Effective Amazon listing optimization will literally make or break a business that sells products on Amazon.
On other platforms such as eBay, Walmart, or Shopify you might be able to get away with an average attempt at optimization.
But more and more sellers are joining the Amazon platform every day.
That means more and more product listings are created, more and more options for potential buyers and the risk of lower and lower sales volumes.
However, within every challenge is the seed of opportunity.
Along with a growing number of sellers, Amazon also continues to attract rapidly growing numbers of buyers.
With billions (yes, BILLIONS) of visits every single month across its marketplaces, the opportunity to build a real business by leveraging the power of Amazon has never been as big.
But you already know that, right? That’s why you’re here.
So enough of the chit-chat, let’s dive right into the exact steps you need to take to maximise this seed of opportunity.
Master eCommerce with our 99-point Brand Growth Checklist
The Amazon Listing Optimization Blueprint
Optimizing an Amazon listing is absolutely essential if you want it to excel in the three most important metrics for an Amazon business:
- Impressions: getting found in search results
- Clicks: bringing browsers to your listing
- Conversions: turning browsers into buyers
But where do you even start with such a crucial task within your business?
Well, at Brand Builder University we have a four-stage blueprint for fully optimizing an Amazon listing which will make up the structure of this guide.
Those four stages are:
- INVESTIGATE product benefits, unique factors and relevant keywords
- CREATE optimized titles, bullet points, descriptions, images, A+ Content, and pricing strategy
- POPULATE your product listing with reviews and answered questions
- ITERATE and continually optimize your product listing month in, month out
So there we have it – investigate, create, populate, iterate. Did we suffer sleepless nights creating something so catchy? Maybe… Do we hope it helps it be memorable for you? Absolutely!
Let’s break each one down in detail so you’re equipped to improve your product listings and skyrocket your sales.
Stage 1: Investigate benefits, USPs & keywords
As the old saying goes: If you FAIL to PREPARE, you PREPARE to FAIL.
So if you want to carry out Amazon listing optimization to reach optimum performance you must spend time and energy investigating up front – both before you source a product, and before you optimize your listing.
The three things we encourage all our clients to investigate are product benefits, unique features, and relevant keywords.
So, get a pen and paper or fresh doc on your computer open with those three headings ready to write ideas down and let’s get to work.
Investigate product benefits
An Amazon listing is not only an information piece that lives in your Amazon Seller Central account – it’s an experience opportunity for your potential customers.
Sellers that aim to simply list product information will fall far short of the optimum results they could achieve if they were to shape the customer experience within product listings.
As such, a fundamental aspect of creating a great customer experience is clearly communicating product features and benefits.
Listing product features alone is not enough to succeed in a competitive marketplace, you must also work hard to demonstrate clear benefits.
The difference between features and benefits
A feature describes an aspect of a product, or what it does, whereas a benefit demonstrates the impact of that feature in the users’ life, or what it does for them.
Here’s an example:
- FEATURE: Baking tray with a specially formulated non-stick coating.
- FEATURE + BENEFIT: Baking tray with a specially formulated non-stick coating so you can spend less time cleaning and more time baking!
It’s a small difference, but it goes a long way to increase conversions meaning you can earn more money and experience the joy of a fast-growing business.
At Brand Builder University, our copywriting formula revolves around clearly communicating these benefits and we suggest as part of your optimization process you create a clear bullet-point list of the key benefits your product offers in this initial ‘investigate’ stage.
Translating features into benefits
If you’re struggling to translate product features into clear customer benefits, learn the art of connector phrases.
These are words or phrases like ‘meaning’, ‘so that’, and ‘allowing’.
For example, “This yoga mat features extra thick padding allowing you to enjoy longer, pain-free workouts.”
See how an unemotional feature all of a sudden becomes a real benefit the customer can feel? Give it a try with your products!
Investigate unique factors
Next, it’s time to look at what makes our product unique – our Unique Selling Point (USP).
Often we refer to this as “differentiation” and is one of the fundamentals for success in eCommerce.
🎙 Related Podcast: How differentiation helped this BBU member go from $1k months to $1k days!
Now, when we mentioned earlier about investigation prior to sourcing – this is one of those critical areas.
Hopefully you have worked hard to create a unique proposition to the market that isn’t a simple Alibaba copy-and-paste exercise.
Regardless, this is the time to really work hard at identifying those areas where your product is different (and of course better) than the other products available in this market.
We can’t just differentiate and hope people notice – we have to make a plan for how we’ll communicate product improvements.
So write a second list of 3-5 unique factors to go with your list of benefits and it’s time to jump into our third and final investigation topic.
Investigate relevant keywords
To create highly optimized Amazon listings, one of the most important factors is keyword research driven by search engine optimization.
Keywords are the words and phrases used in your product listings to show both customers and the Amazon algorithm that your product is relevant to a specific Amazon search.
Understanding and using high search volume keywords correctly will help your products get found in organic search results and go a long way to determining your level of success when selling on Amazon.
We recommend a rigorous approach to keyword research that encompasses a range of different methods and an exhaustive process to ensure no stone is left unturned in the hunt for search terms that customers are using in Amazon search every single day.
The more relevant, high search volume keywords that are in your product listing, the wider coverage your listing will have.
That gives a greater chance of being discovered by hungry buyers in search engines and a greater opportunity to drive more sales, revenue, and growth.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step process to follow, you can find an exhaustive keyword research tutorial here that you can follow to find keywords, create an extensive list and be ready to optimize your product listing.
We’d also recommend creating a shorter list of key target phrases (usually 3-5 phrases) that will be your initial ranking targets.
This way you can ensure they appear prominently in your product listing in phrase form which is important for driving significant ranking on Amazon’s search engine results page.
So, you’ve spent some time investigating the market, understanding what benefits and unique factors you want to highlight, and have also carried out some extensive keyword research.
Now it’s time to jump into the next stage of Amazon listing optimization – it’s time to create!
Stage 2: Create an optimized listing
In this section of our Amazon listing optimization process, we’ll cover the 5 key areas of your product listing that you need to proactively create prior to launching your product.
- Product Images
- A+ Content
Creating keyword-rich, engaging listing copy
Your listing copy is the text that describes your product.
We always suggest starting the creation stage with the written copy rather than the more fun task of creating your images.
This is because the process of crafting a well-written product listing gives you the structure of how to tell the story of your product and its benefits which you can then incorporate into images.
This makes image creation a much easier task (especially for those who struggle with what to include in images) and keeps your product listing congruent.
On Amazon, your listing copy is made up of a product title, key features (often referred to as bullet points) and a product description.
As the names suggest, the title is the shortest of the three, followed by your bullet points that draw out the headlines of your product and finished off with a more detailed product description
Let’s take a look at each of the key areas of your copy in turn, starting with an optimized title.
When you make a sale on Amazon, the keywords in your product title are what get the most organic lift. i.e. the organic ranking of these keywords will be impacted the most.
Therefore you ideally want to use 2-3 of your main target keyword phrases in the product title along with any other key aspects to communicate.
Try and avoid keyword stuffing and instead aim for a good flow to achieve an optimized product title.
Depending on category-specific limits, you should be able to use up to 250 characters for your product title.
We wouldn’t necessarily recommend using all these characters – it really does depend on your product and the keywords you are trying to use.
Don’t forget, any characters after the count of 80 will be truncated on mobile (which is where the majority of consumers start their search).
So, ensure the most important information is within this limit in order for it to show in Amazon’s search results on mobile.
Key Features / Bullet Points
Next up are your key product features, often referred to as bullet points.
Here is where you’ll either capture attention or lose attention, so this can be a real make-or-break area when optimizing your Amazon listings.
Our recommendation would be to use only 200 to 250 of the characters that Amazon gives you (usually no more than 250).
If you can keep it down to 200 characters whilst also including relevant keywords, great – but you’ve got to find that balance.
We’re looking for a nice flow that maintains consumer attention but also provides good keyword coverage.
Avoid keyword stuffing and making your copy sound spammy.
Yes, you may get a few more visits to your listing due to wider keyword coverage, but chances are your conversion rate will be lower which will result in less visibility on Amazon in the long run.
Long-term thinking is critical when building a business, and this aspect of it is no different.
Finally, you need to utilize the product description space to list out detailed features and their corresponding benefits.
Browsers looking for more information about your product will always scroll to the product description with questions.
So make sure within your product descriptions you cover every aspect that may not have already been made clear (measurements, sizes, colours, use examples, etc.) and consider re-stating the most important features and benefits too.
This section will get replaced on the front end by A+ Content as and when you are Brand Registered, but you will still get the keyword benefit on the back end – more to come on A+ Content shortly.
With any leftover search terms, make sure you pop them into your backend keywords for even more discoverability.
Before you do, just double-check the remaining keywords for brand names – you should always avoid including these anywhere in your listing.
To help with the process of compiling the copy of your listing and ensuring all keywords are being used for maximum coverage, check out Helium 10’s Listing Builder tool that saves hours of manual work.
Creating clear and engaging images
After your copy is set, it’s time to craft some highly engaging and conversion-increasing images.
As the old saying goes – a picture tells a thousand words.
So much so that the majority of buyers now will make buying decisions from product images alone.
This makes it more essential than ever that you don’t simply upload product images from different angles on a plain background, but work hard to craft informative, high-quality images that sell the benefits of your product using attention-retaining graphics and powerful story-driven text.
There are two types of images you need to consider – your main image and your sub-images.
Amazon’s Terms Of Service (TOS) states that your title image should only show your product and should be on a completely white background.
Working within these guidelines, your goal is to be as creative as you possibly can in creating a title image that pops out to shoppers as they scroll through Amazon listings.
This first image will be one of the key factors for attracting a good click-through rate on to your listing and therefore shouldn’t be overlooked.
Use as little white space as possible by filling the image right up to the edge with your product, leaving just a small border.
Remember, Amazon’s page background is white, so this border only needs to be very small as there will automatically be a large amount of white space around your product.
Get creative with the use of your product in order to make this first image really stand out.
Use packaging, accessories, etc in the image to make it look substantial and ideally colourful. Look at the rest of the market, see what would stand out to your target audience, and work to create a scroll stopper!
In most categories, there is space for six sub-images that appear by default, with some allowing for one or two more when clicking through.
It is absolutely crucial that this “prime real estate” is utilized to its full potential.
The optimization of this area has the power to drive a significant increase in conversions when done right.
As mentioned, our advice with this particular area is to infuse engaging imagery – including product images, lifestyle shots and on-brand colours that pop – with story-driven and benefit-rich text.
Inside Brand Builder University we share our repeatable image formula you can adopt and build upon for your own products.
Here’s a brief run-down.
Image 1: Main Image
The key focus of the main image is standing out.
Ensure the image is full of color, will attract the attention of scrolling browsers and encourage a click.
The image must be of the product only (but accessories or packaging can be included) and must be on a pure white background.
Image 2, 3, & 4: Benefit Images
High-quality product images with overlaid text featuring a power statement clearly outlining the key benefit of the product.
This is usually followed up with further graphics, callouts, and text in order to expand on the benefit.
Image 5: Trust Image
An image containing a review, a highlight of any satisfaction guarantee policy, or ideally both!
This image goes a long way to create trust in your brand and product and has been shown to increase conversion rates on product listings.
Image 6: Comparison Image
Highlighting the clear differences between your product and that of competitors is an under-utilized yet incredibly powerful strategy.
You immediately create a picture in the customer’s mind that your product is superior. Of course, you should endeavour to make sure these images are accurate.
Image 7: Utility Image
Generally, we would finish off the photo package with a utility image.
Examples of utility images would include ‘how-to’ diagrams if a product is technical in nature, or details of dimensions, quantities and other key components included with a product.
Include bold power-statement titles and short captions that draw out the benefits.
Ensure each image builds on the previous one to tell the story of your product.
Remember, you can pull the arc of this story directly from your copy if you have followed our recommended process.
Simply hand your copy to a good graphic designer, along with some guidance on the type of images you are looking for and they should be able to create this kind of image with no problem given the quality of copy you will be providing.
Creating informative product videos
Product videos have become an incredibly effective selling tool in recent years.
High-quality product videos are proven to increase conversions and lower return rates, so we believe that including them as part of your Amazon listing is a no-brainer.
An effective Amazon listing video clearly communicates product benefits and shows the product in use.
It’s also important to think mobile-first when creating the video.
That means big text and clear shots showing the product nice and large to make sure anyone viewing on a handheld device can still learn everything they need to in order to purchase.
Check out all the other specifications you need to be aware of in our detailed guide on creating Amazon listing videos here.
Creating high-quality A+ Content
Once you have put the building blocks of copy, images and video in place, you can take things to the next level by utilising the extra space and branding opportunities that Amazon provide with A+ Content (formerly Enhanced Brand Content).
This is, without exaggeration, one of the greatest opportunities for increased conversion available to you on Amazon, and should NOT be ignored.
This feature is available only to brands that have a registered trademark and are subsequently enrolled in the Brand Registry program.
We highly recommend carrying out this process as soon as possible in your Amazon selling journey so you can access all the benefits it provides.
A+ Content is incredibly powerful as it gives far more screen space, customization options, and general visibility to your product and brand.
The sheer size of this space on desktop is far more eye-catching than any other section of your listing, and the prominence of this section toward the top of listings on mobile also causes a spike in conversions on handheld devices.
A+ Content consists of a branded logo banner and 5 further “modules” of content.
This replaces the product description section, so bear that in mind when creating your content and be sure to include the important aspects here too.
Amazon gives the option of a number of different layouts for modules to include in your A+ Content layout.
We recommend taking the time to see which layout will work best for the content you have in mind for your product and, as ever, study top-performing competitors to see what is working well for them.
Generally speaking, you should use this space for more detailed information, diagrams, infographics and lifestyle images.
What we have found to work particularly well is a good mix of lifestyle images showing happy people using your product in context along with infographic-style images to further call out features and benefits.
Given the ever-increasing volume of traffic on mobile devices, it’s also essential to optimize with mobile in mind.
So, choose module layouts that work well for mobile and keep any text within images a good size so it is still readable when on mobile devices.
Create an optimized pricing strategy
The final step for the Creation stage is optimizing your price.
It’s important to note that optimizing price does not mean setting it as low as possible.
If you’ve done everything as advised up until this point you should be in a position to command a price in line with your competition at the very least, perhaps even a little more towards premium pricing.
However, it’s also worth noting that when launching a brand new product to the market we would usually recommend setting an aggressive (low) launch price.
A new product with no history and no reviews needs to give some other reason for customers to buy.
Granted, part of that reason should be your benefits and differentiation factors that are well communicated throughout your listing.
But being aggressive with pricing early can be a big help in gaining early sales which will lead to organic visibility and allow you to optimize price to more premium levels over time.
Like many factors covered in this guide there will need to be continual testing – but more on that in Stage 4!
Testing for pricing psychology
The science of pricing is fascinating and there’s an entire industry built around it.
We could write an entire blog post on this subject, but in the interest of keeping things concise, we’ll just cover a few key points here.
From our experience, one of the most important things to understand when it comes to pricing on Amazon is the psychology of pricing.
What we mean by this is how customers perceive prices when they are making a purchase decision and how, as a result, you can optimize your own prices to subconsciously encourage conversions.
The key pricing principle most sellers tend to focus on is the idea that the first number a customer sees in a price anchors their perception of value for the rest of the digits in the price.
For example, if you see a product priced at $49.99 it will likely seem cheaper than one priced at $50.00 – even though it’s only a 1 cent difference!
So make sure you test this too.
Testing coupons for a further boost
The final note on price is that part of your optimization strategy should include on-Amazon discounts.
Coupons (as they are called in the US – Vouchers in EU) are a great way to increase the optimization of your listing.
Coupons show up as a visible discount on the search results and inside your listing.
This often causes increased click-through rates and conversions, so consider using this feature as the cherry on top of your listing.
If you can’t afford the discount, consider increasing your price to allow for the discount. We’ve found this to actually convert better even if the end result is the same figure.
Phew… some big Amazon listing optimization work in this section. But we’re not done yet! It’s time for Stage 3.
Stage 3: Populate with reviews & answers
When it comes to populating your listing, we’re talking about the aspects of your listing that take time to develop and that you can’t simply create immediately as in Stage 2.
The first and most essential aspect of this stage is of course reviews.
Populating your listing with customer reviews
You may have been wondering when we were going to mention this – the bane of many an Amazon seller’s life.
Well, it’s time to get stuck in!
As you will likely know by now, reviews on Amazon are a crucial currency in the search for success. When creating your listing, you’ll have no product ratings whatsoever.
Therefore populating your product pages with high-quality reviews is an urgent priority and there are three factors you should be considering.
Quantity of reviews
It goes without saying, the more reviews the better.
The higher your review count the more people will trust the history of your product, and this trust is an essential element in the purchasing decisions of buyers.
When it comes to generating more reviews there is a wide range of options available to you.
Some of these briefly include:
- Running an Amazon Vine campaign
- Robust automated follow-up email sequences
- Physical product inserts inside product packaging
- Running social media marketing to grow your brand’s email list allowing you to directly follow up with customers off Amazon
Quality of reviews
Alongside the review count, there is also the review rating. The maximum rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
What defines a “good” rating is somewhat product category-specific given that product categories such as electronics would generally attract a lower review rating due to the common nature of faults within this type of product.
Generally speaking though, we would highly recommend doing everything within your power to keep your review rating at 4 stars as a minimum.
The minute your rating drops to a 3.5 it can have a significant impact on your conversion rateand sales volume.
Of course, there’s only so much you can do about the review rating of your product and as such the focus should be on overall product quality.
It’s very rare to see negative reviews removed by Amazon, but that shouldn’t stop you trying should you deem them to be unfair or malicious in nature.
Often the best use of time and energy when it comes to improving your review rating is to focus on generating new and better reviews by leveraging the methods already discussed.
Visibility of reviews
Finally, the visibility of reviews is of great importance. When scanning a product listing, a shopper is only shown the top reviews without clicking through to see further reviews.
Many shoppers will make a buying decision from the reviews they see on the main listing page alone.
Therefore it’s essential to have the best, most positive reviews as prominent as possible in order to aid conversions.
The determining factor for the prominence (or otherwise) of reviews is the interaction of shoppers with those reviews.
Reviews that are more often voted as helpful are more likely to rise up the list and appear more prominently.
We would advise against any “black-hat” methods of generating these up-votes, but if there are TOS-compliant methods you decide to use, it may well help make the key reviews more visible.
Populating your listing with helpful answers
The final step in populating your listing is the question and answer section.
This is of lesser importance than the other aspects of your listing, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Unfortunately, you will get customers who for whatever reason will fail to read your listing and will ask questions that you’ve already answered in your images and/or copy.
Don’t be frustrated by this, instead see it as an opportunity to reinforce the benefits of your product and provide some great customer service by replying to any questions as quickly as possible.
Stage 4: Iterate for continual improvement
Once you’ve investigated, created, and populated (say that with a mouth full of marbles!) it’s time to sit back and… do nothing.
Well, for a couple of weeks at least!
See, the thing is… an Amazon listing is never 100% optimized – only ever 99% maximum.
There is always room for improvement, and the subject of that improvement is revealed in the arena of testing.
But the first thing you should do once you’ve completed the first three stages is a whole lot of nothing.
Allow Amazon to go to work for you, sending traffic to your listing, and gathering the data that is going to drive your iteration decisions moving forward.
Try to iterate and optimize an existing listing too early, without data to go on, you’ll only ended up creating more confusion.
Once the data is in – we recommend gathering the data from 3 core metrics: impressions, clicks, and conversions – then you can begin to iterate.
Iterate for more impressions
An impression is simply when your Amazon listing shows up in search results.
In order to get more organic visibility, the first step is to include any relevant new keywords you find. Then, as you gain more sales through channels like Amazon PPC your listing will begin to appear more in search results.
To optimize for more impressions in the first stages of a new listing, add more search terms to the backend keywords, product description and bullet points.
Iterate for more clicks
Once you’re getting more impressions, the next step is to get more clicks through to your product listings.
Click-through rate can only be improved by elements that are visible in search results:
- Main image
- Product title
- Promotional coupons
For a detailed walkthrough on how to test and improve each of these, check out our guide on improving your Amazon click-through rate.
Iterate more conversions
Finally, once getting more clicks to your product detail page, the next stage is to iterate for conversions.
Conversion rate is improved by optimizing the on-page aspects of your product listing such as images, copy, reviews and promotions.
For a detailed walkthrough on how to improve Amazon conversion rate, check out our CVR guide here.
Remember: only change one aspect in your Amazon listings at a time.
In order to test and optimize your Amazon listing effectively, you need to isolate the changes you are making so you can determine what it is exactly that is causing any resulting changes.
Amazon listing optimization is an essential part of any Amazon FBA business.
It’s important to develop your digital marketing skills and understand the elements that make up a great listing and how you can use those elements to drive more traffic and conversions on the Amazon marketplace.
In this guide, we’ve looked at some of the key things you need to do in order to optimize your product listing.
From good keyword optimization through to title, bullet point and product description optimization to help with product ranking and through to visual aspects like images and videos.
Optimizing your Amazon listings is not an overnight process but we hope this guide has armed you with the knowledge you need to take your Amazon listings – and your business – to the next level.
If you want to learn more about how to optimize your Amazon listings or anything else related to being a successful Amazon seller then be sure to check out all that a Brand Builder University membership has to offer.