Amazon SEO: how packaging can help you rise to the top

4 min reading time

In 2008, Jeff Bezos, owner and founder of Amazon, wrote a letter to Amazon customers declaring war on “wrap rage”.

He acknowledged the frustration felt by customers, and shared their concerns that many products sold on Amazon were difficult to open. He also noted that packaging was often excessive, unsustainable and, frankly, unnecessary. In short, he wanted to strike the perfect balance between shipping efficiency and unboxing experience.

Being such a well-known brand, Amazon was being criticized for the shortcomings of its sellers, and decided to do something about it and laid out guidelines for the packaging used on products sold via the site – FFP (Frustration-Free Packaging).

Amazon SEO – the basics

The art of appearing as high as possible on Amazon is well-known. The key thing to remember is that Amazon ranks for conversions, i.e. making people buy – in contrast to Google, which is engineered to maximize clicks.

That means that if you have a higher conversion rate the algorithm (known as A9) puts you higher up the page. In addition, A9 also crawls the entire Amazon directory looking for keyword relevance. So the basic techniques usually listed include:

  • Title optimization – use appropriate keywords with highest search volume. You have 50 characters to play with.
  • Bullet points – digestible, bite-sized features and benefits. A place for the longer-tail keywords.
  • Images – accurate, clear, current and big.
  • EBC (Enhanced Brand Content) – not indexed, but key to conversions. The more you convert, the higher you go. It’s a virtuous circle.

The better your packaging, the better your listing

So how does packaging help Amazon SEO?

With the increasing acceptance of FFP over the last ten years, sellers now have another weapon at their disposal in the battle to be top of the rankings. FFP is the Amazon SEO technique that could make all the difference to your listings. In fact, there are three levels of packaging certification for Amazon sellers. The better your certification level, the better your listing (and if you don’t reach the basic level, they won’t list you at all).

  • PFP – Prep-Free Packaging
    The most basic level. Amazon don’t need to prep it, and it ships in an Amazon overbox.
  • SIOC – Ships In Own Container
    The second level. As the name suggests, no Amazon overbox is required, cutting down on waste (which Amazon likes its sellers to do).
  • FFP – Frustration-Free Packaging standard
    The holy grail of Amazon packaging. Made of minimal amounts of kerbside recycling materials, it is easy to open and optimized for customer experience and sustainability.

Because FFP gives customers a guarantee that access to their goods will be a fast and convenient experience, it improves the likelihood of a sale. And because Amazon is committed to maximising sales conversions across its site, Amazon will list FFP-certified ASINs more prominently than competitive products that are less considerately packaged.

What will Amazon do for you if you comply?

The precise workings of the A9 algorithm are a closely guarded secret, but Amazon has publicly backed the FFP program by promising ‘enhanced listings’ to those who are certified.

How do you get your packaging Amazon certified?

Certification is provided by APASS (the Amazon Packaging Support and Supplier network). As a member of APASS, DS Smith can give you access to e-commerce and packaging experts, as well as an Amazon-certified testing lab, to help you both create and certify the best possible packaging solution.

Get Amazon certified and rise to the top

One of the key pieces of general Amazon SEO advice is to take a leaf out of your most successful competitor’s book. But if they are not offering Amazon’s preferred packaging, you may have a chance to steal ahead…

Learn more about the FFP certification process

Marlena Hardy
Marlena Hardy E – Commerce Packaging Business Development Manager & Regional Category Manger Marlena.Hardy@dssmith.com

About the expert

She works with a network of e-commerce sales specialists in Europe and plays an active role in raising the team's skills on the e-Commerce market and its challenges. Her work also includes the development of e-Commerce products and business (DS Smith Toolbox). Marlena's experience includes packaging development and project management roles with well recognized FMCG and retail brands. This unique combination of in-depth understanding of the operational, technical, environmental and economic aspects of packaging development in different environments gives a highly developed insight into the specificity of e-Commerce and its key challenges.