Are Your Search Efforts Primed for Amazon?
Amazon, the e-commerce giant, declared July 15, the company’s 20th birthday, as Amazon Prime Day. The company offered sales and special deals that it proclaimed would beat traditional Black Friday sales. The specials offered on Prime Day were only available to Amazon’s premium Prime Members. Not to leave anyone out, the company offered a 30-day free trial for those who weren’t already Prime members. Other huge volume retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy and Target launched their own sales for the same time window, not letting Amazon grab all the sales momentum. This dance of the elephants offers a message to all who sell products online: If you are focusing all of your SEO attention on Google, you may be missing key search opportunities.
Why are Walmart and other giants countering Amazon’s moves so aggressively? The reason is simple and obvious: Amazon poses a huge threat to their businesses. Most retailers have turned to e-commerce, with its slimmer costs and higher potential margins, to boost their bottom lines. Amazon is a threat to the store-plus-robust e-commerce offering that has been touted as the survive-and-thrive multichannel strategy for struggling retailers. There is much to be learned by small and mid-sized retailers from the responses of the giant retailers to the perceived threat of Amazon dominance. My own belief is that if you are dealing with a large threat and you can’t beat it (why even try), then figure out how to gain from it.
Here are some thoughts for how. First, rethink how you view search and examine what are the goals of Google, where you have been pouring both your efforts and ad dollars, and how they differ from Amazon and other vertical shopping engines. It is safe to day that Google is a media company, interested in selling ads, rather than a marketplace. Amazon is into selling products. It is a true marketplace. With traffic estimated at 175 million in March 2015, Amazon is the largest marketplace. It is in fact an aggregate of retailers. If you sell products, can you afford to let 175 million visitors, I mean shoppers per month, miss your products? If you are not including Amazon in your search strategy, now is the time to review where Amazon specifically, and vertical search in general, fits in your strategic portfolio.
So much attention has been focused on learning how to optimize sites for Google. Now is the time to learn to optimize your site and its listings for Amazon and other vertical search engines. Searchers on Amazon are typically looking for specific products or types of products, so you will need to tune your SEO specifically for your Amazon listings and the behavior of Amazon shoppers. Amazon, unlike Google, does not want unique content so much as content that converts on its marketplace. So if just the facts convert, then just the facts will do for Amazon. Because shoppers are often looking for very specific items, your keyword strategy should reflect those long-tail keywords that are specific to your individual products. If you sell branded merchandise, then you will want to emphasize the brand in your titles, because Amazon’s customers and its internal search will deliver brands. It takes a bit of rethinking to understand in a Google-centric SEO world how to optimize for vertical search, but the rewards are there. If the big retailers are scrambling to combat the threat of Amazon, now is the time to look again at how you might use vertical search for your advantage.
The purpose of this blog is to provide insights and tips for how to use search profitably. It will cut through the volumes of information that threaten to overwhelm the busy marketer and will focus on what is truly important for making search work.