We lift the veil on Amazon’s search algorithm to analyze which ranking factors matter most and offer some solid tips for ranking on Amazon.
All About A9, Amazon’s Search Algorithm
A9 is an organic product ranking algorithm similar to that used by Google, Bing, or other general search engines. Though it uses fewer ranking factors (30-odd vs 250), it functions in the same way, to match users’ searches with products they are most likely to purchase.
Search algorithms are always a closely guarded secret, and they’re constantly getting tweaked over time in any case. (Some users call Amazon’s engine “A10” rather than A9, which only debuted last year but has been changed many times since.) However, certain ranking factors are well established and constant, and these are still the most important ones.
A few of the most important factors for ranking on Amazon include:
- Sales Velocity (this is #1)
- Availability of Stock
- Product Title Match
- Text Match Relevancy
- Customer Reviews
- Bullet Points
- Answered Questions
- Optimization for Google searches
Remember that Amazon is customer-centric — and wants its sellers to be the same.
A9 identifies relevance factors based on the shopper’s past traffic activity and tells Amazon’s website how to tailor (pull, score and order) search results based on the interests of that customer. It is used by Amazon to assure that the best-selling products with the best margins by the most customer-centric sellers rise to the top of search results.
What does it mean when a product shows as “Amazon’s Choice”? (As opposed to a “Best Seller”)
Originally developed to make voice shopping via Alexa easier, Amazon’s Choice is a feature that algorithmically identifies the “best fit” product for a customer’s full search query. When browsing for products via devices such as the Echo smart speaker, Amazon’s Choice is often the first product Alexa recommends.
Keywords are still important, but they aren’t everything.
Brands like Google and Amazon do not say exactly what impacts search rankings. Amazon is focused on creating the best possible shopping experience, which means that it should always be sellers’ focus as well.
Here are ten tips for ranking on Amazon, based on the most important ranking factors.
Amazon Tip #1: Sales Velocity
Sales velocity is a measure of conversion and is, hands down, the most important factor that A9 takes into account when determining your ranking. It’s defined by Amazon as the number and dollar amount of a seller’s transactions during any given month. Consider using PPC or Amazon’s own promotional options to increase sales to take advantage of Amazon’s Best Seller feature, which highlights the most-purchased items. Having one of your products as a best-seller indirectly increases your ranking for other products in your store.
Amazon Tip #2: Product Availability
The key to this factor is, don’t run out of stock. If FBA, keep Amazon stocked with your merchandise. Amazon does not like to lose out on sales. If you run out, you disappoint the customer, and you disappoint Amazon. Monitor inventory regularly and aim for striking a balance so you have just enough on hand at Amazon at all times.
Amazon Tip #3: Customer Reviews
A product on Amazon with at least one review is 65 percent more likely to be purchased over a product with no reviews. Consider sending a slip along with products asking customers to leave feedback to increase reviews. Just be sure to follow Amazon’s policies for soliciting reviews.
Amazon Tip #4: Answered Questions
Answered questions are an Amazon feature that allows customers to ask questions and get answers about a product. While Amazon doesn’t explicitly state that answered questions impacts search results, most of the top ranking products have answered questions, which suggests they matter for conversions—which is a ranking factor.
Amazon Tip #5: Product Title
You have around 80 characters in your title. Make the most of it by including key terms users may search for: brand names, serial numbers (if applicable), color, size, gender terms, and so forth. Adding feature adjectives, when you have room, can also help: “breathable,” “foldable,” compact,” etc.) For a reality check and to avoid wrong guesswork, use Amazon’s Merchant Words Keyword Tool to look for terms most users are searching for.
Amazon Tip #6: Text Match Relevancy
This is an assessment of how well the content in your listing (i.e. title, features and product description) matches the keywords searched by consumers. The greater your text match relevancy, the better your ranking. This factor is the reason optimizing your listings is so crucial to your Amazon success. Great titles, feature-rich bullet points and engaging descriptions rise to the top.
Amazon Tip #7: Bullet Points in Product Descriptions
People on the internet don’t read; they scan. This is also true on Amazon. Mobile sales are up for Amazon, which means you need to optimize your content for those tiny screens. Bulleting content allows customers to quickly understand the features of your product in an easy to read, narrow-screen format. Making a quick scan easy and simple (as opposed to using thick blocks of text) will help them click the “purchase” button instead of returning to search results.
The bulleted format quickly gives essential information in an easy-to-read format. Consider mining your site’s FAQs for the information your customers find most important, and use as many known keywords as possible.
Amazon Tip #8: Optimization for Google
Here’s the thing: Amazon is such a powerhouse in terms of keyword matching that it always ranks well on Google. Therefore, you can leverage the power of Amazon to help your products rank well on Google, too. Plus, better ranking on Google could improve sales, which leads to a higher ranking on Amazon.
Amazon Tip #9: Make your own algorithm to stay ahead of Amazon’s.
As a seller, you can put in place some algorithmic tools of your own to analyze your market’s dynamics and make real-time adjustments to changing market conditions. Some larger entrepreneurs have begun using simple algorithms to
- Adjust pricing on the fly to respond to pricing data from competitors
- Estimate and predict inventory requirements
- Forecast which products to drop or add.
This enterprising strategy may require hiring someone to help with developing the algorithm, but if it yields a steadily rising sales curve, then it’s a worthy investment.
Ranking on Amazon Tip #10: Get ahead with a PIM + Syndication service.
Many sellers use Excel to manage Amazon product listings. The problem is, that approach can quickly become complicated, time consuming, and costly. Instead, you can organize all that data in one location and directly push your listings to Amazon, using a Product Information Management (PIM) application created specifically for managing your Amazon data, such as Akeneo or Plytix.
Shopping Feed can take a data feed from a PIM and use it as a master source of truth for syndicating products to 1000’s of channels. We inject inventory data from any source (ERP, SAP, Hosted CSV file, data feed) and provide the perfect tool for mapping complex sets of product attribute fields, all automatically for each channel. Contact us for more info or a product demo: firstname.lastname@example.org (920) 333 3488