It is without a doubt that each Amazon seller asks themselves this question at least once (if not all the time) within their seller journey, “How does Amazon product ranking work, and more importantly, how do I rank my product on the first page?”
Rightfully, which seller wouldn’t?
Studies show that products on the first page get at least 80% of all the clicks, while the first 3 listings on page 1 get at least 60% of those clicks.
Moreover, only 30% of shoppers go beyond page 1 of the search results. With Amazon accounting for nearly 43% of all US online retail revenue topping at $177.87 billion in 2017, you certainly don’t want to miss out on any of those sales by not having your product on the first page.
Let’s look into the different factors that play into Amazon product ranking and what we need to be cognizant of as sellers.
How does the Amazon product ranking algorithm work?
First, let’s try to put ourselves in Amazon’s shoes. Amazon.com brings in over 170 million shoppers a month. The key phrase here is shoppers. Because, unlike Google, where people search for relationship advice, cat videos, product reviews, etc, Amazon is a marketplace. So, you can bet that whenever someone searches for a product on Amazon, they’re more likely ready to make a purchase. In fact, studies show that users are 80% more likely to buy when on Amazon compared to Google.
As the world’s largest online retailer, how do we ensure that we secure the top Amazon product ranking?
Amazon gives us insight on their strategic vision on their careers page:
“Amazon.com seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Site has numerous personalization features and services including one-click buying, extensive customer and editorial product reviews, gift registries, gift certificates, wish lists, restaurant and movie listings, travel, and photo processing.”
In summary, Amazon wants two things: revenue and repeat customers.
What is A9?
If you’ve ever conducted a search on on Amazon, you’ve already interacted with A9, Amazon’s product ranking algorithm. Since this guide is all about Amazon product ranking, it makes sense to look into the heart and brain of Amazon’s product search algorithm and see how it correlates with Amazon’s greater strategic vision.
Here’s what A9 states on their website:
“Our work starts long before a customer types a query. We’ve been analyzing data, observing past traffic patterns, and indexing the text describing every product in our catalog before the customer has even decided to search.”
“One of A9’s tenets is that relevance is in the eye of the customer and we strive to get the best results for our users. Once we determine which items are good matches to the customer’s query, our ranking algorithms score them to present the most relevant results to the user.”
The A9 product algorithm’s main goal is to serve the most relevant products for each customer search query. They accomplish this goal by indexing and analyzing each product listing with great detail. Then, they discover what the product is all about and analyze previous sales and other performance metrics. All this to deliver the most relevant results to the customer. The craziest part? This all happens in nanoseconds!
What factors affect Amazon product ranking?
Amazon seems to have a two-pronged approach when it comes ranking:
- Performance & Conversion Ranking Factors
- Relevancy Factors
How does performance and conversion affect Amazon SEO ranking?
Sales is the single most important factor for Amazon SEO.
It’s simple. The more products that you sell, the more money Amazon makes in the process. That’s why they created the Best Seller’s Rank. The Best Seller’s Rank (BSR) is a number Amazon awards products that sell well on Amazon. Each category (and sub-category) on Amazon has its own taxonomy of BSRs. The lower a product’s BSR in a given category, the higher its sales has recently been. So a product with a Best Seller Ranking of #1 might sell as many as 10,000 products in a given month. Versus a product with a BSR of #1,000,000, that product may only sell 1 or 2 units in the same time period.
Let’s look at the example below for coffee grinders:
Sponsored products aside, all the organic listings on page one for coffee grinders collectively sell an average of 3,419 units a month; that’s an average of 114 units sold each day for every listing that’s on the front page. Can you imagine selling 3,400 units a month or over 40,000 units a year of your product?
How do I get my product to page one?
Remember: it’s all about sales, sales and getting more sales. The more sales we get, the further up on the page we go. And the further up on the page we go, the more sales we get—it all comes full circle!
You can think of the first page on Amazon as prime real estate. Unfortunately, Amazon won’t rank your product on page one unless you’re matching the level of sales of the sellers currently on page one. Fair enough, right?
Thankfully there are ways to artificially match the level of first page sales. The best way to do this is through giveaways and promotions.
While the thought of giving away a few dozens or even hundreds of products sounds terrifying, it’s still the best way to get an Amazon product ranking on the first page.
How to rank quickly using a promotional site
Creating a product promotion is just half the battle. You also have to find an audience who still wants to purchase your product. And that’s where Amazon deal sites come in. The process is easy:
- Create a product promotion in Amazon seller central.
- Sign up with an Amazon deal site. For my money, the best and least expensive service is Jungle Scout.
- List your promotion (and product codes) on the deal site.
- On Jungle Scout, use Keyword Scout to find the keywords you want to rank for and add them to your listing.
- Watch as the sales come in and your product starts to rank.
- As an added bonus, track your product ranking using an Amazon product ranking tracker like Splitly.
Back when Amazon was just selling books, they forever changed the online marketplace through the introduction of user reviews. They believed that user-generated reviews would give them a tremendous advantage over other online book retailers and believed (correctly) that customers would be less inclined to shop from the competition. Even today, reviews are an integral part of the Amazon buying process.
So, in order to win page one Amazon product ranking, Amazon wants us to cultivate the same quantity and quality of reviews relative to the other products found on page one. This not only makes your product seem like a viable option to shoppers, but it also builds trust and confidence.
Thankfully, there are tools like Jungle Scout that, along with helping your product’s Amazon product ranking with giveaways, offers a powerful feedback solicitation tool. In other words, it sends automated messages to your buyers, making sure their buying experience was positive.
Back to the coffee grinder example…
Going back to our coffee grinder example, it’s obvious why the product with the top Amazon product ranking is where it is. First, its BSR is an amazin #14 within the entire Kitchen & Dining category. Already, that means their product gets a ton of sales. Plus, they have at least 3-10x more reviews than any other product found on the first page. And notice how they have the “Amazon’s choice” badge.
Bravo, KRUPS, bravo!
A conversion rate is a sales metric that helps digital marketers and Amazon sellers understand how effective their product is at making sales. It is calculated by dividing the total number of visitors (also called sessions) to a page listing into the total number of sales.
For example, if 10 customers out of 100 purchase a product (or products) from you, that makes your conversion rate 10%.
Additionally, Amazon Seller Central’s business reports offers a metric called “Unit Session Percentage.” This metric is similar to conversion rate, with one small exception. Instead of dividing the sessions into orders, it divides sessions into the actual units ordered.
For example, if 3 out of 10 customers land on your listing and make an order for one unit each, the conversion ends up being 30% while the unit session percentage also ends up being 30%. However, if 2 of those 3 customers decides to order 2 units each, the conversion rate still sits at 30% but the unit session percentage now has jumped to 50%.
Amazon favors unit sessions percentage over conversion rate. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you can sell as many units as possible, to keep your product “top of mind” with the Amazon product ranking algorithm.
For example: Increasing the Average Order Value (AOV) through orders of multiple units; this can be achieved through promotions like Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) and multiple unit discounts (e.g. buy 2 get 10% off).
Amazon uses this data about your unit session percentage, conversion rate and other performance metrics to determine ranking as it relates to the likelihood of a customer buying your product.
What other factors directly affect conversion rate?
Listings with a lower price relative to the competition typically sees a higher conversion rate. However, it is not a feasible long-term strategy since competing on the price alone will lead to pricing wars and a race to the bottom.
Try to experiment with the new clip-on Coupons feature that Amazon recently released. Our experiments show that having a dollar-off coupon works better than having a percentage-off coupon.
- Fulfillment method
Who doesn’t love free 2-day shipping? Amazon is constantly trying to push sellers onto FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon), so you’ll instantly get a competitive advantage if you fulfill by Amazon versus someone who fulfills on their own.
Want more information on how to improve your product’s conversion rate?
A/B testing is one of the best ways to test your Amazon product listing and potentially improve your Amazon product listing. Our friends at Splitly dedicated a whole post about conversion rates and how you can work to improve it.
Keywords and Relevancy
Most products sold on Amazon begin with a product search. A customer types in the product that they’re looking for, and search results pop up. Then, they select the product that’s relevant to their wants and needs and make a purchase. Therefore, if you want to control your Amazon product ranking, you need to control the search. And you do this through keywords and relevancy.
Keywords pretty much tell Amazon what our products are, what they’re all about, and where our products should be placed. Understanding why a certain customer searches for a product, why they want that product, and what relevant keywords or similar words they’ll use when they conduct a search is key to winning in the search and relevancy game on Amazon.
The best tool to start your keyword research with is Keyword Scout, which is included with Jungle Scout. Don’t let this tool’s simplicity fool you: it’s incredibly powerful, capable of coming up with thousands of keywords for your product at the push of a button.
Back to the coffee grinders example, here you can see I’ve found no less than 2,323 relevant keywords for coffee grinders.
Once you understand keywords and how they play a role in ranking, you can optimize your Amazon listing and build powerful Amazon PPC campaigns.
For keyword relevancy, the title is the most important element of your Amazon product listing. This is because each individual word within the title is searchable on its own, meaning if you want to show up for product a broad range search terms, you want to try to capture as many of those search terms in your title.
Amazon gives you a 200 character limit on your title. So use this real estate. Make sure that every term you want your product to rank for is found within those parameters.
Remember that crafting your product’s title is both an art and a science. Your aim to is to create product titles that are not only relevant, but ensure shoppers click on your product, too.
The information contained in your product feature bullet points are also indexed and searchable by customers. This is another area of your listing where you want to include the keywords that you want to rank for.
Each bullet field has a 500 character limit. However, I recommend having no more than 250 characters on your bullets. Too much text can intimidate shoppers.
Remember to make your bullet points as keyword and detail rich as much as you can. It’s a great place to include features, benefits or attributes about the product as you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think of any information you’ll before being able to make an informative purchasing decision.
Another area you can expand keyword targeting is in your listing’s description. Sellers have 2,000 characters to enter relevant information about their products in this area. So the description field is the best place to provide in-depth details about your products and sneak in a few extra keywords. Furthermore, a good call-to-action–like “buy now!” or “order today!”–could help get your conversion rate up.
On the back end of your product listing, the search terms contained on the detail page of your listing bear a lot of weight when it comes to keyword relevancy.
Sellers are provided 5 fields of 50 characters each, or 250 characters total worth of search terms. Technically each field can take up to 1,000 characters but throughout the tests that the Jungle Scout team have done, anything above 250 doesn’t get indexed on your listing.
Thsee back end search terms could be a great place to drop synonyms or other long-form versions of your main keyword.
Also in the back end, are the subject matter boxes. Many sellers overlook these fields. Similar to the Search Terms, there a total of 5 fields of 50 characters each, for a total of 250 characters. Again, this a great place to sneak in those last relevant bits of keywords to help improve your Amazon product ranking.
There you have it! That’s everything you need to know about how to rank your product on page one on Amazon. Hopefully this guide to Amazon’s A9 search engine and the Amazon product ranking algorithm have armed you with the necessary weapons to ensure maximum private label success.
If you have any questions about Amazon product ranking, please feel free to leave a question in the comments below!
See you next time!