We’re excited to have interviewed North Carolina SEO Expert Will Haire, from BellaVix, for the next installment of our Featured SEO Expert Series!
BellaVix works with established consumer brands and private labelers in the strategic planning, implementation and execution of their business plans for products across Amazon and other third-party marketplaces. Our portfolio includes brands like Derma E, Purlisse Beauty, Think Baby and Outward Hound.
What would you say is unique and/or challenging about the Amazon SEO industry?
“Amazon’s goal as a business is to be the most customer-centric company in the world. It wants to provide search results that lead to the least number of clicks before a purchase is made. As you can imagine, this is a challenge for Amazon as much as it is for the brands represented on the platform. The recent update of the search algorithm from A9 to A10 emphasizes content and context. When thinking of the core pillars of search, it’s essential to consider keyword relevance, sales velocity and seller authority.”
How does your agency stand out in a market as crowded as Amazon optimization?
“BellaVix is consistently running tests to measure changes made to the Amazon algorithm. Amazon makes updates pretty regularly and doesn’t share that information with its sellers. It’s essential to continue split-testing listings, conducting systematic keyword research and ensuring the best possible user experience to improve Best Sellers Rank (BSR) on the Amazon marketplace. We use a collection of software that allows us to track and measure performance on specific keywords and split-test different aspects of the listing to improve conversion rates and overall sales.”
Can you share a success story from an Amazon SEO campaign?
“We generally expect to improve listing quality by 15-25 percent on our clients’ product detail pages, depending on the listings’ state when we begin working together. The 15-25 percent refers to an increase in impressions, unit session percentage (conversion rate) and sales, usually in the first 90 days. Keep in mind, Amazon takes between 6-8 weeks to reindex your listings after you make changes. I want to manage expectations before I share a case study where we crushed it, but this is generally not the norm. There is no silver bullet for the constant hypothesizing and testing of these theories to drive results.
“We worked with a home and garden brand that felt that they hit a plateau in sales. Their goal was to be selling $1.5 million worth of products per year on the Amazon platform. They had trouble getting past $350 thousand in annual revenue. Their biggest issue was their inability to analyze the data and extrapolate user intent. The listing quality was alright, but could be better. They were also leaving out critical features about their product that actual customers were searching for.
Below is a timeline of events from when we took over the account and started working together.
“Some of the key aspects that helped push sales were the competitor research and keyword harvesting from kickoff in January. In February, we optimized the copy for our first batch of listings. In March, we updated the Backend Search String on the first batch of listings. In April, we did a full catalog update because we were having issues with the brand registry, forcing Amazon to reindex the listing right away completely. Shortly after that, our improvement took, and we saw accelerated results. Soon after, we incorporated A+ content which improved the conversion rate on the listings.
“Sales took off, and we saw a 350 percent YoY growth in sales. By June, we sold out of all of the available inventory. We sold $350 thousand – all the sales that the brand had last year – by mid-second quarter. A bit of a unicorn story, but some critical aspects to consider are the research, improving the listings and focusing on the user experience – these were all vital components that allowed us to accelerate growth in this account.”
What is the best advice you ever received in business?
“Focus on the process. Once you figure out what works, figure out how to replicate it so you can move onto the next item that will improve your overall business. I’m a big fan of Mike Michalowicz, who wrote Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself and Profit First.”
What do you think is the most important quality that makes an agency genuinely great?
“Customer service. To be honest, there are a lot of agencies that do what we do. Not as well, but they understand Amazon and are working diligently to improve their client accounts. For me, it’s the experience of working with an agency that truly cares and is invested in the outcome of your business. This means recruiting knowledgeable talent that loves what they do and is willing to go deep to hit your goals on the platform. From an agency owner perspective, it means ensuring that my employees have an excellent work-life balance and do not manage too many accounts. We emphasize quality over quantity.”
Any predictions for the future of Amazon SEO?
“Yes. With the recent A10 algorithm update, we observe that links generated from external sources have been given increased importance. Amazon is actively rewarding brands for promoting Amazon listings off of Amazon and less emphasis on internal PPC. I foresee affiliate programs, editorial recommendation programs and advertising on social media and search being the differentiator in getting your products to rank well and quickly. Keep in mind that SEO is a marathon and not a race. You’ll need to be strategic and patient as you implement and test different tactics.”
What is your reaction when you hear that “SEO is dying”?
“Lol. Only if your products rank on the second page of search engines, ’cause that where all of the bodies are buried!
“Sixty-six percent of product discovery occurs on Amazon. If it’s dead, then you must not be in business.”
What do you think is the most important contributor to keeping clients happy?
“We go the extra mile in understanding what our clients want, properly managing expectations and being results-oriented in the account. This means not making excuses and developing hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses for validity. We are data scientists who happen to be a bit on the creative side. The benefits of operating in a digital environment are that we have data, observe trends and position our clients’ products to achieve maximum impact.”
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