Should Your SEO Strategy Include Amazon?


You use search engine optimization (SEO) to market your business on your website, on social media, on review sites where you can “own” your business—but have you considered Amazon? Who does that and, more importantly, does it work? Some SEO experts are starting to say yes, especially for companies deep in the e-tail industry. A few key eCommerce businesses that both manufacture and sell their products at a steep discount are starting to play with SEO on Amazon. However, this isn’t a tactic for everyone.

It’s no wonder that winning in sales and search on major sites like Amazon is the be-all, end-all goal for search marketing efforts. If you can actually optimize on major eCommerce platforms, it opens up a wild new world of SEO. Suddenly you’re spending more time on “Amazon’s” content than your own website’s content, and it’s making sense (and dollars).

Is it another type of SEO you need to be cashing in on?

Amazon: The Search Engine

What’s the definition of a search engine? Everyone probably words it a little differently, but there’s no getting around the fact that Amazon is itself a search engine—specifically an eCommerce search engine (ESE). People go to Amazon.com to search for things (products) just like they go to Google.com to do a search. In fact, the comScore Digital Media Report from September 2014 estimates that Amazon gets about 168 million unique visitors in the US per month compared to 233 million for Google. While there’s certainly a gap, it’s a minor one when you remember you’re comparing full search engine searches (Google) to eCommerce searches only (Amazon).

The runners up for e-tail domination, Walmart and Target, got 73 million and 50 million unique visits respectively. They’re trailing behind for sure, but they have strategies in place. Walmart has gone on record to say eCommerce domination is a major goal for them, and they’re not backing down. Of course, Amazon’s sheer size makes it the clear choice for SEO gurus to focus on—but retailers with big budgets can certainly focus on all three major eCommerce marketplaces.

It’s All About Intent

“Intent” is the key value eCommerce sites are focusing on. Amazon knows that when people visit the site, it’s simply to shop. It’s not like Google where people might be coming for entertainment, news, or to finish a project. Purchase intent is Amazon’s sole focus, which can actually make SEO a little bit easier. You already know why people are on Amazon and, thus, on your particular store or product description.

Amazon also has mobile experience and a killer app. This doubles the SEO strength for the giant. Where some websites and companies are struggling to get on the mobile readiness/responsive design bandwagon, Amazon has been doing it (very well) for years. In fact, 70 percent of smartphone and tablet users prefer Amazon’s mobile app to the traditional browser according to comScore. What this means for retailers is that the only way you can tap into that 70 percent is by opting into optimization within Amazon’s product catalog.

So, Should You Do It?

It’s going to cost you to optimize for Amazon, and for many retailers this is brand new territory. Only you (and your accountant) can calculate if it’s a smart move. You’re looking at potentially better sales, but if you already have low profit margins it might not be worth it. In many cases, testing it out is the only way you’ll know for sure.

Of course, for those struggling with super competitive keywords and industries, getting a piece of the Amazon market can give you a leg up. It’s worth a shot, but just make sure to test and adopt slowly to gauge the results.

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