Will Amazon replace Google as the go-to search engine? Not yet. But the e-tailing giant has seen a dramatic rise in search volume in recent years. In 2015, Google accounted for 54 percent of product-focused searches, compared with 46 percent on Amazon. By 2018, customer behavior evolved and Amazon became the leading search engine for product searches, accounting for more than 55 percent – with Google as the runner up.
Amazon Continues to Gain on Google in Search
Google’s algorithm updates keep retailers and marketers on their toes. The search giant’s secret sauce almost passes the Turing test in its ability to discern high-quality content. Amazon also has a search algorithm named A9, and while it doesn’t have the same apparent omniscience as Google’s, it is remarkably good at what it does: determining a customer’s search intent and returning the best products for them.
That’s why Amazon’s SERP converts at more than six times the rate of Google’s. It works like this: Google looks at three essential components to rank web pages: Authority, relevance, and technology. Google’s goal is to deliver its users the most valuable and relevant information. Amazon’s algorithm has three different essential components tailored to their revenue-first business model: conversion rate, keyword relevance, and customer satisfaction – all three directly influenced by product description and information in the listing. While both methodologies focus on customer intent, there are clear differences for how SEOs should go about optimizing for Amazon rankings.
Google has taken notice of Amazon’s rise as a top resource for product searches, which has led the 800-pound search gorilla to make changes to its shopping platform. Recently Google announced it would let businesses list their products for free, citing the impact of economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 for many retailers.
SEOs and digital marketers that work for retailers and e-commerce sites will need to pay attention to these trends. Search will not only be about the best content on a company’s public-facing web page, but also about a brand’s ability to stand out in a sea of close competitors selling similar products.
Expanding the Definition of Digital Content
For a long time organic “content” meant informational, owned content. Much of it was in the form of educational blog posts and FAQs. The theory was, answer a searcher’s question, and they’ll become a loyal customer.
The way listings on Amazon (and other e-tailers) work is slightly different. While information is still key, products on Amazon are less likely to rank if they don’t convert and incentivize positive customer feedback. Factors like price and giving customers a reason to promote products via word of mouth is just as important as the quality of the information being provided.
In addition to traditional content, new kinds of content that drive visibility and convert well on Amazon are imperative for your digital marketing playbook. Optimizing images so that they fit Amazon guidelines is crucial, as is bringing your images in line with the unspoken tactics of competitive listings. Product descriptions require care and fine-tuning to ensure buyers find what they’re looking for. Providing thoughtful, accurate and helpful value through these descriptions optimizes your listing for all three components of Amazon’s algorithms, ultimately influencing rank.
Optimizing for Amazon Rank is a Critical Investment
Google has been the leader in online search because their algorithm is excellent at inferring a user’s intent. Google can determine what you’re looking for, even if you don’t know what exactly that thing is.
Amazon has the same capability to infer intent, but because their focus has always been more about selling goods than providing information, people searching on Amazon have an even more laser-like focused intent on buying something.
Think of Google and Amazon as two parts of a multi-platform customer journey. The early stage of the journey where awareness and consideration is built is where customers rely on Google. It finds people at the beginning of their search journey when they’re asking those early questions and figuring out what it is they want to do.
Amazon represents the very end of that journey. The OG e-tailer specializes in conversion pages, product reviews, and customer satisfaction. SEOs need a strategy that includes optimizing for both platforms to reach every stage of the customer journey, using learnings from both to cross-pollinate and inform their strategies.
Unlocking the Future: Amazon Rank Tracking in Conductor Searchlight
But, customer behavior is rapidly evolving and people are now searching for everything, everywhere. Using non-traditional search engines is becoming just as ubiquitous as the daily Google search. Marketers need an SEO platform that allows them to track their brand’s visibility on all the places people are searching. Optimizing your digital presence across the entire customer journey — from awareness, to research, to purchase — is key to driving holistic visibility, conversion and revenue.
We’re unlocking this potential. With Conductor, you can track how your content ranks on Amazon. Define and track keywords for Amazon profiles and product listings (owned, competitive and third party), and report on visibility within the Amazon search results across 10+ international Amazon properties. You can even track the visibility of your Amazon product listing on the Google SERP (and other search engines) for a comprehensive view of non-traditional content on traditional search engines.