This is a topic I haven't seen much information about online. I was shocked, because in the Internet world of 2005, forum posts and articles usually come up for any kind of optimization topic. But it could be that those who are Amazon marketplace merchants are a more select group of internet marketers. . . and that no one wants to share any of the secrets they've learned, if they've learned any.
Well I'm going to spill the beans, because that's my policy as far as the web goes- what would an info-site be without info-beans?
So here are the basic points about optimizing your Amazon marketplace feed to increase your chances of appearing, or appearing high in search results:
1. The most important elements to optimize are the product title and the 5 search-term fields (search-terms1, search-terms2. . . )
2. Your product name, if it's already SEO'd on your website and elsewhere, should already be several words long. For example, instead of calling it the ‘Mavica CD1000', you should be calling it the ‘Sony Mavica CD1000 Digital Camera’. Some might consider it excessive to add ‘digital camera’ to the end- I don't have any data either way. My experience has been that 4-5 word product names are ok with the search engines.
3. The search-terms fields can only have one word in them, so in this case, a ‘keyword’ really is just one word. It's up to you whether you'd repeat a word that's already in your title, but since you only get 5, I'd suggest you don't, unless you really can't think of 5 search-terms.
4. To choose keywords for the search term fields: First look at the product's name, brand, model, features, and benefits, running those through the overture search suggestion tool and adwords keyword tool, or some other metatool, if you have one.
5. Which keywords to choose? The most popular words? The most unique words? If you really want to get competitive, see how many competitors you have in the search results for each of these, and occupy a sparsely populated niche. If you want to know the most popular words in your keyword list, run over to Mark Horrel's Keyword Density Analyzer (I think it's inaccurately named but an awesome tool- I'd call it a ‘Word Frequency Analyzer'), and paste your whole list in there, don't show stop words, do it ‘by frequency’. Now you have a numerical portrait of the most common and most unique words.
6. Stemming: According to Technical Support at SellerCentral (in an email to me 11/16/2005), Amazon's search appliance will take care of plurals and singulars- meaning if you put ‘moisture’ you don't have to put ‘moisturizes'- but does not get any more sophisticated than that- so if you want ‘moisturizing’ you'll have to use another field for that word.
7. Now experiment- I'd suggest using a combination of general and unique words.
8. To fine tune, search Amazon on the keywords you've targeted, as well as your product names, and see how visible you are.
9. Experiment, tweak, and win!
Brian B. Carter, MS is an internet marketing consultant in San Diego, California. His broad background and diverse talents uniquely qualify him to provide and teach solutions that yield results online.