EP4: The Art and Science of Amazon PDP Optimization
Brands have the most gorgeous product images on their Amazon listings, and have even hired wordsmiths to write their PDP copy. Yet, both traffic & conversion remain low. At DataHawk, we created this podcast to show you how you can take a data-driven approach to PDP Optimization.
Prateek: You need to perpetually optimize the keywords you use both on the organic side and on the ad side. Having the right keywords on your listing is the first step, and I might even go so far as to say the most important element in building and growing your Amazon business.
Raphael: Live from DataHawk studio in Paris, this is your host, Raphael. Welcome to another episode of that eCommerce podcast. In our previous episode, we talked about the importance of keyword rank tracking on Amazon, and we suggest you go check it out now. Today we got another hot topic to discuss around PDP optimization on Amazon, and if it’s the first time you’re hearing those three letters together, stay calm and stay tuned. Okay, before we dive right in, here’s our agenda for today’s episode. We have three segments. What is a PDP, why it’s paramount to optimize your PDPs, and how you can optimize PDPs using DataHawk software? I’m here in the studio with the Frenchiest Indian I’ve ever met. It’s my dear friend Pat, an Amazon expert at DataHawk.
Prateek: Bonjour, Raphael.
Raphael: All right, Pat, what is a PDP, and why should I care about it if I got a product selling on Amazon?
Prateek: Look, PDP stands for Product Detail page on Amazon. Put simply, PDP is like your virtual shelf. Each PDP displays one product. Just the way a shopper sees a product sitting on a shelf in a physical store, he or she sees it on a PDP on Amazon. Do you know how much effort retailers put into setting up nice displays in the stores? Shoppers love sugar and spice and everything nice. It nudges them to make the purchase. Similarly, your PDP is your product’s online presence. A visually creative, aesthetically designed, easy-to-read PDP means you’ve already won half the battle early. Do you know how they say that good food is not just about taste? Does it need to please the other senses as well? Like the smell, the visuals, and so on. It’s the same thing with online shopping. You can have a great product, but that’s not enough. You need to present it while, Rafael, if you want to have a shot at drawing shoppers.
Raphael: Can you break it down even further for listeners?
Prateek: Yes, of course. Happy to. Amazon product detail pages have two distinct elements. I risk sounding corny here when I say this, but I like to refer to them as the science element and the art element. So, science refers to keywords. The reason I call it science is because it involves taking a data-driven approach to uncover the right keywords. It requires research. It requires analysis. It evolves rapidly, and keywords which might be relevant today may not be relevant tomorrow, just like science. And the art refers to the creative stuff, the visuals, and the contents that engage shoppers and drive them to make a purchase. This is so important in the virtual world, Raphael. There are some elements here though. Crafting product titles which grab the shopper’s attention, writing sucks crisp, clear bullet points which highlight the key product features and benefits, using images that leave the shoppers drooling. If you’re selling a sofa, I don’t know how you’ll get a shopper to drool. In that case, you can just settle for captivating them. Using plus content that tells your brand a story in an engaging manner separates you from the competition and compels a shopper to carry through with the purchase. And we’ll dive deeper into all of those elements later in the podcast.
Raphael: I really like how you separated them into science and art. I understood why the art element was important, but do you think you could explain the importance of the science on that?
Prateek: Raphael, your listeners should thank you for how crystal clear you are making this for them by asking so many questions. So, the science element. Why it’s important to have the right keywords. Well, having the right keywords on your listing is the first step, and I might even go so far as to say the most important element in building and growing your Amazon business. I mean, think about it. Keywords are the bridge that connects you with potential shoppers. Literally, they can make you or break. You know, I’ll start from the beginning so there’s no doubt. Shoppers begin the journey on Amazon by typing keywords in the search field and Amazon finds the products on their platform which have those keywords because the A9 algorithm deems these to be the most relevant products. So, if you don’t have the right keywords on your listing, you will not show up in the search results. And it doesn’t end there. You need to constantly evolve. You need to perpetually optimize the keywords you use, both on the organic side and on the ad side.
Raphael: Can you give us a couple of examples of why brands or sellers need to optimize the keywords they use?
Prateek: Yes, of course, since you ask so politely. So, let’s start on the organic site. The thing is, for any given product, there are obvious keywords and there are obscure keywords. The obvious ones will be delivered by human intelligence. For example, if you are a brand selling decaf coffee, your intuition will tell you that you need to have keywords like decaf pods, decaf ground coffee, decaf coffee beans, and the likes on your listing.
But would you ever just guess that people might also be searching for something obscure like a stress-free drink? That’s just one example. There are so many search terms that people can use to find the products they are looking for on Amazon. You simply cannot guess all of them. So, you have to keep optimizing your listing by gradually uncovering these obscure keywords and adding them to your listing. On the ad side, keyword optimization becomes even more important, actually.
The way Amazon’s A9 algorithm works is for any given search term, it looks at mainly three parameters when ranking products in search results. Number one, price. Secondly, star rating. And number three, number of reviews. And depending on how you’re doing on those parameters, Amazon could rank you on page one or page two, or even page five, actually.
So, unless you meet Amazon’s criteria for ranking on page one for that specific search term, there is no use for you to even so much as bid on them. It simply will not help. I mean, but over time, though, as you’re standing on those parameters evolves, you may start to meet Amazon’s criteria for being eligible to rank on page one for that search term. At that point, you can optimize your ranking even further by bidding on the search term in question, get better visibility, and you know where that leads, right? I hope that explains to you why it’s so important to not only have the right keywords but also optimize them over time. Again, both on the organic as well as the ad side.
Raphael: Pat, that brings us to a logical question. How to find the right keywords? How to optimize keyword usage?
Prateek: How about this? Instead of giving you a generic answer, I can just tell you how you can use Data Hawk to find the right keywords, and maybe we can discuss that later in the episode. What do you think?
Raphael: Okay, sure, let’s do that, Pat, but let’s switch back to the art element. Art is subjective, right? Is the art on Amazon subjective?
Prateek: I doubt there is a company as obsessed with objectivity and a rules-based order as Amazon. So, the answer to your question is no. There are crystal clear guidelines regarding what passes for good creativity and what is bad on Amazon. Let’s look at the guidelines for each of the sub-elements. The title, the bullet points, the images, the description. Right? So, for the title, I hope our listeners are noting these down because these can be really useful for them. The title needs to be under 200 characters long. You got to begin every word with a capital letter. Small words like off the, etc. should have small letters only. Do not use pricing or promotional info. Write numbers as numerals, not words.
As far as bullet points go, most people don’t want to read paragraphs, Raphael, but they love to read clear and concise bullet points. Amazon, I think, allows up to five bullet points on a listing page, but this is actually category-specific, so it might be seven for other categories. And again, here to highlight the five to seven key features of your product.
For example, country of origin, dimensions, and stuff like that. And you don’t have to write meaningful sentences. Shoot for sentence fragments instead. Each bullet point needs to begin with a capital letter. Do not use on-end punctuation, remember that. And never include, again, pricing or promotional info, either.
Moving on to images, I’d say it’s amazing what outside role images play in shoppers buying decisions, so quality there is just non-negotiable. Grab shopper’s attention and engage them with your creatives. Have at least five to six images. It’s best to have a white background on the primary image and the product itself should make up about 85% of each image. Have the images be at least 1000 pixels in either length or width because that activates the zoom feature on the listing page. And try to have lifestyle images, those which show the product in usage. That makes the products more relatable. You can have infographics that highlight product features and benefits. Alternatively, the infographics can show comparisons with competing products as well.
And don’t forget, you can add videos too, and everyone loves videos. I mean, I spend a lot of time on YouTube. I don’t know about you. As for the description, this can go two ways. You can either just write copy, or if you’re a brand and enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry, you can have a plus content.
A plus content is a really powerful tool, Rafael. Leverage the power of visuals here to highlight your brand’s unique story. Use colors, images, copy. This truly is where the art element reigns supreme. People have often complained of Amazon’s pages being boring and lacking fun. Well, a plus content is Amazon’s reply to that, and to those people. If shoppers have reached this part of the listing, it means they’re highly interested in purchasing your product. So, a plus content here can make all the difference.
Raphael: Wow, thanks for that, Prateek. Now that you’ve covered the importance of PDP optimization by breaking it down into the art and science elements, which I love, maybe you can tell our listeners how data can help them optimize both of those elements.
Prateek: Well, yes. I think this is a good time for some self-promotion. So, let’s first talk about optimizing the science element. Optimizing keywords. Let’s talk about the Keyword Tracker tool. This can be a great tool to assess how certain keywords might perform for you before you decide to incorporate them into your listing. It starts with creating a project on DataHawk. A project can be created for a bunch of products within a subcategory, or for a single product.
Let’s say you sell Lipton tea, right, and you can begin tracking keywords like organic tea bags, herbal tea, stress-free tea, and so on. You’re tracking these keywords because you want to know how they rank, and if they rank, well, you will add them to your listing, right? Also, because there are character limits on the title, the bullet points, et cetera, you cannot have all keywords under the sun, right? On your listing. You have to choose, and that’s why you’re tracking them. So you can choose wisely. DataHawk checks up to five pages of Amazon search results to see how the keyword ranks and this insight is available on easy-to-understand dashboards. Use the insights you get from the dashboard to optimize your keywords by selecting the ones you perform, which perform the best.
The other really cool and powerful keyword optimization tool we have is the Keyword Lookup tool. Our constantly evolving and expanding database shows you even those keywords for which your product ranked at some point historically. For each of those keywords, it shows you both the rank and the search volume, right? And take the ones which have a high rank and a large search volume.
If they’re not on your listing, just add them. And there you go – your listing has been optimized, and that will boost your visibility, which will boost your traffic, which will drive up your sales, which will further boost your visibility. See, you just created your own flywheel, Rafael. And just so you know, you can do both of the above, not just for your own products, but even for those of your competitors.
Track the keywords being used by your competitors using the Keyword Tracker tool. Get quote-unquote “inspired” by the good ones and use them. Use the Keyword Lookup tool to uncover keywords for which competing products have ranked historically. Again, quote-unquote, “draw inspiration.” Essentially, DataHawk’s suite of solutions allows you to make data-driven decisions by studying millions of data points and even snooping your competitors.
Raphael: Okay, Pat, can you now tell us how brands can use that out to optimize the art elements?
Prateek: DataHawk’s Listing Analysis Tool has been built keeping Amazon’s listing guidelines in mind. For every PDP component like title, bullet points, images, description, we compare what the listing carries against Amazon’s guidelines, and then we deliver a score. So, we call this the LQS or Listing Quality Score. For each listing, you get an overall LQS and a component-wise LQS. So, this is a clear and actionable number brands can use to assess the quality of their listing and make optimizations if needed. For example, as mentioned earlier, Amazon mandates that bullet points carry no ending punctuation. If the bullet points on your listing have ending punctuation, DataHawk’s Listing Analysis Tool will show you a red cross.
You know right away something is off. And the best part is, if your Amazon account is integrated, you can just make the necessary changes to your listing in your Data Hawk account and we will update your Amazon listing. Not to mention, you can even export the LQS onto an Excel sheet if that’s what you prefer. And yes, that’s how you can optimize your PDP. Both the science and the art elements using DataHawk.
Raphael: Wow, that was one loaded episode. I have a little surprise for those of you the courageous ones who reached this far in the episode. Puja is here with us in the studio with some insider tips for you on PDP optimization. So here we go. Let’s call it the Puja Minute.
Pooja: So, tip one: have the most important keywords in the first 80 characters out of the 200 you see, as the rest will be cropped on a mobile phone. Tip two: using powerful words that persuade customers into buying. For instance, latest, fun interactive. You can use keywords that are catchy and will nudge the customer to buy the product. For instance, use pressure relief or plush field for a mattress product. Tip three: keep track of the formula of the title. For instance, if the category is a home appliance, the formula is brand name plus model name plus model number the product type. Keep track of the formula for titles. For instance, if the category is a home appliance, the formula is brand name plus model number plus model name plus product type. Tip Four: adding variations to introduce your version of a product is very important in many cases. It is also a great way to get multiple item sales while ranking for a product. There is a high probability to make sales for a variation that has more amount of product. For instance, a few more millimeters for a very little difference in price.
Raphael: That’s the end of our episode. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you around. Bye.