EP6: Demystifying Amazon’s A10 Algorithm
The fate of your Amazon business is determined by algorithms. More specifically, by Amazon’s A9 Algorithm. However, they recently made significant changes to this algorithm, changing the weightage given to certain parameters. This new avatar is called the A10 Algorithm, and we demystify it for you in this podcast episode.
Raphael: Live, from DataHawk studio in Paris, welcome to a new episode of the DataHawk eCommerce podcast. And we’re here today to discuss the much-anticipated Amazon’s A10 algorithm. We’re actually super excited to tackle this topic right now because the more we are doing research on this topic, the more we discover that this is literally going to have an enormous impact on Amazon sellers’ activity and that not a lot of sellers know about it yet – so little. Most of us are familiar with A9. But what about A10. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Pratik, our favorite Amazon expert, is with us today. What’s up, Pat?
Prateek: Bonjour, Raphael.
Raphael: Thanks for being with us, Pat.
Prateek: Thank you for having me.
Raphael: Okay. So, on today’s agenda, what is Amazon’s A10 algorithm and why should you care about it? Second part – main differences between A9 and A10. And, last but not least, the Amazon A10 pro-tips, actionable pro-tips, presented by DataHawk content editor, our lovely Wafa. Lots of thanks for joining us today.
Wafa: Thank you for having me.
Raphael: Pat, let’s start at the beginning. What are the Amazon A9 and A10 algorithms?
Prateek: Well, Raphael, so Amazon is an algorithmic powerhouse, right? So, when a shopper types in a search query, the results they see, those results are determined by an algorithm. This algorithm is called the A9 algorithm. They recently updated this algorithm and made significant changes to it. As such, in our world of Amazon sellers, analytics, and SAS providers, where any and every piece of news related to Amazon spreads like wildfire, people are calling this the A10 algorithm.
Raphael: You mean a world of Amazon-obsessed people?
Prateek: Exactly. It won’t be long before Mr. Jeff Bezos makes an appearance in my dreams. Wait, listen, can you please edit that last sentence out of this podcast, please?
Raphael: Yeah of course, of course. Or not.
Prateek: You’re so mature, Raphael. Okay so, just so you know, Amazon has yet to officially announce a switch to A10. They still call it the A9 algorithm. The A10 itself is a black box and no one outside Amazon knows the details. In fact, I reached out to a couple of friends that work at Amazon and they don’t know much about that either. However, by studying tons and tons of search results and running correlations, one can make an educated guess. Actually, it’s not so much a guess anymore after you’ve captured millions and millions of data points like we do at DataHawk.
Raphael: Yeah. We’ve demystified the A10 algorithm at DataHawk, right?
Prateek: So, while there are several criteria taken into account by the algorithm, you know, like keywords and PDP content and seller metrics and feedback, reviews, order defect rate, FBA, back end search terms, we can say with near certainty that price, reviews, ratings, sales performance, history and stock are the most important criteria used by the algorithm when deciding search result ranks. All of these together determine your product’s relevance, you know? Relevance is the keyword here. Wait, wait, listen, I don’t want to confuse our listeners, so I’ll rephrase that because the word keyword is not to be used lightheartedly anymore.
Raphael: Yeah, Pratik, we can’t just casually drop it every not and then.
Prateek: Well, my apologies, Raphael. Let me rephrase it to say relevance is the most important criterion.
Raphael: Okay, so price, reviews, and ratings are very precise parameters. Relevance just sounds so ambiguous. You need to elaborate here, Pat, what the main differences are between the A9 and A10 algorithm, and what sellers need to do to benefit from the A10 algorithm.
Prateek: Sure. So, let’s see. Well, essentially, this algorithm is composed of several parameters, right? And each parameter is given a certain weightage. With the A10, Amazon has changed the weightage for certain parameters. That means certain parameters which helped you rank higher with the A9 won’t serve you as well with the A10 anymore. Similarly, certain parameters which weren’t as important earlier now play an increased role in determining how you rank. So, the A9’s focus was on profitability, right? The A10’s focus is on relevance. A9 showed the most profitable products in search results whereas the A10 displays the most relevant products in search results even if the products aren’t as profitable. What do I mean by that? It’ll get clearer as I keep going, right? So Amazon will rank you higher depending on where your traffic comes from, that is if you have the link to your Amazon store or products on other websites or blogs and shoppers click on those links to arrive at your store or product pages, Amazon will rank you higher in search results. In other words, there’s just an increased emphasis now on offsite traffic. The same tactic that you would use to drive traffic to your own website, you know like Facebook ads, ad-words, and so on, can help you generate offsite traffic and therefore skew the A9 algorithm in your product’s favor. There’s also a lot more focus on organic traffic than on that brought in by a sponsored ad. That’s because high organic traffic is an indicator that shoppers find your product relevant, right? That you didn’t have to manipulate the system to attract shoppers.
Raphael: Right. That makes sense.
Prateek: Yeah. As such, you know, Amazon will reward you for it and rank you higher. Why Amazon’s A9 algorithm was traffic agnostic, as in, you know, whether organic or ad-driven, as long as your product generated real traffic, it would rank higher in subsequent search results, the new A10 rewards organic traffic more.
Raphael: That’s an enormous change, man.
Prateek: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So another change is that seller authority plays a more important role now. If you have more feedback, you stand to gain. Of course, they need to be positive feedback. If you have been around for long on Amazon, you stand to gain. If you sell across categories, that is, if you have a large catalog, you stand to gain. This trifecta, you know, Raphael, your feedback rating, your tenure, and depth and breadth of your catalog owing to your credibility as a seller on Amazon. If you have lots of positive feedback, it shows that shoppers had a good experience shopping from you and that helps future or potential buyers have more confidence in your product. As such, the A10 will rank you higher. Also, the click-through rate is one of the primary factors impacting A10 search results. Shoot for a high CTR. If you have compelling images and copies, shoppers are more likely to click on your products.
Raphael: We already covered that in our previous episode, right?
Prateek: Yes. Sometimes I forget. And Amazon will rank you higher in search results, right? Because, if you think about it, the rationale is quite simple, actually. Shoppers click on the products that they deem to be relevant. That is, you know, it meets the search expectations. And Amazon, which, as I said earlier, prioritizes the customer and relevance. So, in their eyes, if a customer clicks on your product for a specific search query, it means your product is highly relevant for that search query, and as such, Amazon begins to rate it higher in search results. As a side note there, Raphael, while the CTR is important, don’t ignore the conversion rate. A low conversion rate signals that something might be wrong on your product detail page, or that some info might be missing, you know? So be prone to fixing that. Otherwise, your CTR optimization efforts go to waste. Look. End of the day, Amazon needs you to deliver sales. So, if you have a high CTR, but a poor conversion rate, sooner or later Amazon will downgrade you in search results. Next, your sales history is an important factor now. That’s because of a strong record there is sort of an overall report card of your past performance. And you know how they say your past is a good indicator of your future? If you think about it, if you have a strong sales history, it means that you excelled at inventory management. That is, you’ve consistently carried sufficient inventory to fulfill orders. That your products have an optimum price because if they didn’t, you probably wouldn’t have generated enough sales. That your products are of good quality because if they weren’t, past shoppers would have just left you scathing reviews.
Raphael: Right. Yeah.
Prateek: Driving subsequent shoppers away. So, you get the idea, right? If you have a strong and consistent sales history, you will rank higher in search results. And, of course, keywords. Our, not just mine but I think our favorite subject. The power of SEO simply cannot be overstated, Raphael. Undercover all the keywords shoppers are using, you know, to look for products like yours and include them in your listings and in the back end. That will allow A10 to match your product with shoppers’ search queries and rank you higher in search results.
Raphael: So A10 changed a lot of things, you just talked about it.
Raphael: One thing that is common for the two is SEO.
Prateek: Oh yeah. That doesn’t change. SEO still remains the backbone.
Raphael: Keep that, keep that in mind, guys.
Prateek: Well, that’s all I have for you Rafi, and that sort of sums up the key differences I think between A9 and A10 and what sellers should focus on to benefit from the latest object.
Raphael: Thanks a lot, Pat. In a nutshell, Amazon has changed the weight that’s given to certain parameters which determine how you rank in search results, and in order to benefit from this update, sellers need to focus on offsite traffic, organic sales, their seller metrics like star ratings, on-time fulfillment rate, oh my god – pre-fulfilling consolation rate, order defect rate, their click-through rate, conversion rate, and have the right keywords on their listing. SEO, guys. Is it correct?
Prateek: Exactly. That was a good summary. You paid to everything I said, Raphael. You must have been a good student.
Raphael: No, no, not so great. I pay attention where I can. And now, without further ado, it’s time for pro tips or pro actionable tips for you guys, and for this section, I would like to invite Wafa, our content editor at DataHawk. So, Wafa welcomes us to our podcast. Such a pleasure to have you.
Wafa: Such a pleasure for me too. Thank you, guys.
Raphael: Wafa, will you please give our listeners a few pro tips to help them benefit from the A10 update, please?
Wafa: Of course. I’d love to. So, I hope you are taking notes, listeners. Okay so for the first tip, given that the weight that is allocated to PPC has reduced in this update, we think you should still run ads, but you should diversify campaigns. So, instead of just running ads on Amazon, you could run ads off Amazon. This way, you still attract increased traffic to your listing while at the same time satisfying A10’s increased focus on offsite traffic. So, two birds with one stone. Focus on increasing the number of impressions your products get. So, if your impressions increase, Amazon will rank you higher. For that, keywords is the way to go. Use an SEO tool like DataHawk to uncover the most important keywords for each product and use them in your listings. Title, bullet points, description, back-end search terms. Third tip, check your competition. Again, here too, use an analytics provider like DataHawk to determine which products you are competing against. So, once you know that, you can find out which keywords they are ranking for, which keywords they are running ads on if they are making listing or pricing changes, and what the overall market dynamics are for certain keywords.
Raphael: Use an analytics provider, guys.
Wafa: Exactly. Use DataHawk. Improve your conversion rates through PDP optimization and AV testing. So, here you can make changes to your listing, and add analytics tools like DataHawk again, lists, and analysis tools, to see how those changes are affecting your rank and conversions. So, if the changes improve your rank and conversion rate, keep them. If not, repeat the process. Simple. Finally, collaborate with micro-influencers and popular bloggers. Have them review your product and have these reviews link back to their respective amazon listings. And that’s it for me.
Raphael: That’s so interesting. Thank you, and that micro-influencer thing and popular bloggers, it’s so funny that getting into the game it has so much weight now.
Prateek: It’s amazing how Instagram just blew up this world, you know, with influencers and stuff.
Raphael: Oh my god. Welcome to 2020. Thanks a lot, Wafa, and thanks a lot, Pat. That’s a wrap, people. A10 is around the corner, as we just talked about, and I hope you learned a lot from this episode. You can leave your question, if you do have some, on our LinkedIn page DataHawk and we’ll be so happy to answer. See you for our next episode where we’ll talk about an essential topic for any serious Amazon seller, the famous Buy Box, and how to win it in 2020 and in this post-COVID era. In the meantime, stay safe, and sell well. Bye bye.
Wafa: Bye bye.
Prateek: Bye bye.