How Became the SEO-Smartest Retailer Online

Filed in MY BEST POSTS, SEO, Web Site Content by Matt McGee on October 28, 2007 12 Comments

Answer: By turning their web site into a playground for shoppers like you and me.
Summary: Amazon has just launched Video Product Reviews, and its Amapedia wiki site is growing. The SEO impacts are obvious, as are the lessons for other retailers, big and small.

(read on for full story…)

Introducing Video Product Reviews

The User-Generated Content train continues to roll along, and I’m convinced is the conductor. No online retailer has opened up its platform to UGC like Amazon has, and now shoppers have yet another way to add product content to the site: Video Product Reviews.

Here’s a screenshot of what I just saw on a book page:

Amazon video reviews

After clicking on the “Create your own review” button, you go to a page where you choose to create a written review or a video review. The video reviews must be:

  • maximum of 100mb file size
  • maximum of 10 minutes long
  • uploaded in .avi, .flv, .mov. .mpg, or .wmv formats

I should note that Amazon is not the first to do video product reviews. I mentioned ExpoTV in my SES San Jose presentation a couple months ago; their video product reviews are picked up by and others.

But that’s not all!

(It also slices, dices, and chops! Sorry…)

Amazon has also created its own “product wikipedia” called Amapedia, where shoppers can share information about products in a wiki-based setting. This is apparently several months old, and still in beta — but already a big success where SEO is concerned. Here’s a look at an Amapedia article about the Apple MacBook — a page that’s PR=6 and, of course, links back to buy the product on Amazon.

Amapedia screenshot

Amazon (hearts) UGC

Is there any online retailer that even comes close to Amazon in terms of accepting UGC? I don’t think so. We make a big deal when allows user reviews on its site; meanwhile, Amazon has offered user reviews and ratings since forever, not to mention:

  • Amazon Connect, which accepts content from authors and artists
  • Amazon Listmania!, where shoppers can create themed product lists
  • Product photo uploads from shoppers
  • User-generated “tags” on its products
  • “Customer Discussions” — a mini-forum for every product
  • Product news and reviews from external sites (like ZDNet, for example)
  • etc. … etc. … etc.

The Result?

In the end, Amazon ends up with product pages that have an astonishing amount of content. Take a look at this Apple MacBook product page (not an aff. link), scroll down, and just let your jaw drop in amazement at the deep content on this page.

Is it any wonder Amazon ranks so highly for [apple macbook white], [apple macbook black], [apple macbook 13.3], and so many other product names and similar phrases? It shouldn’t be.

Earlier this year, I asked if Amazon is the SEO-smartest retailer online. I don’t think there’s any question that the answer is “yes.”

And as I said then, whether you’re a big retailer or a little one, they are the poster-child — a great example of how to overcome the common problem of not knowing how to get good content on product pages. Surely you can do something they’re doing!

Comments (12)

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  1. Miriam says:

    Hi Matt,
    I just tried to leave a comment, but the blog didn’t seem to pick it up. Let me try again here, and hopefully you won’t end up with duplicated comments from me.

    I really enjoyed this post. Do you have any links to one of these new video reviews? I’d love to watch one to see how they work, but couldn’t easily discover one on Amazon.

    I can see excellent potential in this for developing a body of content that backs up a business owner’s authority on a given subject. For example, say your business revolves around home repairs. You could review a ton of do-it-yourself books and practically have your own Amazon TV station of videos being the handyman guy who tells users which repair books will help them most.

    Video is still new enough on the web to confer tremendous authority on the creator, and Amazon confers a measure of authority of its own. And, video surely sets a website apart. Think about Whiteboard Fridays over at SEOmoz. I tune in every week to watch RandTV! Haha.


  2. davidmihm says:

    Hey Matt, I’m going to take a slightly different take on this.

    I of course don’t disagree that Amazon is the best retailer @ SEO & I’m always open to more UGC. But one of the things I like to do in the browsing phase is SKIM the reviews. I can’t exactly SKIM a video in 15 seconds.

    I think that quick “star ratings” and 2-sentence blurbs are actually going to be far more successful in terms of how useful they are, unless you’re talking about MAJOR $$ items like digital cameras and the like.

    One question: are these videos going to get syndicated to YouTube, etc, or are they purely Amazon material? I would think that everything I just said doesn’t matter if you can get videos in front of a video-ready audience.

  3. Matt McGee says:

    I haven’t seen any such reviews on Amazon yet, Miriam — I think it’s very new, hot off the presses. If you want to see one in action, poke around and you might see one of their reviews from

    I’m not sure this opens up an opportunity like the one you describe. Amazon doesn’t (to my knowledge) offer any place where you can go watch all of one person’s video reviews. I think the scenario you describe is much more likely to happen on YouTube, where you can create your own “channel” and market it, get subscribers, etc.

    David – I agree with you. I can’t see myself sitting through a video review of a movie, CD, book, and many other products Amazon sells. But I could see myself sitting through a review of a home theater system, maybe even a video game, and maybe even some power tool — hopefully the person shows you the product and how to use it, and the review has more value.

    I don’t think they’re syndicated to YouTube, either. Just on Amazon from what I could see.

  4. Amazon also has the tagging system in place so you can add tags to products. then sort by the tags, etc.

  5. Miriam says:

    Hi Matt,
    Maybe I wasn’t clear on that. If you have a website, you could have a page linking to all of your Amazon reviews. That’s what I meant. Does that make sense?


  6. The video product reviews are relatively new, maybe a few weeks by now (I believe it was launched at the end of September). The other stuff is “old”.

    I am an active customer for years (and spend way too much money there hehe). That’s why I know that kind of stuff.

    My Amazon profile ranks in the top 20 if you search for my name at Google and guess what, you can add links to it, which are do-follow, giving you some rewards back for your hard work providing content for them (the content you create links back to your profile, boosting it).

    Amapedia is not that successful. I am among the “Top Content Producers” for it and I only added or edited 8 pages there. It’s mostly maintained by in-house staff. But you know what, links from those articles also pass Google juice. Check for yourself, see for example this article about “Vangelis”. Maybe the fact that it does pass juice will encourage some people to produce some useful content.

    Btw. Amapedia was launched by Amazon in January this year.


  7. Matt McGee says:

    Thanks for the great info, Carsten – very cool.

    And Miriam – yes, thanks for clarifying what you meant.

  8. Donace says:

    This ofc i feel is premeditated by amazon as if they rank high for a product name or category this will lead to more ‘clickthroughs’ to their product page and added on to the fact that their prices are highly competitive would lead to greater sales.

    It good to see people thinking :p

  9. Willymon says:

    A little late to the conversation…

    What is the SEO or VSO for posting a review video on Amazon?

    Can posting a video assist in ranking or affiliate marketing even if the product being reviewed is one that is not your own?

    Or, do I watermark the video with a link to my site hoping to get direct traffic?

    What is the real benefit or payback for me taking the time to produce the content / video?

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