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Walmart SEO: 10 steps to master the Walmart search algorithm

All the major eCommerce marketplaces have some sort of algorithm in place to determine which items show up at the top of search results for different terms. Those algorithms operate as Walmart’s internal search engine, or Walmart SEO, and are the reason you don’t see dog carriers when you search for vacuum cleaners. They’re key to relevant search results, with the goal being to show listings that are most likely to get a conversion based on the search term.

The Walmart search algorithm follows the same conversion-focused principles. In order to rank above your competition, you need to optimize your listing to make it the most attractive to shoppers. If your listing can turn browsers into buyers, you’ll fly to the top of Walmart’s search results for your relevant key terms.

This article will break down the components of a Walmart listing, and how to optimize each to win search on Walmart.

Walmart SEO: How to master Walmart search algorithm

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What is Walmart SEO?

Walmart SEO is the process of optimizing your Walmart listings for Walmart’s algorithm, to enhance visibility in the search results and increase organic visits to your webpage.

Essentially, you help Walmart’s algorithm to find your listing and rank it high for relevant search queries (or keywords), with the mecca being position number one. This is important for:

  • Getting your listings seen by customers
  • Winning the Walmart buy box
  • Generating sales

Walmart’s algorithm uses the “optimization triangle” to determine the quality of your listing and decide exactly where it ranks in the search results. The optimization triangle consists of three core elements:

  • Content – product category, title, images, descriptions and attributes. 
  • Performance – order defect rate, policy adherence, customer response time, and other performance metrics. 
  • Offer – product pricing, shipping fees, shipping speed, and in-stock rate.

The Walmart algorithm uses this combo to return the best results for its customers, accounting for relevance, customer experience, and competitive services – in other words, it’s a lot more than simple keyword stuffing.

Walmart SEO vs Walmart keyword optimization

Keyword optimization is a form of SEO and involves targeting specific keywords that shoppers use when searching for products.

This article covers where to target keywords on your Walmart listings, but you must first understand what keywords to target.

There are two main types of keywords:

  • Short-tail keywords – short and broad search phrases, such as “women’s dress.”
  • Long-tail keywords – long and specific search phrases, such as “blue women’s short-sleeved dress.”

Short tail keywords are necessary for identifying your product in a way that shoppers and algorithms understand. However, the broadness of short-tail keywords makes them highly competitive (i.e. your competitors are targeting the same keywords). Therefore, it’s crucial to target long-tail keywords, too. Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because they’re more specific. They also generate high-quality traffic, more likely to click and convert, which in turn improves your search ranking.

To find the best short- and long-tail keywords for your Walmart listings, use a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner, Keyword.io, or your competitors’ listings.

Further reading: Longtail keyword strategies & why they’re important in eCommerce 

Optimize these 10 vital components of Walmart SEO

Use the links below to jump to specific steps.

1) Use a specific, succinct product name

Your product name should be 50-75 characters long, and unique to Walmart (don’t copy the same product name on Amazon or your own website).

Try the formula below to stand out in Walmart product search results.

Brand + Clothing Size Group (if applicable) + Defining Quality + Item Name + Style (if applicable) + Pack Count

It’s also useful to include any defining features that shoppers might search for, such as model number or color.

If customers are likely to search for the color of your item (ie. “blue cotton jacket”), then include it in your product name. However, if your items are in a variant group, you can include the available colors in the Key Features or Description section instead.

Ensure that your product name is also easily readable and appealing to customers – it needs to entice them to click.

Tips:

  • Include model number
  • Include defining features
  • Include brand
  • Include pack count
  • Include style
  • Include size

Restrictions

You may not include any information about yourself or your company aside from the product brand. Avoid special characters and retailer-specific info such as a special offer. Be careful not to use marketing phrases such as “top selling,” and avoid referencing other marketplaces (ie. “Sold on eBay”).

 

Here’s how one Walmart seller won the buy box without competing on price

 

2) Use rich media and high quality images

The images you use to showcase your item must be professional, in focus, well-lit, and cannot show accessories that aren’t included with your item. Ideally, you should provide at least four zoom-enabled high-resolution images of your product, packaging, and added accessories.

There are two main types of images:

  • Primary product image
  • Additional background images

Your primary product image must be a front view of the item with a seamless white background (255/255/255 RGB). Crop (don’t resize) the image to eliminate excessive background space around the item, to make a greater visual impact.

You should also include additional background images with multiple angles of your item(s). With these images, you can showcase your item(s) in an appropriate setting, like a handbag at dinner or a grill in a yard.

If available, you can also provide rich content like product reviews, interactive tours, 360 degree imagery, and the like. Suppliers may contact their merchant to provide rich content. However, some of these features are not available to Marketplace sellers at this time.

Restrictions

You may not use placeholder images, images containing additional graphics, illustrations, logos, watermarks, text, or overlays. Avoid any images that are offensive or obscene. You can find more image specifications on Walmart.

3) Highlight your key features

Key Features, also known as highlights, allows you to sell your product by emphasizing specific details in an enticing way. It’s a short and succinct description of your item that’s easy to digest.

Include three to 10 of the most important benefits and features of your item in bullet-list form. Don’t forget to incorporate keywords, put the most important features first, and use specific details.

Tip: Don’t repeat information that’s already included in the product name, such as brand or what the item is, and don’t copy the product description from other websites – even your own.

Restrictions

You may not include special characters, sales information, unproven marketing phrases, or verbiage referencing other marketplaces.

4) Use keywords in your product description

Your product description is a long-form (aim for 150 words or more) explanation of your product. It’s where you should incorporate your keywords and phrases, to make it easier to appear in relevant search results.

Product descriptions are your chance to entice shoppers who are already interested in your product. You should include your product name, brand name, and keywords that convey features and benefits. It should be unique, showcase expertise with facts and tips, helpful, and descriptive. Highlight your item’s top defining quality (look at what people are searching for to get ideas for this).

Tip: Avoid keyword stuffing or fluff. Your description should read naturally for shoppers, with a clear and conversational tone.

Restrictions

The product description follows the same restrictions as the key features.

5) Select relevant attributes

The attributes on a Walmart listing appear as specifications, and helps shoppers filter out search results. For example, if you’re selling a laptop, the brand and hard drive storage size would both be attributes/specifications that shoppers can filter for.

Fill out the attributes that are relevant to your item to help you appear when browsers filter for certain specifications.

Tip: Search for your item on Walmart and look at the left navigation bar to see what attributes are relevant.

6) Enable 2-day delivery

Make sure your items have Walmart’s fast shipping badge. Not only does Walmart’s new website redesign highly favor fast shipping, the shoppers love it too. After enabling 2-day delivery, we’ve seen our sellers get a 900% lift in sales and land the buy box without competing on price.

Having 2-day delivery helps with Walmart SEO because it’s a signal that enhances the user experience, helps listings stand out in crowded search results, and gives your listing yet another defining quality.

Tip: Use Deliverr’s fulfillment solution to integrate directly into Walmart’s fast shipping program and get your listings on Walmart 2-day.

 

Boost your listings’ rankings with 2-day delivery

 

Restrictions 

To be eligible for Walmart 2-day delivery without using Deliverr, you must meet the following performance criteria:

  • On-Time Shipping: >95%
  • On-Time Delivery: >95%
  • Valid Tracking Rate: >95%
  • Cancellation Rate: <1.5%

7) Price your products competitively

Walmart’s vision is “to provide the most affordable prices to the customers,” so it makes sense that price is still an important factor for Walmart’s algorithm and winning the buy box.

Conduct regular research to compare your product prices against other Walmart sellers, buy box winners, and external marketplaces, to ensure shoppers can’t find your products at a significantly lower price elsewhere (even on your own website).

Tip: Use a Walmart repricing tool such as Zentail to reprice your products automatically and win the search results and buy box at the highest possible price.

Don’t forget your shipping prices too. Free 2-day shipping is important to 79.3% of shoppers, so it’s important to Walmart also. Use a shipping cost calculator to find the best carrier or fulfillment service for delivering items as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Restrictions

Walmart removes any listing that is highly uncompetitive or unfairly priced, including shipping fees.

8) Optimize your inventory efficiency to ensure your products are always in stock

An out of stock product won’t just fail to scale the search results until you restock it, but it could also impede its chances of ever reaching the top spot in the future.

Walmart wants to offer customers a reliable shopping experience they can return to time and time again. Products that regularly sell out could prevent shoppers from doing so, and accordingly, Walmart’s algorithm doesn’t like them.

Optimize your inventory efficiency to avoid selling out by practicing demand forecasting, investing in multi-channel inventory management software, and using adaptive storage solutions to stock more products during peak periods.

Tip: Distribute your stock with one fulfillment network that serves orders from all your channels, to prevent sales channel-specific stock-outs.

9) Focus on service to get more product reviews on your Walmart listings

Reviews are vital to the health of an eCommerce listing. They provide social proof and show shoppers that others have purchased and enjoyed your product. In order to boost your chances of getting a review on Walmart, be sure to provide seamless customer service; Answer customer emails within a day, use a reliable fulfillment provider, and provide accurate tracking information.

There are two types of reviews on Walmart; product reviews and retailer reviews. Retailer reviews focus on the service of a particular seller and how items arrived. Customer product reviews are focused on the items themselves, and appear in your listings.

Walmart has made it fairly easy for a customer to review an item, and even Walmart employees are welcome to leave honest feedback. Walmart shoppers can submit reviews in 3 ways;

  • Walmart automatically emails your customer an invitation to leave a review a few weeks after their purchase
  • Your customer can click on the order number number of their purchase, go to the order detail page, then “Review this product”
  • They can click “Write a Review” beside the Review Snapshot on a listing, even if they didn’t purchase that item from Walmart

Since Walmart sends the follow-up email for you, your job is to focus on the customer experience and provide a great product.

10) Monitor your KPIs to ensure customer service excellence

Customer experience is important to Walmart because it’s what sets Walmart apart from other online marketplaces, and it’s what customers return for. And, the more customers that return to your listings, the more Walmart wants to promote your listings.

Use the Seller Center Analytics & Reporting dashboards to monitor and improve key KPIs including:

  • Order defect rate
  • On time shipping rate
  • On time delivery rate
  • Trust and safety score

If you’re struggling to deliver excellence for any of your KPIs, consider in-sourcing external expertise or outsourcing tasks to enhance your customer experience.

Tip: Improve your on time shipping rate by disbursing your stock across a network of fulfillment centers to reduce the distance stock has to travel and increase the speed of delivery.

Keep it up

Perhaps the biggest and most crucial Walmart SEO tip is ongoing dedication. Walmart doesn’t award the #1 search result position overnight, but it can remove it overnight.

If you secure a top search result position after consistently optimizing your listings, perfecting your customer experience, and offering the best prices and shipping times, it’s crucial that you continue these Walmart SEO practices to stay competitive and in the top spot.

This means continually monitoring keywords, adjusting prices, striving for positive reviews, and shipping fast and on time, every time. Failure to do so will see a competitor come and steal your top spot.

Happy selling!

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