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Amazon vs. Google search engine

Amazon vs. Google: product searches & search algorithm

For many consumers Amazon is a go-to online retailer that some shoppers visit immediately when searching for a product, without using traditional search engines like Google first.

  • What’s the difference between product searches on Amazon and Google?
  • Is Amazon’s search algorithm the same as Google?
  • How can ecommerce sellers drive relevant customers to their product pages?

Read on to find out the answers and to sell more on Amazon.

The study highlighted in this article will give you some direction when planning your marketing budget. It’s a comparison between top product searches on Amazon and on Google and relates to sponsored content.


Understand the Amazon search engine to drive more sales

To increase your Amazon sales, you need to understand the Amazon search engine.

Amazon’s search engine
A9 is the name of the algorithm that Amazon uses for product search. In fall 2019, Amazon’s A9 algorithm was changed to an A10 algorithm. Regardless of the name, the core concept remains the same.

A9/A10 is a maturing algorithm. As Amazon constantly makes changes to test what makes shoppers buy more, frequent and unpredictable updates can be frustrating for many sellers.

The A9 Amazon algorithm factors in:

  • Keywords: whether product listings have the search terms consumers look for.
  • Impressions: views a product has across the Amazon site, affiliate links and partner links.
    Internal sales: sales initiated from the Amazon website without being searched for, e.g. “frequently bought with” items.
  • Organic sales: products sold without any marketing or promotion driving the purchase.
  • Paid-per-click (PPC) sales: products sold thanks to advertising and promotion.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): it relates to your listing’s click performance (how often your product is clicked on in search results).
  • Conversion rate: the number of views on a listing that are then converted to sales (how many listing clicks resulted in a sale).
  • Product price: whether your products are priced competitively.
  • Product images and their quality (which can affect both the CTR and conversion rates).
  • Seller authority: active, authorized sellers with plenty of ratings, reviews and positive feedback as well as healthy performance metrics stand a good chance of success on Amazon.
  • Sales history: how well your product historically sells and how often it’s in or out of stock.
  • Customer reviews: review count and rating.
  • Off-site sales: off-site traffic driven to an Amazon listing is 3 times more likely to improve a listing’s ranking than PPC.

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Amazon vs. Google

At its core, Amazon’s ranking algorithm (even though it uses fewer ranking factors) is similar to Google’s search algorithm. For example, they both rely on keywords for establishing relevance, they’re both user-focused and they’re both driven by click-through rates.

However, Amazon and Google users have different intentions. Google users are often in the discovery mode, Amazon users in the shopping mode. Google attracts mostly browsers and researchers, Amazon attracts buyers. Amazon users usually know exactly what they’re looking for.

To decide the quality of a site, Google looks at loading speed, topical authority and user experience. Amazon looks at conversions and sales metrics. Google prioritizes relevant links, Amazon prioritizes listings most likely to lead to a sale.

What differentiates Amazon Search from search engines like Google is the fact that Amazon is a buying platform. We rarely go to Amazon for product research. We’re usually close to the point of purchase.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you can shoot up to the 1st spot on an Amazon search very quickly if you have a solid product with great sales and reviews. With Google, it still takes months of building domain authority until you get first page rankings.

Google vs. Amazon in a nutshell:

  • Search platform vs. buying platform
  • Browsers and researcher in the discovery mode vs. buyers in the shopping mode
  • Importance of loading speed, topical authority, relevant links & UX vs. important of conversions & sales
  • Ranking on top can take time vs. ranking on top can happen relatively quickly.

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Ecommerce searches vs. product category

Some time ago the research based on a Hitwise study, on the basis of the top 100 product searches on Amazon internal site search, juxtaposed with the same searches on Google.

The table below presents the share of consumers conducting some of the top product searches exclusively on Amazon, compared against the same searches taking place exclusively on Google.

ecommerce searches google amazon

To demonstrate how differently buyers search by product category, let’s take the searches for headphones and games as an example.

  • 77% of people conducting headphone searches did so exclusively on Amazon (vs. 21% on Google).
  • 56% of people conducting game searches did so exclusively on Google (vs. 38% on Amazon).

Such numbers can be interpreted in the following way:

Headphone sellers should invest more in Amazon product listings and store optimization. Video game companies, in turn, should consider spending more on Google Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) and SEO-optimized content*.

ecommerce searches amazon google

* Stay on top and check out the latest data to make the most reliable predictions.

Singular vs. plural searches and differences by income

When comparing multiple products, consumers are likely to use Google or both Google and Amazon to look for broader information.

In the case of singular product searches, though, such searches are more likely to be conducted on Amazon to check the specific models and prices available there.

High-income households tend to be Amazon-exclusive searchers. Meanwhile, the lower-income ones are more Google-exclusive.

One of the influencing factors may be the likelihood of higher-income households using Amazon Prime. As a result, more affluent households should be motivated to conduct more of their product searches exclusively on Amazon.

How can this knowledge help ecommerce sellers?

Understanding where and how buyers actually search for products can be the source of your competitive advantage. This is what will help you drive thousands of potential buyers to your product pages.

Understanding even tiny differences can mean huge benefits after you’ve knowingly allocated your budget. You may better understand whether to spend more time and effort on advertising your product on Amazon or a traditional search engine.

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Product searches on Amazon vs. Google: conclusion

Understanding the way consumers conduct their searches on the web is an invaluable source of knowledge that can boost your conversion rates on an unprecedented scale. There is a difference between the Amazon search engine and Google.

Depending on the product you sell and the profile of your potential buyer, you need to consider the best advertising investment that is likely to bring you optimal results. Stay on top of the latest data to make optimal business decisions.

About Webinterpret

Webinterpret can help marketplace sellers leverage ads on different international markets. With access to data and vast ecommerce knowledge, we can help merchants achieve the best possible ROI and keep their options open at times of crisis. Find out more!

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