Amazon sells a whopping 562 million products on its website. It is the new Google when it comes to searching for products. Products optimized for Amazon make three times the sales achieved by products optimized for Google.
If you are a seller on Amazon, you must rank well in Amazon’s search engine. This essentially means that when a potential customer searches for an item that you sell, you must feature on page 1 of the search results. Ideal position would be among the top five.
You will be surprised to know that there are still many sellers out there who are trying to rank in Google search, when what they should actually be trying is to rank in Amazon search engine. In fact this will make their life much easier because ranking in Amazon is much easier than that in Google.
Do you want to know why? Because Amazon does not have anything such as on page SEO and off page SEO. They are using their own internal factors to find out how they should rank a product on the search results page.
Get familiar with A9
A9 is Amazon’s search algorithm. The first step towards earning the perfect best seller rank is understanding A9, the entity responsible for giving you or your product that rank.
Essentially what Amazon does is that when a user searches for a product, they generate a list of possible items. Then they use their own internal algorithm, A9, to decide which product should be put in which order.
There are three rules that you must keep in mind when optimizing your product page for Amazon:
- Amazon’s goal is to maximize its RPC, which is revenue per customer.
- Amazon keeps a track of everything that the customer does on its website or app. If a customer has lingered on a certain link, Amazon keeps a record even of that because the action implies that the item was of interest to the customer.
- The A9 algorithm connects data collected by step 2 to achieve the goal of step 1.
Now that we understand the basic goal of Amazon algorithm, let’s see how we can manipulated it. Amazon’s ranking factors can be grouped into three essential categories – conversion rate, relevance and customer satisfaction.
As the name suggests, this is the rate at which a customer or a visiting a visitor converts into buying customer.
If you remember the three steps that we discussed for functioning of A9 algorithm, the first step was finding out or getting a list of relevant results for the search for the user. This is the step at which the algorithm decides whether your product page should be shown and at what position.
Your product title and description play a very important role in determining this relevance factor for the results of the organic search.
Customer satisfaction and retention
Amazon lays much emphasis on customer satisfaction as well as repeat customers. They believe that it is easier to have a customer buy a product worth $5 10 times rather than expecting them to buy a product worth $50 in one go.
So if you are able to make the customer come to you repeatedly and make purchases, your product page is definitely shooting up in the relevance factor.
How to improve product ranking
Now that we know how Amazon algorithm works to rank the product pages that are relevant to the user, let us discuss the ways in which you can manipulate this information. We will look at how you can improve benchmarks in the three categories discussed above.
The number of sales made by a product is one of the most important factors in determining the page ranking of the product.
Many times Amazon displays the tag of best seller below a bestselling product in category-specific searches. It makes sense really. Higher the product sales, better the ranking it will get. But then
that also puts it into a cycle because better the ranking, higher the sales for the product.
Don’t get disheartened by this vicious circle. There are other ways of breaking into the bestselling page. We have mentioned it here because sales rank is definitely one of the most important parameters in determining page rank.
We have discussed this in the past but this is so important that this must be mentioned again while discussing ways to rank higher in Amazon algorithm.
Remember you don’t just need good customer reviews to rank higher. Amazon also considers how you are responding to the customer reviews. For example, if you have tried to pacify or clear the doubts of a customer who had any problem in his product, you will score marks in A9 algorithm.
The quality of customer reviews or rather the number of stars that the customers give you or the product also carries higher weightage than the number of reviews.
Image size and quality
Everyone knows that products must be accompanied by good images so that customers can see the product before making a purchase. Amazon has made it public time and again that products having no or poor quality images perform poor.
However, Amazon algorithm places emphasis not only on the number of images but their size and quality as well. In fact they have special love for images that are 1000 X 1000 pixels. This is because if they have access to an image of this size they can offer the customers their special hover to zoom feature. Amazon has found that this feature increases conversion rate exponentially.
So even if you have just one or two images but one of them is an image of high quality and big size, Amazon is going to love you for it and rank your product page higher.
Now the Amazon algorithm is aware of the fact that customers are always looking for best possible deal. What this essentially means is that while ranking the pages, the algorithm will also look at your price as compared to competitor prices.
Price is also an important consideration when choosing products to be displayed in the buy box.
Point to be noted here is that when considering price, customer reviews about price are also taken into consideration.
Parent child products
Have you heard of this term? If not, you must know about it. Usually your single product will have many variations, typically colour or sizes. Normally what sellers do is create different product pages for each variation of the same product.
Amazon has a built in functionality called parent child product that works like this. You can build a parent product page where your main product is listed and then any variation can be created as child listings, with their own separate pages.
Now you might ask that what is the advantage or rather the difference. Well, when you have parent child product configuration, the customer reviews that you receive for each variation is combined into one product page. So your average customer ratings automatically go higher and you already know that customer ratings and reviews play a very important role in deciding your page ranking.
Also, it has been observed that Amazon algorithm preferred product listing having varieties in their bouquet of offers. Having a parent child configuration enables you to tell A9 that you offer variety to your customers.
As discussed earlier Amazon keeps track of every single activity performed by a customer on each and every page that he or she visits. So it can keep a track of how much time a customer has spent on your page. If a customer reads through the reviews for the product listing or product features, it shows that the customer is interested in your product and hence might buy it next time. On the other hand, if the customer visiting your page spends a couple of seconds and bounces off immediately to a related product or back to the search page, it shows the customers is not interested in your product.
This information will affect any search result to be displayed for that particular customer or particular group of customers.
Complete product listing
Having a complete product listing is essential to rank higher in organic search results. So you should fill in every field suggested in the listing setup page.
We have discussed the difference between Google and Amazon algorithms when it comes to searching for products. When you are optimising for Amazon algorithm you must put in as many keywords as possible but the position of the keywords is not important. If you know your Google optimisation you would place the keywords at the beginning of the title, but not so in the case of Amazon optimisation.
Listing all the features of the product is very important. Moreover you should take care to list them as bullet points because A9 algorithm simply loves clear concise product features listed in forms of bullets.
You will be surprised to know that products that do not have their features listed as bullet points are never displayed in the buy box.
Together with bulleting the features, you can include as many keywords as you want that will only help you in increasing the ratings of your product.
Now comes the product description part. You might be wondering what more can we write after listing the features and the product title
Well, what you need to remember here is that online Google Optimisation does not work well with Amazon. If you repeat a feature again and again, that’s counterproductive as one instance is more than sufficient. This implies that you can use the product description box to put in more detail about the product and put in long tail keywords that you want to target.
You can show all your writing and copywriting skills here.
Category and subcategory
In order to serve its customers in the best possible way Amazon keeps its customer searches in the current category until and unless the customer itself clicks into some other category. So you must take care to put your product in the most Niche subcategory.
This tip is a boon and you must utilise it to the hilt. Amazon allows you to specify the search terms that are most relevant to your product. So make use of the 250 characters provided by Amazon to associate your product with the most relevant search terms.
Order processing speed
Everyone knows that the best way to impress a customer is by sending the product fast and in good condition. So order processing speed as well as order defect rates (ODR) are very important factors that can affect your ranking in Amazon
According to Amazon standards you should have less than 1% ODR.
Amazon loves it when you keep high levels of stock for your start-up because it suggests that if a customer wants a product they can have it immediately. So the algorithm favours a product listing with higher inventory.
As the name suggests, exit rate is the rate at which a customer exits Amazon website after visiting the page. If your page has higher exit rate than the average, Amazon algorithm will read it as low quality listing and hence rank you lower on its search page.
This is something that has been added to list of criteria for product ranking recently. Apparently Amazon feels that the way the product is packaged is important for the customers. So products offering hassle free packaging are ranked higher.
This ultimate guide for getting and retaining Amazon best seller ranking covers the most important points to be taken care of while trying to rank your products higher. You must work through the list and tackle each point one by one, and see your ranking improving little by little.
There are some aspects like complete product listings, listing product features as bullets, specifying search terms, etc. that need to be done once. However, things like customer reviews and order processing time are aspects you must keep at continuously.