If you're selling on Amazon and you've already updated your listing by following the SEO tips from How to Optimize Your Amazon Listing to Rank Higher and Increase your Sales, you might also have a website and an SEO strategy for Google.
Many sellers wonder if they should use the same SEO strategies for both Google and Amazon. Although they're both search engines based on keywords ranking, they're extremely different.
Why? Because their algorithms differ.
Google wants to deliver the most relevant results to a searcher's query. Its algorithm is updated often and is focused, for instance, on website content, online reputation, webpage authority, page quality, and mobile-friendliness.
The backbone of Amazon algorithm's is understanding shoppers' needs and displaying the products that are most likely to be purchased by searchers.
Search-wise, Amazon’s organic algorithm values the following:
“Buyers should able to find your merchandise before they can buy them, and searching is the main way they can do that."
"Amazon shoppers search products by entering keywords and the Amazon algorithm matches this against the information (title, description, features, delivery speed, etc) that's provided by sellers on their Product Pages."
Up to 22 factors such as the degree of text match, price, reviews, availability, selection, and sales history will determine where your product appears in each customer’s search results.
By providing relevant and complete information about each product, sellers can increase their product’s visibility, sales, and ranking.
1. Keyword Repetition
Google ranking awards wise repetition of relevant keywords throughout quality content. If you only use the keyword phrase you target once, you're far from being featured on Google's first search results page. One mention is not enough. With Amazon, on the contrary - you only need to use the keyword once - preferably in your product listing title or bullet points - and you're in. Why? Because the keywords used in the title and bullet points matter the most for Amazon ranking.
Google says: bring it on but make it nice and breathable. No stuffing!
Amazon says: once is enough!
2. External Linking
Driving external traffic to your pages weighs a lot for Google ranking. The more online sources link back to your content, the better for Google because it means your sites are useful, engaging and they serve the community. Your quality content is read, trusted shared and valuable. Google likes that. Amazon is a different story since its algorithm doesn't include back-links. Your listing's "life" outside Amazon is not awarded in any way. It's true, you can promote your product listing everywhere, which should help the promotion of your product, result in conversions, reviews and many sales - so the external linking impact is there, but it's indirect - unlike in Google's case.
Google says: external sites that link to your pages have a huge impact
Amazon says: external linking doesn't affect the ranking - not directly!
3. Conversions vs. Clicks
Another discrepancy between Amazon SEO and Google SEO starts with their purpose: Amazon sells products while Google is a search engine that incidentally sells adds about everything. For Google, every click on a page matters as well and the time spent on that page - for Amazon not so much. Amazon cares about clicks that converted customers into buyers - in a word: "sales". A snorkeling set seller who sold 5000 units will rank higher than one who only sold 2.
Google says: I don't really care about conversions or sales
Amazon says: all I want it to sell more to the right customers and make them happy!
4. Short Tail vs. Long Tail Phrases
On Google, when you're targeting one or two long-tail keywords, it's crucial to include them in your website content/copy and meta tags as they are. Remember, Google was built to help you find answers to specific questions.
Amazon is more spot-on - people know exactly what products they're after so they type specific product types or names and that's it. In other words, Amazon is oriented towards "short-tail keywords" by allowing you to break long phrases into short ones without restricting your ranking for the long-phrase.
For instance, if you're targeting "aqua sphere swim goggles", Amazon will index your product even if you break it into 2 keyword phrases: "aqua sphere" and "swim goggles". Therefore, when you write your Amazon listing, one of them can go in the Amazon Title and the second one in the bullet points. This doesn't happen on Google where phrase integrity is monolithic, otherwise, it doesn't count.
Google says: long-tail keywords are welcome. Even questions/sentences!
Amazon says: I like short tail keywords
5. Product Quality vs. Data Manipulation
Some experts agree that Google SEO algorithm can be tricked. Hire a team of SEO gurus and they can help your site reach the first page of results faster than it would take for an Amazon product to achieve a similar success.
Amazon cares about product popularity, client reviews, brand reputation. No SEO expert can make a poor product rank higher than a popular, quality item. The downside is that new products might need a paid advertising kick to start selling.
Google: experts can find ways to boost SEO ranking, even if the content lacks quality
Amazon: product quality comes first. Don't rely on SEO mumbo-jumbo to override it.
Another thing: Search Volume & Seasonal Variables
Both platforms take into consideration search volumes. Timing, conversions, and stocks influence Amazon product ranking because sales fluctuate based on trends, popularity, temporary demand and stock levels. Here, the major difference is that Amazon indexing focuses rather on sales than on clicks.
Google ranking: page visits and clicks
Amazon ranking: conversions
Google says: overall does it
Amazon says: seasonal changes alert!
Why Amazon SEO and Google SEO work better together?
Knowing the differences between them only helps you understand why they're complementary. Spending a little time polishing them both will show you how well they fit together, especially when you want to find out how to drive traffic to Amazon listing.
The higher your product is ranked on Amazon, the better it performs on Google, therefore, more prospective clients will find it and buy it. Yay!
KEY TAKEAWAY: If you want to optimize your Amazon product listings yourself or, even better, you prefer to hire a proficient Amazon optimizer to get it done impeccably, faster and better, either way, you should rely on both platforms because even if you only sell on Amazon, Google can source a great deal of traffic, visitors and of course - buyers. For handmade arts & crafts boutiques, Etsy keywords should also be a source of inspiration.
Wowza fact: For the long run, Google ranking is more reliable because it's historic and not seasonal - therefore if your Amazon stocks are sold out, your Amazon ranking might drop, but your Google ranking will not.