Amazon.co.uk – Small SEO Mistakes, Millions Lost?

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As an SEO, we all look at the large ecommerce sites in awe. We envy the size of their backlink portfolios and that with minimal effort can rank for any phrase they wish with even the poorest of content. I’ll be starting a series where I take apart some of these large sites, showing the biggest and best mistakes they are making.

Amazon, one of the first dominant eCommerce platforms, continuously setting the standard for eCommerce and finding new ways to make consumers spend money. Yet, they still make some of the most basic SEO mistakes.

Redirects don’t matter:

There’s plenty of talk about website speed, including the quote for Amazon (found here: http://glinden.blogspot.co.uk/2006/11/marissa-mayer-at-web-20.html):

This conclusion may be surprising — people notice a half second delay? — but we had a similar experience at Amazon.com. In A/B tests, we tried delaying the page in increments of 100 milliseconds and found that even very small delays would result in substantial and costly drops in revenue.

So, taking this into consideration, why are Amazon letting their UK site load through a redirect? http://amazon.co.uk/ for example, goes through the following:

amazon-homepage-redirect

The key part:

http://amazon.co.uk/
301 Moved Permanently
https://amazon.co.uk/
301 Moved Permanently
https://www.amazon.co.uk/
200 OK

So, what impact does this actually have on the user?

amazon-homepage-redirect-waterfall

That’s 92 ms that is added to a customers experience. I would say that 92ms certainly meets the criteria of “we tried delaying the page in increments of 100 milliseconds and found that even very small delays would result in substantial and costly drops in revenue“.

 

Now, as this is an article about SEO, not user experience, I’ll explain the impact on SEO. As we’re aware, any link going through a redirect loses ~15% of it’s value. So, that means that if Amazon has any links to http://amazon.co.uk then they’re losing value from those? Well, here’s what the link profile for http://amazon.co.uk looks like:

amazon-domain-authority

Which, compared to the 3.3m total links of https://www.amazon.co.uk is nothing. However there is still value in the ~15% drop, enough I’m sure to influence a few of the rankings in their favour.

Now, I had a look into one of these links, from a small website called The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/03/ebook-sales-falling-for-the-first-time-finds-new-report)

Here is the link to Amazon in the source code:

amazon-link-guardian

For such a simple error, the value in lost “link juice” is massive.

 

Images, Images, Images:

Now, I know Amazon is filled with personalisation, which especially if you’re Googlebot I can only presume it will be highly varied. However, this doesn’t cover for the fact that this image below is failing Amazon for two reasons:

  1. Speed
  2. SEO

4k-ultra-hd-televisions-amazons-homepage

Now, this was served on a cached version of the Amazon homepage (not sure if this’ll work but: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&ie=UTF-8&q=cache%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.co.uk&oq=cache%3Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.co.uk&rlz=1C1CHFX_enGB520GB520&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.1081j0j4&bav=on.2,or.&biw=1920&bih=1099&dpr=1&ech=1&psi=bwumV52TEoHbUc7EhrAF.1470499674876.3&ei=bwumV52TEoHbUc7EhrAF&emsg=NCSR&noj=1), so Google has obviously crawled this specific page.

This is impacting speed, because the image can’t be compressed as heavily due to the text being placed there.

This is impacting SEO, for a couple of reasons,

  1. It doesn’t know what the text says, Google is getting a better understanding of images but I don’t believe they’re at the point where they’ll start valuing the text within an image.
  2. It’s not a rich text link, so Amazon is losing the opportunity to link internally to a highly relevant category.

So, lets see where Google is ranked for “4K Ultra HD Televisions” (using https://serps.com/tools/rank-checker/)

4k-ultra-hd-televisions-amazon-ranking

Now lets check a couple of the higher search volume keywords:

4k tv:

amazon-4k-tv-ranking

Ultra HD tv:

ultra-hd-tv-amazon-ranking

 

So, these positions are to be honest, poor, so Amazon should really look at trying to increase the rankings, which better internal linking would be doing.

 

Category/Landing Pages

Now, I wish the above were the only concern with images that I had. There is also the following:

amazon-pushchair-page

See the problem? Actually this page is not made with SEO in mind at all. Let me show you what the above looks like without images:

amazon-pushchair-without-images

So, straight away we remove a lot of the relevant content we could’ve had. The big text at the top “Pushchairs & Prams” should, if SEO is taken into consideration, be replaced with a background image with “Pushchairs & Prams” as the H1 tag. As currently, there’s not a H1 tag in site.

Also, the buying guide, another opportunity for rich internal linking which isn’t happening.

 

 

 

That’s all for this blog post, I will revisit Amazon at a later date to see if I can find any other simple things that they’re doing that are costing them rankings.


I'm a digital marketing consultant based near Peterborough, England. I'm active on the SEO Chat forums and Moz. I'm always on the look out for things to test and to learn that little bit more.

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