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. A9 tells Amazon’s website how to tailor its search results based on the interests of that customer. Best-selling products showing the best margins and coming from the most customer-centric sellers win the best rankings.
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 a shopper asks their Echo smart speaker, about a product, it pulls up an Amazon’s Choice product first.
Keywords are still important, but they aren’t everything.
Brands like Google and Amazon will never reveal exactly what affects search rankings. Amazon wants its sellers to provide the best possible shopping experience for things like accuracy and customer service, in addition to price, so we do know that those factors have an outsi effect on rankings.
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 your rate of conversions. It’s considered by insiders to be the single most important factor that A9 takes into account when determining your ranking. SV is the number and dollar amount of a seller’s transactions during a 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
Rule 1: Don’t ever run out of stock. Especially when you’re enrolled in FBA, always make sure to keep Amazon’s warehouse stocked with your merchandise. Amazon wants to fulfill every order and keep customers happy. 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
Having at least one review of your product on Amazon makes it 65 percent more likely to be purchased over a product with no reviews. If you send a slip along with products asking customers to leave feedback, you’ll increase reviews. But make sure to follow Amazon’s policies for soliciting reviews.
Amazon Tip #4: Answered Questions
Answering customer questions posed through Amazon’s “Questions” feature has been shown to help. It’s rather an unspoken policy from Amazon, but you can see that most of the top ranking products do feature answered questions, which also leads to better conversions. And conversions is a ranking factor.
Amazon Tip #5: Product Title
80 characters is the recommended length for an Amazon product title. Here is where you’ll use your best keywords for the product: the brand name, sometimes serial numbers, the color, size, and maybe gender terms (“Mens”). 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: Relevant text matching
The content in your listing, such as title, features and product description, should be closely relevant or exactly match the keywords used by shoppers. The higher your text match relevancy, the higher you rank.
Amazon Tip #7: Product Bullet Points
Bullet points are easy for the eye to scan, whether on a desktop or mobile screen. 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.
Your site’s FAQs are a good source for finding the best bullet points to use, as they show what information your customers find most important. Also, use as many known keywords as possible in your bullet points.
Amazon Tip #8: Optimization for Google
Amazon is such a powerhouse in terms of keyword matching that it always ranks well on a Google search. Therefore, you can leverage the power of Amazon to help your products rank well on Google, too. They are symbiotic: improved ranking on Google can improve sales, which in turn leads to a higher ranking on Amazon.
Amazon Tip #9: Make your own algorithm to stay ahead of Amazon’s.
There are ways to build simple algorithmic tools yourself for analyzing your market’s dynamics so that you can make real-time adjustments to changing market conditions. Some larger entrepreneurs are using simple algorithms to
- Adjust pricing IRT in response 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 plus a feed syndication service.
We’ve cautioned before about using Excel to maintain your Amazon product listings. It’s inefficient and wasteful. 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.
Shoppingfeed 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.