Google vs. Amazon. The competition is fierce between the two search engines, but should companies be using the same SEO strategy for both? The short answer: No. And here’s why:
Don’t believe Amazon is a search engine? Consumers do. According to a study conducted by BloomReach, 55% of consumers begin their product search on Amazon. And, 9 out of 10 users said they will check Amazon even if they find the product they want on another retailer’s site.
Amazon may only be a product search engine, but a search engine nonetheless. Consumers will still go to Google to look up the menu of that new taco joint or to figure out what the word “lit” means, but Amazon holds the market share when it comes to product searches.
SEO Strategy Differences
So if Amazon is a search engine like Google, you should be able to market your product the same way on both and achieve the same results, right? Wrong.
Amazon SEO and Google SEO aren’t even in the same ballpark when it comes to ranking. Sure, they both operate under the same general premise of using keywords to achieve ranking, but how they go about that is drastically different. Let’s take a look at what the 4 main differences between Google and Amazon SEP are.
1. Long tail vs. Short Tail
When you’re writing a blog or reworking a webpage, most Google SEO experts know you should target one or two long tail keyword phrases throughout your copy. But Amazon SEO focuses less on long tail phrases and more on individual short tail keywords. Although keyword phrases may come naturally when writing the copy, breaking up the phrase does not limit your ability to index and rank for that phrase.
If you’re writing about a letter board and the phrase “black felt letter board” comes up as a high volume phrase in your search, you could use “letter board” in the title and “made of black felt” in the bullets and still rank for the full phrase. While maintaining full phrases is vital for Google SEO, individual keywords are the name of the game when it comes to Amazon SEO.
Although keyword stuffing is no longer valuable for Google like in the early SEO days, carefully crafted repetition of your targeted phrase throughout your copy is vital. When it comes to Amazon, a single usage of a keyword is enough to get you ranking for that word. Of course, keywords used in the title will be weighted more heavily in terms of ranking, but you still have the potential to rank for a keyword used only once in the bullet points of a listing. On Google, a one time use of your targeted phrase isn’t enough if you’re looking to be on page one.
3. External Linking
When you’re trying to drive traffic and improve your Google SEO, external sites that link back to your page are incredibly important. Google has a wealth of websites at its disposal, so whether you’re sharing on social sites, have a blog that links to pages on your website or are collaborating with others in your space to share and promote content, Google places value and trust on how many external links are connected to your site or page.
Amazon, on the other hand, functions within itself. Their algorithm focuses on the keywords users are searching within their own site and whether or not your product page includes those keywords. Of course, increased brand recognition and traffic from outside of Amazon may result in increased searches, sales and ranking inside Amazon, but your external digital presence is not considered when ranking your product. Nor does Amazon allow sellers to link to external sites or product pages from their listing.
4. Clicks vs. Conversions
The final difference between Google SEO and Amazon SEO might be the biggest. Google’s algorithm was designed for selling ads, whereas Amazon’s algorithm was designed for selling products. Yes, you can purchase products through direct links on Google, and ads do exist on Amazon, but the main driving metric is different.
Google SEO places significant weight on the number of clicks your page receives, where those clicks are coming from and what your bounce rate is – i.e. how many users click into your page, then quickly click out. The longer they stay, the more relevant Google deems your page is to that search phrase.
Since Amazon SEO is focused on selling products, they want to know your conversion rate. If you’ve got the sales volume (volume, not velocity, check out our podcast about this for more info), that helps drive the desired ranking. Although other factors are considered, a phone case with 1,000 sales will inevitably rank higher than one with 10.
While you may have a general understanding of Google SEO practices, applying the same SEO principles on Amazon won’t help you. In fact, it might hurt your ranking.
Treating each search engine as a distinct platform with different driving engagement metrics is the best way to achieve success on both.
If you’re still unsure how to properly integrate keywords to index and rank on Amazon, check out our listing optimization page!