Improve Your Amazon Site's Search Engine Rank



The common mistake many people make when building an website is to assume that customers will automatically find their website. Sellers might offer the lowest prices, best product selection, or most interesting site design on the Web. They might also assume that success in another business medium will translate to instant online profits. However, customers must be able to find your site before they will visit it!

The following are steps (in no particular order) that can improve indexing by the major search engines and attract visitors to your site.

Choose the Right URL (domain name) for your Webstore

While setting up your Webstore, think carefully about the URL (domain name) you choose. This will be the address that customers type into their browsers to view your products, so consider a domain name that is easy to remember.

Here are recommended best practices:

  • Using a keyword, term, or phrase in the actual domain name can slightly increase the value that search engines may place on your site. However, search engines do not read words in your URL if they run together.
  • A URL's age may influence the value that search engines place on documents hosted there. Older sites are generally considered more trustworthy than newer sites as they have established a record of legitimacy.
  • Two or more hyphens in a domain name may indicate a lower quality or spam-ridden site. This data may be used by search engines to reduce the rankings of a site or its hosted documents.
  • Choose your extension carefully (.com, .net, and .biz are all commercial extensions that are available to anyone, but .com is by far the most popular). A return visitor may think 「.com」 when searching for your site on the Web, so you want an extension that is obvious.
  • Major search engines do not like duplicate content, especially when it is the exact same content, just on different URLs. As a result, they could end up penalizing your site by hiding it in the search results.

Design your Site with your Visitors in Mind

When designing your site, choose a design that will make sense to visitors, has a consistent look and feel, and is visually enticing. Use good, clean design, and easy navigation, so customers can easily browse and purchase products.
Search engines are increasingly ranking pages and sites based on the value they provide to human browsers. Keep this in mind when designing your site. The quality of information you present and the frequency that it is updated will improve the ranking of your site.

Utilize the Title, Description, and Alt Tags

  • Meta tags, which are embedded in the HTML of your site, notify search engines crawling your site what a particular page is about. The important types of meta-tags include the title, description. These should match or key phrases that appear in the body of the page itself.
  • The title meta-tag is the text that visitors see at the top of their browsers and is the text displayed when visitors bookmark your page. Some search engines consider this very important when they crawl your site as they use it to determine the content of your website. Create a title tag that includes your site's key phrase, so that it accurately describes your site and makes sense to visitors. The title meta-tag should be descriptive, but you should try to keep it under 150 characters.
  • The description meta-tag is used to present information that people may see when the search engine displays the site in a list among all other similar sites. This text may influence whether someone clicks on your site. The description meta-tag should be informative but not have more than 250 characters. It should relay keyword phrases that are also in the title and the actual content on your site. You should put the most important keywords at the beginning of the description.
Webstore automatically creates title tags for your category and product pages based on the title of your product. However, you should create your own title and description meta-tags in your site design.
  • Alt tags (or image tags) – If you scroll over images on a Web page, 「alt tag」 text that describes the image will often appear. Search engines crawl the text in the alt tag as they do other content on your site. Using this tag allows the search engines to make sense of your website's images since they cannot actually interpret or read any text contained within an image. The alt text is also presented if an image is broken. Alt tags should normally be four to five words and reference one of the keywords or keyword phrases representing the item in the image.
  • Webstore automatically adds alt tags to the images on your uploaded products based the product titles.
  • For non-product images placed using the image widget, you can create your own alt tags.

Identify Relevant Keywords and Key Phrases to Target for your Site

Before creating the content (text copy) on your website, you should identify six to ten keyword phrases that people might use to find a site like yours. You should concentrate on phrases rather than individual keywords, as phrases can produce more specific results than individual words. For example, try searching on the term 「watch」 on As of 2012, Google returns more than 6 billion results. Now type in 「men's watch」. There are 170 million results returned, so you are getting a smaller list of results. Finally, type in 「men's titanium watch」. There are about 11 million results. If you try to optimize your site around very general single terms, your chances of being relevant for those terms becomes much more challenging, as there are many sites vying for placement on those terms.
Here are recommended best practices for creating an initial list of keywords:
  • Ask your friends what phrases they might use to find products you sell.
  • Look at some of your competitors』 meta-tags (go to their website, select the Source (or Page Source, this varies by browser) option on the View browser menu, and look in the HTML code for their keyword meta-tags).
  • Think of words you might use if you knew nothing about your products other than the fact that you wanted to buy one.
  • Consider phrases that people in the industry would use to search for products you sell.
  • Try to create longer phrases (four or more words) that combine smaller phrases.
When creating the content that makes up the body of your pages, we recommend that you include the most important keywords relating to your products in the first 15 to 20 words of text. These keywords should include words that describe what customers might hope to purchase if they visit your site. It is recommended to work your primary keywords in a few times throughout the rest of the text on the page (but do not do so excessively or the search engines will see it as spam). Make sure your page flows, but work in references to your keywords.
Avoiding targeting too many keywords or phrases on your site. Some webmasters have included hundreds of keywords on their sites, and the result is that their site is not indexed well for any specific terms. A good website will have its keywords woven into a well-constructed body of text, and a specific theme will appear throughout. This helps you achieve relevancy for a given set of keywords when the search engines crawl your site. We recommend that you conclude the page by including your keywords in text.
Search engines also value the text in headings or headers (also known as H1, H2, etc., tags) more importantly than elsewhere. Headings or headers are usually large text at the top of a page that provides a summary of the contents. Search engines look at headings and place more value on those, so you should place your primary keyword phrase in a header. Placing words in bold or at the top of your page can also give additional strength to terms found there.
Recommended Tools for Finding Keywords:
  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool– The Google AdWords KeyWord Tool helps you to generate keyword ideas through either keyword description or your website content. It provides the relevant keyword searches on Google as well as their search volume information.
  • Overture Keyword – The Overture Keyword tool helps you to evaluate potential keywords by providing you with related terms and data on how many times that term was searched on the previous month. For more information on this tool, see:
  • WordTracker – WordTracker is a fee-based service that allows you to search popular keyword phrases. WordTracker is the most popular in the SEO industry, as it offers a good search term database and is easy to use. You can easily find information on a variety of sites on the Web.
Remember these key points:
  • Identify six to ten keyword phrases that people might search on to find a site like yours and build a theme around these terms.
  • Include the most important keywords relating to your products in the first 15 to 20 words of text.
  • Place your most important keywords in headings or headers.
  • Close the body of the page by including your keywords in text.
  • Put bold or italics around your core keywords.
  • Consider placing your more important keywords in a list of bullets or numbered items.
  • Create links to other locations on your website, and include your keywords in the link text.

Use Textual Tags

Some search engines might believe that bold, italicized, or underlined text is more important to the visitors. If you place bold or italic tags around your core keywords, you will improve the chances of a search engine spider ranking that page higher for those keywords. If you have an important list of points that you want to emphasize on your page, you should also consider putting them in a bulleted list. This will help set that portion of text apart from the rest of the page and advise the search engine spider that this text is considered more important. If it makes sense and enhances your page, also consider placing link text in the body of the page. This can improve search engine rankings, especially if it appears in the first or second sentence on the page.
In summary, use a variety of textual tags to help your keywords stand out. Remember that any use of textual tags should still fit in with the overall flow of the content and appear natural to readers.

Create Relevant Content for your Website

A picture is not always worth a thousand words. Images are important in advertising your products, but customers do not rely on them exclusively. Websites created with many images and minimal text may have difficulty being indexed by search engines. Having good text content on your website is a crucial factor for attracting and retaining customers, and is one of the main factors (in combination with incoming links from important sites) that can lead to a search engine ranking your site as relevant for the products that you are selling. Other websites may even link to your site, which will attract more visitors and increase your ranking.
We recommend that you have at least 400 words of well-written content on every page on your site. A search engine spider will often try to determine your 「theme」 within the first 200 words of your site, so you want to display the relevant text as soon as possible. The content on your site should be consistent with the keywords in your meta-tags, your headers, and the text on the page itself. Your content should also relate to the key phrase or keywords that you want your website indexed for in the search engines. Concentrate on a theme and write content around it.
For example, if you are selling watches, write descriptive content about watches such as material, craftsmanship, design, and brand. Avoid only using the word 「watches」 in the text.
Update your site frequently with relevant and current data related to the items you sell. This will help you consistently stay at the top of the search engine results. Creating relevant and fresh content is extremely important to getting visitors to return frequently as well as getting search engines to index your site. Without fresh content, your site can gradually drop in the search engine results.
There are many ways to get fresh content for your site. You can write it yourself, hire someone to write it for you, or get your visitors to write it for you through feedback, blogs, or other customer forums. You may be able to solicit some articles in exchange for offering to post the author's byline and a link to his or her site. One convenient source for fresh, automatically updated content is a Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed. RSS feeds provide fresh articles and content on any topic of your choice. All you need to do is add some simple code on your website. There is no cost involved. Consider looking for RSS feeds on the Web that may have content related to the products you sell.

Create Good Internal Links

Internal links (that is, links from one part of your website to another) are very important in getting your website indexed. These links help search engines crawl through all links on your pages. If an internal page does not have a link to it, it is considered an 「orphan」 page and most likely will not be crawled.
Many webmasters have concentrated on incoming links, paying little attention to the benefits that they can get from optimizing internal links. A good internal linking structure can help ensure that your website gets properly crawled and found by the search engines, build the relevance of a page to a keyword phrase (text links as described below), and increase the page rank of internal pages.
The following are the five main ways to help improve internal linking:
  • Increase Text Links:
    Search engines consider the anchor text for a link as very important in terms of what information will be discovered when a visitor clicks through that link. When a search engine crawls that link and goes to the linked page, it will associate the destination page as being relevant to the anchor text on the link that was clicked through. Because of this, avoid using the phrase 「Click here」 on a link and, instead, use a relevant keyword.

    For example, if you are referring a customer to more information about a 「men's titanium watch」 elsewhere on your website, the anchor text within the hyperlink should be 「men's titanium watch.」 Search engines also look at the text around the link to gauge the importance of the anchor text within the link, so you want relevant content.

  • Link to related items such as accessories or related products:
    Adding links on your product pages that point to related products or accessories improves internal linking, and also helps increase your sales. Webstore can provide automatic links to related items when a visitor clicks on a product page on your site.
  • Create key internal links and text links in footers:
    Footer links are at the bottom of every page and help visitors and search engine spiders navigate your site. The footer section allows you to create internal links to key parts of your site, including Home, About Us, Return Policy, and Shipping Policy pages. Using link text in your footers provides you another opportunity to optimize text within links. For example, the link text in the 「Home」 and 「About Us」 footer links should include your actual company's name (for example, 「 Home,」 「About」).
  • Optimize Proper Navigation Links:
    Most websites include a navigation structure that provides links to other locations on a website. This is usually on the left side of the page. Because a search engine's tendency is to 「read」 left to right, the navigation is usually one of the first things read by a search engine spider. Because of this, these links are given more importance. Make sure that you place your primary keywords as text on the links in your navigation structure.
  • Create a site map:
    Site maps are models that display the pages on a website, and help visitors navigate their way. You can simply sketch a site map with paper and pencil to create a visual map of your website, the pages, and the links. For example, you would want your FAQ, Return Policy, and Contact Us pages to be in the same location of your site map. When you add and create pages to your website, think of ways to organize similar pages to help your customers find what they need. You will also want to include a site map link in your footer.

    Webstore automatically submits and sends your XML site map to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. For more information, see XML Site Maps.

Get Good Incoming links

The most important strategy that you should undertake is around good incoming links. Up to 80% of the algorithm used by a search engine to rank a website is based on links to your website from other sites (the remaining 20% of the search engine's algorithm takes into account on-site factors such as the search engine friendliness of the site, site freshness, and site content.)
The more quality sites you have pointing to you, the more search engines will see the content on your site as important and rank you accordingly. An incoming link is like a 「vote」 for your content. Search engines assume that the quantity of quality links (or 「votes」) you have corresponds with the content of your site.
Search engines take into account at least two major factors when they use incoming links to rank your site for a particular search phrase (which, in turn, determines how high your site ranks in the search engine results pages):
  • The total number of incoming external relevant links
  • The importance of the sites linking to your site
For example, a site (for example, that links to your Webstore and receives millions of visits a day and has thousands of sites linking to it would be considered more important than a site that gets hundreds of visitors a day and has ten sites linking to it. On the other hand, if you have hundreds of sites linking to you that are considered of moderate importance, the sum of those links may provide more value than just having one important site pointing to you. If enough websites link to your site with the relevant link text, your site may get top ranking for a specific search phrase. However, more competition for a particular search phrase means that you will need more high-quality links to increase your ranking.
You should get incoming links from websites that are associated with the products you sell. They should be relevant to the information on your site and have a true reason to be linking to you. For example, if you are selling watches, a watch repair company would be a good link, but link from a company selling diapers would not.
Reciprocal link exchanges are not as relevant as they once were. In fact, they can negatively affect you. Search engines have started to devalue the concept of reciprocal linking because they have discovered it is most often a way to circumvent the search engine's algorithm. When finding websites to link to yours, you should focus on one-way incoming links (that is, the website provides a link to you but you do not provide one to it).

When you develop your Linking Strategy:

  • Submit your website to appropriate sites and ask that they link to your site as a reference because it will benefit their visitors.
  • When a site links to you, encourage its owner to place a keyword in the link's description to increase the relevance of a keyword on your site.
  • Find out who is linking to your competition. Use Google's 「link:」 command to see the back links of your competition. For example, type 「」 (without the quotation marks) into Google search. Try to get links from the same sites as your competitors.
  • Avoid reciprocal linking, links farms, link scams, Free for All (FFA) link sites, and any other unnatural links. They may not necessarily affect you, but they can potentially lower your ranking.
  • Submit articles related to your business to article sites where your article contains a text link back to your site (for example,
  • Post to blogs on topics related to the products you sell, with your entry containing a live anchor text link back to your site.
Measure your site's importance: Google Page Rank (GPR) and its relation to linking
  • If you have the Google Toolbar installed (highly recommended), you can see the Google Page Rank (GPR) for a specific site or page on the Web. Quite simply (and the algorithm behind GPR is anything but simple), the GPR is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the Internet.
  • The Google Toolbar Page Rank measures page rank from zero to 10 and is usually updated every three months. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes cast for a page, the more important the page must be, and generally the higher the page rank. Many people hypothesize that the GPR value is determined through a logarithmic scale, but Google has not disclosed their precise calculation methods.
  • Page rank by itself does not do anything. However, if your site is optimized and has a strong GPR, it will be much more likely to jump into the top results for targeted keywords. While page rank cannot be explicitly controlled, it can be influenced through linking efforts both on and off the site (that is, the use of accessories, similarities, blogs, etc). Links from other sites can specifically help increase the keyword relevance of your page. This is done with the text in the link (any text contained within the link itself is attributed to the linked page). Because of this, it is important to ensure that any links to a page on the site contain relevant, descriptive text (for example, 「look here for great titanium watches」) rather than non-descriptive text (for example, 「click here」).

Get an Analytics Package to Monitor your Site

Sellers with an online business should have some form of a web analytics package set up to monitor visitor behavior on their websites. Without monitoring visitor behavior, you will have no way to identify ways to improve your sales.
There are several Web analytics packages on the market. Prices range from free to thousands of pounds. When determining which analytics package to use, you should first identify what information you are looking for and then search for a package that fits your needs.
The following are examples of data you can collect from analytics packages:
  • How many people visited your site
  • How many of those visitors were unique visitors
  • The number of return visitors
  • How visitors came to the site (for example, by following a link, through a bookmark, or by typing your website's URL in the browser)
  • What keywords visitors searched on in the search engine to get to the website
  • What keywords visitors typed in a websites search box
  • How long visitors stayed on a site
  • What links visitors clicked on and when they left the site
  • Tracking e-mail and pay-per-click marketing campaigns
  • Determining a site's conversion rate (number of visitors to orders generated)
After analyzing information from a Web analytics package, you can determine those areas of the site are popular and those that do not get traffic. You can then use this data to make improvements. With good data rather than just general predictions of customer behavior, you can test changes to your site and see the corresponding impact.

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