget. However, it’s not just about the number of pixels you can capture for your photo.
Remember that everything about your listing needs to create trust - buyers will be using your products in or on their bodies, after all. And a product with a professional, pixel-perfect product image will build trust faster than one with photos that were obviously cropped by an amateur.
There are many service providers who can make professional images easy for you - simply ship them your product, and they’ll deliver Amazon-optimized imagery in a turnkey fashion. Even Amazon offers this service today for a fee.
Question & Answers: This is a highly under-used section of product detail pages, and wellness brands need to pay attention to it. Ask your customers - or any contacts you have - to post some of the questions you anticipate customers will ask. Examples:
Then - be sure to answer all of the questions. Building out a strong Q&A section will help you to increase conversions when done right. In addition to seeing positive reviews, your thorough and prompt responses will build the trust a buyer needs to add your product into their cart.
A+ Content: All wellness brands should take advantage of Amazon A+ Content. Besides allowing you to include more types of media and imagery, using A+ Content on your listings will help:
You can use A+ Content to showcase use of your product, before and after results, and the product’s ingredients, among other examples. If you’re a part of Amazon Brand Registry, do not discount this feature’s impact on your sales velocity and conversion.
Finally, there is one way that is the fastest way to increase sales velocity. That is advertising. It’s so important, we’ve written an entire post dedicated to Amazon advertising for health and wellness brands.
When Amazon sellers talk about optimizing listings, they usually mean working with keywords. There are a lot of nuances to keyword use and maximizing the benefit you get from them.
Keywords are simply the words and phrases that customers on Amazon type into the search bar when they’re shopping. Optimizing is the practice of guessing what those words and phrases are, and then using them in your product listing. As you can see, they are incredibly important. How well the keywords you use on your listing match a customer’s search terms directly impacts your rank.
There are lots of great ways to discover keywords to use in your Amazon product listings. You can:
Listing out all of the potential keywords can seem like a herculean task, but it shouldn’t be. Amazon limits your keyword opportunities - so don’t spin in circles trying to find every variation of “anti-aging serum.” Instead, focus on finding the most relevant keywords for your product - that have a search volume of 300 searches per week or more.
If you go too broad with your keywords, you risk driving traffic to your listing that isn’t really looking for your product. That traffic will actually hurt you. Since Amazon tracks conversion rate, anything you do to drive non-converting traffic reduces your conversion rate. As your conversion rate drops, so does your ranking.
Once you know what keywords you need to use, you need to carefully optimize your listing. For example, it can be tempting to cram something like the term “organic sun care” as many times as you can into your product description because it seems relevant. However, if your product can’t deliver on this, doing so doesn’t benefit you, because you’re going to create mistrust with the buyer when your listing is difficult to read, and lose the sale, and you could also risk a negative response from Amazon or other sources.
What you should do instead is carefully use a mix of keywords across all the areas of your listing that Amazon’s algorithm indexes.
Product title: Be selective in crafting a product title, but do include keywords in a title that reads naturally. Amazon may reject a title that’s way too long - or worse, suppress your listing.
As a best practice, wellness products should follow a formula like this one:
Brand Name + Product Name + Key Ingredients or Features + Size
Acer Beauty Anti-Aging Serum, All Organic, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Peptides, 1 Fl oz
If you need more recommendations, Amazon makes it easy with their Amazon Services Quick Start Style Guide.
Key Features: Bullets are one of the best ways to optimize - they are not only indexed for search, but they’re also a high-priority read for buyers.
While this is a great place to put keywords, keep it short and pithy, and focus on language that will help convince the consumer to buy your product over other offerings out there. Amazon’s Style Guide recommends just the top five features, and to be specific. Plus - Amazon only indexes 200 bytes (about 200 characters) per bullet point. Anything past that is wasted words - and a potential to lose a customer because of a bad user experience.
Description: You have up to 2,000 characters to use, and this is a good time to pull some of the best of your content we discussed earlier. Use keywords naturally to describe the major features and benefits of your product.
Backend Keywords (Search Terms/Generic Keywords): This is a hidden set of keywords you can add to optimize for things that you didn’t fit into your Product Title or your Key Features.
Amazon limits the backend search terms to the first 250 characters, so like the Key Features, anything more is wasted. Make sure your first 250 characters in the Search Terms field are the most relevant to your product listing. Here, you want to add in things like common misspellings, consumer language, and other terms that are commonly used for your brand, category, ingredients, or sub-category.
If you’re selling the anti-aging face serum from the last example, you may want to include some of the additional descriptors or other ingredients, like:
Additional Product & Keyword Fields: If your products have additional product fields, make sure you use them. Some of these fields will be used by Amazon as a filter for customers in addition to adding to your keywords.
Remember, even though you are optimizing for Amazon’s algorithm match, the consumer is a human. Amazon is known for being obsessed with the customer; ensure you prioritize the customer’s experience to increase conversion rates on your listings.
If you need more help than this guide can give, Intrinsic can help you find the right partners or advisors to help optimize your Amazon product listings for the right keywords.
We’ve covered a lot of details on the other direct factors, but there’s no doubt that price is a critical factor in your Amazon organic ranking. It’s also tightly related to sales velocity, which we’ve already discussed at length.
Many of the Amazon gurus in the market will tell you that in order to compete, you need to have the lowest price of your competitors. The Intrinsic team will tell you that this is simply not true.
Though pricing is a direct factor in your ranking, wellness brands need to balance competitive pricing with brand value. Because consumers can be skeptical of products in the health and wellness category, pricing too low can reduce your products’ perceived value. Did you read our article on branding your wellness company? If you’re positioning your business as a premium brand, your prices should reflect that as well.
The bottom line on price and ranking is: pricing is important, but it’s important because it impacts the conversion rate on your product. That means:
The final bullet point is the most important. You want to optimize for conversion rate on your full priced items. That said, once you have a clear idea of your target price point, you can and should take advantage of Amazon’s many deals and discounts.
Even though you want consumers to buy your product at the list price, many wellness products are consumables. That means that if you can hook a customer with a deal on your excellent product, they’ll come back to buy it again and again at the full price. You’ll increase your conversion rate on full price products, and increase customer stickiness.
In our decades of experience, we’ve seen some of these methods fail for wellness brands, and others create huge benefits. Some of the opportunities you have to choose from are:
Any Amazon seller can use a coupon, so start here if you’re just testing pricing for the first time. Customers will have to “clip” your coupon in order to use it on your product. The coupon will appear on your product listing in the search results and on the product detail page.
Price discounts are an affordable way to test your pricing. With a pricing discount, customers will see your original price with a slash through it - and a note on how much they’re saving with your sale price.
Unlike coupons and sale pricing, Lightning Deals are heavily managed by Amazon. You have to submit them for approval, and meet Amazon’s requirements for the percentage discount and inventory, plus pay Amazon an additional fee. Moreover, your product has to qualify, which can include:
Lightning Deals last for only a specific period of time and are marketed to customers with a countdown clock and inventory level, creating urgency to buy. Amazon markets these products more extensively to customers in special targeted placements and featured pages.
In addition to Lightning Deals, Amazon also offers a Deal of the Day and Amazon’s Best Deals. These additional promotions are very similar to Lightning Deals, but last longer (a full day, and up to two weeks respectively).
Amazon shoppers experience these great deal types all year long, but Amazon is known for its two tentpole deal events each year: Prime Day, and the five day period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (often called Cyber Five).
Like the other Amazon Deals, you’ll have to meet some criteria to participate. But unique to these events is the cutoff date and selection period. Amazon makes it clear that there are no guarantees that every submitted product will get a Deal during these important buying events. However, Amazon also indicates that greater availability and inventory, as well as popularity, can impact your odds.
There are quite a few Amazon deal opportunities, but it takes some care to know if it’s right for your category, and your particular product. If you need more help, reach out and the Intrinsic team can help advise you on what steps to take to price accurately.