It makes sense for ecommerce sellers to use different online sales channels to connect with a broader customer base. Depending on your audience, channels like Etsy or social commerce tactics on Pinterest could get customers’ attention and boost conversions.

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One of the top channels that many ecommerce sellers opt is Amazon. The marketplace boasts many millions of product listings, and the traffic and sales to match. According to a One Click Retail study, Amazon accounted for 44% of U.S. ecommerce sales in 2017.

But before you can get your slice of the Amazon sales pie, it’s important to optimize your product listings — or your customers may not find them in the first place. To ensure your product pages meet Amazon’s standards and help your products pop up in other search engines, here are some crucial guidelines to follow for your product descriptions.

Tips for Writing Your Amazon Product Descriptions

Follow Amazon’s Product Description Rules

Like most other websites and marketplaces, Amazon has certain policies that all sellers must follow. Some of the rules are basic dos and don’ts when creating your listings, but still must be abided by if you want to keep your pages live.

According to Amazon Seller Central, the central repository for learning the basics of the marketplace, the product detail page rules include guidelines like:

  • Don’t include HTML, JavaScript or other types of executables other than break (< / b r >) in your detail pages
  • No titles, descriptions, bullet points or images can include:
    • Pornographic, obscene or offensive content
    • Phone numbers, physical mail addresses, email addresses or website URLs
    • Availability, price, condition, alternative ordering information (such as links to other websites for placing orders), or alternative shipping offers (such as free shipping)
    • Spoilers regarding Books, Music and Video or DVD (BMVD) listings (information that reveals plot elements crucial to the suspense, mystery or surprise ending of a story)
    • Reviews, quotes or testimonials
    • Solicitations for positive customer reviews
    • Advertisements, promotional material or watermarks on images, photos or videos
    • Time-sensitive information such as dates of promotional tours, seminars or lectures

While those are just a few of the general guidelines, you can view all the details on the product detail page rules.

Best Practices for Writing Amazon Product Listing Titles

Amazon listings product titles

When it comes to the anatomy of an Amazon listing, the title is the head. This brief headline is responsible for communicating the high-level basics of your product while also capturing your potential customers’ attention.

While writing any type of effective headline is an artform in itself, there are some best practices ecommerce sellers can follow when constructing the title for their listings.

According to the Amazon Services Quick Start Style Guide, there are a number of considerations, including:

  • Length: You’ll only have 200 characters to make your point, so be concise but strategic with the character count.
  • Format: Capitalize the first letter of every word (except conjunctions, articles and prepositions under five letters), and avoid ALL CAPS. Only use standard text and avoid symbols like ©. Also use numerals (3 instead of three).
  • Content: Include the number of items, the brand name and any key differentiators. Avoid subjective commentary (“best seller”) and don’t include the pricing info here.

According to an Amazon help page, there’s a simple formula to follow for your titles. For example, the style for many products may be:

Brand + Model Number + Model Name + Product Type, Color

Here’s what that looks like in real life: KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan 5-Quart Mixer, Empire Red.

Keep It Concise With Bullet Points

Amazon listings bullet points product details

The bullet points section of a listing offer the top-level details of a product in a concise, neatly formatted list. Many customers may not scroll further down the page to read the full product description, so it’s important to include the most crucial details about your product here.

According to the Amazon Help page, some of the key points to include in this section are:

  • Full contents of what’s in the box
  • Materials and construction
  • Major features and benefits
  • Power output
  • Information on controls and settings
  • Details on pattern/design
  • Care instructions
  • Dimensions
  • Warranty information

In this section, you only have 1,000 characters to get your point across — so focus on the benefits of the products and its most important features. The Amazon Services Quick Start Style Guide also offers some best practices when writing out the key details in your bullet points, including:

  • Begin each bullet point with a capital letter
  • Spell out measurements (feet, liter, inch)
  • Write numbers as numerals (2 instead of two)
  • Don’t write in full sentences; instead, write in fragments without punctuation at the end
  • Separate phrases in each bullet point with semicolons
  • Don’t use hyphens, symbols, periods or exclamation points
  • Be specific in your statements — don’t be vague about product features
  • Don’t include company information, pricing info or shipping details here

Writing a Product Description that Converts

The product description is another text section that appears about halfway down the page. With a 2,000 character limit for this section, ecommerce sellers have a little more space to get into the nitty gritty of your product. But even here, don’t be overly verbose — stick to the important info that’s crucial for your customers. After all, research suggests that people read only 16% of the words on the average web page.

In this section, you’ll describe the major product features, such as size, style and what the product can be used for). That includes dimensions, any care information, warranty information and other relevant details.

Again, Amazon’s Help page offers some best practices to follow:

  • Don’t express any opinions; stay unbiased in your writing
  • The details here will be similar to what you’ll find on the manufacturer’s site, but it shouldn’t be verbatim
  • Write in paragraph form with complete sentences and avoid marketing jargon
  • Expand on the product features listed in the bullet points

Follow the templates listed in this Amazon Help article, broken down by product category.

How to Optimize Your Listing

Now that you have the basic content for your Amazon product listing, it’s time to take the copy to the next level.

There are many ways to optimize your listing, but we’ll take you through some of the top ways to ensure your listing is in tip-top shape.

Identify Your Keywords

While you shouldn’t stuff your listing full of keywords to the point that it doesn’t make sense, you should include relevant search terms for your product.

You’ll need to focus on optimizing your listing for both Amazon and Google. Both search engines look at the content your write for your listings and use that to inform rankings when a user searches for a specific product.

To find keyword ideas for Amazon, do a search for your product and notice which keywords the top listings are using. Also, make sure to look at the results in Amazon’s auto-suggest box for keyword ideas.

Use a tool like SEMRush or Google Adword Keyword Planner to search for keywords for Google.

Optimize for Amazon Searches

Amazon allows ecommerce sellers to add search terms for products to enhance your listing’s discoverability. These search terms should only include generic words. As an example, if you’re selling headphones, your search terms can contain synonyms such as "earphones" and "earbuds."

Amazon follows these criteria when deciding which products rank at the top of their search engine:

  • Sales history
  • How well your copy matches the customer’s search
  • Price
  • Product availability
  • Selection

Make sure you incorporate keywords into the product title, description, and features. Also avoid redundant information — Amazon doesn’t like it when specific information is repeated in multiple copy sections. And it won't improve your product placement in search results.

Also ensure your keyword phrases follow a logical order as a search term. Someone is much more likely to search for a “stuffed teddy bear” than a “teddy stuffed bear,” after all.

For more information on the ins and outs of Amazon’s search engine, check out their Seller Central article on the subject. And if you want a little extra help, the Jungle Scout Product Listing Grader is a free tool that gives you an instant insight into where you can improve your listing.

Optimize for Google Searches

Next, let’s look at how you can increase your chances of Google ranking your listing higher for certain search terms.

According to ChannelReply, Google primarily looks at the product description when ranking Amazon pages. Here’s their advice:

“Google mainly looks for the search term in the title and first paragraph of any webpage, so if you included your main keyword in your title and bullet points, it will be fairly well optimized. All you have to do after that is include the keyword or keyword phrase at least once in your product description.

Keeping your main keyword at the beginning of your description is ideal. Write the rest of your description as naturally and well as possible. If it looks helpful and informative to Google, they will include up to the first 156 characters of your product description in the search engine results.”

Test for Best Results

The process isn’t over after you’ve optimized your listing once. Google’s search algorithm changes frequently, so it pays to revisit and test even older listings.

Using a tool like Splitly, you can conduct A/B testing on pricing, images, titles, features, descriptions and keywords. Particularly pay attention to pricing and images — these parts of the listing are often what first grab a customer’s attention, so it’s worth trying out a few different options in order to get it right.

Depending on the split testing results, you can choose the winning option of the A/B test or run more tests to see if there are better options out there.

Conclusion: Writing and Optimizing Amazon Listings that Drive Online Sales

Amazon has guidelines for sellers to follow when publishing Amazon listings. It’s crucial to optimize your listings for keywords, user experience and click-throughs — but you must do so within the confines of Amazon’s rules. Once you’re aware of the many factors that go into creating a polished Amazon listing, it’s time for you to get started on your own.

Find out the product photo size requirements for Amazon and other common online marketplaces

Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

As manager and head of digital marketing at Clipping Path India, Rokaiya wants to help retailers and photographers use marketing strategies and tactics that will elevate their business. She has an 18-year background in graphic design, content management and digital marketing.

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