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Together, Amazon SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) form the backbone of every effective marketing and ranking strategy on the platform. The combined efforts of Amazon SEO and Amazon PPC increase sales and propel your products to the number 1 spot. 

Though we have seemingly positioned Amazon SEO and PPC against each other in our title—Amazon SEO vs Amazon PPC—both compliment each other to produce astounding results.

Implementing best SEO and PPC practices on Amazon puts you in a position to launch and rank products across different marketplaces. That’s why we are going to show you a new perspective on how to market and sell your products online.

In this post, you will learn:

  • The definition of Amazon SEO and PPC in layman terms 
  • The effects of PPC and SEO when used individually and together
  • The relationship between SEO and PPC 

We’ll round things with a listing optimization case study to practically demonstrate how to automate and boost the effectiveness of your PPC and SEO campaigns. Let’s begin!

What is the Difference between Amazon PPC and Amazon SEO?

Amazon SEO is a generic term that encompasses all proven and effective practices used to boost a product’s organic rank for relevant search terms. On the other hand, Amazon PPC is the primary advertising model through which sellers’ market their products to bring in paid traffic, with the intent of generating sales.

Although the approach behind both tactics may differ, the end goal of PPC and SEO remains the same: increased visibility, sales, and best seller rank. 

What is Amazon SEO?

Amazon SEO mainly refers to refining different aspects of your product listing (or product detail page) so that it comes in line with what Amazon’s algorithm considers as ‘optimized’. Remember, Amazon SEO doesn’t cost a dime—the results may be slower than PPC but it ensures your product appears against relevant buyer search terms. 

The positive impact of Amazon SEO is more ‘permanent’ i.e. the growth in organic ranking due to listing optimization remains that way (unless you undo or revert those changes). But with Amazon PPC, the moment the ad budget runs out, your campaigns run out of fuel and your product’s sponsored rank takes a drop. In that regard, some consider Amazon SEO to be more important than Amazon PPC.

In our opinion, solely focusing on SEO or PPC won’t get you to the top. Both are essential tools within your seller toolkit and should be synergized for maximum effect.

So, how do you optimize a product listing on Amazon? Well, the process is two-fold:

  1. Front-end optimization: Refers to optimizing or enhancing the visual aspect of a product listing including the copy. It includes the product title, image quality and quantity, bullet points, product description, and A+ content. Front-end optimization also refers to the strategic use of relevant keywords.
  2. Back-end optimization: Refers to the back-end section of your listing which can only be viewed by you i.e. the seller. Here, you provide information to Amazon regarding the nature of your product.

As the name implies, the front-end section of your product listing is what visitors get to see; it’s your virtual storefront. Optimizing the product title, images, and bullet points, etc., helps the algorithm to ‘understand’ what your product is about, but that’s just one side of the coin. 

Copy that clearly defines your product, its benefits, and creates a sense of urgency will help to significantly increase your conversion rate.


How to Create High-Quality Product Listings on Amazon

Let’s take a look at what constitutes a good front-end optimized product listing. The following image shows the product title and images for a portable hammock product. The product title clearly describes what sellers can expect from this item. This is where you include your main keywords (the search terms that best describe your product).

An example of an optimized product title and image.  


Similarly, the bullet points are clear and concise—there’s no fluff and only information that is useful for potential buyers. Now, take a closer look at the following image and see how the seller has strategically used relevant keywords (buyer search terms) to increase visibility and pull in the maximum amount of traffic.

A clear description of what customers can expect from this Amazon product 


After going through the bullet points, you’ll notice that the content:

  • Reads well 
  • The keywords appear naturally and don’t seem not forced

Try to do the same with your product listing(s)!

Note: If you are unsure which keywords are best and most relevant to your product, try using a reliable and accurate keyword research tool.

How Do You Write Backend Terms on Amazon?

The back-end section of your product listing is where you ‘describe’ the nature of your product to Amazon. Using the right keywords is part of the descriptive process—it enhances the discoverability of your products and ensures they appear in front of the right audience.

To view the back-end section, log into your Amazon seller central account. Then:

  • Go to Inventory
  • Then select Manage Inventory
  • Click on the Edit option on the far right-hand side of your product listing 
  • A new tab will open. Here, click on the Keywords section
  • Input the desired keywords in the Search Terms bar
  • Click Save and Finish

And that’s it. If you use the right search terms, you’ll begin to see a positive change soon enough. But how long does it take for such changes to take effect?

How Long Does Amazon SEO Take?

Changes made to an Amazon product listing take anywhere from 5 minutes to 24 hours to take effect. If you’re asking about the time it takes for these changes to impact buyer behavior and organic rank, then that’s difficult to answer. 

The answer depends on the previous state of a product listing, how well-optimized the competitors’ listings are, and the subsequent degree of optimization—if a product listing was in a poor condition, then even the slightest of improvements will increase your product’s organic rank substantially. 

However, minor changes to already well-optimized listings aren’t likely to produce groundbreaking results. Nonetheless, you should seek to continually improve your product listings by improving the copy and adding new keywords when needed.

How Can Sellers Improve their Amazon SEO?

In summary, to improve Amazon SEO you can:

  • Use highly relevant and high search volume keywords in your product title, bullet points, and product description and also the back-end section of your product listing
  • Hire professional product photography services. Customers won’t even bother clicking low-quality and low-resolution images. 
  • Make sure your product listing contains grammatically-sound, native content and not a mishmash of keywords.

Now, let’s talk a bit about Amazon PPC.

What is Amazon PPC?

Amazon PPC is the advertising channel used by third-party sellers to market their products to potential buyers. The PPC model on Amazon consists of three different ads types: sponsored products, sponsored brands, and sponsored display. Exploring each ad type and their proper usage deserves a separate blog of its own. 

Run sponsored ads to increase product visibility and boost customer count.

For now, let’s focus on the sponsored ads. 

Sponsored product ads are the most commonly used ad type on Amazon. You can identify them by the grey sponsored tag. 

Use Amazon PPC to gain instant traction and generate sales!


Because these ads are positioned at the top of search results, it’s easy to confuse them for best-selling products (which plays to the advertisers’ advantage).

How Do You Run a Successful PPC Campaign?

Where Amazon SEO goes slow and steady, Amazon PPC produces immediate results (i.e. increased product visibility). Informed sellers optimize their product listings as soon as they go live to start building the momentum and get indexed for relevant search terms. But with PPC ads, you have the option to feature your product on page one as long as you’re willing to pay top dollar.

Immediately after your listing goes live, the goal should be to bring in those initial orders to get the ball rolling. You should begin by engaging in both Amazon SEO and Amazon PPC practices because your product rank is probably in the hundreds (if not thousands) and you need to generate enough sales to let Amazon know that you’re selling a legit product.

With time, as you climb the rankings, organic orders will start to flow in. Soon, the percentage of organic-to-sponsored order ratio will increase allowing you to reduce your ad budget and maintain the same monthly sales figures. 

As you edge closer to the top ranks, the major chunk of your revenue will come from organic sales. Despite that, you should never stop or delete your ad campaigns altogether for two main reasons:

  1. Greater visibility: Reaching a top 5 spot in the rankings is great, but having two spots—one organic and the other sponsored—is even better.
  2. Lower advertising costs: The longer an ad runs, the lesser the amount Amazon charges you per-click. You’re essentially paying less than new sellers to occupy the same sponsored ad spot.

This is the super-simplified version of the PPC strategy needed to rank products on Amazon. 

How Amazon SEO Positively Impacts Amazon PPC Campaigns

We’ve learned how powerful both SEO and PPC are in regards to succeeding on Amazon. But is there any correlation between SEO and PPC? Does one affect the other? And if that’s the case, then how does SEO improve the performance of PPC campaigns?

To understand how listing optimization positively impacts PPC, we need to first understand how sponsored ads work. You see, Amazon sponsored ad campaigns allow sellers to target buyer search terms (or keywords) automatically and manually. Out of the two, SEO plays a crucial role in enhancing automatic ad campaigns.

As the name implies, an automatic sponsored ad targets buyer search terms it ‘feels’ best describe your product.  The algorithm picks up the keywords included in your product detail page so if you’ve failed to optimize your listings by using irrelevant or low search volume keywords, your ad gets marketed to the wrong audience. A rookie mistake like this will cause your ad budget to bleed out and go to waste.

How Amazon PPC Improves SEO Over Time

A well-optimized Amazon product listing does wonders for your PPC campaigns but the opposite is also true. Amazon doesn’t have a big enough team to individually inspect the millions of listings across dozens of product categories. Instead, its algorithm analyzes and assigns ranking based on a few factors, one of which is sales.

By running PPC ads, you’re bringing in much needed sales during the early stages of your launch. Once Amazon sees that a product is well-received by customers—even if it’s via paid traffic—it gradually increases the product rank over time. 

Don’t shy away from spending on PPC campaigns; to make money on Amazon, you need to spend some on ad campaigns first. This also sheds light on the importance of keyword research. Only when you know which keywords are worth targeting can you set up manual keyword targeting PPC campaigns. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Time to answer some commonly asked questions regarding SEO, PPC, and product ranking on Amazon!

Is it Necessary to do Giveaways for Ranking on Amazon?

Doing giveaways or selling Amazon products at heavily discounted products is an outdated ranking method. Even if you do engage in giveaways, the effect it has on ranking is minimal and not worth the investment. It’s better to redirect your energies (and ad budget) towards Amazon PPC while implementing best SEO practices.

Is Amazon A+ Content Free?

To feature A+ content on your Amazon listing you’ll need to get Brand Registered first. Amazon Brand Registry opens the doors to many perks including the ability to enhance your listing by uploading A+ content. Creating A+ content (i.e. the photography and content) is a different story altogether and will most likely require the help of a professional.

Conclusion – Amazon Marketing Done Right!

SEO and PPC are the two most powerful ranking tools at your disposal. However, unlocking their full potential depends wholly on the user. And while this blog provides the basic PPC and SEO knowledge needed to get the marketing engine running, nothing beats the power of a live demonstration. 

Seasoned Amazon sellers Jon Tilley (CEO Zonguru) and Stefan Ratchev (CTO Zonguru) team up to revive a product listing whose sales had declined to zero. Using the latest SEO and PPC ranking techniques, Jon and Stefan teach new and veteran sellers alike on how to optimize your product listing, get more people to click on your ad, increase sales, and eventually break into the big leagues!

Join us on our 4-part listing optimization case study adventure now!

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