What’s the Best Way to Optimize an Amazon Product Title?

 

 Updated September 2019

 

There are a number of key areas to get right about the title, and some parts matter more, some less.  It needs to be written in a way that is optimized for the algorithm, for shoppers, and mobile devices as well as PCs. 

 

And despite the fact that Amazon can allow you as many as 250 characters in a title (for some categories) it openly states that it prefers short ones; up to 150 characters to be precise.  When Amazon makes such a statement it is because its research shows that this strategy gets more sales.  End of.

 

Yes, for some of us the title is restricted even further; often to 80 characters but sometimes 50.  It doesn’t matter though.  What?  Yes, we can work around this and still have a great title.

 

Okay, let’s get cracking with the most important part.

 

Optimizing Your URL

 

 A9’s algorithm has a job to do and that’s to place the best, most relevant products at the top of its search results, as fast as possible.  Amazon wants people to buy.  Now the algorithm is a software program, and that means it can be studied and understood. 

 

When you first upload your product, or you make a change to the title, the algorithm needs to scan it and take five descriptive words to put into your search URL – I will give you an example in a moment.  What are descriptive words?  Ones that are not and, with, for, is and so on, but words that describe something about your product. 

 

It takes the first two words from your title, as it expects these to be your brand name, and then it selects three more at random from the remainder.  As a consequence, the vast majority of sellers end up with a URL of completely random words that do not match the search phrases people are using to find products and therefore are less likely to be placed near the top of the search results.

 

Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to write your Amazon title in a way that would dictate which words go into your URL?

 

Imagine this; the keywords in your URL match the best, most relevant, most used search terms available… that’s going to draw more traffic to your page, right?  And now picture this; not only Amazon but the big search engines such as Google and Bing match your URL against their customer searches too.  That’s got to be worth some extra sales to you, hasn’t it?  Oh yes!  And the beauty of this is that it won’t cost you a bean.

 

So, I just checked on Amazon, clicked on its “$10 and under with free-shipping products” and found this.  Have a guess what it is without clicking it or scrolling below…

 

https://www.amazon.com/chompers-chewers-lightning-accessory-iphones/dp/B07DTSKRYJ

Here it is in its full glory, and man, I don’t know what it is but I want one!

 

There are lots of things wrong with this title but we will stick to the URL for the moment.

 

Let’s say that the best performing search terms each month for one of these pandas are iphone cable protector accessory for smartphones.

 

To get these keywords in the URL you would write your title like this:

 

iphone cable protector accessory for smartphones – 

  

The Power of the Hyphen

  

Placing the hyphen as above tells the algorithm to search only among the preceding words when choosing the keywords for your URL.  It works with a colon too.  The hyphen needs a space before it, the colon does not.

 

So, you will have noticed that there are six words before the hyphen but the algorithm ignores non-descriptive words, so “for” is excluded.

 

Let’s take a look at how many people are doing this already to assess whether this tactic will give you much of a competitive advantage.

 

I have just written a description for a squishy fruit toy.  They are the new “fidget spinner” and people are going crazy for them.  So, I’m going to search for these and check out the titles that show up…

I checked 50 items and 5 used hyphens, while only 2 correctly.  These were for products listing on the first two pages of Amazon (where 90% of orders occur), so you might imagine that for the following pages, even fewer people use this method.  What this means is that if you use this technique you are instantly improving your chances of being found over-and-above the majority of your competitors.

 

If you wanted to get even more keywords into your title, we’ve worked out a technical way of doing it, so if you have done a bunch of keyword research and you really need seven keywords in your URL, get in touch, we know how to do it.

 

Right, pause for breath.

 

You’ve now got the start of your title set, a great URL, what do you need to do next?

  

 

Optimizing Your Amazon Title – Part 2… the Unique Value Proposition

 

Around 60% of shoppers are searching Amazon using mobile devices such as smartphones with 6-inch screens.  Subject to the type of device, they don’t always see the Amazon results page the way we would while using a PC or internet TV.  Sometimes, only part of a title is visible.

 

For many phones, they only see 55-63 characters of a title.  If you are using banner ads around 33 characters will be seen.  This means you have to differentiate your product in a very powerful and concise way if you are going to entice people to click on your listing.  It’s also a good practice to entice pc shoppers too.

Here are some good examples from people who know what they are doing – check out the first two…

 

 

Immediately after the hyphen you want to be writing the main killer benefit of your product; the life-changing feature that a buyer would notice when using it.  With so much competition it can be difficult to know what is unique or special about your product but you don’t need to know this, you simply need to say it. 

Many sellers don’t state it.

They don’t know their main benefit.

And if you don’t, that’s okay.  Just think about your customer.  Who typically buys your product, what are they hoping to gain from using it and how are your competitors getting that point across, and more importantly where?

When a shopper is searching for an item on Amazon, they usually have an idea of what they want and simply need to find it as fast as they can.

They will often skim-read a page of results, they’ll glance at the picture, look at the left side of the title (because in the West, the left upper part of the information is where we look the most) and they will quickly consider the ratings and price.  Then they will open each product they have shortlisted in another tab.  You’ve got to be one of those shortlisted.

If you are telling them about your main killer benefit in the title, and it matches what they are looking for, you are increasing your chance of getting clicked – and that is the second part of the title; getting click-throughs.

If we consider the speed ropes above, the first one states its main benefit as “Premium Quality” and the second “Blazing Fast Jumping Ropes” – all things being equal, which one of these statements compels you to want to know more?

Premium quality is what I call a sleep word.  It is also subjective.

It’s used in almost every listing to the extent that it no longer means anything.  I will write another post about sleep words another day.  “Blazing Fast” – that would appeal to me more because the main benefit of these ropes over a traditional skipping rope is speed, speed allows you to do double-unders… the holy grail of gym rope exercises.

This post has only covered two parts of the title, however, they are the most significant parts for they appeal to the algorithm, to search engines, and to buyers.  The remaining parts of your title are to list your features and bonus bundles. 

So, get that benefit in, and if it is the same benefit as every other seller, say it better, say it differently, use power words like “fast-acting”, and “powerful”,  bring humor into it, and definitely don’t use a sleep word; for example, use handsome instead of stylish.  The use of a different word, as long as it works for the description, helps to create a micro-stop, and those pauses help the buyer internalize the content more deeply – and that’s what you want.

Before you go, I need to return your attention to the panda bear you looked at, right at the top of the page.  It is a short title but repeats the word cable five times.  The algorithm only indexes the word once.  If you can write your title in a way that includes non-repetitive keywords, without stuffing it with them like this seller has, and keeping in mind that people need to be able to read it, then you are on to a winner.  Use plurals too as despite what Amazon might claim, the algorithm views them differently.

As they read, people translate words into sounds so that the brain can understand them.  You might have seen children move their mouths while silently reading from a book, they are forming the sounds so that they can internalize it better.  Adults do this too but with their thoughts.  It’s important that your title reads well when spoken aloud.  If it doesn’t, then it won’t get translated into the brain quite so easily, or deeply.

I hope these tips help you to become exceedingly rich.  Feel free to make comments below about how this information changes the success of your product, and it is also space for you to request a future post on an Amazon subject of your choice.  You are very welcome to join our newsletter which sends you these insights right into your Inbox.

One final point, a warning: the algorithm keeps a history of your product.  It knows which keywords it has you ranked for, how many items you have sold over the last six months, where your clicks have come from, how long people stayed on your page, and where they went afterward.  It all adds to the mix of where you can potentially rank. And it decides which keywords you will index for.

Whenever you change something about your written content or keywords, the algorithm has to adjust its history.  So, unless your listing is very poor, you should make subtle changes only.  If you alter the title, you will likely suffer a downturn in sales for 2-3 weeks while the algorithm adjusts to the changes.  If you know you must make lots of changes, it can be better to bite-the-bullet and get them done at once.  For established listings, a new URL can take 6-8 weeks to update.

Keyword Weighting & Helping the Algorithm

 

Keyword weighting is a strategy often used by more mature listings.  An established listing should be like a funnel; hundreds of search terms are entered in at the top and are shepherded through to a narrow field of select keywords.

An example from above would be the keyword “Speed Jump Rope”, the more search phrases you can squeeze into activating that keyword the more potent the keyword will become provided that those search terms are a relevant and a converting match.  This is why a mature product indexing for thousands of keywords can remain at the top because it is directing many more searches through a smaller number of keywords.

Just to confirm; a “search term” is what the shopper enters into Amazon to find a product, a “keyword” is your attempt to match a forthcoming search term so that your product appears in the results.  

New or young listings have the funnel upside down.  They have thousands of keywords (if using PPC) and not so many people searching for their item, or able to find it.  Still, you can use keyword weighting but simply target the lower-hanging fruit.

The main reason for these final lines is not so much about keyword weighting but about helping the algorithm.  I see this mistake a lot, especially in items that lack maturity.  Let’s say, you are selling a print on demand beach bag and you have in your title words such as “picnic”, “tote”, “shopping”, “towels” etc to try and index for those words too.

Obviously, a shopper doesn’t need to read in your title that a beach bag is also a tote bag, or can be used for picnics as well as shopping.  They are not stupid.  So, you are doing this to appeal to the algorithm, however, the algorithm won’t necessarily understand what you are doing, and here is the problem.  

Look at this example:

This is a mature product that has done well, but the title needs a little clearing up.  Let’s say you are the algorithm and you are trying to assess what this item is.  You don’t understand what a bag is or a gym but somehow you have to categorize this item.  Which descriptive words would you choose to hone into what this item is?

If this was a new item it could create a little confusion; is it a beach bag, a tote bag, a shoulder bag, a gym bag, a daily bag?  How do you categorize it?  The seller will claim that it is all of these things, however, the more precise you can be, the more confident the algorithm will be in apportioning the correct keyword expectations to it.  So, I might be looking for a weekender travel bag and this pops up in the results.  It wouldn’t be what I was searching for.  

If you are running Amazon automatic PPC ads, you might get some people clicking because they like the color, or they aren’t really looking and click anyway, thinking it is something else.  You still pay Amazon for the clicks.  And if the algorithm isn’t certain that your product is right for a keyword, it will charge you more per click for the privilege of displaying your ad.

I think you get the picture.  So, lot’s to think about!

Good luck, I’m here if you need any help.

Heath

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