How to Prepare for the Amazon Policy Crackdown on Product Titles

The title of a product on Amazon carries a lot of weight when it comes to organic rank and click-through rates, and if your listing isn’t in step with the official style requirements, the upcoming Amazon policy enforcement should motivate you to make some changes.

Amazon recently announced that on July 22 it will be “suppressing ASINs from Amazon Search that violate Amazon’s title guidelines.” According to the announcement, the reason behind this new enforcement is that titles that don’t comply with Amazon’s guidelines “result in a poor customer experience.”

As shown in the news release above, the announcement mentions some specific requirements:

  • No promotional language can be used, such as “free shipping” or “100% quality guaranteed.”
  • Other examples would be “Best Seller” or “Hot Item.”
  • No non-readable characters can be used, such as HTML code.
  • The length of a title can’t exceed 200 characters. Titles must include “product identifying information,” which describes what the product is, such as a garlic press or first aid kit. 

Although not mentioned in the announcement, the Amazon Style Guide also contains a number of further requirements, such as using all caps or special characters (such as ! or $) being prohibited. 

No one wants their business to be disrupted, so it’s important to understand the effect of what this new level of Amazon policy enforcement may have on your brand, and then take some practical steps to ensure you can maintain your visibility and sales.

What This Means for Amazon Sellers

The most important element of a product listing is its title, and having it optimized for organic search is a vital part of gaining visibility under any conditions. 

The “suppression from search” for those who violate the title guidelines is open to interpretation,  but the announcement indicates that this suppression would actually be a removal from search entirely. 

Amazon mentions that if a product title is penalized, “[o]nce the issue is fixed, we will remove the search suppression and the ASIN will appear back on Amazon search.”

From this statement, the penalization wouldn’t be a matter of your product taking a drop in organic ranking and be languishing many pages deep in a search. It would be an outright elimination from organic search, and the effect on your product’s visibility and sales would bring your business to a halt.

Considering the amount of products that exist in Amazon’s marketplace, how quickly they will be able to roll out this tighter enforcement is uncertain. It likely won’t happen immediately, yet ensuring your title is compliant with the style guide so that your product remains searchable should be your current top priority. 

Getting Your Listing Ready for Compliance 

To avoid losing visibility, ranking, and sales, we’ve provided a list of crucial steps for becoming compliant with the title guidelines.

In case you aren’t clear on the guidelines or need access to them, we’ve created a downloadable spreadsheet, Amazon Style Guides by Category. It breaks down what the title counts have previously been for each category and provides links to the style guides for each category. The announcement states that title character counts cannot exceed 200 characters, so it remains to be seen if certain categories will continue to be limited to 50 characters. 

Another requirement in some categories is that businesses must include their brand name in their product titles. Although this helps promote your brand, it essentially restricts the character limit even more, forcing business to balance visibility, precision, and helpful information.

In order to be prepared before the deadline arrives, these five tasks will help you stay compliant and avoid any issues:

1. Access your style guide from our spreadsheet and track down the category-specific limitations for your title. Find what the exact character count and if you’re exempt from having to include your brand name. Keep in mind that the style guides may be updated after this article has been published, so be sure to stay up-to-date.

2. Write a new title, staying within the new limit for your category and including your brand name, if required. Our tool Listing Builder can help you quickly devise a new one and move any previous info from your title into your bullet points.

3. Set up organic rank notifications for a particular keyword in Keyword Manager. Go to the Notification Settings, and under Rank Change Notifications, choose to receive messages based on whether the rank increases or drops, or only if it drops. You can then specify how high or low you want the rank positions to be and in this instance you should set wide parameters for the notifications. The tool will then message you if your organic rank changes after the new policy goes into effect. (You can also receive notifications on your Sponsored Rank, as shown in the GIF below.)

4. Set up buy box and Best Seller Rank notifications in Competitor Intelligence for your ASINs. If any changes occur, you’ll be informed and can respond. Using CI, you can track keywords a competitor is targeting and indexed for, and see the keywords’ organic rank. You can then choose to receive change alerts for the keywords’ ranking. This can occur on an hourly basis, as shown below.

5. If you’re notified that your ASIN is affected, implement your new title and bullets to your product listing. After you make this update, Amazon will re-index your listing, so you’ll temporarily see a drop in your organic ranking, but based on your sales history, reviews, and traffic, you’ll see your rank resume its position.

Stay Compliant, Stay Successful

The recent announcement regarding titles has received a variety of different reactions, and many sellers may be asking why it took Amazon so long to enforce its own policy. Whether you’re in favor of the crackdown or giving it the thumbs-down, ensuring your title meets Amazon’s policy requirements will keep you from being penalized with a loss in visibility and help maintain your sales opportunities. 

For any help getting in step with Amazon’s product title guidelines, contact us at service@viral-launch.com. Our team can ensure your product listing complies with Amazon’s style guide and is optimized to increase your visibility, conversions, and business growth.

3 Amazon SEO Tips from Viral Launch Lead Copywriter Yale Schalk (Follow the Data Ep. 22)

3 Amazon SEO Tips from Viral Launch Lead Copywriter Yale Schalk (Follow the Data Ep. 22)

Keywords are what set your listing up to rank well and sell well, but there’s a catch. People also need to understand what your product is and what it does from your copy. How can you inform shoppers and do Amazon search optimization at the same time? Join hosts Cameron Yoder and CEO Casey Gauss for this conversation with Viral Launch Lead Copywriter Yale Schalk. And find out how to set up the best possible listing with these 3 Amazon SEO tips.

 

Listen on iTunes   Listen on Stitcher

Follow the Data Show Notes

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:
Contrary to common belief, getting ranking on Amazon is not about lowering your BSR. It’s about getting sales attributed to a keyword. Keywords are what set your listing up to rank well and sell well, but there’s a catch. People also need to understand what your product is and what it does from your copy. How can you inform shoppers and capture all your product’s keywords at the same time?

I’m Cameron Yoder, your host for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success. In this show we leverage the data we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 30,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.

In today’s episode I sit down with our Lead Listing Specialist, Yale Schalk, to talk about the best practices for writing an Amazon listing. We’ll talk about the keyword research, writing for Amazon SEO and how to convert shoppers. Let’s jump in.

So okay, we have Yale in with us today. Casey’s also sitting in on this.

CASEY GAUSS:
What’s up, guys?

CAMERON YODER:
So we’re talking to Yale today about listing optimizations. First, Yale, thank you so much for coming in on the show. How are you feeling about being on the podcast?

YALE SCHALK:
Awesome. Awesome, Cam. Really, really excited to debut on our expertly-produced podcast, which by the way I just want to say that everyone should be subscribed to, and you know, every morning you wake up just find your nearest rooftop and shout it and tell everyone. But yeah, excited for that and really excited to kind of jump into some key information that I really know is going to help a lot of people out there.

CAMERON YODER:
Yale is also already on the ball with recommending the podcast, which is great. I love it. Yale is our Lead Listing Specialist, okay? And he’s been a veteran writer with 10 years of experience writing about retail products. So he’s written for brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok and is known in the office for his excellent taste in sneakers, okay? So actually Yale, what is your favorite pair of sneakers?

YALE SCHALK:
Oh, wow, that’s – it’s literally an impossible thing to answer. You know, obviously, I was raised on Michael Jordan and Air Jordan sneakers, so I can at least narrow it down to that, but from there it’s all bets are off. There’s just too many.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, all that being said, Yale is definitely deserving to be on this podcast talking about listing optimization when it comes to Amazon specifically. But before we dive into Amazon-specific SEO and Amazon-specific listing ops, I want Yale – Yale, can you touch on just SEO in general, SEO as a practice?

YALE SCHALK:
Absolutely, for sure. So you know, when people think of, you know, the term SEO or, you know, properly search engine optimization, you know they think of Google, right? They think of, you know, their minds go right to Google because Google is this ubiquitous thing that is just out there. So but SEO is not confined to Google. You know, it’s like if you’ve ever seen the movie The Matrix, you know at the end when Neo sees everything in just this digital rain, and it’s just like streaming lines of green code everywhere, you know, I like to think of SEO like that. I think it’s, you know, it’s very much in the fiber of anything that you search on the internet, and it’s necessary, you know, any time that you type something into a search bar.

CASEY GAUSS:
Well put.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, The Matrix.

CASEY GAUSS:
I love that analogy. If you haven’t seen The Matrix you just missed out on a great analogy.

CAMERON YODER:
Watch The Matrix, buy some sneakers, and then you’ll be set. So that’s general SEO, right? So can you move further maybe into like, I don’t know, Amazon or Google specifically?

YALE SCHALK:
Absolutely. So the way it works is basically that, you know, the input for a search is almost always language, and then the search algorithm uses that language to return a set of results, and then to get your content in that results list you have to give the algorithm basically what it wants. So then that begs the question, okay, so what does the algorithm want? In terms of Google SEO, that’s about proving credibility with, you know, relevant headings and meta-descriptions and links, and of course language for Amazon. It’s different from the standard SEO set up in that the results exist within Amazon’s platform. You know, for example, you don’t navigate to a different domain when you click on a result. So Google looks for site credibility with links and traffic, while Amazon looks for language, you know, or specifically keywords. So it’s really important for everyone to keep in mind that Amazon is really its own ecosystem when it comes to how searches are conducted and how those searches help determine the results you get when you or, you know, your potential customer, is looking for something.

CASEY GAUSS:
And I think it’s important to mention that – I think this is a stat from either 2016 or 2017, but over I think it’s like 55% of product searches begin on Amazon. So when it comes to king of search engines, when it comes to product searches, I think Amazon takes the crown.

YALE SCHALK:
Absolutely.

CAMERON YODER:
And that’s something I don’t think a lot of people think of, simply put, Amazon as a search engine. But in fact, like you said, it is, and listings in a sense really are all about SEO when it comes to Amazon specifically. So Yale, would you be able to introduce to us just some tips, maybe three basic tips that you have for everyone when it comes to listing optimization and keyword optimization on Amazon?

YALE SCHALK:
Absolutely, for sure. And you know, I think the good set up for this is like, you know, obviously everyone wants the highest visibility for their product. You know, ideally that’s page one. That’s what everyone wants to be on Amazon. So you really cannot afford to overlook the importance of keywords when assembling your product listing. You know you can have, and you know I never tire of saying this, but like you can have breathtaking photos, and you can have the most exquisite product description, but you know, without the proper keywords and the correct placement of those keywords in the listing, you know you’re basically – you know you’ve got a Ferrari with no engine. You know, it’s looking amazing, but it’s not going anywhere. So I just really want to emphasize, you know, first off that, you know, you can’t just throw information together and hope something happens. You know, I can tell you that it won’t. It doesn’t work that way. So it’s vital to get that keyword foundation in place.

So I would say for the first tip is plurals, plurals of words. So Amazon says that they account for plurals of words. So if you search swaddle blanket, you know, you’ll get different results than if you search swaddle blankets. So some listings will have, you know, both the plural and the singular form of the keyword while others won’t. So when someone searches blankets it’s, you know, hard for the algorithm to determine, you know, what exactly that person is expecting. So the algorithm is very smart, but it has its blind spots, and so one of the blind spots is it doesn’t know, you know, for example for this example that, you know, if you’re looking for multi-packs of swaddle blankets or if they’re looking for all the swaddle blankets on Amazon, so having both forms of the word, you know, or multiple forms of those words, those keywords, is really important for you to show up in any search related to your main search terms.

CAMERON YODER:
So tip number one, overall is suggesting to use both the singular and plural form of your primary keyword, or how many keywords do you think this would apply to?

YALE SCHALK:
I would say as long as you’re starting with your root keyword you want to kind of work in maybe the most common – and this is something that you’ll be able to kind of see in your keyword research, but and you’ll be able to notice patterns of what people are searching for, but usually you’ll just find like those simple little variations, those little, like little degrees of that root word, you know, just plurals and just different tenses of the word that people might throw in there when they’re searching for products.

CASEY GAUSS:
I think it’s important to mention also, I think one common mistake, and I don’t know if this is one of the tips, but you know, people always want to know am I indexed for this word. So just because you’re indexing for a word does not mean that you’re driving the same amount of keyword power or keyword juice, however you want to refer to it, to those words. So this is an important concept, and you’ll hear more about it.

YALE SCHALK:
For sure.

CAMERON YODER:
Let’s go on to tip number two.

YALE SCHALK:
Tip number two. Tip number two is keyword stuff the title. Yeah, you heard that right. Keyword stuff the title. So there’s been – this has always sort of been a philosophical debate on, you know, are you going to be rewarded if you keyword stuff? Are you going to be penalized if you keyword stuff? But I can tell you in the case of Amazon, in the Amazon world you’re going to be rewarded. So the title is definitely the most important, you know, real estate in your listing in terms of SEO. So you should really use as many keywords as you can fit, you know, without compromising quality or under-serving your character limit or overstepping that. I mean when you overstep that’s definitely something you’ll be penalized for, but so you know, what do I mean by compromising quality? So you know you have to make sure that you’re showing shoppers the information they’re looking for, like you know, things like ounces or fluid ounces might be important to consider, you know, if they’re considering price, or you know, certain features like dimensions or certifications like organic are there to include. So you know, this tip is really about just including as many super relevant keywords, you know, while leaving just enough space for those important, you know, product tidbits that people are looking for.

CASEY GAUSS:
And I always like to say, you know, I would much rather have, you know, a 3% lower click through rate because my title isn’t as beautiful but rank for, you know, twice as many keywords or three times as many keywords simply because I’m putting them in the title versus having that super short, you know, elegant, you know, four-word title that has like my brand name and just a few other words. Let’s say it’s a frying pan, so brand, you know, stainless steel frying pan. There are so many additional words that you need to be including in your title to maximize the position and total volume of keywords that you can rank for; well, rank well for. And so yeah, I would much rather have this longer title, rank for so many more keywords than you have this beautiful title that may drive slightly higher click through rates.

CAMERON YODER:
Yale, what’s your opinion on having the brand name in a title?

YALE SCHALK:
It’s awesome that you mentioned that because I was just going to follow up on that point. Yeah, a thing that I really want to talk about for a second is not insisting on including brand names in titles. I empathize with, you know, every seller that, you know, wants to do that. I mean, everyone wants to have the competitive advantage and get their brand out there, but I would say that you have to apply a pass/fail in terms of your brand name. So look at it this way. You just have to treat it as another keyword, and if there aren’t a ton of people searching for your brand name, then it’s always a good rule of thumb to substitute in an actual, you know, high-volume search term instead of your brand name. And I know that there might be a conception out there that, you know, people aren’t going to see your brand and you know, that’s something like that’s going to be a disadvantage for you, but you know, don’t worry. It will show up – you know, your brand is going to show up in the subheading. You just want to make sure that you make the most use of the title.

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, to summarize it, people, you know, aren’t searching your brand name. If they are searching your brand name they’re going to see it in the search results. It says, you know, by brand in most categories. And even if not, if they’re searching for your brand name they should know what your packaging looks like because you should have cohesive labels or packaging or whatever in your photos. They will recognize your brand. You should not be concerned about them recognizing or not recognizing your brand. And by including that brand name in your title you’re just wasting super, super valuable character space.

CAMERON YODER:
I think the question should be what more valuable words you can put into your title that would take the place of your brand name.

YALE SCHALK:
Absolutely.

CAMERON YODER:
Yale, what is tip number three?

YALE SCHALK:
Tip three, prioritize keywords and then write your copy. Yeah, this is another thing that I’ve seen a lot where maybe sellers get focused on, you know, really fleshing out their copy, their listing, and they’re focused on, you know, stuffing as much information and even sort of messaging, you know, that they’ve come up with into the listing. But I would say that, as we’ve said, you know keyword is king, and you really have to sort of like lay that foundation first and then, you know, work in your copy from there. You know, again, it seems to make a lot of sense to look at your listing from your sort of branding ideas and everything like that. But you’ve got to get the keywords right, and then you know, then you can provide the insight and wrap everything around that.

CASEY GAUSS:
I think this fits well, actually, with your second tip, which was keyword stuffing the title. In a lot of cases I think people have a rough time picturing where – and correct me if I’m wrong, Yale, but people have a tough time picturing where to get started with keywords, and so maybe they’ll write – they’ll try to eloquently put together like a string of words that connect well, maybe have some keywords in, and then they’ll try to like piece together other keywords that they want to put into the sentence that they’ve developed.

YALE SCHALK:
Right.

CASEY GAUSS:
When in this case you’re saying like no, start with the foundation, like with your title. Let’s say with your title. Start with the foundation of as many keywords of like a bunch of high-end keywords, keywords that are going to convert or have a lot of traffic leading to them. Start with that foundation of all those keywords, and then maybe piece them together. Is that what you’re saying?

YALE SCHALK:
Oh, for sure, for sure. I mean you really do, like we said, with the title you really have to get the right keywords up there upfront and you know obviously try to assemble those in, you know, the most beautiful way that you can and sort of balance, you know, walk that line of getting the keywords and getting the product information up there for people, and then from there it’s really just a matter of prioritizing.

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, and this is what I was kind of alluding to earlier that I didn’t want to go into because I didn’t want to steal Yale’s thunder, but just because you are indexed for a word does not mean you are driving the same amount of ranking power. So what this means is just because you have, you know, keyword XYZ in your description that yes, you – or a bullet point or whatever – yes, you will be indexing for that, but just because you are indexing because the word is in a bullet point doesn’t mean you’re driving the optimal amount of power, and you’ll drive that optimal amount of power by having it in the title, preferably the highest volume keywords at the beginning.

CAMERON YODER:
Yale, can you touch on just a little bit about how much energy people should be putting into their bullets, into their descriptions or their backend keywords? I think a lot of people tend to freak out about the bullets as much as they do the title. And you already mentioned that the title is going to be your primary keyword ranking driver, but where are the other aspects of a listing when coming into this?

YALE SCHALK:
Oh wow, yeah, so you the – yeah, of course, like we said, the title is obviously the most important part, and you know, where the keywords are really prioritized there. But from there I think the most important point for crafting your listing is to keep in mind that buyers by and large are on Amazon to basically scan information. They’re not there to, you know, read novel length listings, and a lot of the times yes, you know, obviously your product information is obviously helpful when they’re, you know, comparing products and trying to make a decision. But a lot of the time they’re just scanning that information, and they need it very succinctly. They need it very concisely, and that’s really going to a lot of times be the difference between, you know, someone adding your product to cart and checking out and, you know, maybe passing over and going with someone else. So yeah, definitely keep that in mind. You know, think of it in terms of a priority list. So the title is the number one priority, then the bullets number two, product description three, and so on. So yeah, definitely assemble your information accordingly.

CAMERON YODER:
Yale, is there anything else that you’d want people listening to know, even if it’s just in general, about listing ops or if you’d want to summarize in any way? What more, what else do people need to know?

YALE SCHALK:
I would say, you know, I think the thing that comes to mind most for me is that each segment of the Amazon selling process is so important. And you know, that’s really why Viral Launch exists. You know, we exist to help you get that right. You know, so I would say use our software. Get in touch with us to do your product photography. Get in touch with us to do your listings. You know, we really have – we’ve really refined and really perfected the entire process. So you know, we really are here to help you be successful.

CAMERON YODER:
That’s great. Casey, do you have anything to add?

CASEY GAUSS:
No, Yale’s just been killing it. You know I think that too many people – you know, I’ve definitely seen plenty of people say, you know, I don’t have time for keyword research. I don’t have time to put into my listing so I just threw something up, and I’m moving on. Essentially people just look at it as just another box to check, and the thing is like Yale mentioned at the very beginning of the listing, or sorry, the podcast, the listing is absolutely critical to achieving success on Amazon, especially as you continue to enter more and more competitive markets. The greater the level of competition, the greater your listing needs to be from a, you know, keyword structure standpoint. So if this is not on point it’s going to be so much more difficult for you to drive rankings, to sustain rankings and to drive sales. And so if you aren’t willing to take the time to invest in this listing, you know, I think your Amazon FBA journey is going to be pretty difficult.

CAMERON YODER:
This is one of those – it’s another one of those no-brainers. It goes with photos. Like why would you not have the best photos possible? Why would you not have the best listing optimization possible? If you don’t optimize this, if you don’t put energy or effort into it, then you’re not going to get the results that you could if you would have put that time or those resources into it.

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, it’s just another corner that people like to cut that really ends up biting them, you know, later.

CAMERON YODER:
Don’t cut corners. In this case one of those corners is listing optimization. So do not cut listing optimization.

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, I got good feedback from somebody at a conference that I spoke at this weekend, and they loved the – you know, everybody’s looking for that silver bullet. And we say you don’t need a silver bullet. You need an arsenal. And one of those weapons in your armory needs to be an amazing listing.

CAMERON YODER:
Well thank you so much, Yale, for joining us and for providing so much valuable information on listing ops.

YALE SCHALK:
Absolutely.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, that is all for this week. Thank you so much for listening to Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information about how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and check us out on YouTube. For those of you who are looking for your next great product I have a series of product discovery walk-throughs videos on our YouTube channel that show you really how to leverage the tool. Just search Viral Launch on YouTube, go to our page and look for my face in one of the videos. Don’t forget to leave us a review and let us know what you think of the show. And if you really like the show and you like what we’re doing here at Viral Launch, tell your fellow Amazon sellers about us. We want to be a resource for sellers and the information source in this space. So please tell your friends, spread the word and share the show with other Amazon sellers.

Thank you, again, so much for listening. Feel absolutely free to hit us up on Facebook or tweet at us if you have any questions or feedback. And if you want to be featured on the show or have an Amazon related question or an idea for an episode, feel free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Also feel free to just hit us up on Facebook or tweet at us if you want to be featured on the show, too. We can always take those questions and feature them on the show if you don’t want to call in. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.

Video on Amazon Listings: An Experienced Seller’s Perspective (Follow the Data Ep. 16)

Video on Amazon Listings: An Experienced Seller’s Perspective (Follow the Data Ep. 16)

Join Amazon Seller Coach, Cameron, as he discusses the effects of video on Amazon listings with special guest Kyle Goguen of Pawstruck, an experienced Amazon seller. Kyle shares insights gained from testing out video on his own products, and together they speculate about the future of video on Amazon.

Listen on iTunes

Follow the Data Show Notes

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:

Hey, guys, what’s up? We have Kyle with us today. Kyle has been a seller on Amazon for a little while. Kyle, can you just say hello and intro yourself a little bit?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Hey, everyone. Yeah, Kyle from Pawstruck.com. I’ve been selling on Amazon – I think it’s been two-and-a-half, three years now, and prior to that launched the company in 2014. We sell on our own website, obviously Amazon, eBay and a few other channels. But as of late we’ve been focusing a lot on Amazon.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Okay. So I actually – I always love asking people, sellers this when we bring them on and when I’m talking to them, but from your perspective how much has Amazon changed? How much has the Amazon game changed since when you first started?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, so you figure it’s only been a couple years, but things have changed drastically since I started. I would say in the beginning I didn’t really know what I was doing on Amazon, to say the least. And then it’s like as soon as you learn new strategies on how to launch products and promote products, it all seems to change, which I think is a good and bad thing. It definitely pays off for people who stay on top of the latest trends and strategies. Kind of sets yourself apart from the competition. So I like it, and overall I think we set ourselves up well for growth here in 2018 and in the future.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Yeah, that’s really good. And that actually kind of leads into something that we’re talking about today. So our topic today is all about video and video on Amazon. And this is something that’s – video on Amazon is something that’s super interesting that not too many people are talking about right now. It did get some buzz a little back when the beta was first announced and when people first found out about it, that Amazon was bringing video to sellers on Seller Central. But we’re focusing on video today, and Kyle has been a user of video on Amazon. He’s been – and correct me if I’m wrong, but you were part of the beta. I’m not actually quite sure how soon you were able to get in with video. How long have you had video on Amazon?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

I don’t remember the exact date, but it’s got to be – I would say over a year, at least. I was in the Amazon Exclusives program, and that’s how I initially got access to it through some contacts I made through that program. And since then I’ve actually left Exclusives, but I still have access to some of the tools, which include video.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Gotcha. But so baseline you’ve really had some decent time to see how to work with video on Amazon, see what it’s done for you, right?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, definitely.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Okay. So first question, first question for you, for all of our viewers; how – just generally speaking, how has video affected your listings?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Sure. So I guess the first thing I want to go through is all the places that we currently are using video, just to explain that for the listeners, and then I’ll let them know what I think it’s done for our sales and listings. So the first place we have it on a listing would be in the thumbnails. You’ll see it kind of right next to the photos. I’m sure everyone’s seen that before. It’s got a play button, and when you click on it it will play a video just in place of where the main image is. That’s one place. The second place we have it is about halfway down the page. You’ll see video under a related video short section. So we also use that. And the third place we upload video is on our Amazon storefront, which is fairly new, and we’ve got kind of a whole, almost like our own website within Amazon built out. And on each of those pages we’ve used video to show off our products in use. So on – I guess when you’re asking how has it affected our listing, it’s a tough question to answer.

 

CAMERON YODER:

I know, I know, I know.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, like most things on Amazon, they don’t give you a whole lot of data, which is too bad. You wish you had access to it, but it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to share it with the sellers.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Right.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

So I can’t tell you how many people have viewed videos, how long they watch our videos or anything like that. And unfortunately when I did upload the videos, you know, we were making a lot of changes to our listings, so I wasn’t even really able to say like A/B test, you know, conversion rate before a video or post videos because we changed so much it really wouldn’t be a fair way of measuring success. So I basically just have to give you my gut feeling.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Yeah, yeah.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

And my gut tells me that it’s definitely helped. Our conversion rates based on my research and talking to other sellers are equal if not much higher than other sellers or people in my industry. So I definitely think it can’t hurt you. It can only help you if you do it the right way.

 

CAMERON YODER:

So these three locations for videos – so you said in the thumbnails and kind of halfway down the listings and then on your Amazon storefront. Is there one – are all of these videos in each of these places the same, or have you created unique content for each of them?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

So for us we had our videos done kind of all in bulk, so product videos, for example, they would shoot just one single product video, and we would upload the same video in all the places. So we didn’t customize it necessarily, but you absolutely could, depending on your needs. You can – it’s not like they’re all connected together, I guess. You upload them separately, so they can have different versions if you felt like one was better.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Okay, so you basically have the ability to customize putting a unique video at the top in the thumbnails, for example, or like a unique video halfway down?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, absolutely. And my gut also tells me that the video at the top I would assume gets a lot more views than the one halfway down the page. It kind of gets lost in all the other product recommendations and reviews and everything down there. But since we have the ability to do it, we upload it there, too, and so more people can see the video.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Sure. And that seems consistent with the, I mean just photos in general and thumbnail photos and EBC all in kind of the same way. With your videos that you’ve implemented have you found any customers giving feedback, or have you gotten any direct feedback from customers that have bought your products or looked at your videos?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, all the time. So we definitely try to interact with our customers as much as possible. We send out automatic emails after every purchase and every delivery and shipment. We definitely get a lot of responses that reference our videos.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Interesting.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

So we sell dog products, and so our videos show, you know, dogs chewing our products or using it. So a lot of times we’ll get comments about how adorable or cute the videos were, or how helpful they were, or maybe just a follow-up question, something that we didn’t clarify in the video. They’ll mention that they watched the video and they had a question about X, Y, and Z. We also see it in our reviews. A lot of times people will reference the videos on the listings for whatever reason. So we definitely know people are watching them. We don’t know how many.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Do you think – right, unfortunately. Do you think there’s a little bit of a wow factor when it comes to videos on listings because it’s still – honestly it’s beginning to get standardized kind of, but it’s still pretty new? Do you think people still have that wow factor when they watch videos?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, I would think so. I would think it’s definitely a way to set yourself apart from your competitors and other listings if you have video and it’s well done and they don’t. That’s a great way to set yourself apart, especially if you have a really high priced product, or something really technical, or one like ours that requires a high level of trust to purchase. I think video can be a way of kind of earning that trust or really showing people why they should trust you to spend that kind of money on a product because sometimes photos don’t do a product justice.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Right.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Or people don’t want to take the time to read a description to understand how it works or what it does. So our products are pretty simple. We don’t do any how-to videos, but I could definitely see where a how-to video would be helpful for a technical product in setting yourself apart.

 

CAMERON YODER:

That’s good. So technically speaking, I mean again you’ve had experience in setting up videos with your listings. Is it easy to do? Is it just easy to upload like an MP4 into Amazon and just like oh, there it is straight into my listing, or is it kind of complicated?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

It is pretty basic. Assuming that you have a normal video file and that your video is compliant with Amazon’s requirements – so definitely look into that. Like I’m sure you can’t – you know I couldn’t run videos saying like go shop on Pawstruck.com. You know, so you have to make sure your video actually complies with Amazon’s terms of services for videos. But assuming you do all the right things there it is just a matter of hitting the upload button and entering, you know, a title and so on. So it’s pretty basic.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Interesting. Well, that’s good to know. So as a whole – again, just generally speaking video is a little bit newer, and it was in beta. Again, it was in a beta program that you had to get accepted into, and it kind of got rolled out to people that were brand registered. And now it’s beginning to have more of a mass adoption with sellers that are brand registered. Do you think that video specifically is something that sellers should be putting their time and energy into right now?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, absolutely, especially if you have an off-Amazon presence in any way. If you’re running any sort of off-Amazon advertising campaigns, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, something like that, or you have your own website, it definitely makes sense because the money you invest in video is obviously going to help you on Amazon, but you can also repurpose a lot of those videos. So something I haven’t really mentioned yet, but from our videos we have dogs using our products, and we are able to take high res screenshots or screen captures from various frames. So we’re able to get photos of the dogs using the product. And we use those photos as our secondary images on the product. So it’s kind of serving as both a video and a way to generate really good, high-quality photos.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Interesting.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

And we’ve also had the company that we use to produce the videos make shorter versions that are used for advertisements. So you can repurpose the videos in a different way, maybe to optimize for Facebook ads, for example, or Instagram. So you can get a lot of use out of them, and that helps a little bit with that upfront cost that I’m sure you’ll have to pay.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Gotcha. So you talked a little bit about focusing off of Amazon. Have you found really good – I mean you’re able to – people generally are able to track attrition, I guess, or if people convert better outside of Amazon just because you can track, I don’t know, consumers a little bit better on something like Instagram or Facebook. Have you found really good conversions from using these videos on something like Facebook, or YouTube or Instagram?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

So we use those videos on our ads, and they’ve been pretty successful, but I wouldn’t really be able to compare them to anything else we’ve done previously because these are the only videos we’ve had. But one thing I can do – maybe we can put it in the show notes or [somewhere 0:20:09.1] because I don’t know off the top of my head, but on our website we definitely saw a huge conversion boost once we added our videos to our product pages. So I can look that information up, and maybe we can throw that in the show notes what exactly happened because that we were able to A/B test, which was really great. And we have all the information, obviously, how many people are viewing it and all of that.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Gotcha. Okay, and so we talked briefly about this, but I think it’s something that people should know. It was – we mentioned it just a little before, but I want to reiterate that this video thing was available only to people in beta, like an invite basically. But now seemingly it is starting to get rolled out to everyone that is a part of the brand registry program. And so just for everyone that’s looking to get into video, it would be a good idea if you aren’t brand registered yet to just get brand registered. And brand registry involves a lot more outside of video. It involves a lot of different things. And potentially being brand registered just kind of opens the door for being able to be invited to things quicker or earlier than other people that aren’t brand registered. Seemingly Amazon takes preference to people that are brand registered. And I’m not sure if you could touch into that a little bit. Have you seen – in your time being brand registered have you seen early rollouts or just other things, including video, that have benefited you?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, so I was part of the beta rollout of brand registry 2.0 so I was able to get in there pretty early and talk to some of the people on Amazon’s brand registry team and give them feedback as they built out the program and everything, and it’s definitely an emphasis of Amazon moving forward. For brand owners they want people to be brand registered, and they’re going to continue to build out features that are specific to those in that program. So like you already mentioned, any seller that has the ability to be brand registered who is not brand registered at this point in time, I absolutely recommend getting registered even if you don’t plan on doing video soon or ever. It doesn’t really matter. There’s just so much that the program offers, and there’s going to be some feature at some point in time that you’re going to want that you won’t be able to get unless you’re in the program. And I have a lot of colleagues and friends who are Amazon sellers who some of which are unable to get brand registered, and it definitely hurts. And they have a lot more issues with counterfeiters and people who are hijacking their listings, and they can’t really do a lot from a protection standpoint. And a lot of those people were in the original brand registry program and just because of some changes aren’t able to get in 2.0 at this point in time, and they really wish they could.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Yeah, so taking a look at – talking a little bit about brand registry, or taking that even further, what do you think Amazon is going to do next for listings in general? And we’re talking about video, which was a pretty big deal, honestly, to add to your repertoire of things available on your listing. What do you think Amazon is going to do next?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Sure. So when talking about product listings in particular, I think the next thing they’re going to do is build in some sort of augmented reality option for listings, probably on mobile I would assume. And the reason I kind of bring that up is because every time I talk to, you know, family members or friends about shopping on Amazon the one thing they always bring up as a negative – basically the only thing they can bring up as a negative is that they wish sometimes they could go to the store because they want to touch and feel the product. And a lot of times it has to do with apparel specifically, which makes sense, and Amazon is doing a lot of things to combat that with their fast shipping and return policies and even video, right? So being able to see the product kind of in use really helps the customer understand what they’re buying. So I think if you’re able to work in some sort of augmented reality into a listing that could take it even a step further. So, for example, if you wanted to buy some T-shirt, you’re unsure how it looks. It looks on a model. It’s like well you don’t really know how it’s going to fit on you. Or it’s on a white background that’s really hard to tell, but with augmented reality they have the possibility of, you know, you basically turning the camera on yourself kind of like a selfie and the T-shirt or clothing being put onto your body to see what it’s actually going to look like when you receive it. So my guess is they’re going to do creative stuff like that. I think that’s coming to e-commerce in general. People are going to keep innovating, basically removing that barrier or that one hiccup that makes some people want to shop in-store versus online.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Sure. That makes sense to me. I mean there was an article put out not too long ago about how Amazon owns, I think it was about seven clothing brands on Amazon specifically and how Amazon is moving further or deeper into the fashion market. We also have that fashion camera. It’s a camera that helps you pick out clothes, basically. So seemingly I would totally agree with you. I think that’s an argument that people have for classic retail stores, right, is that you can go and you can touch and feel everything. And so for them to implement technology like that would be huge for the space. I could definitely see that happening. What does the inclusion of video tell you about what Amazon is moving towards with their overall website experience and aesthetic? You touched on this a little bit with the idea of that VR AR idea. But do you think that is going to carry through to their website as a whole?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, I think so. I think video is just kind of an indication that they want to really show customers what they’re buying before they’re buying it. And like I said before, like photo can only take you – photos can only take you so far. So I think they’re – I’m sure they’re going to add video all over the place, or some of these new technologies, even maybe into somehow in, you know, search results or somewhere else maybe. I think it’s something that they’re definitely focused on doing. You see like if you go through your Facebook feed these days it’s almost – to me, at least, it’s like 95% video is what people are sharing. So I think Amazon understands that. I mean I think that’s part of why they rolled out the related video shorts portion to listings. They’re trying to compete with YouTube influencers and product reviewers. They want that ecosystem on their own website. So I think they’re going to continue to encourage video and other types of content. I mean they’ve already done it with enhanced brand content. I think they’re going to allow brand owners to really build out their brand on Amazon.

 

So with the storefront and video content, enhanced brand content, really nice photos, and I even think on listings they’ll – right now you only see really big brands, but you see the brand name. Instead of it being text you see a logo there for some of the really big brands. My guess is that they’re going to roll that out to people who are brand registered, that that might be something they’re going to have for everyone because it seems to me that Amazon wants people to build out their brand on Amazon, and that’s something they can set them apart from Walmart, Jet, other places like that is all the sellers are taking the time to build out a brand presence on Amazon. They’re probably not doing that on other platforms. So they can kind of really separate themselves there.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Well, one final thing for you. And Kyle, I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your day just to be here and talking to us about video and what’s next potentially for Amazon when it comes to creatives and everything in between. For our listeners, what piece of advice, what one thing do you think that our listeners should focus on? We’re getting close to the new year right now, so what do you think that sellers should focus on at the beginning of next quarter, and what are you going to focus on at the beginning of the new year?

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Okay, so the first one, first piece of advice I’d have is kind of a trick that I’ve been using that I forgot to mention earlier, so I’ll take this opportunity to mention it. So with video what we’ve also done is in our follow-up email sequences that go to customers, we let them know that they can click a link to go watch videos to learn more about the product that they purchased, and where we’re sending them is to a page on our Amazon storefront. So that is within terms of service since we’re sending them within Amazon’s own website. So it’s just a great way to get people to see your own videos if they haven’t already. It also gives the opportunity to cross-sell some other products within that video or maybe on the same page. And I think a really great use, which we don’t do because we don’t need to, but like I said with a technical product if you have a how-to video and you have it on your storefront and you send people there, you’re going to prevent all kinds of negative reviews, or returns or questions. You can send them there and explain exactly how a product should be used. That’s just going to be a great customer experience and help kind of your whole product overall. So I recommend doing that if you’ve got video already and aren’t doing that right now.

 

CAMERON YODER:

That’s good.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

And for I guess your second question was what we as a company are focusing on the beginning of next year. So the main thing we’re going to be doing is just really ramping up product development. So we’re going to be trying to launch between two and four new products every month and really kind of set up a system where we are constantly finding, launching and kind of adding products to our catalog in a very consistent way and successful way because right now we’ve kind of done it piecemeal as things come up. So I really want to get more focused on that and set up the systems that will allow us to kind of scale that process.

 

CAMERON YODER:

Sure. Well, hey, that’s good to hear, and that’s good advice. Kyle, you’ve been awesome. You’re in such a good spot, and you’ve had such great opportunity really to know video, number one, but get a lot of good and early experience with a lot of these things that honestly not a lot of sellers have had experience with. So thank you so much for sharing your own experiences with us and for giving your advice. It’s been awesome.

 

KYLE GOGUEN:

Yeah, of course. I’m happy to do it. Thanks for having me.

 

 

6 Amazon Keyword Research Tips from a Listing Specialist

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of finding and collecting relevant words and phrases that online shoppers use when looking for your product. 

The key to a great listing is great keyword research. There are plenty of tools out there that boast their expertise in finding you all the keywords you need for your product, cutting down the time you need to spend on keyword research and making you money by improving your listing. It sounds too good to be true, right? And that’s because it is. You’re not going to be able to find all the best keywords in the same place.

The best way to find the highest volume of relevant keywords that will help you to index, rank, and increase your product’s visibility is to do good, old-fashioned, multi-source keyword research. Great keyword research is not something you can afford to skimp on if you want your product to be successful and can be the difference between making hundreds of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are some of the techniques that we use to write incredibly powerful Amazon listings:

 

  1. Start with a Tool

Tools aren’t perfect, but they are a good place to start. The main keywords for your product will be obvious. Just ask yourself, “What is this product?” If it’s a ball pump, that’s likely your main keyword. If it’s a dog treat, that’s probably your main keyword. Start with that basic word or phrase and feed it to one of the many Amazon Seller keyword tools. Then take the list of keywords that your tool spits back at you, and begin to comb through, taking out words that do not apply to your product.

Keyword tools are great at producing volume, which feels impressive, but there is only so much space in a listing with restrictive character limits. And even if you do stuff your listing full of these tool-generated keywords, the question is: are those keywords relevant to your product and are they ultimately helping your listing?

Unfortunately, from my experience testing out different keyword tools, the answer is no.

For example, if you search for keywords related to ball pump with Scientific Seller, some of the keywords that it suggests are “ballet, shoes, women, thrower, and tent.”

These keywords might be relevant to your product if it comes with women’s ballet shoes or a tent. No judgment. But that’s what you have to determine as you go through the keyword research results that you get from your tool. You’ll probably need to tweak your searches, doing some broad keywords and more specific phrases, but no matter how you do it, you’re going to have to audit your list for quality.

 

You’ll see the same kind of noise with all of these tools: Merchant Words, Magnet, Google Keyword Planner, and the list goes on. Even still, a tool can speed up your keyword research by providing you with a long list of words that appear around your main keyword. That said, there still isn’t anything that compares to the human brain in distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant keywords for your product.

Make sure to search more specific variations of your main keyword. If your product is organic, try “organic dog treat.” If it’s made in the USA, search “dog treat made in USA.” If it comes with a free toy or doubles as a toy, look up “dog treat toy.” Once you’ve explored these variations and have a robust list, start looking at your competition.

 

  1. Poach Your Competitor’s Keywords

With a solid start to your keyword research, it’s time to check out your competition. I’m not talking about reverse ASIN lookups. This is another alluring solution to cutting down on keyword research time. The problem with reverse ASIN lookups is that you get no competitive edge if you only take your competitor’s’ keywords. You have to take that and more to really push your product above the rest.

Looking at competitors is a good way to fill in gaps in your research. For example, let’s say you searched for dog treat, doggy treat, organic dog treat, dog treat made in the USA, and dog chew, using your keyword tool. You probably missed a few keywords that apply to your product.

Just by scanning the titles of “dog treat” search result page 1 competitors, you might see words like “natural, healthy, flavored, grain free, training treats, gourmet, smoked, delicious, and tender” Add the keywords that apply to your product to your list.

It can be tempting to go for sheer volume when you’re researching, but be intentional about only adding keywords that relate to your product. For example, if your dog treat is a crunchy treat, don’t use words like “jerky” or “soft.” Your listing may index or even rank for those keywords, but you won’t convert well.

If your product isn’t something that shoppers are searching for, try to find contested keywords with a mix of products in the page 1 search results and add them to your keyword research list.

 

  1. Venture Outside of Amazon

Now that you’ve rounded out your keyword research with keywords from your top competitors, it’s time to broaden your research to other e-commerce platforms like Jet.com and Walmart.com. I like to check Google’s Shopping section in my keyword research as well. You’ll find many of the same products on these sites. Sometimes they use slightly different keywords, and sometimes there are completely different products with their own unique keywords.

Sticking with the dog treat example, I picked up “pet food, chewing, habits, basted, biscuit, vitamins, minerals, freshen breath, real, ingredient, and chewy.”

Depending on the product, I’ve found this step in my keyword research to be either extremely beneficial or very redundant. Either way, it’s always worth checking. Even just finding a few unique keywords to add to your listing can improve sales month over month. Make sure to search multiple variations of your product’s main keyword or keyword phrase to get the best showing of your online competitors.

Once you’ve covered all your bases on the high-level keywords, it’s time to burrow down into the more specific and more technical keyword research.

 

  1. Use What You’ve Got

Make sure to include your product’s ingredients or materials in your keyword research. Look for common abbreviations or nicknames associated with each component, and research the associated benefits to understand the different ways that your product helps your customer and the different features shoppers might be looking for.

Make sure to add any conditions that your product or your ingredients address, but be cautious with including diseases. Keywords like “heart disease” or “cancer” are sometimes flagged as faulty claims.

 

  1. Utilize Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads, or PPC ads, can be another great tool for keyword research. With Automatic ads, Amazon shows your product as a sponsored ad for what it considers to be relevant keywords based on your product’s information. After an Automatic Ad campaign, you can download a keyword report and figure out which keywords your product performed best for.

To start an Amazon Sponsored Products campaign with Automatic Targeting, head to Seller Central > Advertising > Campaign Manager. When creating the campaign, set your daily budget, which is the amount you’re willing to spend in one day, and your bid, which is the maximum amount you are willing to pay when someone clicks your ad.

Run your Automatic campaign for a couple of weeks, and then download the keyword report, which can be accessed in Seller Central under Reports > Advertising Reports > Search Term Report. Once you’ve got the report, you can view the keywords that Amazon ran your ad for, the number of impressions (or views) the ad got, the number of clicks on the ad, and the number of orders made on that ad.

You’ll want to prioritize keywords with high conversion rates in your listing, and you might even want to run through your keyword research routine again with a new focus on these high conversion keywords. High conversion means that for the customer search term entered, your ad got a lot of clicks and orders relative to the number of impressions. For keywords with relatively high clicks but not many orders, you’ll want to consider why shoppers clicked but didn’t buy.

Using Automatic ad campaigns is a quick and fairly simple way to uncover new search terms and determine keyword relevance.

 

  1. Read Related Blog Posts

To round out your collection of technical keywords, look to long-form content like blog posts and product reviews. Especially when researching for backend search terms, related blog posts are a great source of low-volume technical keywords that can help you index for a wider variety of searches, increase your organic sales, and improve your overall rank.

I find buyer guides to be the most keyword-rich, especially for more specific language. In order to appeal to the well-informed and uninformed shopper alike, you’ll want to include simple keywords as well as specific “buzzwords” that shoppers may have encountered in their product research.

I usually find good quality content by searching things like “Which X to Buy” or “Best X for Y,” where X is the main keyword for the product and Y is a condition that the product offers a solution to.

 

Summary

If you follow this tried-and-true keyword research process, you will find a wide variety of relevant keywords that are specific to your product and that can help you to index, rank, and convert. The more honest you are about your product, starting with your keyword research, the more closely your product will match a shopper’s expectations and the more likely you are to convert.

Keyword research is so foundational to a successful listing. It’s worth spending the time to hunt down a diverse collection that will help increase your product’s visibility.

If you’re managing multiple products and don’t have time to go in depth with this kind of keyword research, Viral Launch is always here to lend a hand. Call a coach today to find out how a listing optimization can help your Amazon business.

9 Common Launch Mistakes to Avoid

What is the key to success on Amazon? It’s a pretty simple process when you break it down: source a great product, set up a listing to convert, and get in front of shoppers. Here at Viral Launch, it’s our goal to help you succeed every step of the way. To get your product in front of shoppers, one service we offer is called product launches, which increase your visibility on Amazon and put you in a position to sell.

We run over 200 launches each day, and we’ve seen some awesome successes and some unfortunate failures. To help you learn from past mistakes, we’ll share 9 common launch mistakes to avoid when running a promotion with Viral Launch.

Watch our How to Launch course to set yourself up for success.

 

What is a Product Launch?

When it comes to achieving rank on Amazon, sales are king. With Viral Launch promotions, we drive sales to your listing through product giveaways. We do this to promote brand awareness, which passively increases keyword ranking. For a launching period of up to 12 days, a seller will give a number of discounted units, typically for 85-95% off, targeting a specific keyword. As these sales are attributed to the keyword, the listing will move up the ranks. The goal is to reach page one, increase the product’s visibility to shoppers, and ultimately increase organic sales!

One-time-use coupon codes, coupled with a Max Order Qty. of 1 allow buyers to purchase one unit at the discounted price. At a pre-determined launch time, the product goes up on our buyer site, where everyday Amazon shoppers grab their favorite coupon for the day. The shopper is sent to your product on Amazon and purchases with his or her coupon.

The launch results typically take a couple of days to take effect, but you should start to see a change in rank anywhere from day three to day seven of the launch. Once you’re ranking, after the promotion is completed, it’s up to the listing and reviews to convert well to maintain rank. If you’ve got a fully optimized listing with great photos, a great price, and a competitive number of reviews, you’ll be in the perfect position to outsell your competition – woohoo!

Check out our Amazon How to Launch course, which will walk you through how to set up a launch step-by-step.

 

9 Most Common Launch Mistakes

We’ve run over 14,000 launches and have seen countless launch mistakes. Big… Small… We’ve seen them all. Here are some common errors to avoid when setting up your launch in the Launchpad.

 

1: There Was No Consultation with a Seller Coach.

Access to a Seller Coach is a free resource to sellers who want to utilize Viral Launch services, and our Coaches are experts in all-things Amazon. When sellers do not consult with a Seller Coach, the results are typically not as great, simply because Coaches know how to best optimize a launch. Our coaches have experience and data from thousands of launches and have seen plenty of successes and failures. A coach will work with a seller to analyze the product listing and determine an effective launch strategy, specific to that product. A launch will be most successful with the guidance and recommendations from a Viral Launch coach, so we definitely recommend getting in contact with the team! Email launches@viral-launch.com for a coaching consultation.

 

2: The Launch is Too Short.

We recommend launching for no less than 7 days…we’ve found it’s the sweet spot. A 3 or 4 day launch likely won’t establish the necessary sales history to increase your product’s ranking. On the other hand, a 10 day launch may require that you give away more units than necessary. With a 7-day launch, you’ll build up some credible history without giving excessive amounts of inventory.

 

3: Not Enough Units are Being Given Away.

To rank on page one for a target keyword, a seller must match or exceed the sales of the top sellers. When the number of promotional units is too small, the listing will not rank on page one for the target keyword. You must match or exceed the number of daily sales that the top sellers are moving, so if you give 10 units/day, and page one sellers are seeing 30 units/day, you will not land among them. In this case, you’d want to give 30-35 units/day so that Amazon would recognize that your listing is competitive with top sellers. Market Intelligence, our Amazon product research tool, can help to determine the number of units necessary to give away during a launch. In the Launchpad, when you enter your targeted keyword, you’ll find our Beta Launch Success Coach to help you to estimate the number of units needed to give per day to rank among the top sellers. For further instructions or to create the most optimized launch strategy possible, contact one of our Seller Coaches who are eager to help!

 

4: Too Many Keywords are Targeted.

Far too often, sellers target multiple keywords, not understanding how this will affect their rankings. Let’s break it down: Targeting multiple keywords dilutes the giveaway in a sense. For instance, let’s say you’re running a launch and giving away 200 units over a 7-day period. Take a look at the graph below:

With a launch targeting one keyword, all 200 units are attributed to that keyword. In this example, the necessary 200 units for this keyword will boost the product to page one because it’s matching the ~200 weekly sales that the top sellers are seeing. With the same launch targeting two keywords, the units are split in half so that only 100 units are attributed to each keyword. In this example, 100 units towards each keyword would not rank the product on page one for either keyword. Since page one sellers are moving around 200 units/week, a 100 units launch won’t convince Amazon’s algorithm that you’re competitive with those top sellers.

In this scenario, it would be best for the seller to only target one keyword, so that the desired ranking can be achieved. Or, the seller could give more units overall and to have a better opportunity to rank on page one for both keywords. Essentially, the more keywords you target, the more units you should give away.

 

5: The Coupons are Not Active When Tested.

After submitting a launch, it will show as pending approval from our team. Around 3:00pm EST on the afternoon before the launch goes live, our team will test one coupon. If the coupon is activated and set up correctly, we will approve the launch. If there is an issue with the launch, we will deny it and send you a message with the reason as to why.

When a promotion is created in Seller Central, Amazon requires a 4-hour window before activation. We strongly suggest inputting the launch after this 4 hour time frame so that there is no chance your coupons are inactive by the time we check them. Even if we check your coupons just one hour before they go live, we will have to deny the whole launch. To avoid coupon issues, we only approve launches with live coupons, so be sure that your coupons are live by the time you’ve submitted the launch for approval!

 

6: The Giveaway Price is Too High.

We typically recommend a giveaway price around 90-95% off retail, and our buyers are accustomed to seeing products around $1-$3. We want to be sure that we’ve got the best shot at moving the necessary inventory so that your launch is successful. For a more specific pricing suggestion, simply ask one of our coaches who would be glad to give you a recommendation.

 

7: The Max Order Quantity Isn’t Set.

This can turn out to be a very costly mistake. Before the fall of 2016, Amazon offered the option to set up $ off coupons. Setting these up, along with one coupon per customer and one-time use options, made it so that one customer could only get one product. It was fairly simple and straightforward.

In November of 2016, Amazon took away the $ off option for promotions, leaving % off as the only way to create coupons. In Seller Central, when you set up % off coupons, there is no way to set up a promotion that will allow you to restrict a customer from being able to grab 999 units with one coupon code. In order to protect your inventory, you need to set the Max Order Quantity to 1 for each SKU that the coupons apply to. If your Max Order Quantity is not set when running a promotion, you are putting your inventory in major jeopardy. This step cannot be overlooked!

We’re able to set your Max Order Quantity programmatically in our system through accessing your MWS account. Check out our video explaining how to protect your inventory in the Launchpad.

 

8: The Listing is Not Optimized.

Last but certainly not least, your entire listing (and especially your title) should be fully optimized before a launch. This is for two main reasons: ranking and conversions.

  • Ranking: Your title needs to be strong in order to fully utilize the launch. Although launches target one keyword, each sale is funneled through every keyword in the title. That means every word is fair game for a ranking boost with sales. With a fully optimized title, you’ll see a boost for multiple relevant keywords as sales flow through your title. Check out our blog post on How to Optimize Your Amazon Listing for Maximum Keyword Ranking for more detailed information on that topic.
  • Conversions: Your entire listing should be optimized with the goal of the highest conversion rate possible. This includes your price, photos, and copy. Once the launch has placed the product on page one, it’s completely up to the listing to convert well organically and maintain rank. Each listing element must be up-to-par to keep up with the top sellers. You don’t want to lose rank after all of the time and effort it took to achieve it!

 

9: The Listing Doesn’t Convert Post-Launch.

We often get the question, “How long is my ranking going to stick on page one after the launch?” It isn’t about sticking. It’s all about converting. Too often, we see sellers waste money by running a launch to achieve rank, ultimately to fall right back down due to a lack of organic sales. Maintaining rank is all about converting organically post-launch.

If page one sellers are seeing ~25 units/day on your specific keyword, you must continue selling competitively with them to maintain your page one rank. After a launch, if you’re only seeing 5 sales/day, your listing is going to slide down into the abyss of unseen listings. This is why we put so much emphasis on putting the time, money, and effort into having a listing that converts pre-launch. You’ll want to position your listing for success, so that it can sell competitively once it’s reached page one. The goal is to sell the necessary number of units (~25 in this example) each day at full price after the launch to be competitive with the top sellers. Then, you too will be a top seller!

 

Conclusion

Running a promotion definitely isn’t a small investment; we understand. That’s why we want to be sure that you fully utilize your launch! Learn from others, and avoid these launch mistakes when setting up your promotion in the Viral Launch Launchpad.

And as always, for more specific and tailored suggestions, we strongly recommend contacting one of our Seller Coaches by sending an email to launches@viral-launch.com. Happy selling!

How To Optimize Your Amazon Listing For Maximum Keyword Ranking

If you had to determine the most important aspect of an Amazon listing, what would you say?

The star rating? The photos? The BSR? The description?

While all of these elements are certainly important at some capacity (and some more important than others), we believe that the most important and underrated aspect of a listing is the product’s title.

The title has tremendous ranking power for a listing. With a keyword-rich title, a product will be indexed for numerous keywords. Add some sales, and that listing can be ranking really well across hundreds, even thousands of keywords!

To illustrate this point, we’ll discuss a product launched through our Flight Crew Program. To protect our Flight Crew partner, we’ll call her Sarah.

 

A Title Success Story

As a part of our Flight Crew program, Sarah teamed up with Viral Launch to set up her listing for maximum exposure, clicks, and conversions. One of our talented copywriters went to work creating a listing for the product.

Knowing the importance of the product’s title, our copywriter Becca dedicated a good amount of time to crafting the title. She extensively researched related keywords and scouted out the competition to develop a strong list of keyword contenders to include in the product’s listing. We cannot stress enough the importance of thorough keyword research. Choosing the most relevant search terms could be a matter of hundreds of sales per month. Then, Becca beautifully crafted a reader-friendly title that included a diverse collection of keywords that would allow the listing to rank for a wide variety of customer searches.

While having a great listing/title is necessary, that is only half the battle. In order to achieve rank for any meaningful keywords, sales must be driven through the listing to show Amazon that your listing is highly relevant for those search terms. With that said, after applying the new content to the listing, we ran a promotional launch, driving plenty of sales, allowing the product to achieve a page 1 ranking for its target keyword. Here’s what we know: every single word in a product’s title is fair game for ranking attribution with each purchase. So, if I searched “Dog Leash” and bought the product pictured below, the listing would receive a boost in ranking for “Retractable Dog Leash” as well, since it also appears within the title.

Because the title was so strong at the time of the sales, our Flight Crew product wasn’t only on page one for the target keyword after the launch, it was ranking on page 1 for almost every single keyword associated with the product. No matter what related search term a shopper typed into Amazon, we were on page one. This provided incredible visibility! We saw a tremendous jump in organic sales after the launch, quickly reaching the 50-75 units/day mark. The remarkable thing is that the product only had a few reviews, but it was selling at the same volume organically as its highest competitors. And now, a month after the launch, the product has maintained rank. We believe these sales are attributed to being ranked so well across almost every single relevant search term. No matter what search phrase customers used to find this type of widget, they would find our flight crew product.

Amazon doesn’t show what keywords your sales came through (that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?). But if they did, I bet we would see a whole slew of different keywords that those sales were driven through. It’s pretty simple: if we didn’t have that visibility, we wouldn’t have had such tremendous sales.

Many times for long-tailed keywords, we rank first while similar products with comparable sales and weaker titles are ranking on page two or below.

 

How Your Amazon Title Can Make or Break You

I wish I could share some screenshots of the Flight Crew product with you just to show how truly remarkable the keyword exposure is. We’ll keep that part a secret in the best interest of our Flight Crew partner. But, let’s take a look at some other examples showing the importance of a well-written title.

Weak Titles

Here are a couple of products with weak titles. They are short and missing many important keywords. Due to the lack of keywords, these products rank on page one for their main keyword, but they cannot be found when searching through relevant lower-volume or longer-tail keywords.

Weak Title #1:

These are just the search results that I combed through. This listing is missing out on potentially hundreds of long-tail keywords, simply because the title is lacking optimization! With the keywords from the list above, this product is missing out on almost 150,000 monthly searches! (And that’s just the data according to Merchant Words)

This title needs these simple, descriptive keywords: personal, kit, nail care, clipper, etc. If it had them, the product would receive keyword boosts with each sale. Then, the listing would begin increasing in rank for these relevant keywords. And with better keyword visibility, I’d expect overall sales to increase.

 

Weak Title #2:

Again, these are the few keywords that I looked through, but just from this cursory glance we can see this product is missing out on huge sales potential! With those nine keywords I listed, this seller is missing out on over 775,000 monthly searches for relevant keywords! If the title were to include these important search terms, visibility would increase exponentially with sales and so would sales opportunity!

Strong Titles

Now we will look at a couple of products with strong titles. Although we didn’t write them, we think these sellers have done a pretty good job integrating keywords. These listings rank across almost every single relevant keyword, both big and small, similar to our Flight Crew product. For almost every related search term a shopper types into Amazon, these products are visible and are strong competitors for a purchase!

Strong Title #1:

This title isn’t perfect, but it’s a great representation of how integrating many keywords helps a listing to rank across lots of relevant search terms. It’d be nearly impossible to look through every long-tail keyword, but this product is ranking for just about each one. Whether a shopper is typing in Leg Pillow or Knee Pain Management, or even Gentle Surgery Pillow for Pain Relief, this product is likely a search result thanks to its keyword-rich title.

 

Strong Title #2:

Once again, these are just the keywords I looked through, but I think you’re getting the idea. The more relevant keywords a title has, the more opportunity for snatching up sales.

 

Additional Findings

Now you may be asking: What’s the difference between keywords in your title and keywords in your bullet points/description?

Like we’ve discussed, keywords in the product’s title have a tremendous effect on keyword ranking. Amazon also recognizes keywords in the bullet points and description, but from our findings, they don’t receive as much ranking attribution with sales. Those keywords come into play more when actually indexing a product, and you’ll see the customer search term italicized in a search result as shown in the screenshot below. So, while it’s still extremely important to put additional keywords in your bullet points and description, you’ll want to be sure to fit as many of the most important ones in your title as possible.

Another question may be: Should I put my brand at the beginning of my title?

If people aren’t directly searching for your brand name, then no. We suggest that sellers do not put their brand name in the title (for most products). In Amazon’s Quick Start Style Guide, the title guidelines state, “Do not include information about yourself or your company. If you own the brand, put your brand information in the brand field.”

Obviously, plenty of sellers are putting their brand names in their titles without consequence. But here at Viral Launch, we would rather use those characters for an additional keyword or two, especially when customers are not searching for that specific brand. Amazon shoppers want a high-quality product at a low price, and brand is usually disregarded. But that’s the beauty of Amazon – anyone can sell, even with an unknown name!

Conclusion

With an unoptimized title, you are missing out on literally thousands of shoppers who are looking for your product. Yes, a shorter title may look cleaner and soothe your OCD, but you cannot afford to miss out on those sales opportunities! Optimizing your title is step one to taking your private label business to the next level. 

Your goal should be to master this aspect of your listing, integrating keywords both big and small. Set yourself up for success from the beginning with a reader-friendly, keyword-rich title that puts you in a position to SELL.

Here at Viral Launch, we’ve run over 13,000 launches. We’ve harnessed the knowledge learned from that data to become experts at building incredible listings. Sure, you could read all the blog posts. You could listen to all the podcasts. You could go to all the conferences and listen to all of the gurus. But you cannot match this kind of experience with these kinds of results. We’d love to help you take your private label business to the next level with a fully-optimized listing and a title that will increase your sales potential.

We offer both Title Curation and Listing Optimization services. You can take advantage of those services here!

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment below!

 

 

Listing Optimization: Crafting an Outstanding Listing for Amazon SEO

Amazon’s market share was a whopping 68% among leading mass merchant e-retailers in the United States during 2015. Walmart took second place, with a mere 10%, according to Statista. To put Amazon’s enormity into perspective, the retail giant’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens and could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic Pools!

We all know that Amazon is the online marketplace. Yet, most people ignore a simple yet critical fact: similar to Google, Amazon is a search engine.

Even Google recognizes Amazon as a force to be reckoned with. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, commented, “Our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as a search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon…” Amazon gets three times more product searches than Google. Think about it: when you’re searching for a product, whether it be a phone charger or an HDTV, where do you typically end up? Amazon.

Once we interpret Amazon as a massive search engine, we can start to understand the importance of Amazon SEO. Learning how to rank on Amazon can put you in front of the millions of ready-to-buy shoppers on Amazon…far more than you’d ever find on Google!

An Introduction to Amazon’s Search Algorithm

Amazon’s product search algorithm is produced by an Amazon subsidiary known as A9. According to the A9 website, calculating search results starts well before a customer even touches the keyboard. A9 analyzes data, observes past traffic patterns, and indexes the text describing every product before a shopper ever runs a search. “As soon as we see the first keystroke, we’re ready with instant suggestions and a comprehensive set of search results.”

A9’s goal is to make it seem like the search is reading the shopper’s mind. Broken down, the process is quite simple:

  1. Determine relevant search results for a customer’s query.
  2. Score those results to present the most relevant results to the user.

In the past, A9 drove keyword ranking for a product largely through the keyword which that sale was driven through. Back then, there would be little attribution for any other keyword associated with the product. For example, if a customer searched “travel pillow,” clicked, and then bought the product, Amazon would attribute the sale to that keyword and give a boost for “travel pillow,” but not necessarily for “neck pillow” or “u-shaped pillow.”

A9 is continually making changes based upon human judgments, programmatic analysis, key business metrics, and performance metrics. This past spring, Amazon implemented a pretty major update to A9, making it so that EVERY keyword in your product’s title at the time of sale is fair game to receive a boost in keyword ranking! See data proving this hypothesis in our previous blog post on the topic.

If all words in your listing, especially those in your title, are taken into consideration during a sale, it’s more important than ever to have an optimized listing!

Optimizing Your Listing to Rank in Amazon’s Search Engine

When it comes down to it, every aspect of your listing should be impeccable. Over the past two and a half years, we’ve launched over 13,000 products and have crafted hundreds of listings, whose combined sales surpass $100 million in sales annually. With each listing we promote, we track multiple keywords, which provides us with a huge amount of data and insight! So, what makes a listing stand out in the eyes of both shoppers and Amazon’s algorithm? A listing that includes a title, bullet points, and a product description that are all keyword-optimized, informative, and concise.

Keyword Optimized

When achieving keyword ranking, sales are king. But, you must properly integrate important keywords to achieve sales, especially in your title. Ranking for keywords is largely dependent on a product’s title. It’s crucial to place as many high-volume, relevant keywords in your title as possible. You’ll see far greater ranking attribution with keywords in the title versus anywhere else in the listing, as Amazon’s algorithm allows you to rank much easier for these keywords. Under normal conditions, it is even likely to outrank top sellers for an important keyword if you’ve included that word in your title and they are missing it!

You also must make sure that you’re indexed for as many keywords as possible, even more obscure ones, if you have the room. We’ve seen where a seller will run a launch for a specific target keyword that they are not indexed for, and then they don’t even show up as a search result.

A simple way to check if you’re indexed for a specific keyword is to search “ASIN keyword,” for example, “B006416DVC travel mug.” If the listing shows up, then it’s indexed. If not, then you need to add that keyword somewhere within your listing. You don’t want to miss out on sales simply due to a lack of keyword research! For example, if the word “women” was not present in your listing, your listing may not show as a result when a shopper searches for “sunglasses for women.”

Unlike Google, Amazon does not provide a keyword tool to help sellers determine valuable keywords for a specific product. Amazon also does not share keyword data with its merchants, making optimization difficult. In order to find relevant keywords for your listing, use a combination of keyword research tools and check out similar products on Amazon and Jet.com. Take a look at the top sellers, and use what is working well as a guide. Spend time doing research and take this step seriously! Without a keyword-optimized listing, your product will be buried in the algorithm. And sadly in that case, you might as well kiss your investment goodbye.

Informative and Concise

An informative, concise listing drives conversions. And once your product is ranking, it’s all about conversions. Your content should be written in a way that convinces potential customers that your product is exactly what they are looking for.

Informative copy paints a picture with words, accurately describing the product’s features and uses. You want to use this space to showcase the benefits of your product. What special features does your product have? What are the benefits to owning your product? What sets your product apart from similar ones? You should have a good understanding of your target customer, so use this as an opportunity to address any initial concerns they may have.

Concise copy helps a shopper quickly understand why your product is a perfect fit. Many shoppers don’t want to spend too much time reading, so it’s important that you get right to the point. While you want to make sure to thoroughly explain your product, you want to make the reading of the content as effortless as possible. And, although you want to use as many keywords as possible, you don’t want to come off as incredibly redundant. It can be a turnoff to buyers.

As our CEO, Casey, puts it, “Truly great listings are able to synergistically marry keywords with sales-inducing language.” And that’s the key, folks: an incredible blend that is sure to take your listing to the next level.

Leave it to the Experts.

“Quality is the best business plan.” John Lasseter

You can read all of the blog posts, listen to all of the podcasts, travel to all of the conferences, and follow all of the gurus, and you might come out with an okay listing. But, you won’t have hundreds and hundreds of listings, backed up by millions and millions of data points under your belt.

After running thousands and thousands of product launches and building listings that drive over a combined $100 million in annual sales, Viral Launch is able to build the best Amazon product listings in the market. Our copywriters craft each aspect of a listing to optimize rankings in organic search, and these listing-experts use beautiful sales-inducing language to showcase your product, help it stand out from the competition, and convert on-page visitors into buyers. Our optimized listings contain the perfect balance: an unbeatable combination of keywords in a concise and compelling way that makes your product shine!

A Viral Launch Listing Optimization includes a brand analysis, thorough keyword research, ~2,000 characters of backend search terms, and a beautiful, fully-optimized title, about the product, and product details.

Take it from a happy customer: “It’s an excellent value. We could spend weeks doing that and not do it as well. It allows us to delegate and narrow our focus. Excellent service, and we look forward to future business.”

Let our experts optimize your listing, helping you skyrocket your sales to unseen levels! Get started with our Amazon Product Listing Optimization Service.

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