An Amazon listing is like an ecosystem. It consists of many individual parts that need to work together in order to thrive in its environment, the Amazon marketplace. Every part, from supply chain to marketing campaigns, plays a huge role in the success of a listing. However, the Amazon shopper only sees a handful of these parts. This is where content comes in.
Aside from price and availability, customers will decide whether or not to buy a product based on content. What does the product look like? What does it do? What’s it made of? Great Amazon listing content answers these questions and achieves three main goals:
But before we get to content, let’s take a step back and look at a broader view of what makes a listing work.
The A9 Algorithm: Not So Mysterious
Amazon’s sales rank and search algorithm, A9, checks for components that we can organize into two categories: off-listing and on-listing. Off-listing factors contribute to a product’s ranking in conjunction with content. These include things like compliance, inventory, marketing, price, and Amazon-assigned badges, including “Best Seller” and “Amazon’s choice.” On-listing factors, or content, lives on the listing and serves to educate and persuade customers. These include things like product titles, feature points, descriptions, images, videos, and A+ content (previously known as Enhanced Brand Content, or EBC).
Off-listing Factors: Putting Ducks in a Row
It’s crucial to check off all the off-listing “boxes” for A9 before developing content. Why? The listing’s parts all affect each other. For example, any seller on a particular listing can alter the content. If there are unauthorized sellers on a listing, they can change the content and contribute inaccurate information such as wrong images or misleading titles. Aligning all the off-listing factors not only appeases the A9 algorithm but increases the overall impact of content.
I’d like to take a quick side step and talk about reviews. Customer-written product reviews are influenced by both off- and on-listing factors and they play a huge role in the customer’s decision. Did the product arrive on time? Was it what the customer expected? Along with managing logistics like inventory and shipping, content should be leveraged to educate customers and, in turn, produce positive reviews. If the content speaks to and displays the product accurately and informatively, the customer’s expectations will match their experience. Additionally, positive reviews contribute to the listing’s success and ranking.
(For a deep dive into this subject, read The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Product Reviews.)
Ok, so let’s say all the off-listing ducks are in a row — there’s only one seller on the listing, there’s inventory available, the product is listed at a competitive price and has a number of positive reviews, there’s a campaign pushing traffic to the listing, and so on. Maybe it’s even an Amazon’s Choice product. Now what?
Listing Content: The Right Information in the Right Place
There are several areas of the listing where content can be contributed to help educate and persuade shoppers: title, feature points, description, images, video, A+ content, and backend keywords. Each of these areas should be used to their greatest potential when creating content. Anything that makes sense to show should be in the images, video, or A+ content. Anything that needs to be explained should be in the title, feature points, and description. Anything that is related to the product and helps customers find the product when they’re searching should be in the backend keywords (which customers won’t see). These areas should be prioritized based on customer experience and strategized for both mobile and desktop.
Let’s break it down a little further.
What’s the first thing a customer sees? Images. They see the first image specifically, which we like to call the hero. This image should be a clear photo of the product itself, ideally isolated on a white background. The remainder of the images should display additional angles and information about the product. Consider your customer, and what they will need to know about your specific product. For example, if it’s a dog harness, there should be a size guide. If it’s an immune support spray, there should be supplement facts. Depending on the product and category, it may be helpful to include graphics and text that help explain the product and demonstrate its value. The first six images are guaranteed to be displayed regardless of device and should, therefore, be prioritized. The number of images displayed varies depending on whether you’re viewing on desktop or mobile and what category the product is in.
Enhanced Listing Images (ELIs) for POC Omne Air Spin Bike Helmet
What’s the next most important piece? The title. It contains the first words a shopper will read about a product. It should include the brand, the product name, what the product is, the most relevant keywords, and any variation information (which will display in the cart). The first 50 characters should contain the most pertinent information since titles are cut at that length on mobile. Titles should not be stuffed with keywords in an attempt to rank higher. Keyword stuffing makes the titles difficult to read and makes customers question the legitimacy of a product, as this strategy is often utilized by brands that produce knockoffs and low-quality products.
Product title for MegaFood Women’s One Daily Multivitamin
After images and the title, a customer’s eye may go to several different areas of the listing. Customers shopping visually may look to the video or scroll immediately to the A+ content (more on these later on). Research-oriented customers may dive into the feature points or seek out the longer description. What information a customer is looking for also depends on where they lie in the shopping journey. If they’re just beginning to identify what sort of product they need, they may take more time and fully explore a listing. If they know exactly what they want, they might just check a few details before making a decision. The content should keep all kinds of shoppers in mind and provide the right information in the right places.
All feature points should be relatively short (ideally under 200 characters) and highly skimmable. We like to use all-caps headlines to organize information and orient customers. The feature points should also include high-ranking keywords. Typically, the product information naturally lends itself to important keywords.
Feature points for Dr. Martens 1460 Original 8-Eye Leather Boot
The description should follow up with longer, more detailed information about the product. It may be helpful to include instructions or information on sizing, warranties, or ingredients here. Additional keywords should be woven into the description. It should be noted that, if A+ content is contributed, the listing description will be replaced by the A+ product description (however, the listing description will still be indexed and should be uploaded for SEO purposes).
Product description for Leatherman Micra Keychain Multitool
The video should contain helpful information regarding the product. It might be helpful to show how to measure your dog for that harness or exactly how that immune support works. Our research shows videos should be 30-45 seconds long and show the product within the first 5 seconds.
A+ content (previously EBC) is a module-based piece of content that integrates a detailed product description, images, brand logos, charts, and narrative copy. It can achieve a variety of purposes, such as product or brand education, assistance in comparison shopping, or lifestyle inspiration in product usage. The A+ content is an area that should be customized per product or brand.
A+ Content for Fjällräven Kånken Pen Case
Finally, backend keywords should include words related to the product. These may be additional features that didn’t rank high enough to place in the other copy, synonyms for the product, spelling variations, words to target additional audiences, and so on. For example, research in the shopping patterns of customers who bought Fjallraven Kanken backpacks unearthed several audience-specific keywords (“festival” and “VSCO girl”).
The Complete Listing: A Thriving Ecosystem
Making a successful listing is about bringing all the parts together. Once a solid base of off-listing factors has been established, we can create content that both satisfies the A9 algorithm and educates and persuades customers. Balancing those efforts is crucial, as a product must not only be visible but also shown in its best light.