On Google, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising have been separate disciplines. But that’s not the case on Amazon, where the product page is at the center of both SEO and advertising success.

Franz Jordan, CEO, Sellics

In the marketing industry, search engine advertising (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) have traditionally been separate disciplines. While many marketers may have focused both their SEM and SEO efforts around a single platform, such as Google, the two were still distinctly separate, with no real impact on one another.

But Google is no longer the only company with trusted advertising tools and a powerful search engine. Amazon has grown its advertising market share while more product searches begin directly on Amazon instead of Google. Despite the similarities, Amazon and Google differ in one significant way: Within Amazon’s environment, historic tactics like advertising and SEO actually affect each other.

Advertising, SEO, and profitability are finally closely linked, forming a crucial triangle that every successful Amazon operation needs to remember.

This is an important departure from previous advertising and SEO practices, and understanding this connection is critical for brands, agencies and sellers trying to get the most out of Amazon.

Organic vs. paid

For years, industry thought leaders urged brands and agencies to adopt holistic, full-funnel approaches to marketing online. That approach never came to fruition, largely due to the fragmented nature of the open web, which moves consumers from either a search engine result or an ad to another site before a conversion takes place.

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Within this model, it is very difficult to optimize paid media (whether that’s pay-per-click search or display) and organic search results together. As a result, different teams and departments managed these two crucial aspects of a brand’s online presence, often operating in silos.

The new Amazon paradigm

Amazon is different. At a high level, the SEO and SEM best practices used on the open web and Google still apply. Brands want the best organic rating possible for relevant searches, and as a result they need to optimize their page content to achieve that result. On the advertising side, the goal is to appear alongside searches for the most relevant keywords, maximizing conversions at an appropriate price point.

But Amazon encapsulates all of the actions within the purchase funnel, including brand discovery, product research, searching with a specific purchase intent, retargeting potential customers, repeat purchases, and product and brand evangelism. This funnel and the underlying algorithms are designed around the single goal of product purchases, a goal shared by Amazon, brands and customers. In comparison, on Google and the open web, SEO and advertising can have widely different goals beyond purchase, whether that’s site traffic, newsletter signups, or some other action.

The result is that PPC advertising and SEO are much closer to each other on Amazon. An example: With Google’s SEM product, advertisers pick advertising keywords, write an ad and then design a landing page that consumers will visit if they click the ad. Amazon ads, however, are generated automatically from a product listing, and that product page—the “landing page” in this case—is already within the same platform as the ad itself.

That puts the Amazon product page at the center of both SEO and advertising success. Optimizing the page for the right keywords will determine if the product can show up in organic search as well as if it will get impressions for the chosen advertising keywords.

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Great content, including product copy and images, will also increase click rates and conversion rates, leading to higher organic rankings and better advertising efficiency. Finally, for good products, increased sales velocity with PPC ads will attract more reviews, which will again boost performance for both organic search and advertising. Everything is intertwined.

That’s not the case on Google, where PPC advertising has essentially no impact on SEO, and vice versa. And of course, the buying stage happens on a different site, and is therefore not controlled by Google at all.

SEO, PPC and profitability

Buyer journeys on the open web are complex and fragmented. Measuring profit derived from traditional SEM and SEO practices requires significant investment in attribution. This has led to an entire ecosystem of third-party companies focused solely on solving questions of profit.

Amazon has no need for these third parties, because it creates the environment for search listings, ads and purchases, letting sellers connect dollars spent with sales earned. This opens the door to new ways of managing ad spend and SEO efforts, based on profit insights.

Amazon has introduced the kind of full-funnel perspective that technology companies have spoken about for years. Although the holistic approach has never really taken off on the open web, it’s essential to succeeding on Amazon. Advertising, SEO, and profitability are finally closely linked, forming a crucial triangle that every successful Amazon operation needs to remember.

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Sellics provides marketing software for brands and agencies on Amazon.

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