Optimise Your Amazon Product Listings for the Nordic Market (2021 Guide)

Amazon has arrived in the Nordics. Learn how to optimise your product listings to improve your rankings and seriously boost your sales.

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      In the US, over half of all product searches start on Amazon. And with the recent arrival of the ecommerce giant in Sweden, it’s expected that the Nordic market will quickly embrace the ease and speed of Amazon’s online marketplace.

      For retailers, it means a whole new market is opening up. However, getting your products to rank on Amazon in Sweden is no easy task.

      Amazon has its own algorithm and rules, meaning that any Google search engine optimisation (SEO) work you may have done will have limited impact on your Amazon rankings.

      Luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a guide on how to optimise your listings for the Nordics and increase your chances of getting your product on the first page of Amazon.

      Understanding how Amazon works

      Surely, just having your product listed somewhere on an e-commerce giant like Amazon.se is enough to achieve huge sales?

      Unfortunately not.

      According to Amazon, 70% of shoppers never make it past the first page of search results. Amazon product listing optimisation for the Nordic market is therefore essential.

      Understanding the algorithm and the way products are ranked is your first step towards success.

      What is the Amazon A9 algorithm?

      Amazon has an algorithm – a series of calculations – that it uses to decide which products will be shown to the shopper first.

      Known as A9, it’s highly influenced by consumer behaviour, with products ranked on how likely a customer is to make a purchase.

      Though Amazon doesn’t say exactly how their algorithm works, experience tells us that the track record of the seller is becoming an increasingly important factor.

      As a new Amazon seller, you’ll have to make your listings work even harder to get results.

      The Amazon A10 algoritm explained

      Amazon’s algorithm is ever-changing, with some referring to the latest iteration as the A10 algorithm. However, Amazon still refers to it as the A9.

      But how exactly does the algorithm decide which products to show first?

      How ranking on Amazon works

      Every search starts with a word or phrase that a customer enters to find the product they’re looking for. Once they click search, innumerable calculations take place behind the scenes.

      In the blink of an eye, Amazon’s algorithm evaluates a range of factors, such as text relevance, price, stock level and sales velocity, to deliver a curated list of results.

      If you’ve optimised your listings for the right keywords, your product should appear somewhere in the many pages of results.

      Amazon then considers how likely a customer is to purchase your product. It bases the decision on how many customers have clicked on your product in the past, how long they spent on the listing and if they made a purchase.

      The better your product’s click-through and conversion rate, the higher up the rankings it should appear.

      Click-through and conversion rates explained

      Click-through Rate: The percentage of shoppers who click to view your product listing, out of the total number of searches in which it appears.

      Conversion Rate: The percentage of shoppers who purchase your product, out of the total number of visitors that view your listing.

      Think of it as a cycle. The more people find, look at and buy your product, the higher up the rankings your product will climb.

      You need to please the algorithm and please the shopper for the best possible chance of success.

      Seller central & vendor central

      When you first join Amazon, you’ll have to decide between Vendor Central or Seller Central. Here’s a quick summary of the difference:

      • Seller Central: When you opt for Seller Central, you’re choosing to sell your products directly to the shopper via the Amazon marketplace.
      • Vendor Central: With Vendor Central, you’re effectively selling your products to Amazon who will then resell them to the shopper

      FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) & FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant)

      You also have a number of fulfilment options:

      • FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon): FBA means you send your products to Amazon’s warehouse, and they ship them directly to the shopper.
      • FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant): FBM means you take full responsibility for storing your products and shipping them to the shopper.

      Optimising product listings for Amazon in the Nordics

      Now you have an understanding of the algorithm, it’s time to look at how to optimise your Amazon product listings.

      It’s worth noting that guidelines within Amazon can vary between categories. We’ll discuss this more as we explore the different aspects of a product listing.

      However, by carefully crafting text and choosing the right images, you can achieve success in the Nordics, no matter what types of products you’re selling.

      Step One: How to find the right keywords

      Before building a product listing, it’s essential that you first conduct Amazon keyword research.

      Choosing the right keywords and phrases (referred to as short-tail and long-tail keywords), ensures that your product appears in the most relevant search results.

      Short-tail & long-tail keywords explained

      Short-tail Keywords: Consist of just one or two words, for example ‘wireless headphones’. These are likely to be used by shoppers who don’t know exactly what they’re looking for and want the broadest result which they’ll then shortlist or filter.

      Long-tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are made up of three or more words, what you might think of as a phrase. Using our headphones example, this might be ‘noise cancelling wireless headphones’. The shopper has a clearer idea of what they want and will get more targeted results.

      There are a number of approaches to identify high-value keywords:

      Amazon autocomplete

      When you start typing in the Amazon search bar, it begins to suggest relevant search terms that shoppers are frequently entering. Analysing these can help you build an effective keyword list.

      Learn from the competition

      Enter search terms you want to rank for and look at your competitors’ listings. How do they describe their products? What terms are they using to highlight the features and benefits? Learn what they’re doing… and do it better.

      Learn from customers

      Product reviews can help you understand terms that customers commonly use to describe your product. For example, you might refer to your product as ‘rose gold headphones’, whereas your customers might describe them as ‘pink’. This is a sign that you should include both descriptions in your listing to improve your chances of getting your product found.

      Online tools

      Products such as Helium 10, Jungle Scout and Sellics offer comprehensive keyword research tools that can help you get that competitive edge. However, you will need to invest a considerable amount of time to get the most from them.

      Step Two: How to craft an amazing Amazon product listing

      With your list of keywords in hand, the next step is ensuring that you put them in the right places in your listing.

      Research shows that the number of times you include a keyword in a listing impacts positively on the ranking.

      However, there is one factor that is as, if not more, important than keywords, and that’s readability.

      Don’t be tempted to stuff keywords into your listing, for example, a great title would not read:

      ‘Wireless Headphones, Pink Headphones, Noise Cancelling Headphones, In-ear Headphones, Waterproof Headphones’

      Text should flow, be localised to the market and be easy to digest. Your keywords should feel naturally integrated into the content, so a shopper in the Nordics can instantly understand the key features of your product and the benefits it offers without having to wade through reams of unnecessary, irrelevant ‘filler text’.

      The anatomy of a product listing

      Below, we describe the component parts of an Amazon product listing and how you can optimise them to help your product reach the right audience:

      Product title

      Getting the product title right is key to success.

      Amazon title character limits vary between categories, so be sure to check Amazon’s Category-Specific Style Guides before you start writing.

      There are a number of guidelines you should follow:

      • Product titles should be under 200 characters including spaces
      • Keep your title short and include only the most important information
      • Avoid duplicating words in your title and keep it as simple as possible
      • If you’re writing in English, the first letter of each word should be capitalised
      • Use numerals instead of spelling out numbers
      • Don’t use any special characters, symbols, trademarks or company type, e.g., Ltd
      • Don’t use subjective commentary or verbiage such as “Great Holiday Gift” or “Best Seller”
      • Don’t use guarantee phrases, or their variants, such as “Lifetime Guarantee” or “100% Quality Assurance”
      • Don’t include pricing or promotional messaging like “Less than £10” or “Free Shipping” (instead manage discounts via Promotions)

      Be aware that Amazon will shorten titles on mobile devices, so ensure that you include your primary keyword near the start of the title.

      Bullet points

      Bullet points are used to draw attention to the main selling points of your product.

      First let’s look at the Amazon bullet point character limit:

      Amazon recommends limiting bullet points to under 1,000 characters in total. It makes your content more readable and ensures every character (including your important keywords) is discoverable by the search algorithm.

      To write effective Amazon bullet points, you need to keep a few things in mind:

      • Keep the text short and focus on readability
      • Stick to one feature per bullet point to make it easy to digest
      • Make the first bullet points the most important (the list may be shortened on mobile devices, depending on the category)
      • Describe the benefit of each feature, for example ‘These headphones are waterproof, so you can relax at the beach without worrying about getting them wet’)

      Product description

      Keep the shopper in mind when writing the product description.

      Recognising the wants and needs of the shopper means your description will effectively highlight the most valuable features and benefits of the product.

      The product description is a great place for those longer-tail search phrases, such as ‘wireless headphones for watching TV’, as you have more available characters to work them in naturally. However, readability is still king, so avoid writing ‘fluff’.

      Shoppers are impatient – they expect to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

      One way to understand what your shoppers want is by reading reviews and customer questions & answers. They can give you clues about what information is most important to them.

      Product descriptions are also discoverable by Google, so including high-quality keywords in your text is a must.

      Amazon offers many tools to enhance the product description section of your product listing. We’ll talk about the options available to you a little later in this article.

      Additional product fields

      Some product categories let you add additional product information.

      Complete as many of the available fields as you can, such as size and material, as it will help shoppers use filters to home in on your product.

      Backend keywords

      Backend keywords are a series of words and phrases that can be added to a listing but aren’t visible to the shopper.

      Backend keywords, or search terms as Amazon refers to them, must be less than 250 bytes long.

      Bytes explained

      Although the letters a-z are one character, and one byte, in length, things get more complicated when you’re writing in other languages.

      For example, characters used in the Nordic languages, such as å, æ, ä, ø and ö, are two bytes long.

      Here are a number of tips for making the most of your backend search terms:

      • Stay within the 250 byte limit, or Amazon ignores everything entered in the field
      • Include synonyms, abbreviations, alternative names and spelling variations (e.g. doughnut/donut)
      • You don’t need to waste valuable space adding misspellings or singular/plural versions of your search term
      • Remove any stop words such as “a”, “with” and “for”
      • Exclude any unnecessary punctuation, just separate each word with a space
      • Don’t repeat words
      • Avoid statements that will age quickly such as “just launched” or “discounted”
      • Don’t include your brand name or competitor brand names
      • Remove subjective terms, for example “market-leading”, “best”, “cheapest” etc

      Localising your content

      Now you’ve written your amazing product listing, what if you want to launch the same product in another language?

      Amazon offers a machine translation service; however, this can sometimes be inaccurate. In fact, when Amazon first launched in Sweden the social media world was quick to react when a number of mistranslations were discovered on the platform.

      This is where localisation comes into play.

      Localising content is more than simply a direct translation into the native language. It’s about ensuring that the tone and key messages within the text are delivered in a way that carries the same meaning to the audience… without mistranslations.

      Multilingual SEO is also part of localisation, so your all-important keywords and phrases are translated accurately to ensure listings are optimised in every language.

      You can find out more about localising your content, and how Semantix can help, here.

      Amazon machine translation explained

      Amazon Translate is a machine translation service.

      Content is fed into a ‘translation engine’, which translates the words into the required language. Although translation engines like Amazon’s aim to emulate natural language as closely as possible, they’re not perfect… yet.

      Step Three: Choosing the best images for an Amazon listing

      Amazon is a visual marketplace, so choosing the best product images should be your number one priority.

      Though getting the keywords right is what helps shoppers find your product, it’s the images that are going to convince them to click the ‘Add to Cart’ button.

      As previously mentioned, guidelines can vary from one category to the next. However, here are a few pointers on choosing the best images for Amazon:

      Main image

      This is your most important image. It’s the one that will show on the results page and ultimately convince someone to click through and view your product.

      It should show exactly what your product is and be presented in a way that is attractive to the shopper.

      • If possible, the background should be pure white to help the product stand out
      • The product should be fully visible, not cropped
      • Depending on the product, it should be shown without packaging
      • No props or accessories should be included in the image, only what is on sale

      Additional images/Product page images

      Additional images should demonstrate the benefits and highlight the key features of your product.

      They should provide context to the different ways it can be used, to essentially bring it to life for the shopper.

      Depending on the category, this could be the proportions, packaging or other relevant details that will set your product apart from the competition.

      Here, you can really sell a lifestyle and give the shopper the confidence they need to buy your product.

      Technical requirements

      To ensure your images aren’t rejected by Amazon, you need to comply with Amazon’s technical requirements:

      • JPEG format is preferred (TIFF, PNG and GIF are also allowed)
      • Colour model: RGB
      • Size: Recommended minimum 1,600 pixels on the longest side (activates zoom)

      Zoomable images explained

      Images that you can ‘zoom in on’, referred to as ‘zoomable’ images, can help increase conversion rate, as they allow shoppers to look at a product in more detail.

      Maintaining and promoting an Amazon listing

      Optimising your Amazon listing should be considered an ongoing process. There are so many different options available to promote your products and reach the right audience.

      Customer reviews and questions

      Reviews are a powerful way of converting shoppers on Amazon. Amazon requests reviews automatically, however if a customer doesn’t leave one you are able to prompt them.

      Customer questions and the answers you provide can also influence their decision to invest in your product.

      Questions should be answered quickly and informatively. If the same question is being asked repeatedly, for example ‘Does anyone know if these are waterproof?’, you should add this information to your listing or make it more prominent.

      You should also respond to any negative reviews or questions. Resolving customer concerns can encourage them to amend or remove their negative feedback and is something you should always aim to do.

      Price

      Hitting that sweet spot with pricing is key, as it plays a huge role in performance.

      You don’t necessarily need to offer the cheapest price to rank well but it must be competitive. It’s therefore important to keep a close eye on your competition’s prices.

      External traffic

      Driving external traffic to Amazon can help to improve your product ranking, as it’s another way for shoppers to find and ultimately purchase your product.

      External traffic is any visit to your product listing that hasn’t come from a product search within Amazon. For example, traffic generated from email marketing, social media or Google AdWords campaigns.

      Remember Amazon’s cycle – more views and purchases equal higher rankings.

      PPC: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display Ads

      Another powerful way to drive traffic to your product listings is by using Amazon PPC.

      PPC stands for pay-per-click. Amazon PPC is about buying clicks through to your products on Amazon.

      By bidding on keywords or products, Amazon will choose the highest and most relevant bidder, and display their listing prominently in the search results. Negative keywords can also be set, so your ad spend isn’t wasted on low value or irrelevant searches.

      Negative keywords explained

      Negative keywords can be set within a PPC campaign to stop your ad appearing in irrelevant searches. For example, you might sell high-end headphones, so you don’t want to appear in a search for ‘kids headphones’ or ‘cheap headphones’.

      By setting these phrases as negative keywords, you avoid wasting your ad spend on a click that won’t convert into a sale.

      Unlike Google AdWords, investing in a PPC campaign can positively impact on your future organic ranking (organic rankings are when you appear naturally in the results without paying for the click). That’s because the more people buy your product, the better your conversion rate.

      There are three different Amazon PPC options:

      Sponsored Products – These are keyword-targeted ads that allow you to buy a prominent place for your listing in the search results.

      Sponsored Brands – For companies looking to build their brand, Sponsored Brands allows you to promote up to three products, then direct shoppers to your brand page.

      Sponsored Display Ads – These ads centre around the interests of your shopper and allow you to display your products on and off Amazon (on third-party websites and apps). This option is not currently available in the Nordics, but it is one to be aware of for the future.

      Amazon DSP Ads

      Another option not currently available on Amazon in Sweden, but likely to be introduced, is Amazon DSP (demand-side platform).

      Amazon DSP is a clever tool that allows you to connect with audiences that have already visited your listing, by interacting with them both on and off Amazon.

      This isn’t just an opportunity to promote your product listing – you can use video and audio in DSP ads to build your brand and market to an already engaged audience.

      Amazon advanced content and optimisation options

      To enhance your product listing and boost your rankings even more, you also have access to a range of advanced content and Amazon search optimisation options.

      Not every service can be used by every seller, but it’s worth being aware of what’s available:

      Amazon buy box

      The Amazon buy box is the panel that appears on the right side of an Amazon listing, allowing shoppers to add a product to their cart or ‘Buy Now’.

      Essentially, the seller in the buy box has a significantly higher chance of making the all-important sale. Not all products are eligible for the buy box, but when a seller wins it, it can be a game changer in terms of sales.

      Sellers have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the buy box, including being a subscription-based Professional Seller. Also, the length of time a seller has traded on Amazon, the method they use to fulfil orders and the product price can have a huge impact on their chances of claiming the all-important buy box.

      As a new seller, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim the buy box from day one. However, by optimising your listings and putting all the skills you’ve learned into play, we’re sure you’ll get there.

      A+ Content/Enhanced Brand Content

      A+ Content (previously, and sometimes still, referred to Enhanced Brand Content) gives you the tools you need to create a more engaging and informative product listing.

      It allows you to tell your brand story, while using visual assets that present your product in a visually exciting way.

      Comparison charts are also an opportunity to promote the other products in your range. They can also be an effective way of convincing shoppers to trade up.

      One thing to remember is that A+ Content is not discoverable by Amazon, so any keywords you use in this part of your product listing won’t help you climb the Amazon rankings. So, just make sure that you include your keywords in the product title, bullets, description and back end.

      Amazon explain that A+ Content won’t improve product ranking directly, but it will lead to better conversions and more rapid buying decisions, which will in turn improve ranking.

      Also, A+ Content is discoverable by Google, which as we explained earlier, can lead to more external traffic.

      To qualify for A+ content, you need to be a Professional Seller and approved as a brand owner via the Amazon Brand Registry.

      Amazon brand registry explained

      The Amazon Brand Registry is a program that you must enrol in to demonstrate that you own and represent your brand.

      It allows you to have complete control over product listings and protect your brand wherever it is used on Amazon.

      Premium A+ Content/A++ Content

      There is also another feature known as Premium A+ Content (previously referred to as A++ Content).

      Access to Premium A+ Content is by invitation only for established sellers, or if you’re joining as part of a credible and recognised brand.

      Premium A+ content allows sellers to include extra features and modules within their product listings that build an even more compelling, media-rich product story.

      Unless your company owns a high-profile brand, it’s unlikely you’ll have access to these features as a new Amazon seller.

      Stores

      Stores is another feature not currently available on Amazon in Sweden, but likely to be in the future.

      Sellers enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry can build their own virtual store, creating an immersive experience for the shopper.

      Though it doesn’t directly help with rankings, it is highly effectively for brand building and offers a place for companies to promote their products in a single, cohesive shopping environment.

      Semantix Content Services for Amazon

      Creating Amazon product listings that convert is time-consuming and resource intensive, but it doesn’t need to be your problem, let it be ours.

      Semantix is the leading language technology company in the Nordic region. For years we’ve been helping clients of all sizes grow through tailored language services.

      A completely managed service

      We offer a fully managed Amazon content service that’s built around your needs. Let us be your business partner as you introduce your products on to Amazon in the Nordics.

      An expert team

      Language is your most powerful tool to connect with a local audience in a global marketplace. You need language experts that can create product listings in Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, or almost any other language, that will give your new Amazon business the best-possible chance of success.

      A flexible approach

      We don’t do things the Semantix way, we do things your way. Your business is unique, so we’ll build a solution that’s right for you.

      Want to know more about succeeding on Amazon in the Nordics?