The Top 4 Differences Between Amazon and Google SEO

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 began 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 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 are:

1. Longtail vs. Short Tail

When you’re writing a blog or reworking a webpage, most Google SEO experts know you should target one or two longtail keyword phrases throughout your copy. But Amazon SEO focuses less on longtail 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.

2. Repetition

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.

The Takeaway

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 and sign up to have one of our Listing Specialists optimize your listing for you!

OPTIMIZE MY LISTING USING AMAZON SEO

Taking the Reverse ASIN Lookup to the Next Level

You may be familiar with a Reverse ASIN* Lookup, a popular feature of many Amazon keyword tools. It’s a search that allows you to see every keyword that a single ASIN, or product, is indexed for.

Some people like to use Reverse ASIN lookups to do keyword research, mining their competitors’ listings for juicy, high-volume terms. But while this may seem like a great way to optimize your listing, it’s actually hugely problematic.

The Problem with the Reverse ASIN Lookup

Here’s the thing about a Reverse ASIN Lookup … It only shows you the keywords that a single listing is indexing for. So if you’re basing your keyword strategy on a Reverse ASIN report, you had better hope that the listing has every single relevant keyword for your product.

But wait, you’re running Reverse ASIN Lookups on 10 different listings? How could you possibly be missing keywords when you’re looking at a sample group like that? Well, where are you getting those listings? If you’re hand picking them yourself, what are your criteria for selecting each one? As hard as you try, your selection process is going to be imperfect and time-consuming.

The Keywords You’re Missing

For example, let’s say you select a handful of listings. Competitor listing A is indexing for 20% of all relevant keywords, and competitor listing B is indexing for 50% of all relevant keywords. Competitor listing C is indexing for 70% of all relevant keywords. But all three listings have a 90% overlap.

If you run a Reverse ASIN Lookup on these listings, you’re still missing 68% of the keyword landscape! That could mean thousands of dollars in missed sales. And that’s not even considering the search volume of the keywords you’re missing.

How it Should Work

Ideally when running a Reverse ASIN Lookup, every listing would be completely relevant to your product and have as little keyword crossover as possible with the other listings you’ve selected. They would span the breadth of your market, including unlikely search terms you may not ever think to look for.

But that’s not the reality of Reverse ASIN Lookups. And that’s the problem. Reverse ASIN Lookups are only as strong as the listings’ you input. The good news is that a solution does exist. It’s called a Reverse Market Lookup.

Reverse Market Lookups

A Reverse Market Lookup shares many of the same features as a Reverse ASIN Lookup with one major difference: the set of listings it pulls from. While Reverse ASIN Lookups depend on you to select the right listings for consideration, Reverse Market Lookups find that optimal set of listings for you, using advanced data analytics to scan as many as 10,000 listings.

Keyword Research is the only Amazon seller tool available that uses this advanced system for keyword collection. When you enter your product’s main keyword in Keyword Research, we immediately begin to scour Amazon’s immense catalogue to find all of your product’s most relevant keywords and markets.

We then run our Reverse Market Lookup on thousands of top ranking listings across a diverse range of relevant markets. Can you imagine the amount of time it would take you to find and evaluate thousands of relevant listings for your product’s market?

The beauty of Keyword Research and all the Viral Launch software is that you get thousands of data points analyzed and summarized for you at the click of a button. That means you get a comprehensive view of the market without having to do the work of collecting the information. Create a free Viral Launch account, and try out Keyword Research to see the power of the Reverse Market Lookup.

TRY KEYWORD RESEARCH

Want the power of Keyword Research and our Reverse Market Lookup but don’t have the time to write your own listings? Have our team of professional copywriters create optimized listing copy for you. Click here to learn more and sign up.  

 

*Reverse ASIN is a trademark of Keyword Inspector 

Why You Need an Amazon Keyword Tool, Not Google Keyword Planner

To find and target keywords on Google, you might use Google Keyword Planner. So to find and target keywords on Amazon, you need an Amazon keyword tool. Whether a company website or an Amazon product listing, everyone’s aiming for the top, the coveted first page of search results.

When it comes to integrating keywords and ranking on Amazon, unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet. But sellers must start by learning how Amazon search differs from Google and knowing the direct impact that has on keyword research.

Amazon SEO vs Google SEO

As an Amazon seller, it’s important to understand how to best integrate keywords into your listing. Many sellers fall back on out-of-date Google SEO practices if they consider SEO at all. Really, they should be much more concerned with Amazon SEO best practices. While both Google and Amazon are search engines and focus on some similar metrics, their algorithms are different. Not only are their algorithms different, the goals of their users are different.

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

Amazon, on the other hand, is largely a product search engine. Users who end up on Amazon are further down the funnel. They have moved from the research phase closer to the ready-to-buy phase, with credit card in hand. In fact, 55% of buyers are starting their product search on Amazon. Consumers may not have a specific brand in mind when they go to Amazon, but they likely have a product in mind that they are hoping to purchase.

Amazon Keywords vs Google Keywords

So what does that mean for keywords?

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

That’s not to say a user would never type the latter terms into Google. But, there may be keywords that are relevant to a Google search that would have little to no value on Amazon. And with 80 million Amazon Prime members in the US, competition is high for those searches. You don’t want to waste time with keywords that won’t help you rank.

The value of targeted keywords, both long and short tail, in your Amazon listing is far-reaching. If you aren’t using the words and phrases that consumers are searching for in your copy, then you likely aren’t selling well. The more sales you drive through a particular keyword, the higher your chances of ranking for that keyword.

Why You Need an Amazon Keyword Tool

So if you’re trying to craft a listing for Amazon, why would you use an Amazon keyword tool that focuses on Google data? Google Keyword Planner is designed for Google’s algorithm and pulls data from Google searches. Using it exclusively–or really at all–to generate your keyword list for Amazon could mean overlooking high-volume Amazon keywords and missing the full scope of keywords Amazon consumers may be searching.

According to SEO marketing company, MOZ, the algorithm used for Google Keyword Planner has several flaws. For starters, it groups keywords into “volume buckets”, so a word with 180,000 search volume in a month might be rounded down to the 165,000 search bucket. Google also misses out on approximately 35% of keywords recommended by other search Amazon keyword tools, is inconsistent when mapping and considering search volume for spelling variations, and occasionally recommends keywords that are not really connected to your original search phrase.

If you’re okay with sub-par results that may not even match the search results of your Amazon customers, then Google Keyword Planner is a sufficient tool. But to truly home in on search data from Amazon alone, you need an Amazon keyword tool that does just that.

 

Keyword Research, the newest software tool by Viral Launch, is the most accurate Amazon keyword tool in the galaxy. It provides search volumes based only on actual Amazon data, updated frequently. Keyword Research scours the depths of Amazon for an exhaustive list of customer search terms related to your seed keyword by running a Reverse-Market Lookup.

Think of it as a master reverse-ASIN lookup that reaches across all your Amazon markets, taking all of your top competitors into consideration instead of just one. The result is an enormous pool of relevant keywords for your searched product.

So if you’re looking for the most comprehensive, all-encompassing keyword report for your Amazon product, then say goodbye to Google Keyword Planner and check out Keyword Research today!

TRY KEYWORD RESEARCH

Your Amazon Competitive Advantage: Keyword Research

Looking for an Amazon competitive advantage for your FBA business? You’ve got to focus on the unlikely and underappreciated aspect of your products: their keywords. 

Keywords are crucial to a successful Amazon product listing, Amazon search optimization, and ultimately the number of sales you’re able to make. They help shoppers locate your product in a sea of competition, power your sponsored ads, and significantly sway your product’s maximum sales potential.

You have to make sure you’re not missing out on essential keywords that shoppers are using to search for your product. But how can you do that while figuring out which keywords to prioritize for Amazon search optimization? Which keywords should you place in your title and which should you place in your backend search terms? Search volume is an important metric, but will your listing be able to compete in a big market? And how can you use keywords as your Amazon competitive advantage?

Keyword Research is Your Amazon Competitive Advantage

By using Keyword Research, the new keyword research tool from Viral Launch, you can find those crucial keywords that no other tool can help you find. Easily make smarter strategic decisions to improve your approach in regard to Amazon search optimization. You’ll find an exhaustive list of customer search terms related to your seed keyword with Reverse Market Lookup, a master reverse-ASIN query that considers top competitors across all of your Amazon markets. You’ll get Broad and Exact Match search volume for each keyword based on search volume from Amazon. And that’s just for starters.

 

Download our new ebook The Competitive Advantage of Keyword Research to get the inside scoop on how this game-changing software works as your Amazon competitive advantage. Keyword Research shows you the most accurate, up-to-date keyword data to optimize your listing and maximize your revenue.

 

GET THE EBOOK

4 Problems with Keyword Tools And How We Solved Them

If you’ve been creating your own Amazon product listings using Amazon keyword tools, you know about frustration.

Trying to decide which product features will entice customers can be tricky. Trying to write for Amazon SEO is hard. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about how to deal with backend search terms. 

And until now, doing keyword research has been anything but easy.

Thanks to sub-par Amazon keyword tools, you haven’t been sure that the keywords you’re putting into your listings or sponsored ads are any good. And you’re worried that you’re missing out on the right keywords.

You’ve literally been paying for other keyword tools to tell you bad information that you spend hours sifting through, and it’s costing you impressions and sales.

That’s why we created Keyword Research.

The new, cutting-edge, Viral Launch keyword research tool is designed to give you the most comprehensive list of relevant keywords. You get exact search volume from Amazon data along with historical trends. You can also easily find keywords no one else is leveraging using Opportunity Score and see bid costs to optimize your sponsored ads with Sponsored Ad Bids.

You’ve wasted time poring over poor results. Battled doubt that your keyword list is the best. Feared missing the right keywords. Wondered if missing those keywords is costing you sales revenue. No more.

When we looked at other Amazon keyword tools on the market, we found that they were causing 4 major problems. Here’s what they were and how Keyword Research solves them.

1. Wasted Time 

If you’re an Amazon seller, one thing you really can’t afford to waste is time. And, up until now, one of the biggest time-wasting aspects of creating your listing has been searching for the right keywords.

Maybe you begin with a shortlist of search terms that seem to best describe your product and its core uses. You collect terms you assume customers are using to search for products like yours. Plugging in terms to your Amazon keyword tools and then combing through pages of results for each is tedious. Before you know it, you’ve burned two hours and want to toss your laptop out the window.

Keyword Research streamlines this process by allowing you to enter just one root keyword and get all the keywords you need. You can adjust your keyword results by search volume, priority or relevancy. Then you can easily copy unique words, phrase volume pairs or all phrases, and paste them into any document for reference. You can even download selected results to a comma-separated values file (CSV) for easy data storage and transport.

Our extremely sophisticated set of algorithms quickly delivers a comprehensive list of your market’s most relevant search terms. That means no more inputting 25 different keywords and having to make judgment calls on what to include and what not to include. Simply search and you’re set.

2. Irrelevant Results

After using other Amzon keyword tools, you’ve no doubt come away wondering if you’re getting the most relevant, up-to-date results. Say you’re selling a fish oil supplement. When “Fish oil diffuser (89,400)” and “Go Fish oil (30,100)” come up in the search results, you know your skepticism is justified.

Customers aren’t actually searching for those products because those products don’t exist, which casts doubt on every other keyword result on that list. Even performing a traditional reverse ASIN lookup for one ASIN misses some of your most relevant keywords and can yield irrelevant results that aren’t important to include in your listing like “customer service.”

Keyword Research uses Reverse Market Lookups, a master reverse-ASIN lookup that reaches across all your Amazon markets. Reverse Market Lookups take the listings of all of your top competitors into consideration instead of just one. And you get a list of the most relevant, high-volume keyword searches on Amazon for a panoramic view of your keyword’s market footprint.

Say you’re selling a trash can. When you search that phrase using Keyword Research, you get related keyword phrases like “kitchen trash can” and “stainless steel trash can,” as well as horizontal keywords like “garbage can” and “trash bin” which don’t actually include the seed term.

You won’t get all of these crucial horizontal phrases with just one search in other Amazon keyword tools. And with horizontal terms like “garbage can” racking up over 40,000 searches per month, you cannot afford to miss out. Check out this head-to-head comparison of top Amazon keyword tools to see just how many terms they missed compared to Keyword Research.

Horizontal keywords help you cast a strategically wide net to catch as many customer searches as possible. This is exactly the type of advantage that can push you ahead of your competition.

3. Inaccurate Search Volume 

If “Fish oil diffuser” and “Go Fish oil” are showing up in results for other Amazon keyword tools, you should be doubting everything else on those keyword lists.

You can’t feel confident that you’re positioning your listing for success if you have to choose from results like that. Other tools source data from search engines like Google and Bing. That data reflects what people are searching on those search engines instead of what they’re searching on Amazon, which functions in an entirely different way.

Keyword Research washes all of the doubt away. With accurate search volume based only on Amazon data, it shows you exact and broad search volume, two key metrics when prioritizing keywords for your listing. In descending order, exact search volume provides you with a full view of exact keywords searched over the previous 30 days. Broad search volume shows you the number of searches over the same period that contain a specific keyword phrase.

Using our trash can example, we can see that in the last month over 110,000 people searched for that exact phrase, while over 730,000 searches contained that phrase. This lets you know how many people are searching for the root keyword associated with your product, and how many times that root keyword is showing up in related searches.

4. Not Enough Information

Many Amazon keyword tools offer nothing more than inaccurate search volume and a list of top categories for a keyword. With Keyword Research, we wanted to make sure sellers had all the information they needed right in front of them.

And with an Advanced subscription to Keyword Research, not only do you get the most relevant results and accurate search volume, you can also access key features designed to give you multiple advantages over your competitors. You can begin ranking for the right keywords, help maximize your listing’s visibility, and drive more sales.

To help you do just that, we’ve sweetened our Advanced subscription with Search Volume Trends, Opportunity Score, and Sponsored Ad Bids.

Search Volume Trends allow you to see if a keyword is increasing or decreasing in popularity so that your listing. You can see trends for both exact and broad search volume. Some search terms may have less historical data than others, but as our database continues to grow, our historical data will as well. 

Opportunity Score is a rating from 1 to 1000 that shows you markets where the ranking potential is high because the searched term is underutilized. Because high-opportunity keywords are less competitive, these markets may also have lower quality listings. This is a golden opportunity for you to gain sales.

Opportunity Score shows you keywords that have not been integrated into the front end of top performing listings, so you can incorporate them into your listing and begin ranking for them. Just a simple change can help you add thousands of dollars in sales every month. Read more about Opportunity Score and the other scores in Keyword Research.

No other keyword tool features anything like the Opportunity Score, which reveals gaps in the market that you can immediately take advantage of. And with updated data at your fingertips, you’ll always know what the latest keyword gems are and in which market they’ve been hiding.

Sponsored Ad Bids allows you to see bid costs so you can better understand competition level for every keyword on your list. With these features at your fingertips, you’ll spot high search volume, high opportunity, low bid, and trending keywords to put your product on the cutting edge of customer search.

Keyword Research is the best amazon product research tool for sellers looking to capitalize on untapped opportunty. Make sure you never miss another keyword, and target the exact phrases customers are typing into the Amazon search bar. Subscribe to Keyword Research, get the most comprehensive and accurate keyword report in the galaxy.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Click here to learn more

Announcing Keyword Research, the Most Accurate Keyword Tool in the Galaxy

Having the right keywords in your listing is absolutely essential to being successful on Amazon, and that means keyword research is a crucial aspect of your strategy.

Whether you are just dipping your toes into the Amazon marketplace with your first product or are a veteran seller expanding your brand with new items, you can’t afford to get the keyword part of the success equation wrong.

Keywords are a huge factor in the visibility of your product. The keywords in your listing index your product within Amazon’s catalog. Then once sales are applied, your listing can attain keyword ranking.

In this way, keywords are responsible for getting your product in front of as many potential customers as possible. If your product isn’t visible in search results when customers are looking for it, they won’t buy it. Most listings don’t feature critical keywords that can collectively cost sellers thousands of dollars in missed sales.

The problem is that until now there hasn’t been a proper tool to help you easily determine which keywords are most relevant for your product. Existing tools provide pages of keywords that take hours to comb through and field results like “Baby reading glasses (19,500)” and “High heels for dogs (52,500).”

You could take a chance with those tools and miss important keywords, or you could use the newest Viral Launch tool, Keyword Research.   

We’re excited to announce the launch of Keyword Research, our latest software tool, and the best Amazon keyword research tool in the galaxy.

START SEARCHING

Using an extremely sophisticated set of algorithms, Keyword Research delivers a panoramic, comprehensive list of your market’s most relevant search terms with accurate search volume estimates based only on actual Amazon data. 

Keyword Research

Keyword Research for Amazon helps you easily decide which keywords and keyword phrases to place in your title, bullet points, description, backend search terms, and sponsored ads. It allows you to see the most relevant keywords, accurate search volume data, and historical search volume trends. You can also access an Opportunity Score and Exact CPC to identify keywords with high relevance and low competition.  

No more time wasted on bad keyword results, no more fear of missing out on crucial keywords, no more doubt about keyword relevance, no more missing potential sales and revenue.

How do we do it?

Relevancy

We start off by scouring the deep reaches of Amazon for an exhaustive list of customer search terms related to your keywords by running a Reverse Market Lookup. Think of it as a master reverse-ASIN lookup that reaches across all your Amazon markets, taking all your top competitors into consideration instead of just one listing.

The result is an enormous pool of keywords related to your product, including horizontal keywords. Horizontal keywords represent your seed keyword without overlapping it, providing exponential advantage to your listing.

For instance, “strainer” is a horizontal keyword phrase for “collander.” In order to ensure that each result is relevant for your product, we use our Market Relevancy Calculation which is a sophisticated set of algorithms that determine the relevancy of each keyword we’ve come across in our reverse-market lookup. You can easily sort by Relevancy Score to see your product’s most relevant keywords first. 

Search Volume Based Only On Actual Amazon Data

Keyword Research utilizes our industry-leading search volume estimates based only on actual Amazon data. Estimates are updated multiple times a week so you see fresh numbers every time you search. We also provide exact and broad match data to show you the potential impact of a keyword. 

You get a list of the most relevant, high volume keyword searches on Amazon for a bird’s eye view of your keyword’s market footprint.

Historical Search Volume Trends

When researching keywords and choosing the right ones to promote your specific product, it’s important to know where those keywords are in the market and where they’ve been. Keyword Research allows you to see the full market context around a keyword so that you can get a feel for how that keyword’s performance could ebb and flow in the months to come.

Look at exact match and broad match historical search trend graphs to see if a keyword is growing or declining in popularity. Historical data gives you yet another edge over your competition.

Advanced Features

If you’re looking to really increase your competitive edge, you might want to consider the Advanced subscription, which includes Opportunity Score and Sponsored Ad Bids. Opportunity Score ranks keywords on a scale of 0-1000 to show you markets where the exact keyword phrase has not been integrated into the front end of the top performing listings. Essentially, you can conduct keyword popularity research just by sorting by Opportunity Score. 

Because high opportunity keywords are less competitive, these markets also tend to have lower quality listings. If you’ve got great reviews and good photos, the addition of a single keyword could bring in thousands more dollars in sales every month. Sponsored Ad Bids allows you to see bid costs so you can better understand competition level for every keyword on your list.

Both features help you target keywords that have an established, positive performance record in your market and pass on keywords that have been volatile. You’ll spot high-opportunity, low bid, and trending keywords to put your product on the cutting edge of customer search.

Integration with All Viral Launch Subscriptions

Keyword Research seamlessly integrates with Market Intelligence and Product Discovery so you can see keyword insights no matter what Viral Launch tool you’re working with.

Product Discovery, the best product finder in the galaxy, lets you input your dream product’s sales revenue and review metrics to get a customized list of the potential products that fit your business aspirations. Filter to find markets that receive many searches but few sales. With the integration of Keyword Research, you can filter your results by Search Volume when searching for products via Keyword.

Market Intelligence, the most sophisticated Amazon product research tool and sourcing software in the galaxy, helps you validate product ideas so you source only money-making products. With the most accurate sales data estimates and product trends, Market Intelligence now also provides you with search volume for the market you’re exploring.

 

See Keyword Research in Action

Keyword Research brings you our industry-leading search volume estimates no matter which Viral Launch tool you’re using, so you can put your product on the cutting edge of customer search and beat out the competition.

Whether you’re just starting to research products, already have your product sourced and ready to go, or are coming up with your next money-making product idea, the Viral Launch suite of tools is here to serve you.

Never miss another keyword. Target the exact phrases customers are typing into the Amazon search bar, and get the most comprehensive and accurate keyword report in the galaxy when you subscribe to Keyword Research. 

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The Secret to Amazon Sponsored Ads with Viral Launch Head of Innovation Leo Sgovio (Follow the Data Ep. 23)

The Secret to Amazon Sponsored Ads with Viral Launch Head of Innovation Leo Sgovio (Follow the Data Ep. 23)

Sponsored ads provide sellers with an incredible opportunity to gain exposure to streams of shoppers. But most sellers don’t know how to utilize sponsored ads, spending way more money than they need to for minimal returns. Join host Cameron Yoder as he talks to sponsored ads guru and Viral Launch Head of Innovation, Leo Sgovio, to find out how you can grow your business using Sponsored Ads. 

 

 

Listen on iTunes   Listen on Stitcher

Follow the Data Show Notes

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:
Sponsored ads provide massive potential for sellers to gain exposure to streams of shoppers, but most sellers don’t know how to utilize sponsored ads, spending way more money than they need to for minimal returns. 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, for success as an Amazon seller. In today’s episode we sit down with our Head of Innovation, Leo Sgovio, to talk about the best practices for sponsored ads. We’ll talk about how to use sponsored ads to your advantage without breaking the bank so you can put your money towards more important investments for your business. Let’s jump in.

All right, so we’re here today with Leo. Leo, how are you doing today?

LEO SGOVIO:
Amazing, guys. Thank you for having me today on the podcast. I’m really excited.

CAMERON YODER:
For sure. And you’re in Canada right now, right?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yes, I am.

CAMERON YODER:
What’s the weather like?

LEO SGOVIO:
It’s cold in Canada. It’s terrible outside. Actually, it’s not too bad lately. It’s a big plus so I can’t complain.

CAMERON YODER:
Okay, that’s good. Well, just to intro Leo a little bit because he deserves introducing, Leo is a performance-based advertising specialist with expertise in multichannel digital advertising, and he’s the Head of Innovation here at Viral Launch. So he’s worked for over nine years in digital marketing, during which time, during this time he successfully built and managed multimillion dollar traffic acquisition strategies in travel, career, real estate, finance and online retail marketing, including Amazon.com.

So Leo, can you tell us about your past a little bit, just kind of everything that you’ve been involved with because you’ve been – I mean obviously you’ve been involved with a lot. So maybe just expand on the experiences that you’ve had and just briefly kind of what you’ve learned from everything.

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, thanks for the introduction, Cam and Casey. So like you said, I’ve been involved in the digital space for a very long time, and that’s really what gives me an advantage when it comes to understanding what the major search engines, including Amazon on the sponsored side of things, does. So I’ve been managing over $6 million, $7 million a year ad spend on both Google AdWords, Bing, Facebook. And so when it came to – when I started selling on Amazon.com I adopted sponsored ads almost from day one because I knew that it was one of the best ways to always drive traffic to my product and always have my product in front of people that were looking for it. So I didn’t use that as a second option when my sales were low, for instance.

And yeah, so going back almost like 10 years ago when, you know, Google was still in its infancy I understood that for them there was an advantage of, obviously, for us as an advertiser it was an advantage on using sponsored ads together with traffic that we were getting organically because there was a field that the search engine obviously looks at it. Okay, they’re making money when you buy traffic from them. And so there is some sort of reward when obviously they see that you are both paying for the traffic through their sponsored programs and as well as, you know, doing well organically. So it’s a win-win situation that works well for the advertiser and the partner you are working with, which in this case would be Amazon.com.

CAMERON YODER:
So how did you initially just even get involved in the SEO space?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, that’s funny actually. When I came to Canada, and I was visiting this country, I was already doing some SEO stuff back in Italy where I’m from, and I got really passionate about it. And I remember and I met one of my family members, and I asked him okay, you need to tell me what’s the hot job right now that is going to make me good money? And he’s like you know you should learn SEO, and a week later I was already Google certified. You know, I had already started all the hoops. And you know I got the certification of Google AdWords, and I was ready to rock it. And then since then I just, you know, kept studying and learning, and this is how I really got into it. But it became a really a passion for me. I would never do anything else right now. I mean I love e-commerce. I love, you know, like understanding traffic sources and generating sales online and all that comes with it. So I’m really happy what I’m doing right now.

CAMERON YODER:
I think your perspective is so valuable, number one, because you’ve been in the space for a really long time, not in just the Amazon space, right, but the Google space as well. So your perspective is very valuable, and it’s a perspective that not a lot of people have, especially in this space. And so I mean we’re talking about – this show is all about Amazon specifically, but there’s value in comparing Amazon to something like Google, especially when it comes to sponsored ads. So can you touch on, just here in the beginning, kind of what the difference is for when it comes to sponsored ads between Amazon, Amazon.com and something like Google?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, so I think it depends on like, you know, what perspective we look at it, right? So for example, in both cases, right, Google AdWords, or Bing, or Facebook, or Amazon sponsored ads, you know we’re familiar with display advertising. You know, format is pretty much the same, as well as, you know, text ads. So if we look at it from a format perspective, then, you know, it’s pretty much similar, right, when it comes to the way we build ads, like starting with a campaign, ad groups, and then, you know, looking it down all the way to keywords.

However, when we look at objectives that’s when things are really a bit different. So for example, on Amazon.com the main goal is to drive sales to your product. And so when you look at Google or Facebook instead there are so many different objectives. You can set it for your goals, for example, or it could be an email capture or, you know, an account creation. Or if you’re an e-commerce store obviously a sale, a purchase. So these platforms are similar in certain ways and completely different in others. So it really depends on how you look at it.

CAMERON YODER:
So really when it comes down to the primary differences Amazon is very focused, right? Like Amazon, the goal of sponsored ads on Amazon is just kind of one; there’s like basically one goal, and it’s to drive sales to your product. At least that’s one of the primary goals, right?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, and that comes, you know, because of the, obviously the intent of the user on the platform. It’s a different kind of intent. When you’re on Google.com you’re, it’s kind of, you’re looking for information. You’re still in the shopping process. You’re looking for something. You’re, you know, gathering information around the web, and then eventually you make your decision. When you go on Amazon.com you’re ready to purchase. You probably already have your credit card on the desk ready to be, you know, typed in – the card, right, the checkout page. So over there you’re going to be really – do your best to make sure that your product is in front of these people. And so sponsored ads help you with that specific goal, right?

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, and that makes sense. People go to Amazon. If you’re searching in Amazon, like the search engine of Amazon, you’re intending to buy something off of Amazon.

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct.

CAMERON YODER:
If you’re searching in Google you’re searching for a large number of different things. It could be to buy something, but it could be just for like, for another piece of information.

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct. And you can see like the conversion rate, for example. It’s a good metric when it comes to, you know, understanding the difference between the two different platforms. Usually an e-commerce site, Shopify or WooCommerce, as a – in a good case scenario, like the average, let’s say, conversion rate is probably like 3%, 4%, sometimes lower, like say in the travel space I’ve seen is 0.8%. And on Amazon I personally aim for at least 25%. So it’s a huge difference there, right? So obviously user intent is, you know, where the conversion rate comes from, right?

CAMERON YODER:
Of course. So okay, in your mind, in your experience using sponsored ads on Amazon specifically, is it – is using sponsored ads more focused on making a profit or gaining something like keyword ranking, or a little bit of both?

LEO SGOVIO:
Well, yeah, I’d say little bit of both. I mean there are different goals that are usually set when I use sponsored ads. The main one is obviously to generate more profit, and I’ll explain that in more detail. Let’s say if I’m just launching a product and want to start generating awareness toward my brand or build sales history, which is very important for a brand-new product, then I don’t care much about profits. As long as I can break even my numbers look good based on the analysis that I’ve done prior to my launch. Then I’m fine with, you know, like breaking even, even losing maybe a few cents, a dollar. But my goal at that point is to generate, to build my sales history so that Amazon, you know, falls in love with my product because eventually it’s going to make money. So once I’m comfortable with these numbers I took the listing first of all to get a good conversion rate. And so when we look at using sponsored ads for rankings, it’s a little bit of a different strategy. But yeah, both – like I use it for both reasons. One is obviously to drive rankings. The other one is for profits.

CAMERON YODER:
So kind of the baseline, bottom-line goal of sponsored ads really, like we said before, is to drive a sale. But in that, that purpose and that primary goal kind of splits into two things. You can use those sponsored ads to either drive a sale or promote keyword ranking, really. Like it’s kind of twofold. So Leo, can you describe for us then, can you even expand a little bit more on advice you’d give when it comes to increasing ranking using sponsored ads?

LEO SGOVIO:
Sure. So the first thing I do when I start with a brand-new product, for instance, is launching ad campaign and set it on automatic targeting, which means that Amazon targets your ads to all relevant customer searches based on your product information. So if my product is in a highly competitive niche, which means that the search volume is high, obviously, I wait let’s say 4 to 7 days and then I download the report that shows me the customer search terms and the keywords that resulted in clicks on my ads.

CAMERON YODER:
You said you do that first, right? That’s like one of the first things you do?

LEO SGOVIO:
I actually, yeah, that’s one of the first things I do because I want to make sure that whatever I’m doing after makes sense, right, like I’m targeting the right keywords. And so at this point I know what consumers are searching for rather than just relying on you know, a guess, or I see how there through other tools. And I first tweak and optimize my listing to ensure that those keywords are included in the key section of my listing. For example, the title, the description, bullet point. This is very important because if I’m targeting something out through a launch, for example, either way or sponsored ads and my listing is not optimized, I don’t think I’m going to get as, you know, results as good as otherwise, right, if my listing was optimized for this keyword.

And so once I make sure that I have the right keywords in the listing I then create campaigns targeting these specific keywords using exact match and phrase match only. Then I look at the report. Usually if I have time I look at the report, you know, on a daily basis, maybe every two days. I just want to make sure that the campaigns are performing well. I look in my [unintelligible], and if it makes sense for me then I keep running these campaigns, or I tweak. So ideally this process lasts about a month, and during this month I try to build campaigns very targeted. So with my experience with, for example, Google AdWords, Google also, when you add a very thin campaign, a campaign, very tight so the name of your campaign, ad groups, what you are targeting in terms of keywords, as well as the ad copy. So I try to use the same practice, same guidelines on Amazon as well. And so I end up with a campaign that only has exact match keywords because those ones are clearly [unintelligible] and usually the CPC is pretty low, and then I go and use one for like phrase, phrases only. And then I keep an eye on this one because obviously it gives me a little bit more insight. It might be that search strengths change, or people are searching for the product in different ways because maybe a press release came out, or someone is advertising the product in a different way, and so people go on Amazon and search for it. So I try and go and discover these new keywords within this report.

But again, it’s very important that, you know, the listing is obviously, you know, it keeps optimizing it so that eventually Amazon grabs these keywords from your listing and ranks your product, especially if you have that automated campaign still running to gather data.

CAMERON YODER:
I think a lot of people get overwhelmed from this whole process. Like they see sponsored ads. If they’re not familiar with SEO they get overwhelmed easily, and then they just throw on an automatic campaign and then just leave that forever because it’s just easy to do. But I really like your process. And correct me if I’m wrong, but there were like maybe like three steps with it, -ish, maybe four. So run the automatic campaign, get the primary keywords, change your listing to match the most, like the best keywords, or at least use that as part of that process, and then run specific kind of targeted sponsored ads and then reevaluate consistently?

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct, correct.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s – and you’ve found that process to be just very effective?

LEO SGOVIO:
It is, yeah. It is. It’s like you said, just four simple steps. Like find, optimize, tweak and scale.

CAMERON YODER:
Yep. And that’s very easy to digest, and I, for our listeners I think that’s so valuable. Again, just to map it out and to make it less complicated, that’s great. So you’ve touched on this already a little bit, but when talking about looking up specific keywords you mentioned using auto campaigns. Again, that was like the first step that you mentioned, but is there any other way or any other thing that you would recommend for sellers to really dig into which keywords they should select to optimize sponsored ads or just there listing in general?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, so this is my perspective on things, but I believe that automatic targeting campaigns are one of the best ways to start because you’re buying data straight from Amazon rather than relying on tools that might not give you accurate results. And so you really see what users are searching, and this is also very good practice when you’re starting a Shopify site or an e-commerce site. Usually you build a campaign in AdWords with a broad match, and you just, well, you’re wasting money. You’re just throwing money outside the window, and that’s fine because you’re just buying data from that source. So it’s the best way to know exactly what people are buying. And so you have now a good set of keywords to go after.

However, if I’m just getting an idea of what people search, I usually – I do these, and I’ve shared with some people a couple of times, and I’m hoping that those that are listening will start adopting this method. What I do, I usually scan my competitor’s listing why I keep this Chrome extension open. It’s called SEOquake. This extension was initially used for, or was an SEO extension, was just, you know, built to understand what the page was optimized for and calculate the keyword density within the page. And so I use this extension to show me what are the keywords that this specific competitor, let’s say the top 50, are going after. So the SEOquake, once I click on a link, sorry, a page analysis, it’s going to show me a list of keywords. And then I can filter by two-keyword phrase, three-keyword phrase, four-keyword phrase [unintelligible] keywords. And it will sort them by keyword frequency. So it’s basically like a density score.

And so it gives me a good overview. It’s like okay, if this user, this seller is optimizing for this keyword it means that it’s probably working for him, right? It’s probably ranking well, and so I should also keep an eye on this keyword. And then what I do, I combine in Excel all the keywords I find using SEOquake, the keywords I have from the automatic targeting campaigns, and then some keywords – I also use the Google keyword tool to get an idea on, you know, what people search on Google because it’s very important considering that these days Google is still the homepage of any website out there, and every search starts on Google. And then my secret weapon, it’s actually the AMS person campaign builder, like the campaign builder, because what I do, the way I use it, I create just a fake campaign. I never launch it. But what you could do there, you just create a new campaign and, you know, ad group and then with AMS you have the option to actually advertise any product, not only yours. And so you can now select a competitor’s product, and Amazon is going to give you suggested keywords based on that product. And I thought that was amazing, right, because I get keywords straight from Amazon without really relying on anything else that I don’t know data.

CAMERON YODER:
So you create a campaign for a competitor’s product, and you don’t start – did you say you start the campaign or you don’t start it, you just –?

LEO SGOVIO:
No, I never start it. I delete it after. I just download the keywords that Amazon is giving me, and then I delete that campaign. I don’t need this. It’s just for me to see okay, this is what Amazon thinks are really good keywords.

CAMERON YODER:
Gotcha. Okay, wow. Shoot, I actually have not heard of that before. That’s great. And you found success from that so far, at least mixing that with other things?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, of course.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s great. And so jumping back to the other tool, the other tool that you mentioned was SEOquake, and I think the principle – I don’t think people are very familiar with the principle of what that’s doing, or at least with the idea behind something like keyword density that you mentioned. So in this case what this is doing, or one aspect of SEOquake with Amazon is it’s pulling – it’s basically kind of a – you put in a search term like fish oil, and then it searches for keyword density, which in this case means which keywords are being used frequently across each listing, right? And then it’s giving you that information.

LEO SGOVIO:
Well, kind of. Like so if you search for fish oil on Amazon, then what you will do, you will click on each one of the results, and once you are on the listing, then you will click on this chrome extension, SEOquake, and then it will analyze that page and give you a result of all the keywords that have been used in that page and score them by, like score them by frequency, right, or density. And so the ones that are obviously at the top, maybe if you look at one keyword phrase or the two keyword phrase you might find words like “buy now” or these things that don’t really matter because they appear on every page. But as you go down to like the third and fourth result, now you see like some pretty cool keywords, like for example fish oil, right? And then you get a 4%, 5% density. So this is now – I don’t want to go off topic, but it’s very super important for SEO, for example, we can have another podcast about it, but what I do usually, I analyze each keyword, each listing, and I see that on average each one is optimizing this listing with a let’s say 4% density, right? And so when I build my listing I try to match that or go a little bit higher so that when the Amazon bots go and crawl my page, consider mine as relevant as theirs, if not more, right? So that’s obviously now going into optimizing listing, but that’s what I use also the tool for.

CAMERON YODER:
Gotcha. And that’s very relevant. I think that’s something that not a lot of people are familiar with, so that’s great. I’m going to switch up topics just a little bit, just to keep things moving. But when it comes to cost, that’s one thing that a lot of sellers ask is oh, how much should I be spending on my sponsored ads, which I’m sure depends a which ads you’re running. But do you have any just general advice on costs that people should be spending or where people should cap themselves at, anything along those lines?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, I actually have a really simple formula that helps to calculate the cost, and obviously it’s focused on ROI. But the formula is pretty simple. What I do, I look at my organic conversion rate. So for example, if my listing is converting at 30%, and then I look at the selling costs, so how much is this product costing me after all the FBA fees and the margin that Amazon is making, the referral fees. So by dividing that, right, by the conversion rate, you get your break even ACoS. So by making the calculation you get, okay, in order to break even my ACoS should be, let’s say, 10%. And so once you have that you know your organic conversion rate and the selling price, now you calculate your recommended default bid.

And now you obviously base your budget on that, right? Like if you cannot afford to spend more than $0.50 because now you’re going to lose money, then go below that. And so I usually calculate that default bid just before starting so I know that, and you know, in this case I’m breaking even. And then I tweak my campaigns as I go. So I launch, you know, like a bunch of different campaigns. The budget is obviously based on how much you can afford to spend. But at least you know that worst-case scenario you’re not losing money; you’re breaking even, unless you’re willing to lose money, for example, doing maybe just a ranking campaign but you don’t care about making money; you just want the product to end up on page 1. And so that’s usually what I do. It’s pretty simple, and I think it would be really beneficial for the listeners.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s really good. And there may not be another answer to this. I just want to kind of jump back to automatic campaigns. So automatic campaigns can be good for finding your initial keyword list, right? But are there any other things that people should use automatic campaigns for, or should they just kind of stay away from them once they get more advanced? Like you said before, it was kind of that first step in your process for optimizing sponsored ads and listing and everything. But is there any other place for automatic campaigns, or not necessarily?

LEO SGOVIO:
So I think the main goal of an automatic campaign is to give you that initial set of keywords, kind of like understanding of what people look for when buying, looking for your product. However, obviously once you get familiar with the sponsored ads and become more experienced with the platform I will suggest to, you know, keep automatic campaigns running with huge budgets. Most likely you’re going to waste a lot out of it but however, I still have some catchall campaigns that I’m usually running on automatic targeting, and those ones, usually what I do, I lower my bid so I won’t be more than let’s say $0.10, $0.15, and they turn out to be pretty profitable, to be honest with you. So yeah, I usually just keep a catchall one after I’m done with, you know, the optimization scaling process, and these ones will just catch everything else that I’m not covering in my targeted ones.

CAMERON YODER:
Yep. So once a campaign is, I guess, successful in your mind, in your eyes, once a product is converted organically for a keyword that you’re targeting through sponsored ads, what generally would you say is the next step, just to kind of lower everything down and keep on going or to just keep an eye on everything? Like where – what is the next step from that point on?

LEO SGOVIO:
Well, if you’ve identified some good profitable campaigns I would scale the budget as much as I could. I mean as long as you are making money I would just feed the beast, right? Traffic on Amazon, like is there. Like people are searching for your product. So why leave that, you know, food on the table for somebody else to eat it? And yeah, like I would still try to look for other low-hanging fruit. So what I usually do, for example, one of my best practices with not only like with sponsored ads I only go and target, for example, my competitors with display ads, right? It does work extremely well for me when I target some related products, not necessarily my competitors. Obviously I get some good results when I target a specific competitor, they’re selling the same product and I know I have better and more reviews than them. So it’s pretty easy to win that customer. But it’s also very profitable for me when I go and look at for example, I’m selling, I don’t know, a face cream and someone is going to buy something related to it, maybe like a face brush or something to like related anyway, but not necessarily my direct competitor. And that works really well for me. There is a tool that shows you, for example, the frequently bought together. It’s called YASIV, y-a-s-i-v.com, yasiv.com. It shows you all the combination of like it’s a graph that pretty much maps all the frequently bought together. And that’s a good way to target your competitors and non with display ads. Those tend to do really well, and what I do is – I’m giving away a tip here as well – I usually target one competitor at a time per campaign. And this way it’s easier for me to see which one is winning, and then I just pause anything that is below like, you know, like 10% ACoS. And like you know, ended up with like 1500 winning campaigns.

CAMERON YODER:
So this is a – I know it’s a relevant question, but it’s a little bit out there, as well. How much time do you think people should be spending on sponsored ads and optimization, just optimizing the ads that they’re running, the campaigns that they’re running or starting new ones? How much time should people be spending on this?

LEO SGOVIO:
I would say obviously at the beginning you need more time than later on when you’re product has really been selling organically. But I would say probably I think a couple of hours a week, like two, three hours a week is plenty. You don’t need to, like the first week just to set everything up, and then maybe the second week, you know, it goes down to two just to, you know, go through the reports and make sure that everything is optimized. Maybe even one hour is enough. It doesn’t take really a long time unless you have, you know, a lot of products. Then it’s a different story. Maybe I will use a service for that. But I wouldn’t, like personally, I don’t spend a lot of time on building and managing campaigns.

CAMERON YODER:
And I guess it takes time. Like you said, it’s going to take more time at the beginning.

LEO SGOVIO:
Of course, yes.

CAMERON YODER:
Especially if you’re not familiar with how sponsored ads work, or SEO, or practices in general, like that. But once you learn all of that, really I’m assuming it just becomes easy to kind of just press play and go and spend a couple hours here and there a week, optimizing everything.

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct, yeah.

CAMERON YODE:
So I mean you’ve given a lot of really cool hacks and tips so far, especially like yasiv.com and the other tool that was called – what was the other tool called, the chrome extension?

LEO SGOVIO:
SEOquake?

CAMERON YODER:
Yes, SEOquake. But are there any other just general hacks, tips or tricks that you would recommend for people when it comes to sponsored ads?

LEO SGOVIO:
With sponsored ads, to be honest, it isn’t – like it’s a straightforward process and platform. So there are no really hacks that you can adopt so that, you know, your sales go up. I mean it really comes down to how smart you are and how, you know, like if you think outside of the box, okay. Really like what I find really effective is the kind of wording I use in my headlines, for example, or my, you know, like display ads. I try to trigger some sort of interest in like, so playing with the customers’ emotion, and then that usually gives me a higher click through rate, which means, you know, lower CPC. And that applies to all the different, apart from including, you know, Facebook, or Google, or Bing, if you play with a good ad run you usually tend to perform much better. What I would suggest as a good tip is to, you know, build different variations of your ad, not only one, because one of them most likely is going to outperform the other ones. And so I think that’s super valuable.

CAMERON YODER:
So essentially split test the ads you’re running?

LEO SGOVIO:
Exactly, yes.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, Leo, thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you so much for everything you do, for all your information. Really, there’s so much value, I think, and in the space that a lot of people get overwhelmed by. Leo, again, thank you so much. Really it was a blast having you on the show.

LEO SGOVIO:
Thank you, guys.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, that is all for this week. Thank you all for joining us on Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information about how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and also check us out on YouTube. I have a series of product discovery walk-throughs up on our channel that will really help you understand how to leverage the tool. And if you want to check it out, just search “Viral Launch” on YouTube. Go to our page and look for my face. So if you’re listening on iTunes and you like what you hear, don’t forget to leave a review and rate the show. You can also leave feedback on our Facebook page or tweet at us @viral_launch. Use the hashtag #VLFollowtheData.

And if you have a seller friend who you think would appreciate the show, tag them in your post and send them our way. We want to really be a great resource for sellers and the information source in this space. So please tell your friends. Tell your family. Spread the word, and share the show. And thank you all again so much for listening. And as always, if you want to be featured on the show, or if you have an Amazon-related question, or in conjunction with today’s episode, if you have a question for Leo or another idea for an episode, feel free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.

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.

 

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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.

3 Tips for Launching Your Next Product from Viral Launches Launch Director, Andrew Field (Follow the Data Ep. 20)

3 Tips for Launching Your Next Product from Viral Launches Launch Director, Andrew Field (Follow the Data Ep. 20)

Viral Launch has long been known as a successful launch platform, pushing products up to Page One in just a number of days. But to get your product to the top and make it stick, there are a few things you need to have in place. Join host Cameron Yoder for a conversation with Viral Launch Launch Director and employee #1, Andrew Field where he reveals 3 tips for ensuring a successful launch. 

 

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Follow the Data Show Notes

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:
Page 1, the coveted seat of Amazon’s top-selling products, the only place where shoppers are really looking or purchasing. If you want to sell well, you’ve got to get your product to Page 1. Viral Launch has long been known as a successful launch platform, pushing products up to Page 1 in just a number of days. But to get your product to the top and make it stick there are a few things that you need to have in place.

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 we sit down with our Launch Director, Andrew Field, to talk about the best practices when it comes to launching a product and the strategy behind it all. So launching is an incredibly effective method when it comes to keyword ranking on Amazon. And today we’re going to dive into Andrew’s perspective on the dos and the don’ts when it comes to launching. Let’s jump in.

All right, so Andrew, how are you doing today?

ANDREW FIELD:
I’m doing great, man. Thanks for asking.

CAMERON YODER:
Doing great. Awesome. That’s good to hear. So just to introduce Andrew a little bit, I want to introduce him just because, just to validate his perspective, basically. So Andrew, believe it or not – well, believe it because it’s true – Andrew was employee number one at Viral Launch. Andrew, what do you have to say about that?

ANDREW FIELD:
I mean it’s been crazy watching the company grow over the last almost three years, going from a team of just Casey and I to now 40+ people. It’s awesome.

CAMERON YODER:
Dang. Employee number one is not something that a lot of people can say, honestly. Like some people jump on early with a tech company or just a startup in general, but Andrew was literally the first employee, official employee of Viral Launch.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yes sir.

CAMERON YODER:
Which is insane. So he is our – he’s Viral Launch’s Launch Director. Also to just kind of say where Andrew started, Andrew started – well, Andrew, talk about where you started.

ANDREW FIELD:
So basically I started in kind of a customer service role. I was always scheduling launches, so any launch that comes in, someone submits a launch for X number of units over X number of days, I’ll review it, make sure everything works, make sure the URL is directing to the right product, just kind of oversee everything that goes into that launch.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, and you’ve overseen a lot.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, just over 31,000 now.

CAMERON YODER:
You’ve overseen over 31,000 launches. You’ve approved, personally approved –

ANDREW FIELD:
Roughly 25,000 of those, probably.

CAMERON YODER:
So personally approved roughly 20 – you said 20,000?

ANDREW FIELD:
25.

CAMERON YODER:
25,000 launches. So he’s worked with a lot of sellers, personally and through just Viral Launch’s system, to help get them to Page 1. So he’s seen a lot of what works and a lot of what doesn’t work when it comes to launching and ranking on Amazon. So he oversees our launch platform, and he’s just seen a large number of people pass through the system. And that is what we’re working with today. Andrew’s perspective is very valuable, and is something that I think a lot of listeners here can benefit from. So Andrew, just to kick it off, I’m sure many people are familiar with this, but could you just outline what a launch is?

ANDREW FIELD:
So basically the idea of a launch is to get your product to match or exceed the number of sales for listings on Page 1 for your targeted keyword. So for example, like if a product – you want to get your product raking on Page 1 for a keyword where the average number of sales is right around 1000, we’d recommend probably around 200 to 250 units over like 7 to 10 days. And the idea is to drive all of those discounted sales through the targeted keyword to get your product to match the sales history and sales volume for the listings that are ranking on Page 1 currently.

CAMERON YODER:
Okay, so just to like put it into a good perspective, the definition that we’re using today of a launch and/or promotion is basically looking at the sales on Page 1 for a keyword and matching those sales through something like a launch to get you to Page 1 –

ANDREW FIELD:
Exactly.

CAMERON YODER:
– for that keyword. Okay. So can you break down – again, we’re going to get into more strategy as we move on, but can you break down just how a launch works from start to finish? You already talked about it a little bit, but just kind of break it down for everyone.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so it depends on if a seller works with a coach or not. Generally if a seller works with a coach their launch is successful. So we have the knowledge to look at a market and say okay, you need to give away this many units to get ranking for this keyword. Maybe we would notice that this keyword might not convert well for you, so you probably shouldn’t target that keyword. So it depends on the keyword you’re going after. So we would look at the market to see what kind of sales they are doing and then base a recommendation off of that.

CAMERON YODER:
Okay, that’s good. So let’s talk about – let’s outline – I want to outline three strategy tips that you have for people. Just what would your three top tips for people be when it comes to running promotions or product launches?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so first thing you want to make sure you have a well-optimized listing. So if your copy is bad or your photos are bad, that listing is not going to convert well once it’s ranking on Page 1. You want to make sure you have a competitive price point. So if your listing is 35% higher than every listing on Page 1, you’re probably not going to convert that well.

CAMERON YODER:
Right.

ANDREW FIELD:
And you also want to make sure that you’re targeting the best keywords. So kind of the best way to figure out what the best keyword is, is to do a lot of research. So you want to look at many different keywords that you would consider relevant and then see which products on Page 1 are most comparable to the listing that you have. So if you see a bunch of products on Page 1 that aren’t necessarily similar to your listing it’s likely that you won’t convert well for that keyword. And if you see a bunch of products on Page 1 that are very similar to your listing, those listings are obviously converting well for that keyword, so it’s likely that yours would as well.

CAMERON YODER:
Right. So let’s, so just to go over those three tips that you mentioned, that’s number one, you said optimize your listing. Number two, you said competitive – have a competitive price point, really. And number three was targeting the most effective keywords, right?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yep.

CAMERON YODER:
So let’s break down – let’s break down each of these. So number one, you talked about – and you went over it a little bit, but specifically when giving advice to people about optimizing their listing, like again, out of everyone that you’ve seen, what works well from the perspective of the seller that should be optimizing his or her listing?

ANDREW FIELD:
So first and foremost you want to make sure you have a great title. Keyword rich, still reads well, but is going to help you rank for as many relevant keywords as possible. Some of the data that we’ve seen – so somebody runs a launch that should work based on the number of units that we recommend. We do a reassessment and see that the targeted keyword was not in their title. That can cause them not to be able to rank for that keyword. They may be indexing, but they’re not getting the same ranking power as they would be if they had that keyword in their title.

CAMERON YODER:
Now what about – can you break down the importance of a title in a product’s copy compared to something like the bullets or the description?

ANDREW FIELD:
So the title is going to be your most important. That’s where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck. Your most important keywords you want to put towards the beginning of the title. The less important keywords you move towards the back. But your most relevant keywords are going to be all focused on in your title. That’s where you’re going to get the most ranking effect when running launches.

CAMERON YODER:
And in your perspective, again, just from what you’ve seen with data and with launches, is there any – should people just cram a bunch of primary keywords together in the title or string them together like masterfully to create a title that makes sense, or like where’s the fine line between that?

ANDREW FIELD:
So there’s a perfect balance that you want to find. You want to find a balance between sales-inducing copy and copy that will also help you rank. So having a professionally-written listing is key, someone that knows the science behind writing a listing.

CAMERON YODER:
What about photos? What advice on photos do you have?

ANDREW FIELD:
So you want to have a photo that will catch the eye, just based on the thumbnail. So you’re main photo is going to be the one that drives the most clicks to your listing. So yeah, you want to make sure that your listing stands out from the competition with excellent photos. Once you get into the listing you’ll notice a lot of competition on Amazon likely doesn’t have lifestyle photos. That’s something that you can really give a competitive advantage to your listing if you have really nice lifestyle images showing the product in use. It helps develop an emotional attachment between the potential buyer and the product itself.

CAMERON YODER:
That’s good. I think with this first point talking about optimizing your listing, I think a lot of people get, just get lost from the fact that a product launch can get you to Page 1, right? But if those creatives are not in place, like if your copy is not optimized, if your photos are not great, then yeah, you’re going to lunch on to Page 1, but you’re not going to be able to convert once you’re there.

ANDREW FIELD:
Right.

CAMERON YODER:
And the whole goal of a launch, at least for us, our perspective is our goal for you is to reach Page 1 for that, or those primary keywords that you’re targeting and then to stick there. And your best chance of doing that, like you were just talking about Andrew, is to really optimize your title, your copy, the rest of your copy, and your photos.

ANDREW FIELD:
And definitely price point.

CAMERON YODER:
And definitely price point, right, which is your second point actually. That’s a really good lead-in. So your second point was to make sure your price point is in line with competition. Can you break that down just what you generally recommend?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so I mean that kind of starts even before sourcing a product. So if you can only source this product and you have to sell it at a substantially higher amount than other listings on Page 1, you probably won’t be able to convert. You probably won’t be able to compete in that market moving forward. Amazon is a space where you have to have the best priced product. You need to present your product in a great way, but you also have to offer a good value to the customer. Since most products on Amazon are private label nobody really knows and has an attachment to a specific name brand, so price point is going to be a huge converting factor for you.

CAMERON YODER:
And that’s what – and we talk about on the show all the time and in our videos and everything, the importance of really setting your goals before you even start the whole process of really sourcing anything because if you set your goals on what you want to make, then that will kind of determine the manufacturers that you choose or the products that you go after and the margins that you’re looking for.

ANDREW FIELD:
Exactly.

CAMERON YODER:
Because like you said, I mean if you can’t handle the margins or the price war, then – or if you get into a market that is an average of $20, right, and you’re trying to source a product that’s like $40 because it’s better –

ANDREW FIELD:
Right, it’s going to be very difficult to compete in that market.

CAMERON YODER:
Right. Okay.

ANDREW FIELD:
Even if you have a well-optimized listing, good copy, good photos, if your price point is twice as high as everyone else, best of luck to you.

CAMERON YODER:
Right. Let’s talk – let’s touch on the third point, your third point that you made, or the third tip, general tip. So you said make sure that you target the right keyword. I want you to – can you break down for us what you would really recommend when people are trying to find the best keywords to pick to rank for? What’s your advice when it comes to that?

ANDREW FIELD:
So yeah, I get that question all the time. Basically you want to look and see what other listings like yours are converting for. Even another way, just run like an automatic sponsored ads campaign. Let it run for 10 days. See what kind of conversion you get for these keywords. See how many impressions you get for this keyword. And find the one that performs the best. That’s typically going to be the best keyword for you to target with the launch.

CAMERON YODER:
Okay. Other than that, like what about – and we have Market Intelligence, right, which gives us access to like sales estimate data. Would you use that in that case?

ANDREW FIELD:
Right. Yeah, I mean to an extent. It’s almost difficult when you’re just looking at sales estimation data because you’re not sure which keywords those sales are being attributed from. Mostly it’s common sense. You can tell which keywords are going to be most relevant to your product. You can use tools like MerchantWords to find – I mean other sales estim- or search estimation data. But that’s not always all that accurate.

CAMERON YODER:
I really think people overthink the primary keywords where, again, there are always exceptions to this rule, but really chances are if you’re able to put yourself in the mind of a buyer or of someone who is buying your product, you’ll probably be able to narrow down maybe the top three primary keywords that you should at least look into with something like split testing.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, and as far as finding the primary keyword, I don’t think that’s really all that difficult. If you look at your competition you’ll generally see that the primary keyword for that market is going to be at the very beginning of most all of your competitors’ titles. So that’s an easy way to identify the primary keyword.

CAMERON YODER:
Right, to look at your competition and see what they’re driving. And again, that doesn’t always mean they’re picking the right one, but typically –

ANDREW FIELD:
Right. If you see most sellers in a market doing that, that’s generally meaning that that’s the primary keyword for the product, yeah.

CAMERON YODER:
Right, right, that’s good. Okay, so those were the kind of three general strategy tips, but let’s break down just launch strategy in general even more. So Andrew, what would you say – what are some of the most important things that people should keep in mind before they do something like a launch?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so I mean we’ve already kind of touched on it, but make sure that your listing is well-optimized. You have to have great listing copy. You have to have great photos. You have to have a competitive price point. The question that people always ask is once I get to Page 1 will I stick? I think people are asking the wrong question, and the question should be, will I sell? Because what good is it if you stick on Page 1 if you don’t sell? You need to be asking the right questions. So if your listing is going to convert, if it’s going to be competitive with the other listings in the space, that’s the question you should be asking.

CAMERON YODER:
What would you say about reviews?

ANDREW FIELD:
I mean reviews are important. I think we’ve kind of talked about this on the podcast before. Reviews are the currency of Amazon. That’s another thing that kind of goes into the optimization conversation. If your listing has far fewer reviews than other listings on Page 1 for that keyword, you’re going to find it more difficult to convert. Sometimes what we suggest right after running a launch is to drop your price a little bit, sometimes almost even to breakeven, just to generate sales, develop a strong sales history, keep that product on Page 1, and then you can gradually bring your price back up to like increase your margins.

CAMERON YODER:
Would you say there is like a flat number of reviews that someone should have before they run a launch, or is it kind of just dependent on the market that you’re going into?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, it’s completely dependent on the market. I mean you’ll find brand-new markets out there where the average review count is 10 reviews. You can run a launch on that product with zero reviews. You’d have no problem. But if you’re going into a market where the average review count is 500 reviews, you’re going to find it a lot more difficult to convert with zero reviews. So I mean if you’re looking for a flat number – so for example, like for a market with 500 reviews as the average review count for listings on Page 1, I would suggest launching with no less than 100. That’s kind of my suggestion, so maybe 20% of the average of listings on Page 1.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, I think that’s a good baseline to build off of at least. Okay, that’s good. So next question, what do you see people doing wrong when it comes to promotions or launches? So what shouldn’t people do?

ANDREW FIELD:
So I think sometimes people have unrealistic expectations for how their product is going to perform after a launch. So getting a product ranking on Page 1 generally isn’t a problem. It’s typically pretty easy. But people think that all of a sudden their sales are going to skyrocket, which may not necessarily be the case. If your listing isn’t competitive you’re not going to see those sales. I know we keep going back to the having an optimized listing, but that’s how important it really is.

CAMERON YODER:
It’s important. It’s really important.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so I mean that’s why I think people need to discuss their strategy with a coach or a seller coach or someone that knows what they’re talking about before running a launch. Ask questions like will this listing sell in this market? Am I targeting the right keyword? How many units should I give to target this keyword? All those kinds of things.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, and this is not a – it’s not a plug for what we do. It’s just simply a really simple and easy thing that you guys can do and have free, really free access to.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, exactly. Like no matter what strategy you’re using to get your product ranking on Page 1, these are the questions you need to be asking.

CAMERON YODER:
Right.

ANDREW FIELD:
Talking to people with experience is just a great resource for you.

CAMERON YODER:
Right, and that’s what our coaching team – our coaching team is meant to really give strategy to people.

ANDREW FIELD:
Exactly.

CAMERON YODER:
So they’re accessible to you. Okay, so let’s see. We see a lot of people, and we actually have – Casey and I have talked about this on the show before, too, but it’s always important to bring up because it comes up frequently, and it’s funny how often or how periodic this question comes up from people that are performing launches or thinking about performing a launch. But we see a lot of people talking, again, about how steep discounts don’t attribute ranking anymore. So what have you seen when it comes to that?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so I mean, like we said at the very beginning, I was employee number one. I’ve been giving launch suggestions for three years now. This has come up periodically forever. I mean I don’t think it will ever really go away. People are always looking for a reason not to give their product away at 90% off, which would totally understand. Nobody wants to give their product away at 90% off. But the data does not show that it doesn’t work. It still does work. Just for a specific example, just in the last like 14 days we ran three launches for a turmeric product, or three separate turmeric products. We got each one of those listings ranking on Page 1 for turmeric, turmeric curcumin and curcumin. Those are incredibly competitive markets where sales are 10,000+ a month. If 90% off promotions didn’t work there is no way that we would have been able to get those products ranking there.

CAMERON YODER:
Right.

ANDREW FIELD:
So we just kind of let the data speak for itself. There is always going to be those rumors out there, but as long as the data is there to combat it, I mean I don’t see it being an issue.

CAMERON YODER:
And that’s if – and that’s not to say that that could not change in the future, right?

ANDREW FIELD:
Right.

CAMERON YODER:
Because Amazon could pull a lever or something and all of a sudden maybe somehow, whether it’s accidental or intentional, make promotions not attribute ranking through stuff like that.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s been a topic of discussion forever. But as of right now that’s not happening.

CAMERON YODER:
Exactly. And it’s not like we will hide that information from you. Like –

ANDREW FIELD:
Right. I mean there’s no point in us running launches if they don’t work.

CAMERON YODER:
Exactly.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, I mean if launches don’t work we’re going to be straight up and say okay yeah, this strategy probably won’t work. Maybe there’s something else that we can try.

CAMERON YODER:
Right, and that’s why it’s important for us to keep you guys updated, at least from what we’re seeing with our launches since we run so many every single day and since Andrew has seen so many. It’s really important to help you guys know where we’re at and what we’re seeing. And what we’re seeing is that steep discounts still do work when it comes to product launches. Okay, so let’s see. When people are performing a launch, when they’re in the middle of the launch – dang it. Hang on. I lost my place. Oh yeah, yeah, okay. So let’s talk about when people are in the middle of a launch or a promotion. Will people, or should people expect to see results right away, or when should they expect to see something happen when it comes to keyword ranking?

ANDREW FIELD:
So my – like my typical launch suggestion lasts for 10 days, usually 10 days, seven to 10 days. Usually people will start to see ranking improve around day five. So during a launch you can expect to see a lot of different things. You can expect to see a big fluctuation in BSR, both up and down, big fluctuation in ranking, both up and down. But right around day five it typically starts to stabilize. So at day five you’ll start to see ranking like steadily increase. So like let’s say if you start on Page 3 for your targeted keyword. You might jump down to Page 6 during the first two days. Day three comes around and you’re back up to Page 3. Day five comes around, you’re creeping up Page 2. Day six, day seven, day eight, you’re moving up Page 1. That’s the typical – that’s typically what it looks like.

CAMERON YODER:
People tend to freak out when they’re on like day two of a launch, right? Yeah, explain that. Like they’re on day two of a launch and they see the product went down in ranking. They’re like what in the world? What just happened?

ANDREW FIELD:
Right, yeah. So I mean that’s just part of Amazon’s algorithm. That’s where people – I think that might even be where some of these rumors are stemming from where people run launches for like quote unquote tests, and after two days they’ve dropped to page 20 and they freak out, right? Let that launch run its course, and it will work. If you end prematurely you’re hurting your sales history, and it’s just going to cause problems down the road. Let that launch run, and you’ll see ranking improvement as long as you’re running with the appropriate strategy, of course.

CAMERON YODER:
And some of these – so some of these questions or this data is like dependent on the market, too. This specific question. Let’s say someone reaches Page 1 for their primary keyword before they expected to, like maybe before their expected launch day or the end of the launch.

ANDREW FIELD:
Sure.

CAMERON YODER:
Would you recommend that people stop their launch early, or just like kind of let it ride for a little bit?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, that’s a good question. So if a listing reaches Page 1 and organic sales pick up to match the listing, the other listings on Page 1, then yeah, I mean go ahead and end that launch. There’s no reason to give products away at that point. If you get to Page 1 and sales pick up just a little bit you may want to let that launch continue so you can build a stronger sales history and maintain that Page 1 ranking, and then you can see organic sales coming in in the future.

CAMERON YODER:
Now what would you advise when considering launch numbers specifically? So like when somebody wants to find out the number of units that they should give away or the number of units they should put a heavy or steep discount on, what would you say to that?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so I mean this is going to sound like a plug for Viral Launch, obviously, but Market Intelligence, a great place to start. Analyze the market. Analyze that keyword. See what listings on Page 1 are doing in terms of sales volume. And you want to match that with your promotion. So generally, to develop a strong sales history you want to have your launch last for at least seven days, sometimes more. So seven days is kind of like the window where you need to run a launch for at least seven days to develop a strong enough sales history to maintain Page 1, or to even get ranking on Page 1. The additional three days that I usually recommend on the end of that are to help develop an even stronger sales history. So once the steady flow of promotional sales stops you’re able to stay there longer and generate organic sales recurring.

CAMERON YODER:
What would you say, what would you talk about post launch strategy? What’s the best strategy people can implement after an initial promotion if they run one for a keyword?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so after your initial launch you’re likely ranking on Page 1 for your primary keyword. If your listing is competitive you’ll probably start seeing an increase in organic sales right away. But let’s talk about a scenario where maybe your product isn’t just as competitive as all the other listings on Page 1. I kind of alluded to it earlier, but like some of the recommendations we have are to drop your price a little bit. Develop a stronger sales history for that keyword. Other things you can do – I’ve got to think about this for a second.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, yeah. No, you’re good.

ANDREW FIELD:
I had a bunch of stuff for this, too. Yeah, so like another thing you can do is run another promotion for another keyword. The best way to see the most organic sales is to be ranking on Page 1 for as many relevant keywords as possible. So if you see that you have – you’re in a market where you have 10 relevant keywords that are all going to attribute to your aggregate sales you want to be ranking on Page 1 for all 10 of those keywords. You don’t want to just be ranking on Page 1 for one of those keywords, and then you’re only seeing 10% of the sales that you would be seeing if you were ranking on Page 1 for all of your relevant keywords. So generally I would say to target multiple keywords with multiple promotions.

CAMERON YODER:
Let’s say you have two primary keywords for a product. If you run a launch for one specific one, and let’s say they’re similar. Let’s say maybe they’re similar, but they’re different enough to where you would need to run two separate promotions to rank for both of them. If you run – let’s say you run a pretty like intense launch for one of the primary keywords and you get to Page 1 for that keyword. Have you seen ranking attributed to the other primary keyword in some cases?

ANDREW FIELD:
Oh yeah, absolutely. So that kind of goes back to having a good, or a well-optimized listing. If you have those keywords in your title, if you have the correct keyword sequences in your title – so for example, like if you have like a fish oil, fish oil is your main keyword. Another keyword would be fish oil supplements. If you have fish oil supplements in your title and you’re targeting fish oil with your promotion you’re going to see a good, a sizable increase in ranking for fish oil supplements. You may even reach Page 1 for that keyword with the launch targeting another keyword. So yeah, I mean this goes back to making sure that you have a well-optimized listing.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, I think it’s good to, if people are trying to decide whether they should run a promotion for two separate keywords or run one targeting both or what have you, I think it’s always good to maybe even run one really targeted one for the primary, like the main keyword in that case, fish oil, and then see where you end up for fish oil supplements. And then if you want to just run another promotion for that right off the bat, you know where your baseline is going to be after the ranking has been attributed from the primary.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, no, that’s a really good analysis, yeah.

CAMERON YODER:
So Andrew, what else – do you have anything else that you want to tell people when it comes to launches, or launch strategy or launch data?

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, so get advice. Don’t try to go it alone if you don’t have any experience. There’s always someone out there with experience that has looked into hundreds of thousands or however many markets and has the experience to tell you okay, this is the keyword you should target, this is the kind of strategy that will get you there, this is what an idea listing looks like in this market. You should try to emulate that. These are what your competitors are doing. This is your primary keyword. There are so many intricacies that go into a launch that you really need – there’s no substitute for experience and going into all the data.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, Andrew, thank you so much for being on the show today. It really is good to have a perspective like yours since, I mean you’ve been around the block. You’ve seen it all. You’ve seen brands built from 0 to 100, literally, and you’ve seen a lot of product launches go through. So thank you for taking time to be here and giving advice to everybody.

ANDREW FIELD:
Yeah, thanks for having me, for sure.

CAMERON YODER:
I’ll do and outro, but for now –

Well hey, that is all for this week. Thank you so much for joining us here on Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information on how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and check us out on YouTube. I’ve been working on a series of product discovery walk-throughs that will really help you understand how to leverage the tool. So just search Viral Launch on YouTube, and go to our page, and look for my face on one of the videos. And if you’re listening on iTunes it would seriously help us out so much if you would leave a review to let us know what you think of the show. And if you know another seller who’s feeling lost in the Amazon information war that’s out there, send them our way. We really want to be a resource for all sellers, and honestly, the information source in this space. So please tell your friends. Spread the word, and share the show with other Amazon sellers.

Thanks again for listening, and as always, if you want to be featured on the show, have an Amazon-related question or an idea for an episode, feel absolutely free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.

International Amazon Listings: The Importance of a Native-Speaking Copywriter

Amazon is making it easier to enter international markets every day.  As Amazon expands into new countries, it allows third-party sellers to create international Amazon listings.

And while entering an international market is a great opportunity to increase your profit, you have to make sure you are taking the correct steps to reap the most rewards.

Have Well-Written International Amazon Listings

It’s no secret that an international Amazon product listing will have to be written in the appropriate language. After all, you can’t expect a product to sell very well in Italy when the listing is written in English.

Though it might seem reasonable to hop onto Google Translate and use those results on your listing, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Invest in Copy Written by a Native Speaker

Think of all that goes into writing well-crafted copy for your product listing. You need to:

  • Know all the relevant keywords for your product
  • Understand Amazon SEO
  • Write copy that resonates with your audience and converts to sales

Now imagine attempting to write these listings in a language you don’t know.

Choosing a native-speaking copywriter will give you a more polished and professional listing with better ranking and conversions.

The Dangers of Poorly Translated Copy

If you’re going to go through the work of expanding your Amazon store internationally, don’t do the work halfway. 

Amazon SEO, which helps ensure your products are easy to find, has some guidelines that need to be followed, and language may affect the SEO guidelines. And missing something small, like an accent mark, can completely change the indexation of keywords.

Additionally, keywords will be different in each country. “Moscow mule mug” may be the appropriate keyword for a U.S. listing, but citizens of other countries may have completely different names for that specific drink, or call “mugs” “cups.” That means the direct translation may not be the best keyword for a listing in Spain or France, for example.

For a better understanding of the differences, consider what Americans call a car trunk. In the U.K., that’s referred to as a boot. An American sweater is a British jumper. A cookie is a biscuit. A grilled cheese sandwich becomes a cheese toasty. Fries are chips.

And those are all English. Imagine the dialect differences in other languages.

Don’t Use Google Translate

Google Translate or similar translation software may be a tempting option, but it’s not likely to give you very accurate (or well-written) options.

Languages are complicated, and many aspects, such as dialect, can change what a phrase will literally translate to. The target keywords won’t necessarily be part of the translation, costing you valuable traffic. It’s best to trust a native speaker who can translate the meaning of a sentence, not just the words.

Optimize Your International Listing

Worried about finding an international copywriter? Don’t fret: Viral Launch now offers International Listing Optimizations. Now you will have access to quality, native copywriters to set your international listing up for success.

International Listing Optimizations are available in the following languages:

  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • German
  • French
  • Japanese
  • English (UK and Canada)

You can create optimized listings for Mexico, Spain, the U.K., Canada, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, and the U.S.

And this investment is affordable, at just $297.

Bring in as many sales as possible by putting time, effort, and investments into your international store. Be sure to invest in well-written international copy as well.