Product Search
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Just like the nuances with Google’s search algorithms and the mystery surrounding certain elements of their multiple ranking factors, also has its little quirks when it comes to ranking.

With so few people in the industry discussing the topic of Amazon ranking factors and algorithms, plus the misunderstood product fields, it is hard to get a real feel for what it takes to be successful organically within This short guide will eliminate all those misunderstandings and show you exactly what you need to do to rank in Amazon’s search results.

Field Elements That Factor Into Amazon’s Search Rankings

The most used feature on Amazon is its search bar. When top sellers discuss ranking on Amazon, we are less worried about category rankings and more interested in Amazon search rankings. How many of you go to Amazon looking for a product and try to navigate the category hierarchies to find that product? You use the search bar. Product field elements available when creating a product on Amazon influence those search rankings.

Product Titles

I’ve been doing SEO for ten years. I am so accustom to keeping title tags under 60 characters that Amazon’s title field gives me a nervous breakdown. Amazon’s product title is the most important factor to search, just like the title tag may be the most important on page ranking factor for Google.

Amazon product titles have a character limit of 500 characters. Not only that, they recommend including as many keywords as relevantly possible into those 500 characters.

Listen up SEO’s. You have to write really long titles and keyword stuff those babies like it is 1999. Let’s do a little case study on two products on Amazon.

We are looking for Micro USB cables for a Google Nexus. Take a look at this product:

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This is a Micro USB cable. Notice the short title? Let me ask you this. What products is this micro USB compatible with?  There are 215 pages of search results, and I can’t even find this product. Now take a look at this product with an optimized product title:

Screenshot taken 06/20/2014 of

As an SEO, that title makes me throw up in my mouth a little. But, what does it tell you? You know exactly how long the cord is, the brand and every major model it fits. They even throw in the keyword “charger” into the title.

This is an example of a PERFECT Amazon Product Title. It goes against everything we as SEO’s believe, but to rank in Amazon, we have to play by their rules. Look at a few of the search results and you will see the top ranking products have long, keyword rich products ranking first.

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Why is the 500 character limit so important?

Here is the key to ranking on Amazon. You only need your keyword to appear once. If you can get that keyword into the title, you do not have to worry about including it anywhere else. With 500 characters, you can pretty much include every possible keyword in the title. For more information on how to format a title for Amazon, review their guide on writing a great Amazon title.

Amazon Bullet Points

The Amazon bullet points field is currently a suggested field, but I have seen warnings on client seller accounts for products that were missing bullet points. This usually indicates that Amazon is working to make this field a required field. The bullet points appear underneath the title. Because of the proximity to the title, image, price and add to cart button, it should be treated as an important field in which to add keywords. This is especially important for conversion purposes since it appears close to the Add to Cart button and above the fold in a lot of cases. Back to our previous two examples, what products does the first product fit?

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So far, two content fields above the fold and we still don’t know if this product fits our Google Nexus or not.

 Screenshot taken 06/20/2014 of

Our optimized product enforces the fact that it fits the Google Nexus in the title and the bullet points. As a customer, which one are you most likely to purchase? Look at the proximity of “Google Nexus” and the Add to Cart button.

Product Description

The product description displays further down the product page. In fact, it appears quite a ways down the page depending on other fields present within the listing. It is NOT a required field. It makes sense that with this field not being required by Amazon and being below the fold, keywords here are not as algorithmically important. However, our un-optimized product…

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More than half way down the page and five field elements down, we finally see that this product does fit the Google Nexus. Neither Amazon nor customers are going to find this product.

Amazon Keywords

Here is another field that will make SEO’s cringe. Amazon has a keyword field and they actually use it to rank products. Here is what you need to know about the keyword field. There is no need to add any keyword that has already been used in the product title or bullet points. Amazon will simply ignore it. With that being said, you have five keywords or keyword phrases you can add to the keyword field.

If for any reason you could not use a keyword in the other fields, by all means add it to the keyword field. Amazon will use it in determining rankings. This is a great opportunity to add additional model numbers and other information that are relevant, but would somehow clutter the other fields. If you have a product that fits 30 different models, you have the ability to list the main trafficked models in the human facing content, and use the hidden keyword field for the others. This way you are getting exposure to the lesser models, as well.

Hijack Other High Ranking Listings

Here is another thing that is not only allowed, it is encouraged. Want to rank regardless of how horribly un-optimized your titles, bullet points and keywords are? Simply get listed on some one else’s listing.

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Amazon’s listings are called ASIN’s. In your product fields you can list either a UPC or an ASIN. If you can compete on price, this method is for you. Here is what I do.

  • Search for your product on Amazon as a customer would
  • Make a note of the item that is the same as yours that ranks highest for each search (Non-Prime Listing)
  • Make sure there is not a Prime seller (unless you are doing FBA)
  • Note the ASIN
  • In your Product fields, add that ASIN
  • Note the Brand
  • Change the brand in your product fields to the brand on the listing
  • Lower your price one penny lower than the lowest seller
  • Amazon will match you to that product

Example: The ASIN in this case is B00E0EJJLI. Your product fields have no bearing at this point. You are on a high-ranking product due to that seller’s already optimized listing.

Of course it wouldn’t hurt to optimize your listing title, because after you win the Buy Box Amazon will start employing elements of your product details into the listing.

Note: If you are selling FBA, and can meet the other conditions in the bullet points above, then you can use the ASIN of the FBA item.

Make Sure the Product is in the Correct Category

Amazon uses a very advanced category structure full of subcategories that take a visitor deep down the rabbit hole. These categories are called BTG’s in Amazon language. It simply means “Browse Tree Guide.”

Here is a working case study on the importance of proper product categorization within Amazon. When some one performs a search from the home page, Amazon searches all categories by default. After the visitor clicks on a product within the search results, Amazon sometimes changes the default search to the category of that product. Here is an example of the search results of a search performed on the homepage:

 Screenshot taken 06/20/2014 of

Notice the search is set to “All.” After I click an item within that search, notice the default search category change:

 Screenshot taken 06/20/2014 of

The default search has changed from “All” to “Electronics.” This is where categorization is so important. From now on, any search I make, regardless of what I am looking for, my search results will come from items ONLY in the electronics category. The only way the default resets to All Departments is if I go back to the home page, or I manually select the department from the search drop down box.

How many searchers do you think even notice this slight change while they are navigating Amazon?

Screenshot taken 06/20/2014 of

If you are not properly categorized, you are losing visibility on refined and contingent searches.

Are Your Listings Even Displaying in Amazon’s Search?

When you list a product for sale on Amazon, there are a lot of fields within the product details that seem unimportant, useless or otherwise below your standards to complete. They may not be important to you, but they are very important to Amazon.

Some fields that on the surface look useless from an optimization standpoint are:

  • Brand
  • Attributes
  • Variation Themes
  • UPC’s

A lot of sellers don’t know this, but depending on category, Amazon will suppress your listing from the search results if these or other fields are not completed. Amazon calls these suppressed listings and their top categories are categories where items will be suppressed.

The moral of this story is to completely fill out all fields, not just required fields. The more complete a listing is, the better opportunity the product has to rank well within Amazon’s search.

Amazon kind of breaks the rules for traditional SEOs. Take advantage of the 500 character product titles, the Amazon bullet points and the keyword field, or just match to an already high-ranking product listing and you could see your sales skyrocket literally overnight.   Featured Image: Jeffrey via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Advanced Guide to Top Rankings on Amazon | SEJ
Just like the nuances with Google's search algorithms and the mystery surrounding certain elements of their multiple ranking factors, also has its little quirks when it comes to ranking. With so few people in the industry discussing the topic of Amazon ranking factors and algorithms, plus the misunderstood product fields, it is hard to get a real feel for what it takes to be successful organically within
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