Amazon vs. Google: Battle of platforms in 2020
To date, Google is the leading traffic source for all the Internet shops, including Amazon. So, let’s compare the search systems to find out which strategies both giants use in their fight for buyers’ clicks and how Amazon is trying to dethrone Google.
Google and Amazon: Different Missions – Different Targets
Google and Amazon use different approaches during the search and ranking of the relevant results. This is because of their different business models that were shaped at the stage of the companies’ creation.
Google appeared in 1998 thanks to the efforts of Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Initially, a student and a post-graduate of the Stanford University developed an algorithm that ranked sites contingent on the number of backlinks for every URL. By the end of the year, Google had indexed 60 million pages and received its first positive feedback. From its launching, it began superseding its search competitors, in particular Yahoo!, Excite.com, Lycos, Netscape’s Netcenter, AOL.com, Go.com, and MSN.com.
Google intends to arrange all the world’s information and make it generally accessible and useful. That is why thousands of the company employees are actively working to improve search algorithms and are regularly updating the system to show the results that are the most suitable to the users’ requests. The latest Google update has taken place quite recently and you can read about it in the article Google May 4, 2020.
Compared to the Stanford research scientists, Jeff Bezos has pursued a different target. The popular entrepreneur began his career on Wall Street. He occupied different positions and was developing the network for international trade. In the second half of 1994, during his cross-country trip from New York to Seattle, Bezos launched his online store Amazon.com. He thought that books would be the best-selling product on the Internet that is why the platform was initially specialized in books alone. Gradually, the assortment had been expanded to include all products and online services. Today, Amazon is the world’s largest e-commerce platform. In 2018, its founder was recognized to be the richest person on the planet.
It is interesting that Bezos initially decided to stake in books as they are cheap and were in high demand among consumers. Since those times, the Amazon business model has been based on the principle of becoming the most client-focused company in the world where consumers will be able to find anything that can be bought online and pay the lowest prices.
These are the fundamentally different approaches on which the two companies have been based:
- Google – finding the most useful information for users.
- Amazon – offering consumers the cheapest and most relevant product based on their requests.
As these search engines have different targets, they use different approaches for ranking search results.
How Google and Amazon Compete in the Battle for Product Search
While Amazon is creating its retail-empire, Google is doing all the possible to become a full-featured consumer platform. As the key field for its growth, Google has chosen the niche of retail trade, meaning Amazon has become its main competitor.
When it comes to SEO, it is evident that the e-commerce search engine is alike in the ranking style with Google, however, there are several fundamental differences.
The 3 Main Differences between Amazon and Google SEO
- Different missions and effectiveness indices
Google asks, “Which search results reply to the user’s query most precisely?” Meanwhile, Amazon wants to know, “Which product is a user most likely to buy?” Therefore, while Google is refining search algorithms to understand the essence of the typed text, Amazon is trying to build an effective sales strategy.
This difference should be taken into consideration as the two search engines reflect different stages of a purchase. Users search for a product on Amazon when they already know what they would like to acquire. This is the lower part of the purchase funnel. Google is more all-purpose: users open it when they want to find out more information about the products, find reviews of real consumers, compare characteristics of models, and then to find a certain vendor. The field of application of the search giant is wider. Most often, this is the middle part of the purchase funnel.
The recent research of Marcketingcharts.com confirms this theory. Users prefer googling to get inspired for a particular purchase but when they know what they want, they go directly to Amazon. By the way, the e-commerce giant is the first platform to which users go to compare prices and find the most attractive offer, Jeff Bezos’ business model works perfectly.
The aforementioned differences influence search optimization. When a user is googling a high-frequency request, for example, Apple iPad Pro, the engine does not always understand the users’ intentions. Has the user found what he/she has been looking for? Does a user want to buy this product or just to read feedback? Google does not know which values to take into consideration while calculating conversion, so it uses different indices for a better ranking of results. Among the most important are: CTR (click-through rate), a site loading time, its content and structure, time a user spends on the page, as well as quantity and quality of external links.
It’s easier for e-commerce platforms in this respect as the main intention of a user is to buy a product. That is why the Amazon search engine keeps track of CTR listings by keywords, conversion rate, sales volume, and other user preferences.
Thus, SEO for these search engines should be focused on different target values.
- Restrictions and possibilities of internal optimization
Google makes it possible to create and optimize sites with different structures and content, while this is very strict on Amazon: there is a certain number of fields to fill in and a restricted number of characters. Internal optimization is regulated by the platform itself and that is why the meticulous choice of keywords and product descriptions is crucial.
On Amazon, keywords are more significant than on Google. The trading platform focuses on every word, not on phrases as users type more specific requests in the search bar. The main concept of Amazon SEO is to take into account the priority of indexation, while the most important keywords have to be included in the name. It makes sense because as opposed to Amazon, Google is permanently working on optimization of the context understanding and has used semantic search since 2013. You can read more about this in the article Google semantic search.
- Secrets of external optimization
The differences in external optimization are not so significant. The steady increase of external links mass on Google positively influences the rating. However, the search engine critically treats great outbursts of resource cites and can even decrease its positions in search results. Google gives preference to long-term strategies.
In the case of Amazon, the effect is a bit different. First, due to citations, it is possible to increase brand recognition for its products to be more often searched on the trading platform. Brand requests positively influence the rate of conversion and CTR that, in turn, increases the rating by the other non-branded keywords. And, of course, listings won’t be decreased in search results if a vendor has suddenly become popular. Secondly, any external optimization positively influences ranking indices if sales have increased.
What Are the Similarities Between Google and Amazon?
- The higher the rating – the more traffic and sales
User experience is important; therefore, both companies pay particular attention to rating, be it the evaluation of the Internet page usefulness or the quality of a product in an online store.
Meanwhile, the rating should be improved. In Google, the concept has always been simple: if you would like to reach the top-10, optimize your site. Otherwise, you will, in the best case, find your site on the 20th page of the search results. It is easier to become a leader by low-frequency requests, while it is harder by high-frequency ones. On Amazon, it is important to regularly correct listings to improve ranking results.
- Organic traffic + ads = maximum targeted audience outreach
Both search engines make it possible to attract the target audience in two ways: through organic traffic and with the help of paid ads. This will increase the chances of raising the rate of conversion exponentially, especially if advertising campaigns are properly set and launched.
- The result requires permanent efforts in SEO
Both search engines are permanently adapting ranking algorithms to users’ preferences. Of course, they also strive not to hang back from competitors. That is why it is important to develop a long-term SEO strategy and to regularly adjust it with the view to the change of rating. Top positions are occupied by those who are permanently working on this.
- The use of voice search
The popularity of virtual assistants has led to an increase in voice requests. Both platforms compete in this field for the attention of users and the comparison of smart assistants is regularly carried out. Currently, the Amazon Echo search engine is significantly ahead of Google Assistant for all requests related to purchases. In all the other respects, the marketplace product is inferior to the competitor’s product. In particular, the Amazon Alexa search engine does not do a good job of recognizing search requests in a free form. It requires exact wording and a certain sequence of words. This is reflected in the ranking of results.
Jeff Bezos’ company continues improving its virtual assistant and Amazon Echo change search engine will most likely allow it to steal the leadership from Google in this field.
- The precise ranking principle is unknown
Google’s principles of ranking are known only by the company employees, but not even all of them are aware of them. They are kept in strict confidentiality and are permanently adjusted. No one can tell for sure how the search engine ranks the search results and Amazon is the same in this regard. There are general rules of optimization that help increase the rating of the product but there are no sole correct solutions.
Though, there is more information about the principles of the all-purpose search engines’ ranking algorithms, in particular Google, than about e-commerce platforms. That is why we should consider what Amazon SEO is.
How does Amazon SEO Work
The second largest search engine intends to increase sales, thus it is necessary to take this into account when trying to increase a rating on Amazon.
The main algorithm of the product search is called Amazon A9. This is an effective tool that was developed based on artificial intelligence. It indexes and analyzes all the data on the marketplace, defines products that a user will more probably want to buy, and places them in a higher position in the search results.
Like any other search engine, Amazon gives preference to the most relevant results. The choice is made based on the bulk data included in the listing and the more current and precise the information describing a product is, the better it is for a vendor.
However, it is not so simple. Due to artificial intelligence, the Amazon A9 algorithm takes into account behavioral factors and individual peculiarities of every user. If two users enter the same search request, the page with search results will be different for them. As soon as a potential buyer starts typing the first letters in the search bar, the system will provide them with suggestions of the products that this user is more likely to buy.
That’s not all. The search by Amazon listings is intended not only to sell but also to increase the speed and volumes of sales. This metric is calculated by the formula that includes the total amount in dollars and the number of transactions per month. Therefore, the products that increase the company revenue will be placed in the top positions.
Thus, the rating on Amazon is shaped based on three main factors: the conversion ratio, the relevance of keywords, and the loyalty of clients. Let us consider them in detail.
This parameter directly influences the place in search results. Work intended to increase the conversion ratio involves the optimization of the listing. What should be done?
Set Adequately Low Prices
Amazon is a platform where people are looking for the cheapest goods, so the algorithm prioritizes the products that are at a low cost. Under qual conditions, cheaper options will have priority in search results. Thanks to price, it is possible to jump to the top positions and outrank competitors, and then, the search system will analyze the history of sales and will redistribute results. However, the price will still be crucial.
Of course, the price is not the only ranking factor though, otherwise, the products would be listed from cheapest to the most expensive.
Write a Selling Copy for Your Advertisement
Listings on Amazon require as much attention as the Google SERP. It is necessary to create a selling description, while the headings have to be precise and contain the main keyword at the beginning of every product. Now, the system is focused on the headings in which the user’s request is stated at the beginning, which is why it is better to use long-tail keywords.
Properly Fill in All the Bullets
Bullets are the first thing that a buyer sees, they are the answer to the customer’s question “Why do I need this product?” This is why it is necessary to highlight all the best qualities of the product. It is possible to beat out competitors by providing the information they have not listed. For example, it is possible to answer all the queries and objections of users, include the information about the warranty, tell about the content and quality of materials, as well as to reply if this product is going to solve the problems of a user.
It is important to include high- and medium-frequency requests in bullets and it is better not to repeat the same keywords used in the heading. This is, however, not a dogma.
By the way, there is no objection if, in the last bullet, you will offer wholesale discounts and try selling not one product but a batch, and Amazon will appreciate this effort.
Create a Detailed Product Description
According to last year’s report by Feedvisor, 54% of users always read the entire description of a product when they are considering its acquisition. A detailed product description can increase conversion.
The description will likely be the last thing the client will pay attention to, however, it is the description that can persuade a customer to make a purchase or it can raise doubts. That is why, in this section, it is recommended to mention all the benefits and eliminate all the objections and doubts of consumers.
Brand owners can increase competitiveness by using one of the Amazon SEO tools, i.e., content A+. It helps create a visually attractive and more detailed description of the product by adding pictures, telling the history of the brand, and providing additional text.
Use Quality Pictures
It is hard to overestimate the importance of product photos when it comes to trading on the Internet. The main requirements for photos on Amazon are intensity, preciseness, high quality, and a sufficient resolution to enable zooming. It is better to show a product from various perspectives on a white background. Specialists recommend adding a trademark with the brand on every picture so that the other dishonest vendors could not make use of them. To increase the loyalty of clients, it is possible to take the picture of a packed product so that buyers can see what their order would look like.
Do not forget to fill in the alt-tags. Usually, vendors do not do this and lose additional bonuses during ranking. By the way, it is possible to add low-frequency keywords that have not been included in the heading and description in the alt tags.
Launch Ads on Amazon
A great advantage of Amazon SEO is that advertisement has a positive influence on organic traffic. However, this works under the condition that a product is being sold. In such a case, the algorithm computes that a listing has got a high conversion rate and increases its position in the regular search results.
This strategy is often used when launching new products. Initially, PPC is set to increase the speed and get the history of sales that will later positively influence organic traffic.
Work on External Optimization
Additional traffic can be attracted via social media, emails, personal blogs, and partner sites. On Google, external optimization leads to the increase of trust to a resource, while on Amazon, it leads to the sales increase. As mentioned before, the correct strategy of gaining link mass will make it possible to increase the brand and product recognition.
Of course, it is possible to direct traffic directly to listings, however, there is a more interesting strategy, i.e., to use landing pages with promo codes. So, a user follows the external link and gets to the landing page where a special offer is published, if a user is interested in it, after clicking the link, the product can be purchased on Amazon. This is the perfect approach to decrease the bounce rate and attract traffic that will be converted.
Relevance of Keywords
Each keyword used in Amazon listing influences the general rating. Here are some recommendations that will help select the most relevant options:
- Write the maximum number of words that can be used to search for a product.
- Find 3-5 main competitors and define the main keywords they use.
- Use special tools to select keywords Semrush and Google Keyword Planner. Read more about SEO tools
- Collect all the gathered keywords in one file, divide high- and low-frequency requests, and prioritize them.
All the high-frequency keywords can be placed at the beginning of the heading after the name of the brand. While you fill in the description and bullets, it is possible to use other words because repetition will not improve the rating of the listing.
Loyalty of Clients
Amazon is the most client-focused platform in the world, at least it does everything possible to achieve this. It is no wonder, that according to statistics, 85% of users of the Amazon prime search engine visit the marketplace at least once per week.
With that in mind, feedback and other indices of clients’ satisfaction are important ranking factors. If you, as a vendor, do not provide quality services to clients, you will be placed on the last pages of search results.
Two years ago, Amazon forbade vendors to ask clients for feedback for free delivery, discounts, or any other bonus from their side. That is why everything is fair now if you provide quality customer service, you get positive feedback and advantages in the search results.
How Amazon Uses SERP in Google
Amazon listings get a considerable portion of traffic thanks to Google. Due to this, their positions on the e-commerce platform are increased. To get to the top in both search engines, not that much effort is necessary. The specialists of AmazonSeoTeam say that it’s enough to simply keep track of the key conversion indices of the listing and have positive feedback to get to the first page of the Google SERP by corresponding requests.
To increase the chances to get to the Google top, consider these three factors:
- External optimization. The search giant likes when people share links on other sites or social media. It deems such resources (or products as in our case) useful and shows them in the first place.
- Click-through rate. If from the search results, users click the link and spend considerable time on the listing, the search engine will show this product the next time also placing it at the more beneficial position.
Of course, there is a difference between Amazon and Google optimization. Therefore, if you would like to make use of the search result advantages in both search engines, it is important to find balance. For example, use shorter headings for Google without forgetting that it is necessary to take into account all the keywords and write the correct name for Amazon. Usually, it takes around two months to set all the parameters; however, these efforts will be rewarded.
Amazon vs. Google: Which One is the Winner?
The Amazon search engine has transformed from the book’s sales platforms into one of the largest marketplaces to select relevant results by various requests. Even though two years ago the e-commerce giant won over Google, snatching the leadership in the niche of product search, one cannot say that Amazon can efficiently exist without its competitor. The marketplace is actively using Google as the source of the search traffic, which in turn increases sales on its platform.
Google has also made strides into e-commerce by displaying products in its Shopping Results Tab predominantly contains free listings from across the web. The company announced that merchants could list their products for free earlier in 2020 to facilitate the process of finding and acquisition of products in the period of the pandemic. However, the search engine will unlikely delete the tab in the future as it provides Google with a significant competitive advantage.
Thus, the battle of giants continues.