While Amazon is well known as the world’s largest e-commerce platform, it is less often considered as a search engine. However, Amazon is a leading search engine, second, perhaps, only to Google. Most marketers are familiar with Google’s elusive algorithm and with derivative practices of search engine optimization (henceforth, SEO) on that platform. It may be tempting to apply the logic of Google SEO to Amazon, but that will be a mistake, as the two platforms preset distinct, sometimes even contrasting, logics. This article summarizes key differences between Google and Amazon SEO.
Background: The distinct DNA of Google and Amazon
According to Ben Givon, the fundamental differences in the logics of Google and Amazon could be traced back to their origins and mission. Google was created by PhD students Lawrence Page and Sergey Brin who used the principles of academic citation to create an efficient method to organize the world’s information. Amazon, created by Wall Street veteran Jeff Bezos, was founded on a revenue model with an ambition offer the best possible buying experience to customers. These distinct foci are reflected in the pillars of each platform’s SEO. Google prioritizes relevance and authority; Amazon prioritizes conversion rates and customer satisfaction. The implication for marketers? Strategies for promoting products on Google may not work, and in fact might even backfire if applied to Amazon’s search engine, and vice versa.
Outcomes: Clicks versus conversions
Google and Amazon present a substantial difference in the type of outcomes they value when prioritizing search results. Google measures relevance through clicks – how many people entered a website, how long they stayed inside, and where clicks are coming from. Amazon measures relevance through conversion rates, namely the ratio between exposure to a product and sales. The more and the faster you sell a product on Amazon, the higher the product will be ranked. Thus, marketers wishing to ace their Amazon ranking should optimize product pricing, product descriptions, and costumer reviews to increase sales.
keywords are important on Goggle and on Amazon. However, the optimal use of keywords is different across sites. On Google, repeating full phrases multiple times throughout a copy will increase page ranking. On Amazon, keywords can be broken down (and should be in the listing’s bullet points) and used only once to be indexed under that keyword. That’s the tried and tested formula Ben Givon uses.
Google values highly linked websites – the more external links come into your website, the more it is rewarded. Conversely, while Amazon’s algorithm may take into account a product’s traffic and prestige from outside the platform, it is overall a self-contained platform and it doesn’t allow sellers to link Amazon listings to external websites.
In conclusion, marketers need to approach outcomes, keywords, and linking differently in order to improve their ranking on Google and on Amazon.