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Is It Better to Add Variations to Existing Amazon Product Pages or Have Separate Listings?

We're kicking off our new Ask Me Anything series with Bradley Sutton. Check out the first episode about amazon product variations.

We’re kicking off our new AMA series with Bradley Sutton, Helium 10’s Director of Customer Success and Training. Look for new episodes going LIVE Monday through Friday.

Let’s start off with an example.

We opened up Amazon and typed “Korean beauty foundation” into the search bar. The search returned over 1k products, so we checked out one of the top results.

Cosmetics products, by their nature, tend to have variation listings due to color options. The one we examined was no exception, with foundation in three different beige tones. However, only one of the colors showed up on the search results page.


For parent/child products (aka, product variations), Amazon will only show one of the variations in the search results. In other words, for the example we looked at with three different colors, Amazon did NOT show each color separately on the search results page (potentially taking up three product slots) for that keyword. Amazon by default defers to what it thinks is the best option for the most conversions – typically the highest-selling variation of the product under the search terms the customer entered.

This being the case, you might ask yourself: why not just make separate listings for each color (or other variation), rather than combining child listings under a parent listing? That way you could theoretically take up more search results real estate, right?

Theoretically, yes. But this may not be the best option for several reasons.

A major thing to consider is the competitiveness of the keywords for which you’re trying to rank. Different variations of a parent listing can have a drastic difference in ranking between them – inevitably a couple of styles or colors typically end up being far more popular than the other variations.

The benefit to this is that your higher ranking variation with more visibility will drive traffic to your product page, where customers can then see the lesser-known variations ‘piggybacking’ off of the popularity of the top-selling variation. This essentially gives you potential front page visibility on several items, thanks to the success of one!

By contrast, were you to create separate listings for all of these variations, the less popular versions of your product wouldn’t be able to attach themselves to the popularity of your star version. Your top-selling product would enjoy its success, yes, but you would likely also lose out on a wealth of potential sales! The less popular items wouldn’t show up on the top-selling item’s page (nor anywhere on the first page or so of search results), and people who would have preferred those less popular styles and colors would move on, never even knowing they exist.

Sure, there might be the off chance that your other styles would show up in the top seller’s “customers who bought this also bought …” window, but the most likely scenario is that they would never find your other versions. Remember that Amazon customers skim. They’re not going to hunt for an item that may or may not exist, and they most certainly won’t go beyond the first couple of pages of search results.

Basically, you’re relegating your less popular versions of your product to oblivion. If they don’t see it right away, it’s a lost sale.

Of course, as always, use your best judgment. This is general advice for the majority of scenarios, but think on a case-by-case basis. For example, maybe your product space isn’t too competitive, and you can easily rank all of your variations on page one.

Or, perhaps your variations are for something other than the common size/color variation. If there’s a significant difference in design or style between variations, it might be best to list them as separate listings.

In conclusion, unless your product variations are significantly different from each other or your space isn’t that competitive and you can easily rank multiple variations on the first page, we highly recommend opting for variation (parent/child) listings over separate listings so that your less popular variations can benefit off of the popularity of your top seller.


6 responses to “Way to Improve Amazon Keyword Rankings.”

  1. Hey Brad, does combining all the child listings under a parent also help the ranking of that parent listing by combining the stats of the child listings or will the parent only rank as well as the best-ranked child listing?

      • Hey Brad does that mean it’s possible adding a child variation actually hurts your overall ranking? For example, let’s say you’re selling 100 units/day so you add another color, but some of the people that would have bought the original are now buying the other color. Let’s say it’s now 80 units/day of the original and 40units/day of the new color. So overall you’re better off at 120 units, but now your best seller is selling 80/day instead of 100/day. Could that hurt your ranking? Or would Amazon look at the combined velocity of 100?

  2. Hi Bradley,

    Is there a Helium tool that lets you see how a specific competitor is spending money on Amazon ads (e.g. what keywords that competitor is buying and how much they’re spending)?

    • Hello Stephen, You can see all the keywords they are showing up for in sponsored ads, by putting that ASIN into Cerebro, and filtering for “Sponsored Results”. But you can’t see how much they are spending because the information on how much someone is spending is not public.

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