Like so many other digital ranking factors, the trick for writing perfect Amazon product titles is a bit of a gray zone.
Some people claim that you should keep titles as simple as possible, and other marketers believe it’s best to stuff the Product titles with as many characters as possible.
The general consensus about writing Amazon titles is a mixed bag, and the evidence for either side is pretty mixed as well.
Despite the somewhat confusing details – Fortunately, there are a number of rules and best practices that can help create great titles.
4 Core Elements of Top Ranking Amazon Product Titles
Starting with the basics. There are 4 elements that all Successful Amazon product titles should include:
- Product Brand name
- Details about the variant, color, or flavor
- Unit size / Quantity = size of product if it is clothing or apparel, or number of units in if your product is a bulk package
- Keywords = what the product actually is (remember to consider how your customers will search for this. Not just how YOU describe it)
As of June 2015, titles have a limit of 200 characters before Amazon will suppress listings from search (although some categories recommend limiting titles to as low as 80 characters.) But Amazon has recently increased that to 256 Characters for a product title.
You can be a little more flexible with Amazon than you can be in some other market places like Google Shopping, where the limit is significantly lower.
Beware Overly Complex Amazon Product Titles
As always, overly complex titles may cause a ding in sales by making customers skeptical of the product, but keyword rich products tend to rank better in Amazon’s SERPs than more concise, shorter titles with fewer important keywords.
You should strive to include as many of your key search terms as possible – without making it difficult to comprehend.
As mentioned earlier, this is what makes writing Amazon titles so difficult. Everyone has a differing opinion on how detailed titles should be.
The example above proves this ambiguity.
The two product listings are from the same computer manufacturer, and ranked evenly in Amazon’s result page. The listing on the left uses the minimalist, simple approach to writing titles. It contains as few keywords as possible. The listing on the right is full of descriptions of possible keywords.
Interestingly, they also have many numerical details that most consumer’s probably don’t search for or in some cases understand.
Amazon’s Product Title Recommendations
Thankfully, Amazon provides a number of suggestions for what sellers should or shouldn’t use in their titles.
Good titles should follow these rules:
- Capitalize first letter of each word
- Spell out measurements (Ounce, Inch, Pound)
- All numbers should be numerals (5 not “five”)
- Ampersands (&) should not be used in titles unless they are part of the products brand name. Otherwise, “and” should be written out in lowercase letters
What should you NOT include in Amazon product titles:
- Words in all CAPITAL LETTERS
- Seller information
- Promotions (Sale, 50% off)
- Suggestive commentary (Best, #1 Seller)
- Symbols ($,?,!)
- Size – if not relevant to product
- Color – if the product does not come in multiple colors
- example: silver stainless steel refrigerator
It is important to note that not all products require the same content in their titles. For example, the title for a computer would be significantly more detailed than the information for a plain t-shirt. The table below includes a few of the recommended formats in different product categories.
Learn what will help your Local Business stand out in search.
A year ago most of the SEO world was trying to optimize Local SEO based on a study that had no objective data and only city the opinions of SEOs.
Luckily, two colleagues Shotland and Leibson looked at over 100 factors across 30,000 businesses, resulting in over 1.5 million data points during the past year. They partnered with Places Scout, a local SEO tool company, to pull the data, then had “actual Ph.D.s” interpret that data.
First, Proximity matters
The results of this new study backed up the findings of this year’s Local Search Ranking Factor study from Moz, released a few weeks ago. It’s not surprising that both indicate that proximity is a huge factor in determining local search results. Leibson suggested it’s more complex than simple proximity, though. They believe that there’s a priority tier of local results determined by relevance and prominence, and THEN proximity is used to determine the order of those results.
Leibson showed several examples of searches for nearby businesses where the three results in the map pack appeared to be ranked in order of closest proximity, but then he showed a wider map view that showed other options that were closer to the point of search. These were presumably not in the top tier of relevance and prominence.
This is one more example of Google really trying to do extra work for you to show you what they think is the best option. Obviously, straight distance to the closest business you are interested in would be easiest.
What are the strongest factors for Google map ranking?
According to the research, Google My Business authority has a strong correlation with pack rankings. Businesses with more reviews, those with photos uploaded to Google My Business, and those with the searched keyword in the actual business name will rank higher.
- More reviews
- Photos uploaded
- Keyword in the business name
The highest on-site factors were the number of words on the GMB landing page (the page that the GMB listing links to) and the number of images on the Google My Business landing page.
Link metrics and mechanics were also an important factor correlated with higher rankings. Better results were also seen when the city name was included in the anchor text of links and including the searched keyword in the anchor text.
- Include the city name in the anchor text of links
- Include keyword in the anchor text
To Search or Link? Do location pages cannibalize dynamic locator searches pages?
This question has been around awhile. Should businesses with multiple locations use a dynamic locator search page or individual location pages? Based on this research, there’s no cannibalization.
In fact, Local Businesses actually ranked better if they included both. They shoed that businesses with locator pages and locations pages ranked for more terms than businesses with locator pages only.
Is it possible to optimize for ‘near me’ searches?
If you are watching any keyword level data you will notice (even if you aren’t a local business) the increase of “near me” searches. Leibson explained that it’s possible to optimize for those searches with clever internal linking and optimized anchor text. He suggested that locator pages should include text like “Find more nearby stores” or “Find a retirement community near me.”
Their research also showed that there was a strong correlation between high rankings and businesses that had a higher number of native Google reviews and a higher number of links with the city in the anchor text.
- Add language like “Find Nearby Stores” or “Find a _____ near me” to locator pages
- Gather native Google Reviews
- Add city name in anchor text
Implicit and explicit searches are separate beasts
Leibson and Shotland presented some interesting data that indicates that Google treats implicit and explicit local searches differently. With implicit searches (without the geo term included), the keyword in the business name was very low in importance, while proximity was a huge factor.
For explicit searches (with the city term included), the keyword in the business name was an incredibly important factor, while proximity became one of the least important factors.
Anatomy of a good location page
After studying so many hundreds of thousands of results, the guys thought it was important to finish up by sharing a few examples of well-done location pages. They shared the following sites as the best examples of location pages (the links go directly to a page for an individual location):
Google will begin to ignore word order & function words in exact match.
While the concept originally launched for plurals and misspellings, close variants will extend to include word ordering and function words in exact match keywords.
Last Friday, Google announced another change to the way exact match targeting works in their AdWords platform. Matching for close variants — plurals, typos, abbreviations, adverbs and so on — will now be expanded to include variations in the order of words and additional function words over the next few months. With this change, Google may ignore word order and function words when determining whether an ad should trigger for an exact match keyword.
This concept was launched by Google in 2012 as a way to capture plurals, misspellings, typos and other versions of exact match and phrase match keywords. It was announced as a way to broaden reach and coverage and save time building out keyword lists. This was reasonable at the time as I knew many PPC managers who were voraciously building exact match adgroups and campaigns based entirely off common misspellings of expensive keywords to boost ROI on their accounts.
The newest change to exact match is another step towards Google’s continued reliance on its machine learning and the belief that it’s now at the point where advertisers can let the algorithms take over and focus on other things.
Google says early tests indicate advertisers could see up to 3 percent more exact match clicks on average while maintaining comparable click-through and conversion rates downstream for marketers.
So What Does This Change Really Mean?
There are many cases in which variations can change the meaning of a keyword. Take a recent example of [bread mix] being matched to a search for “bread mixer.” Those are not the same thing. However, there are many cases in which variations don’t change the meaning at all. Google is asking us to trust that their algorithm will know the difference.
Function words are binding words phrases and sentences like the and that, conjunctions like and and but, prepositions, pronouns, quantifiers like all and some, modals like could and would and auxiliary verbs like be or might or will. Essentially, these are the words that don’t have their own meaning, but are used frequently.
With this change, function words may be ignored, replaced or added.
For example, the exact match keyword [restaurants denver ] could match to the query “restaurants in denver” More examples straight from Google:
What About Word Order?
Notice in that last Miami cruise example, the function word changed along with the word order. Word order often doesn’t make a difference in English. Additionally, many people don’t actually search in correct grammatical word order in Google. For example, just this morning I searched for “Landing pages 10 best pages”
Will Google Actually Get This Right?
As an advertiser, our biggest concern is whether Google will accidentally match queries to keywords that don’t have the same meaning. Google has attempted to comfort us by stressing they will not change word order or function words in exact match when it understands changes would alter the meaning of the query.
Google is obviously building off their philosophy to spread a wider net and filter out the pieces you don’t want. Essentially, they would rather you find more good keywords at the expensive of a few bad ones along they way, than miss out on the good ones.
This approach may work as it is rare to find an SEM manager who can get every single variation and combination of keywords built out – but the concern is that the machine pendulum swings too far. While in theory we might things things continues to dilute the value of a good PPC manager, I suspect it will actually increase their value. As the machines take more and more control, the people who know the fine details of how to really wring all efficiency from them will be critical.
How to manage these changes
This change means Adwords advertisers will have to be increasingly diligent about mining search query reports and thinking ahead about unintended consequences when word order matters.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for the coming changes.
- Pull your current exact match queries data to determine if the loss of function words or a reordering of the words changes the meaning. Add those variations as negatives in your campaigns.
- Review close variants in your Search Query Reports to see if other variations are currently being triggered that might be affected by these changes. Add those as negatives.
- Starting in April, begin mining your search query reports regularly to see if you spot any critical shifts.
5 years ago, Google’s Exact Match was exactly that. Let’s hope Match Exactly is a step in the right direction. If you’d like help preparing your account or checking in on it, give us a shout.
Most frequently when we think about the holidays and holiday shopping, we envision panicked crowds on Black Friday storming a Walmart, Cyber Monday desk shoppers and last-minute gifters filling their Amazon Prim cart 2 days before Christmas. That’s no surprise, since last year, the winter holidays accounted for over $658 billion in sales, according to NRF. They’re an important time for retailers – one could argue this trend is primarily driven by us Marketer; but they’re not the only time that search behavior and sales spike.
Other holidays like Fathers Day, Mother’s Day, Halloween and the Back-to-School “holiday period” all compel shoppers to search for different needs. And depending on your business this may actually be your prime time. For example, do you sell Ties? Father’s day is probably huge for you. Do you sell flowers? Mother’s day could be your biggest day of the year. Ironic dog costumers? Bring on Halloween! whether it’s costumes, table settings, flowers or dorm room supplies. And what about the seasons? In additional to literal seasons, there are times of the year when certain activities become more frequent, like hiking season, wedding season or summer shorts. Fashion trends can also suddenly and dramatically affect specific groups of shoppers.
All of these holidays, seasons and trends can (and likely do) impact your customers’ search & purchase behavior. Doing a little digging into the historic trends in your data and some publicly available data may hold the keys to helping your brand take off.
Find, identify and quantify holiday and seasonal behavior changes
One massively powerful tool for identifying online behavioral changes is Google Trends. Google Trends shows search interest over time for any term or terms you choose. Here, I’m comparing interest in “Salad” with the yellow line and “Dog Costumes” the redline. You can see that salad gets a nice bump as we go into the summer months, while Dog costumes spike right before halloween.
With Google Trends, we can see how people have searched for these terms over time. We can narrow our search to locations we’re interested in if you run a local business – Google Trends will let you go all the way to city level. We can even filter by intent. For retailers hoping to target searchers with purchase intent, we’re able to identify search interest in the types of queries that signify intent to buy.
Google Keyword Planner
Keyword Planner is another way to identify high-level trends. When you enter a few search terms, Keyword Planner suggests related terms to consider, shows the amount of search interest in those terms, increase or decrease in search interest, a very general measurement of competition, and often an idea of how much it would cost to use PPC advertising on those terms. This tool helps identify larger general trends and will give you an idea of where you want to be digging deeper.
The only downside to Keyword planner is that it’s built as part of the Adwords advertising platform, so you will either need to create an account or work with an agency or consultant who has access.
Google Search Console
While Google Trends shows data from all of Google, you can look specifically at data from your site using Google Search Console. This tool helps webmasters and SEOs identify trends or seasons that are popular now for your site. Search Console data is first-hand Google data, and it is a great supplement to your standard website analytics. The Search Analytics report includes information about clicks, impressions, positions, devices and more over the last 90 days. Most importantly, it includes actual ranking performance for your website, pages and keywords. Additionally, it shows you search terms your website is ranking for even if you aren’t actually getting clicks from them.
Analyzing this ranking data can help you understand current popular products, growth in interest in certain topics and high-potential terms. The 90-day window is an important restriction for webmasters, though. It doesn’t allow you to view year-over-year data and won’t help you prepare for upcoming annual holidays and seasons – if you are interested in gathering long term data from this platform, you can work with your SEO or Advertising agency to setup data exports to compile a database for future use.
If your business / website is more than a year old, your analytics data holds a wealth of insight into the seasonality of you business. Inside Google analytics, you can see both a high-level view of performance over time and performance of specific topics or sections of your site. While some of these trends are easy to spot, others can hide in your overall traffic and sales.
Reviewing overall year over year traffic will highlight your highest-traffic times of year. As you spot differences in total website traffic or behavior patterns like time on site, pages visited etc., consider how holidays and seasons could be impacting jumps or drops. Also consider what kinds of context factors could be affecting search behavior on your site.
When reviewing traffic data, it’s imported to segment out different traffic medium like Paid / Organic / Direct / Referral to understand how each channel is contributing to the cumulative picture. Additionally keep in mind if you have changed your marketing during that period. For example did you start advertising on Facebook during the year? Did you sponsor an event that might have generated a spike in direct traffic?
It’s always critical to keep a good log of your marketing activities so that you can differentiate between natural cycles and self made spike.
Explore more specific topics within your analytics as well. While overall traffic may look pretty steady throughout the year, digging into the performance of landing pages will likely paint a very different picture if organic is a primary driver. You can also evaluate timing of search interest, rankings (largely from your linked Search Console account) and associated sales or leads generated from those pages.
From this performance insight, you can identify which holidays, seasons and trends are bringing users to your site. You can determine which holidays that you identified from Google Trends or Keyword Planner are not bringing users to your site. These insights can help you decide which content to prioritize for your holiday and seasonal strategy.
How To Take Advantage of SEO Trends
Most marketers move at an ever increasing speed are are always focused on getting the next project or test out the door – but remember that SEO often takes time and investment. Additionally, while we don’t want to admit it, many factors of consumer behavior are beyond our control. Learning to understand them can help us capitalize.
Beginning to invest thought and work on 2017’s Halloween or Back to School content today may have a larger impact on your business than sending out this month’s newsletter. Though it can be hard to find time, take a step back to focus on a seasonal and holiday strategy can mean taking control of your long term strategy, rather than just reacting to searcher behavior as it happens.
The webmaster and SEO community, all show strong signs that there was a Google algorithm ranking update on March 8th.
Update from 3/15/2017
Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land posted a great article after doing some in-depth analysis on this latest “Fred” SEO update with some thoughts on who it seems to be hitting.
His research shows that it’s primarily hitting low-value content sites that are focusing on affiliate links or ads.
In his own words
The vast majority of URLs shared with me all show the same type of website. A content site, often in a blog format, but not always, that has content on various topics — which looks to be written for ranking purposes and then has ads and/or affiliate links sprinkled throughout the article. Many of these sites are not industry expert sites, but rather they seem to have content on vast array of topics that are not adding all that much value above what other sites in the industry have already written.
Since yesterday morning, the SEO industry has been tracking an unconfirmed Google ranking update that seems to be aimed at the link quality aspects of the overall search algorithm.
Many are calling this the “Fred” Update, a name the internet community is adopting. That came from Google’s Gary Illyes, who has jokingly suggested that all updates be named “Fred.”
We’ve seen more chatter and reports of changes from within the “black hat” SEO community, which generally means that this is a spam algorithm update around potentially questionable links.
There was also a large content quality Google update on February 7 that was never confirmed. As you expect, Google is very unlikely to confirm algorithm updates these days — but that won’t stop us from reporting large shifts in the search results that convey an algorithm update has happened.
Many of the automated tracking tools currently show significant volatility and fluctuations, which is an indicator of an update. Plus, with all the industry chatter, and with webmasters both complaining about ranking declines and rejoicing about ranking increases, it’s likely that there was a Google update.
We are waiting to hear from Google if they have any comment.
High shopping cart abandonment is one of my personal pet peeves of E-commerce and Online Marketing.
Are you suffering from shopping cart abandonment rates above 50%? It’s ok, many sites are as high as 80-90% abandonment.
It’s extremely frustrating to see people get all the way to your cart and then leave. I’ve personally been there numerous times with numerous businesses.
But don’t worry, today there are great tools and a list of techniques I’ll share with you to begin lowering your website’s shopping cart abandonment rate and improving your conversions and sales.
Step 1: Get an abandoned cart recovery process in place
The basic process for this is fairly simple. You capture the potential customers email in the cart before they checkout. If they abandon your shopping cart the recovery system send them emails reminding them to come back and checkout.
These emails can be customized with different messages, deals, offers and timings to bring people back to your cart.
What’s the best cart abandonment recovery tool?
We like this tool because:
- Works with common E-commerce sites like Shopify and Woocommerce
- Extremely easy to setup
- Comes with predesigned recovery emails
- Great dashboard gives fantastic insights
- Exportable list of customers who abandoned
You can see an example of the dashboard below for a a site we just setup.
Step 2: Ask why they abandoned your shopping cart in the first place
This is the step that many of us miss. Getting an abandonment process in place can help recover up to 15% of your sales (which is HUGE) – but don’t just stop there.
It’s time to learn why they decided to leave your shopping cart before checking out in the first place. Common reasons to fail to checkout:
- Ran out of time
- Decided to look for a better deal
- Realized they still had some questions about the product or service
- Saw something they didn’t like during checkout
Some of these issues may be fixed with the process – but some may not. We highly recommend testing different messages or even directly emailing or calling your cart abandoners and asking. You’ll be amazed at what you learn.
These questions could offer insights that will help you improve your product, process or checkout.
In one business we helped, they were seeing extremely high abandonment rates for an online repair service. We had tons of great reviews and couldn’t figure out the problem.
We emailed a few abandoners and asked why they had left. The answer was simple:
“I saw the reviews, but just wasn’t quite sure your business was legit”
We devised a solution to show our location on a map along with business hours & a customer service number in the sidebar during the checkout process. This was all the validation customers needed.
Is your cart struggling to get conversions?
Let us know what’s happening via contact form or email. We’d love to grab 10 or 15 minutes one the phone to see if we can find a quick solution for you.
Founder & Marketing Strategist
Honestly, the name Red Sheep Media is a complete accident.
During 2015 I had quit my job as a Marketing Director at a successful turnaround company in Silicon valley and moved to Denver. Silicon Valley was awash with capital and anyone with even a notion of a business idea could get a few hundred thousand dollars or a few million from some friend of a friend.
Great Ideas, Not Enough Money To Market
Things were different in Denver, I met a lot of young entrepreneurs with legitimately Good ideas, but many were struggling to get enough money to get off the ground.
Most of these great ideas needed marketing to take the next step in growth. But without money, no marketing, web or advertising agencies would help them. I started pitching the concept of a “Free Website Design Firm” and marketing agency designed specifically for small businesses and startups.
Breaking The “Agency” Model
A friend joked that I was “breaking the web design” model of Charge Them First and Deliver Later and would be quickly labeled the Black Sheep of the industry. I told him that we are all used to Black Sheep now and besides, they still blend in to the scenery. I’d rather be a Red Sheep and stand out.
I let the idea drop as I focused on a few other projects, until I had almost forgotten about it.
1 year later that friend came back to me and said he had a great idea and needed help from Red Sheep Media.
You Know A Great Idea When…
I realized if a potential customer remembered the concept because of the name a year later…it was accidental marketing genius. Or maybe not – often we remember things because they have a narrative behind them.
Do you have an idea that needs a narrative? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about it. I’ll see how we can help.
Founder & Marketing Strategist
Other Companies Charge Huge Rates Upfront. We’re Different.
Other website design companies charge huge rates upfront, build a site and then most walk away. Even the most basic website for a small company can range from $5K – $20K and more complicated sites with checkouts, testing and other features can quickly add up to $40K – $100K.
This model was killing a lot of great ideas and small businesses that I saw and worked with. Small business owners and entrepreneurs needed their first or a more effective web presence and marketing to take their business to the next level, but the price tag was keeping them from jumping in. The companies I spoke to wanted to:
- Launch sales online
- Generate traffic to a retail location
- Schedule appointments and generate leads for their sales team
I founded Red Sheep Media to make sure small / medium sized businesses could grow even if they didn’t have tons of cash.
Cashflow Tradeoffs: A Thing Of The Past
The ROI of an optimized website can be huge, but for small and medium sized businesses it can be hard to justify spending the dollars today when you ALSO need them to buy inventory, pay staff or buy advertising to generate sales. I saw great companies having to sacrifice long term growth to stay afloat today. The website and advertising agency model was broken – so I decided to fix it.
It’s All About Risk. We’ll Take Yours
Other website agencies want to minimize their risk. That’s why they charge you upfront so that they make money regardless of what happens to your business. Thus all the risk is on you.
At Red Sheep, we help small businesses by putting the risk on us. We build your site or marketing strategy for FREE and don’t charge huge fees upfront. Instead we charge small monthly fees for staying involved and making sure you succeed. Yes, that means we pay our team out of our pocket for the work and you get to keep your cash today for more immediate needs.
How Does Red Sheep Stay Afloat?
Our unique model does limit how many new clients we can help at once. But we love that! It means we get to know each client and their business extremely well – that helps us get into the details with you and feel like part of your on-staff team.
It also means we have to be selective about which clients we partner with. We are looking for people with great ideas and the determination to succeed. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you!
We are currently able to bring on 1 new project per month. If you need website or marketing help and want to talk to an expert, give us a shout!