How to Optimize Your Amazon Page
by Tanya Hall
Amazon.com is the hands-down leader in the online bookselling marketplace. And—although it’s notoriously difficult to speak with a living, breathing human being who works there—Amazon prides itself on meeting its customers’ needs. What’s the easiest way to drive sales for your book on Amazon? Easy: use the tools it provides for maximizing the content on your product page and optimizing your chances of coming up in search results via Amazon’s internal search engine.
You know about optimizing your Web site, optimizing your Web presence, optimizing your blog, and so on. The point of this optimization is to increase your visibility through various online search mechanisms. While self-contained, Amazon is a powerhouse search engine in its own right. Despite being a retail site, it should be treated as a search engine from an online marketing standpoint. Think about it: what’s the first site you go to when searching for information on a book? Amazon, of course. Remember that, on top of its own strong brand, Amazon powers the virtual marketplaces of Target.com, AOL’s Shop@AOL service, and, for a short while longer, Borders.com and Waldenbooks.com—just to namef a few.
Moves to Make
To leverage Amazon’s search power, a major component of your online marketing strategy should involve making your Amazon product page as informative, search-optimized, and consumer-friendly as possible. It has been our experience that a product’s rank improves as it collects additional content.
Whether search suggestions, tags, inclusion in Listmania! lists, and so on have a direct effect on the sales-rank formula is unclear; it’s more likely that books with more detailed pages and links to the title information from outside pages simply attract more buyers. Regardless, ensure that your product page does a good job of representing your product with no detail spared. (Your BN.com listing will benefit from more detail, too—send a description, annotation, and author bio to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling there. List your title and ISBN in the message body and the subject line for the sake of efficiency.)
As you’ll see when you scroll down a given book’s product page, Amazon offers many features to enhance your title listing. When properly implemented, they can increase page views and potential sales. Understanding and executing these programs is time consuming, but since Amazon is a content-driven site, the benefits are clear. The more visits you get to your book detail page, the more popular your book will become in the eyes of the Amazon internal search results algorithm.
Remember: the Amazon algorithm favors the most popular items, so if two different products match a user’s criteria, the more user-popular item will show up first. Our Amazon optimization work has uncovered some powerful tools for influencing Amazon search results, as outlined in very basic terms below.
Tags. A tag is most easily described as a keyword or category label that you can place on a particular product. Tags appear on book detail pages and help users find books on Amazon within a certain category or genre. Each link increases your exposure on Amazon.
Listmania! lists. Listmania! lists are groups of products that a person finds interesting. Each list can cover any type of category and help other Amazon users discover its creator’s favorite products. These lists are rotated on various search-result pages and on individual book pages. A popular list will appear on the product pages of all the books it mentions. The more popular the list is, the more exposure the products within your list will receive. As you create a list, take the time to carefully research the books you include on it so it will be more likely to appear before your target reader.
So You’d Like to . . . guides. So You’d Like to . . . guides are a way to help customers find all the items and information they might need to discover something new about an interest or hobby. Each guide includes a short, informative article targeting consumers interested in its genre and is connected to a book’s detail page and to other similar bestselling books. These guides are more detailed and informative than the Listmania! lists.
Reviews. Reach out to your friends, family, colleagues, and others and ask them to write reader reviews for your title. Reviews boost the exposure of your book detail page, because the Amazon algorithm examines the number of reviews and the review ratings when determining exposure levels. Reviews by the top-rated Amazon reviewers are weighted more heavily in the system. Like some distributors, we make this elite list available to help clients solicit these powerful tastemakers’ writeups for their titles.
Search Suggestions. Amazon also has a way for users to help customers find items and to provide tailored information on product pages via Search Suggestions. Like tags, this tool requires some front-end thought and research on your part. Search Suggestions can:
Associate an item with a search phrase so the item is more likely to be shown whenever anyone searches for that phrase. This is helpful for a book that may be associated with a person, genre, or theme that may not appear on its product page.
Explain the relevance of your suggestion to searching customers and have your explanation and your name appear in search results.
Add information to the product page, which is tailored to the customer’s search.
More, More, More
Amazon.com is constantly evolving. Take advantage of the features outlined above, and watch for new offerings that can increase your exposure (or hire an expert in the field to do this work for you). This will increase the number of eyeballs on your product’s page and result in additional sales. In Amazon’s realm, there’s no such thing as too much information.
Tanya Hall is special projects manager for Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor dedicated to small and independent presses. Reprinted with permission from Greenleaf Book Group’s Big Bad Book Blog. For more articles and tips, visit bigbadbookblog.com. To learn more about Greenleaf Book Group, visit greenleafbookgroup.com.