From a customer perspective, looking for a product on Amazon is straightforward: Type the words describing what you’re after into the search bar, click, and then scroll through the results. But there is a lot going on behind the scenes to try and get relevant products in front of these customer’s eyes. Brands without a solid strategy may wonder which is more important to focus on: Amazon paid search or organic search?
The answer, unsatisfyingly, is both. If the goal is to increase visibility and ultimately increase conversions, it simply doesn’t make sense to focus on one without the other. Brands are more likely to succeed with the right combination of strategic organic search and Amazon paid search campaigns working in tandem.
Why Brands Should Be Thinking About Both Organic and Amazon Paid Search
Organic search relies on a variety of different elements, but ultimately boils down to Amazon’s A9 search algorithm judging two main factors: relevance and performance. That means, it’s going to judge how closely the customer’s search information matches your content while also considering price, sales velocity, customer reviews, and other metrics. Its primary goal is to provide customers with the products that they are most likely to buy.
Amazon paid search is an opportunity to bypass some of those harder-to-control organic metrics by paying to place your products at the top of the search results. Paid search also offers more control of where your results are seen, such as top of page when customers search for your competitor’s product.
Lava Guitars pays for an ad to appear in the search results for their competitor, Martin
Negative search terms give you even more control over where your ads are placed. Don’t want your maxi pads to show up in search results for mouse pads? Brands have a lot more control over where their products appear when they are paying Amazon for that privilege.
Optimizing for organic search and Amazon paid search require different strategies and skillsets, and most successful companies have different content and advertising departments. For brands selling on Amazon, these departments aren’t interchangeable, but they should be inseparable. When both are properly dialed in, organic and paid search naturally work together to create the strongest possible boost to discoverability.
Content is the Foundation for Amazon Paid Search
Brands can improve organic search by optimizing their product listings with relevant keywords that are thoughtfully integrated into the product copy. Following the best practices for improving organic search should result in a product page that is well-written and offers all the information a customer needs to buy the product. But, as mentioned earlier, there are some aspects of optimizing for the A9 algorithm that are simply out of a brand’s control.
This is theoretically where Amazon paid search comes in. Using a combination of search and display advertising, brands can get their products seen by potential customers. When those potential customers click on that ad, they’re directed to an optimized product page full of the information they need to feel confident buying the product.
Focus only on organic search and it can be difficult to get your product to the top of the results page if it’s not already a high-selling, well-reviewed, and aggressively priced item, no matter how expertly integrated your keywords are.
Arguably even more nearsighted is focusing only on Amazon paid search without optimizing product page content. Sure, a good advertising strategy can get potential customers to click to your product page, but if that page doesn’t give them the information they need, they’re not going to buy the product. Product detail pages play a crucial role in Amazon ad performance: they can either drive consumers to buy, or drive them away.
That’s why the two strategies should be inseparable. Strategically optimizing your product copy for organic search provides a foundation that will lead to conversions when customers arrive on the page from paid search. And when customers buy, that increase in sales velocity will improve the page’s organic search standing with the A9 algorithm.
Steps for Getting Started
Optimize Your Product Listings
Ensure that your product pages will convert before driving customers there with Amazon search and display campaigns. Start by updating essential content and intelligently infusing the titles, bullets, and product descriptions with keywords. Because basic A+ content is free for all vendors, it’s a good idea to add enhanced content to all your products, not just your most important ones.
Invest in Amazon Advertising
Strategically implementing paid campaigns can dramatically increase the discoverability for your products. Amazon offers expanded metrics that let you know what is working and what isn’t, as well a variety of ad types to reach a wide audience.
Learn and Adjust
Monitor which keywords are performing well and adjust accordingly to get the most out of your Amazon advertising spend. As campaigns end, you can take what you’ve learned and use that information to further optimize the content in your product listings.