For years, people have compared Amazon and Google. While there have been similarities in the past, I’ve seen them increase in recent months. As the now-dominant search engine began its quest to becoming the number 1 search destination for online surfers, website owners went absolutely nuts. They unknowingly forfeited one of the most vital pieces of any retail environment, virtual or physical.
As they scrambled to adhere to every Google ranking criterion (real or imagined), online retailers shifted their focus to attaining search rankings and completely forgot about the customer experience.
Unfortunately, I’m starting to see the same phenomenon occurring on Amazon today.
Humans First, Amazon Search Optimization Second
While you do need to incorporate keywords to inform Amazon of what your product detail page is about, you shouldn’t sacrifice quality. Humans also have to find value in the copy you write before they will convert into customers.
Yes, having exceptional rankings on Amazon is a priority, but Amazon isn’t the one with a credit card in its hand — shoppers are. When prospects scroll through the search results, they glance at the information including the title, image, price, and more. There has to be something there to capture attention or, with the swipe of a finger or click of a mouse, your Amazon listing will be out of view, never to be seen again.
Even if you do get a click to your product listing, if your well-ranked page doesn’t offer solid details that inform, entice, and persuade; your sales totals will be lacking.
There must be an even balance between optimization criteria and customer experience. In essence, you’re serving two masters: Amazon and shoppers.
3 Major Fails Sellers Have When Writing Amazon Listing Copy
Let’s take a look at one example. At the time of my search (for the phrase “chocolate chip cookies”), this listing was on page 1 of the Amazon search results, positioned at number 8. Despite that, the Best Sellers Rank was around 269,000, which would suggest that sales were very slow. (Of course, BSR changes daily.)
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make when writing and optimizing Amazon listing copy is to simply stuff product page titles with keywords. Yes, search terms are needed in your title. But titles that are difficult to read make shoppers stop and think. You never want your prospects to be forced to figure out what you’re trying to say. The flow of the copy should be seamless and easy to read.
A second blunder commonly made is not going through the writing process. You might be surprised at how many sellers actually write their listing copy inside the fields of the Add-A-Product section. They type it in (without rereading) and upload the page to Amazon without a second thought.
Sentence structure, grammatical errors (that hinder readability), and more can cause shoppers to roll their eyes and give up on trying to understand what you’re saying.
In fact, I was just part of a Facebook thread the other week where a friend (not an Amazon seller) was complaining about all the poorly written product pages she was finding on Amazon. My friend lamented about the lack of trust and suspicion the poor use of English and other errors conjured up in her. Her final statement was that she simply will not buy from sellers who don’t (or won’t) even take the time to ensure they communicate well with buyers.
Did you know that “The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the effects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain”? (As reported by Time.com.)
Because the attention span of most people is now shorter than that of a goldfish, any hesitations can cause a site visitor to abandon his/her current course of action.
To ensure your Amazon product pages score high for readability, follow this general writing process:
- Write a first draft of your copy.
- Allow it to sit for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Read it out loud and revise anything that sounds off or caused you to hesitate.
- Ask others to read your copy, and pay attention to the feedback they give you.
- Revise again.
- If you feel your copy is now ready to upload, send it to a professional proofreader / editor (not your cousin who took English Lit 10 years ago in high school) for a final going over.
- Now it’s OK to add it to Amazon.
Lastly, sellers neglect to optimize their Amazon listing copy for both customers and rankings.
Titles should include a combination of useful, decision-making information (for humans) and search terms (for Amazon). Keep in mind that Amazon titles do not appear the same in every platform.
Here are several screenshots to show you why you need to front-load your titles with details & keywords.
Sponsored Ads (Sidebar)
Amazon App (Smartphone)
Tablet Amazon App
As you can see, practically no platform shows the same number of characters. It is important that you insert useful information as well as keyphrases in the first 35, 78, and 140 (or so) characters. That way, shoppers on every platform — whether viewing organic or sponsored search results — will find what they need.
When it comes to length and content, bullets seem to be created in extremes. Either you find sparse bullets that offer bare-bones details or excessive bullets stuffed full of keyphrases. Again, balance is key.
As you can see from the examples above, one has practically no information and the next has almost too much, including a good deal of fluff (useless) text that could possibly get in the way of the shopper instead of helping him/her make a decision.
While certainly not perfect, these bullets do a good job of catering to Amazon and buyers.
While most people automatically default to writing bullets with a feature / benefit combination, there are numerous other ways to write conversion-worthy bullets.
Benefit/Feature – Instead of listing the feature first, swap the order and begin with a benefit. Using the last bullet from the product above as an example, you might put the benefit (that the customer’s satisfaction is guaranteed) at the front of the bullet:
Your satisfaction is guaranteed. Love your premium chocolate biscotti in their classy box or your money back.
Target Segment – Designing bullets specifically to speak to a particular segment of your audience is an excellent approach, as this bullet demonstrates:
Certified Kosher product means you can easily use these delicious snacks as a Hanukkah gift.
While average gift buyers wouldn’t necessarily care whether a product was Kosher, Jewish customers definitely do. If you have a large segment of your audience with special needs, you might try creating a bullet just for them.
Use – As the fourth bullet shows, you can also point out uses of your product to shoppers.
Elegant corporate gift sure to be appreciated by business colleagues and clients.
It’s often considered the last resort for conversions, but if properly written, the description can be a powerful persuasion tool for boosting sales. This section of copy falls at the bottom of the page for desktop shoppers; however, on mobile (where 72% of Amazon shoppers buy), it comes before the feature bullets, giving it additional weight.
A common mistake is for sellers to simply repeat the copy from their bullets in the description section. That’s a waste of sales space. Instead, make the description work with your bullets as a team.
Here’s a great example of a description that whets the appetite and conjures up the desire to eat more cookies!
Overall, achieving balance gives you the opportunity to appease Amazon’s search engine without alienating human site visitors.
If you look at your listings with a customer’s eye instead of strictly from a seller’s point of view, you’re more likely to develop listings that you’ve built for both rankings and conversions.
Want More Help?
Wish someone would guide you step-by-step through the entire process of Amazon keyword research as well as crafting Amazon product detail pages with engaging titles, bullets and descriptions?
I’ll do it through my Amazon Product Description Boot Camp. Watch and hear me show the exact steps my team of writers uses each time we create a listing for a client. Get all the details plus save 20% when you use coupon BOOTBLOG today.
Have questions about how to write and optimize Amazon product listings? Ask them below!