First Published: September 18, 2018 By Othmane Sghir.
DataHawk is a web-based Amazon Analytics Tool that combines a Keyword Ranking Tracker, a Product Tracker, a Market and Keyword Analysis tool, and a Product Research engine. This is a blog post where we share some insights on how Amazon Ranking Algorithm works and where we outline a few tips on how you can improve your rankings. Our software comes with a free plan and advanced paid plans for sellers, vendors, and agencies of all sizes.
Amazon is slowly but surely becoming the go-to platform for online shoppers. In fact, 49% of US online transactions take place on this platform. Recognizing this trend, businesses of all sizes started joining the Amazon platform in hope of generating more sales. Ultimately, the Amazon online marketplace became highly competitive with millions of products available for shoppers worldwide.
To help customers find what they are looking for, Amazon has implemented a search box powered by their internal search engine, one that works on the principles similar to those of major search engines.
Today, we are going to talk about Amazon's search box, or more particularly, the A9 algorithm that stands behind it. We will show you how to leverage it to rank your products higher and become more competitive in this landscape.
Created by Amazon in 2003 as an independent company focused on developing technology for search and advertising, A9 goal is to leverage algorithms, hence its name that was chosen as a numeronym (a number-based word) to represent the algorithms word (the 'A' latter followed by 9 other letters).
A9.com originally operated a search portal which was discontinued in 2008. Today, the A9 team develops and operates the technology that provides search and advertising on Amazon marketplaces, as well as other retail sites owned by Amazon.
For Amazon sellers and vendors, the Amazon search engine is synonymous with the A9 search engine and the algorithm behind it.
The Amazon search box is powered by the powerful A9 algorithm. Every product sold through the Amazon platform sends many signals which the A9 algorithm picks up and sorts out to make the shopping experience a smooth ride.
Since Amazon is very clear about the ranking factors and how their ranking algorithm weighs them, optimizing products for Amazon is much simpler than any ordinary SEO task. While we are at it, it’s important to understand that the A9 search engine algorithm used on Amazon and the algorithm used by Google are very different.
A9 was developed to connect online consumers with products. To successfully do so, it had to be different than Google, both in terms of search intent and metrics that define the search result rankings.
When it comes to search intent, Amazon is aware that most searchers come with an intent to purchase. Unlike Google, which is used by a huge audience with unequally distributed and different intents, people who search Amazon are there to look for, compare, and buy products. This is why they’ve built A9 to complement this fact, thus tying A9 to conversion and sales.
Secondly, the search results that Amazon's A9 ranking algorithm give back to the users are based on conversions and sales velocity. It weighs out completely different factors than Google’s algorithm. A9 takes purchasing behavior very seriously and classifies products as relevant if they were purchased after a performed query.
Let us help you understand the importance of increasing your product rankings on the Amazon platform. First of all, you should know that only 10% of searches on Google end up with a purchase. The statistics that describe the audience using A9 on Amazon tell quite a different story.
The products found on the first page of search results on Amazon syphon most of the clicks. To be more precise, 65% of clicks go to the first 3 products.
Ranking first is the ultimate goal for most of the sellers, because 35% of shoppers click on the first product on the SERPS of Amazon.
The search results found on the first page of Amazon SERPS attract 81% of clicks. This is why big brands devote serious efforts to developing comprehensive A9 optimization strategies.
Lastly, most of the shoppers on Amazon won’t bother going to the second page of the search results. In fact, 70% of them never leave the first page and end up clicking on one of the products listed there.
We have already shared with your that Amazon treats signals quite differently than Google. But what are the A9 algorithm ranking factors? Here are the A9 ranking factors and how each of them fits the A9 optimization strategy.
The direct factors play a vital role in ranking your products on Amazon. These factors go as follows:
- Product title, description, and copy – these are the three aspects that make text match relevance.
- Product availability – A9 always pings your account to check for availability of stock. If you run out of stock, your products’ rankings will decrease and eventually disappear from the search results.
- The price – A9 compares your products prices against the competition. If you price your products much higher, the competitors’ products will appear above yours in the search results.
While the direct factors can be affected by optimizing your products better for A9, indirect factors cannot. However, they still remain important factors for A9. These are:
- Sales velocity (how many products you’ve sold in a given period)
- Relative sales velocity (how many products you sell compared to your competitors)
- Fulfillment method
Now, when we take the look at all the factors we’ve mentioned above, the optimization process may appear as overly complex. But don’t let the number of factors discourage you. The A9 optimization process can be simplified. Here are the 8 tips to improve your product Amazon rankings.
Before you dive into writing your product’s copy, you have to research the right keywords. Using the high volume keywords will help you cut through the noise and rank your products higher in the Amazon SERPS. If you don't have experience in keyword research, nor you have sufficient resources to outsource it to professionals, take a look at what your competitors did.
Reverse engineering is a viable method in A9 optimization. The best way to utilize this is to take a look at competitors’ products with the most reviews. Once you have identified several products, go through their title descriptions and product copy and identify the keywords. These are the phrases that appear more than once in the text.
Scratch off the keywords that are not relevant to your product in particular and work with what you have left. You can use an Amazon keyword tool to research the keywords and see their search volume and other relevant details.
Since your product title is the first thing potential buyers will see you have to put some effort into making it better. Apart from this, the title is an important signal for the A9 algorithm. Your title should always contain your main keyword, which is usually your product name.
Product title should contain:
- Product line
- Product type
The goal is to make it informative, yet short and easy to read.
In of August 2017, Amazon launched a new feature limiting the lengths of generic keywords people can use in the product title and copy. This is all done to make the user experience better. This means that you will have to write shorter and more informative listings, where the keyword can be mentioned only once.
To significantly improve your product rankings, you have to increase sales velocity, which is the most important signal for the A9 algorithm. Amazon generates revenue by pushing as many products as possible. This is why the A9 puts products with high velocity on the first page of the search results.
While they are not a ranking factor, online reviews increase trust and boost sales velocity. This is why they are able to increase the rank of your products and generate more sales. Amazon is aware of the role reviews play in the purchasing decision process. This is why they are considered one of the most important indirect signals.
We don’t advise you to try and manipulate the reviews in any way, as you might get penalized. Instead, pay attention to them and improve your products. You should also leverage them to find out how to make a product title and copy better, so that you can provide more relevant information to the customers.
Product descriptions shouldn’t just be used to place your keyword phrase and get done with it. They stand as a unique opportunity to delight your customers. To master them, you have to learn how to make them more readable.
We suggest that you break up your text body into logical bullet points. As a bonus, A9 will index it easier and help you rank higher. You should use bullet points to highlight your products features, special properties, use cases, and address common customer concerns.
Images play a vital role in the online shopping. They can be the difference between a closed sale and bounce off. This is why you should always use high-quality product images. The very Amazon recommendation clearly states that images should be at least 1,000 pixels in width or height. This enables users to zoom in and inspect your products more closely – just as if they were in a brick and mortar store.
Make sure to supply multiple images for each product. These images should be taken from different angles. If there are any accessories that come with the main product, make sure to include them in the pictures.
360-degree photos are becoming more popular on Amazon and some brands claim that using them results in higher conversion rates.
You can further fine-tune your Amazon listings and add contextual information. What are you looking for here? For instance:
- Is your product compatible with other products?
- Can it be used on the go?
- Does it pack some unique features?
- Is it cross-platform compatible?
Contextual information should ease the customer’s mind and pre-empt their concerns. To find inspiration, you can read reviews of similar products and go through the customer questions. Identify the common ones and enter them in your product copy. Typing in keywords with or without a hashtag in Amazon search will help you see other keywords that can help you get new ideas for contextual information.
If your product title is not as natural as you’ve planned, you are allowed to use special characters to add some style and naturally break up phrases to create a more meaningful flow.
When writing a product copy, you can try to create a compelling story behind your product and push prospects towards conversion by being direct. For instance, “order today” or “buy now”.
You don’t need to duplicate your keyword in product listings. You can place it just once. You get to decide whether the title, description or backend is the most suitable place.
Somehow the items that are Fulfilled by Amazon end up being ranked better than the rest. If it’s an option for you, consider using Fulfilment by Amazon for your products.
In the end, make sure to stay active on Amazon and address any questions your customers might have. This is a great opportunity to build trust, resolve pain points for your customers, and ultimately build trust, increase sales, and boost sales velocity.
Appearing on the first page of the Amazon SERPs is not an impossible task. Now that you have a better understanding of the A9 algorithm and know the best Amazon SEO practices, you can modify your strategy.
Once you have optimized each aspect of your product listing, rinse and repeat the steps for all your products. Trust us, once you do it a couple of times, it becomes an easy routine with several engaging aspects – such as keyword research and writing an engaging product copy.
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