There are indeed some big sites that can teach us a lot about SEO. But is it correct to copy the SEO strategies of a top site? Should your own SEO emulate the same optimization that is also found on the top websites? If you wish to get a straight-cut answer to this question, you need to give a close look at Amazon.com. Amazon.com is directly into the business of SEO and it employs more SEO professionals than any other company in the market, it is right at the top of the list. Amazon incorporates SEO into almost everything, both programmatically and manually.
Amazon is one of the most trafficked sites, a website with hundreds of millions of indexed URLs and hence it enjoys the luxury of being able to test more things than any other website, that too at a deeply intricate level. If all this is true, copying Amazon’s SEO will certainly do good to your website right? Well, not so fast!
A bird’s eye view of the SEO strategies of Amazon.com
If you consider Amazon.com to be an SEO expert, it transcends reliance on guidelines, rules and maxims. It has a deep awareness and understanding of Amazon’s content and authority, how search engines generally behave and how search engines respond to the on-site optimization of Amazon. In other words, it knows when to break the SEO rules. You want some proof? Let’s take a look at the homepage of Amazon.com.
- The title element: Their title, “Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more” is 83 characters long. In most search engine result pages, Google cuts it off and Bing hardly shows Amazon.com – Official Site. Although 83 characters is not terribly long, it is pretty clear that Amazon doesn’t care about surpassing what the search engines display. It is aware that most visitors arrive on their site through navigational queries. When people see the homepage, they soon that this is their destination. Amazon has world class site search, even if the homepage isn’t the specific page for the visitors.
- Meta Description: If you check the meta-description, you will find out that it is 304 characters long. Why would someone write such a long meta-description? SERP listings are the only places where meta-descriptions are shown but Amazon is different. As there are millions of authors, affiliates and vendors, it knows that the meta-description will be copied by other websites and hence they use this strategy. Their complete marketing message acts like a billboard wherever it travels.
- H1 element: There is no H1 element in the homepage at all. When you optimize your homepage for SEO, do you include a keyword targeted H1 headline? If yes, then why doesn’t Amazon? Well, its homepage enjoys massive link authority. Moz ranks Amazon.com #12 on the list of the web’s most important sites. It has a PA of 97 and DA of 99 and there are 3.6m followed links from 118k root domains to the same page. Perhaps Amazon’s testers found that the presence of an H1 tag prevents the page from appearing in search results and so they ruled it out.
Instead of going further into the details, let’s end here with a word of caution. Just because a website performs well in search doesn’t make it a role model for another website’s SEO. Poor decisions can have negative upshots.