Amazon ranking for products is based on its own in-house search algorithm called A9. Instead of using metrics based on other existing search engines, they came up with their own to maximize their goals for the Amazon platform, their visitors, and their sellers.
The good news is that ranking for Amazon is much easier than for Google or other search engines. All of you that have done any kind of SEO work before will breathe a collective sigh of relief as there is absolutely no talk of backlinks, lead generation or domain authority. Everything is on-page.
What are Amazon rankings based on?
Amazon’s A9 search algorithm is there to do one simple thing: Match potential buyers with sellers that are most likely going to convince them to buy. Notice that we didn’t say only say “match buyers with relevant products.” Although a relevant product is definitely important, it doesn’t mean much to Amazon if they don’t end up buying anything in the search results.
To ensure that this happens, they take into account the relevancy of the product, the likelihood someone will buy from that seller, and the history of customer satisfaction that seller has.
This set of factors depend on how relevant your product and its description is compared to what visitors on Amazon search. The phrase they type into the search field is called the “search term.”
This one might seem obvious. Of course, the title should be the main piece of information that matches the relevance of the product towards the search query. You should cram the title as full of keywords as possible. Including the brand and model number at the start is also a plus.
As well as just being a good practice for visitors to find out more about your product, Amazon search rankings also reward a full product page with a better search ranking. You will see the features section on the product creation page. Take the time to fill it out as thoroughly as possible.
You are going to hear us say this a few times, but be as thorough as possible when filling out your product description! Your product description should contain every keyword at least once to help match your product’s relevancy with whatever the search was.
Another important section on every product description page, a complete specifications section will help you climb the search rankings. Just be as thorough as possible and make sure to fill in all the rows Amazon provides.
To rank highly in your specific category, you will need to be as precise as possible when defining the category of your product. Amazon has multiple levels of categories. For example, Tools -> Power tools. Once users narrow down their category search, they only see items in this category so by not following the hierarchy, you will be completely out of the running.
You should see this section in the product creation page. It’s made of five fields of fifty characters each. However, you can add multiple terms per field. These will be directly compared to what users search for relevance. You can find some good search terms yourself by typing the start of a search into the Amazon search field and seeing what pops up.
This set of factors have to do with how many of the visitors to your product end up buying it. Or, how likely they are to buy a product from what’s available.
Best Sellers Rank (BSR)
If someone has been selling a lot of products, they must be doing something right, right? Do any search on Amazon and you will often see products with a “Best Seller” label at the top or very near to it. These labels are given for the best selling product per category. It might be hard to actually be the number 1 seller yourself, but it helps the closer you are. Dissecting the metrics for the BSR is worth an article in itself. Here you can find a complete guide to it.
Customer reviews and ratings
Both quantity and positivity of reviews are of importance. A product with a slightly lower rating might be ranked above a higher ranked one just because it has a lot more ratings. However, the actual score of stars is still the dominating factor.
The lower the price, the more likely someone is to buy it. It’s as simple as that. This is also a big factor for winning the coveted Buy Box for a specific ASIN. Remember, Amazon is all about conversion.
Customer questions answered
This is one of those surprise metrics not many would expect. Although, it makes logical sense that a responsive seller will lead to more conversions. After all, how likely is someone to buy a product if their questions aren’t answered?
Customers love images. Just think of how likely you are to buy something online without having any visual proof of it. Images should be clear, high quality (at least 1000px by 1000px), and informative when necessary. Amazon factors it into their ranking but it’s also just good practice.
Options and parent-child products
Your products are also ranked higher based on whether it has options like a choice of color, size, etc. It’s better to make products with options than create individual listings.
Visitor patterns on your product page
This falls down to factors such as your conversion rate, the time visitors stay on your product page, how many times they “bounce” (leave after a short time) off, and leave Amazon completely.
Product listing completion
We covered a few of the individual parts of your product description you should pay attention to. Generally keeping your listing as complete and thorough as possible can do nothing but help your cause.
This set of factors have to do with how happy previous customers have been using the specific buyer as well as how likely they are to satisfy a potential customer’s wants and needs.
The most obvious metric to measure customer satisfaction is the actual feedback they give, usually in the form of customer reviews and star ratings. Instead of ranking users according to how high their ranking is, they rank according to the rate of negative feedback. All negative feedback counts equally.
If you don’t fulfill through Amazon FBA, the speed with which you see to and deliver customers orders will have an impact on your overall satisfaction rating and, as a result, your ranking.
This factor is in play whether you ship through Amazon FBA or by yourself. The longer your products are listed as “out of stock”, the more it will count against you.
Perfect Order Percentage
The POP is the ratio of sales and shipments that have gone off without a hitch. Customers don’t want any hassles. So, the more efficient you have been regarding this in the past, the better.
Order Defect Rate
This is effectively the opposite of the previous factor. Amazon has stated that you should aim for an ODR of less than 1%. If a user removes negative feedback, it will no longer count against your record. Any kind of shipment problem, product defect or other problem could count towards this.
A visitor leaves Amazon from your product page
Chances are, if a visitor leaves the Amazon site entirely after visiting a product page, they must’ve really seen something they didn’t like. The actual impact of this factor is unknown, but it is there.
By using Amazon FBA, you can select packaging options such as Frustration-free packaging. This is just another choice that appeals to users and leads to more conversions.
How to make search rankings work for you
As you could see, there are a few places you can use keywords in your product listing to improve your rankings for related search queries. It’s easy enough to do keyword research on Amazon on your own (there aren’t any keyword research tools for Amazon yet, unfortunately).
Just try searching for different products in your niche and find common threads. Also, keep an eye on Amazon’s auto-fill drop-down. This is a good indicator of what people are searching for.
Manage your inventory carefully
Inventory management is a very important and often neglected ranking factor. Being out of stock doesn’t look good on your product page and Amazon will also not be happy with you. You also don’t want to overstock as this could incur warehousing penalties.
Win the Buy Box
Winning the buy box is an article all on its own. However, if you go with popular products, it might be better to just focus on the other factors as it can be close to impossible to beat the big boys that have been selling a long time.
Working on all the other factors in this article will inevitably improve your chances of winning the Buy Box.
Find a successful product and sell it too
You should know already that on Amazon multiple sellers often sell the exact same product. One way to immediately get a boost up the search results is to latch on to a popular item. If you can find a way to buy the product on the cheap and sell it at a profit that’s still competitive, you have already struck gold.
You will need to do some research on the legality of reselling the specific item as well as fight off some stiff competition in most cases, but it can be a good way to jump the queue.
Custom URL Queries
Using these, you can basically “hack” the Amazon system to think products were bought on your page using a certain search query. Don’t worry, this is all above board and not against any rules. Exactly how it works and how to do it can get pretty technical. You can find tools that do this for you.
Not everyone is pro this technique, but it does seem to be effective.
Amazon sales and vendor powered coupons
Amazon sales are a powerful way to get introduced to savvy Amazon buyers. The fact that these are usually regular buyers is an added bonus. Sales and items with coupons attached are placed in separate categories for the duration of the sale or event.
You can take advantage of this by being the first among your competitors to list an item on sale.
Use repricing tools
As we’ve explained before, keeping your prices competitive is an important ranking factor. On top of that, users are just that more likely to buy someone else’s product if they offer it at a lower price.
The best way to reprice items is to do it yourself, however, we know that you probably don’t sit in front of your computer 24/7 looking at how prices rise and fall for each of your products.
That’s why there are some nifty repricing tools that can automatically do this for you or at least alert you of any need for action. RepriceIt is a popular example.
Make complete and attractive product descriptions
You have seen how many pieces of a complete product description plays a role in your ranking. That’s why it’s important to not see product descriptions only as a boring and tedious task that you have to do to list your product, but as something you should do to improve your visibility and sales.
Prioritize your customer interaction
Firstly, by addressing negative reviews quickly and solving the customer’s problem, you might be able to persuade customers to change the rating to a more positive one or remove the negative review altogether. Less negative reviews will minimize any penalty for negative feedback.
Secondly, answering potential (or current) customer’s questions will also help you rank higher in the other search results. You can find the number of questions answered on each page.
Using Amazon FBA helps you out because they effectively deal with all customer problems regarding shipping.
Improve your Amazon ranking and grow your sales!
Using the guide on how the A9 algorithm works and following our tips on how to rank higher on it, you will be well on your way climbing the Amazon ranking ladder. You want to be as close to the top to get the most out of your Amazon listings and we hope that this article helps you get there!