The Google vs. Amazon Search Engine

The Difference Between Amazon SEO and Google SEO

Ranking. Keywords. Indexation. Integration. Optimization. 

Whether you’re creating a company website or developing your listing for Amazon, everyone’s aiming for the top, the coveted first page of results. And everyone is always looking for new tips, tricks or insider info to help land their business, blog or listing there.

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), unfortunately there’s no silver bullet. We can’t offer any magic tricks or 100% guaranteed methods. What we can say is that you should not treat Google and Amazon SEO the same.

Google vs. Amazon SEO

While Amazon and Google are both search engines, their algorithms are different, their intended purpose is different, and users look to them with different goals in mind.

User Intent

Think about it. When you visit Google, are you always searching for a product? Likely not. You might be shopping for a new phone case, but you may also be looking up the menu to that sushi place you’ve been wanting to try, or the location of a nearby tire shop, or reviews for that movie you’ve been dying to see. Simply put, Google can be a product search engine, but it’s largely a research engine.

Amazon, on the other hand, is largely a product search engine. Users who end up on Amazon are further from the research phase and closer to the ready-to-buy phase. Consumers may not have a specific brand in mind when they go to Amazon, but they likely have a product in mind that they are hoping to purchase (if it meets their expectations and is reasonably priced).

So what does that mean for Google and Amazon SEO?

It means that consumers aren’t always using the same search terms across all platforms. Someone looking for a phone case might type “iPhone case reviews” or “iPhone case comparison” into the Google search bar but type “rubber iPhone case” or “durable iPhone case” into Amazon.

That’s not to say a user would never type the latter terms into Google. However, there may be keywords relevant for Google SEO that would have little to no value on Amazon. And with 55% of consumers beginning their product search on Amazon, you don’t want to waste time on invaluable keywords that won’t help you rank.

So if you’re using Google’s Keyword Planner exclusively to generate your keyword list, you might not be getting the whole scope of keywords needed for your product on Amazon.

Google SEO Algorithm

What factors does Google consider when ranking your page or product? While your content must have some relevance and keyword compatibility with a user’s search terms, Google pulls from several other factors to determine where you rank.


Since Google can take advantage of the millions of external websites at it’s disposal, links are a huge element of their algorithm. So the more external sites that link back to yours, or to a page on your site, the better.

Page Speed

Google also considers the speed and mobile compatibility of your page, the click through rate (the number of times your page is actually clicked into when viewed in search results), and the amount of unique content.

Keyword Ratio

Keyword stuffing no longer works for Google SEO. However, carefully placed repetition is still beneficial. And, you should focus on one major keyword or phrase while integrating a few other relevant words or long tail phrases.

Amazon SEO Algorithm

Amazon SEO does not abide by the same practices or consider the same factors for ranking. Because Amazon’s algorithm searches internally in their own site, external linking plays no factor in where you are ranked.

Of course, increased brand recognition and traffic from outside of Amazon may result in increased searches, sales and ranking inside Amazon. However, your external digital presence is not considered when ranking your product nor does Amazon allow sellers to link to external sites or product pages from their listing.

So what does Amazon factor in when ranking, you might ask?


While your impressions, or the number of clicks into your listing, is a valuable consideration in their algorithm, how many people actually end up purchasing your product is the major ranking metric. If you’ve got the sales volume (volume, not velocity, check out our podcast about this for more info), that helps drive the desired ranking. Although many other factors are also considered, a phone case with 1,000 sales will inevitably rank higher than one with 10.

Keyword Diversity

In terms of keyword integration, Amazon focuses more on quality and diversity than repetition. So a wider range of keywords is more beneficial than reusing or rewording the same long tail keywords.

In fact, long tail keywords are not yet necessary on Amazon at all. If “thick durable rubber iPhone case” is relevant to your product, you could use rubber iPhone case in the title, and thick or durable in separate bullet points and still rank when that term is searched.

Keep in mind that keywords used in the title carry the most weight, with keywords in the bullet points and then backend search terms following with less and less ranking power. At this point, our research has led us to believe that keywords used in the product description carry little to no ranking weight.

The Takeaway

While you may have a general understanding of Google SEO, using the same principles on Amazon won’t help you. In fact, they might hurt your ranking.

Treating each search engine, and the consumers who use them, as distinct platforms with different engagement metrics is the best way to achieve success on both.

If you’re still unsure how to use SEO to index and rank on Amazon, check out our listing optimization page and sign up to have one of our listing specialists optimize your listing for you! And, if you’re interested in selling outside of the US, Viral Launch is now offering International Listing Optimizations in select Amazon marketplaces to boost your global sales presence!

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