Wait… it’s possible to rank on Amazon? So the most bought items aren’t always at the top?
No, they are… but you can get products to page 1 much easier than you probably thought!
In order to be successful selling on Amazon, you need to know how their search algorithm works.
The Amazon search engine has become (wait for it) the third most used search engine on the internet. Amazon. A retail store. The THIRD most used search engine on the entire web.
Knowing this, why would you waste time (and money) ranking for Amazon on Google?
People are much more likely to buy from Amazon than Google. Therefore shouldn’t you be ranking products in Amazon rather than Google? Exactly.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to rank products in Amazon.
In order to do that, you need to understand how Amazon actually does this itself.
This is the name of Amazon’s own product search algorithm. It is actually a separate part of the Amazon brand that focuses only on the search engine.
The difference in how Google and Amazon rank is like this:
- Google ranks to answer your questions
- Amazon ranks to sell you a product
It’s as simple as that.
They scan their library of products for the most relevant results, then list them based on what the searcher is looking for.
If we are going to be ranking on Amazon, it is useful to understand how it works.
The basics are simple.
Amazon wants to maximise its revenue. It also tracks everything that user does on any Amazon page.
Therefore, A9 uses the collected information from the tracking to increase sales.
What is A9 looking for?
Amazon wants to rank products using these three factors:
The A9 algorithm lists the results from their library and pulls out the most relevant results. Relevancy matters to A9 because it decides whether it should display your product when a search query is entered. Your product name and description are key to relevancy.
Customers must be able to find your products before they can buy them, and searching is the primary way they can do that.
Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the information (title, description, and so on) that you provide for a product.
Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results.
By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.
Need I say more?
Conversions and conversion rates
This factor shows A9 how well a product is doing with customers. If customers are adding a product to basket and then buying it, that product rank higher in the listings. The same goes with customer reviews. A9 can see what the customers are saying about a product. The better the reviews, again, the higher it will rank.
Now we know what Amazon are looking for, we can start talking about how to rank a product on Amazon. You will find below the factors that the A9 algorithm use to rank products on Amazon. We will be breaking the 3 factors above in more detail.
How to rank a product on Amazon
This section will be breaking down the entire product page, going from top to bottom. Each section of the page has its own ranking factors. Let’s start at the top of the page.
Categories and subcategories
Let’s start with an example: we will be searching for paddling pools:
We get a load of listings. If we select for example, the Bestway family pool (a #1 best seller by the way) we can see that the categories change:
Not only that, but the subcategories have changed as well! This search term appears in many of Amazon’s library of products.
As long as we keep searching for paddling pools, we will remain in the ‘Toys & Games’ category.
This applies to all product searches; you will remain searching in the category that Amazon classes it to be in.
This is an important concept to take away.
Make sure your product is categorised as precisely as possible. This will lead to it showing up in more subcategories.
And out of our three factors that A9 is looking for listed earlier, this meets the Visibility criteria.
Ok, this is a big one so pay close attention.
Let’s face it: who would buy a product that looked rubbish? I know I wouldn’t! I share the same opinion as the millions of potential customers out there.
The pictures must clearly show the product in full. I would recommend that you use a picture that is 1000×1000 pixels in size. This is because it allows a user to zoom in by hovering their mouse over it.
Here is an example of this in action. This Mpow alarm clock ranks first for the keyword ‘alarm clocks’.
This actually boosts conversion rates, again, ticking off one of the necessary criteria A9 is looking for.
If you haven’t guessed by now, the more we satisfy the three factors described earlier, the better the ranking potential.
Note: there are a number of pictures available to view of this product. People like to see different angles, eg the back. However, just because this product has multiple images does not mean this has to be done
Actually, if there is just one image that gives enough information to the customer, this is more than enough to satisfy A9.
When it comes to pictures and images, it’s always quality over quantity that matters the most.
This is the first thing a customer would read about a product. It needs to be relevant to what the product is.
Remember, ranking on Amazon is all about using keywords. Therefore you need to describe the product using as many keywords as you can.
The more keywords the better.
Tip: Track what organic keywords affect Amazon rankings the most using our tracking tool
Check out this iPhone 7 phone case as an example
Do you think Amazon knows this is a phone case? Of course it does!
The power of keywords in the title of the product cannot be underestimated. Reverse engineering what marketing works for your product, and what doesn’t work, is the difference between a long lasting profitable Amazon business and one that isn’t.
Branded product titles
Have you ever noticed that when you enter a search query into Amazon, the top results always have the brand names at the beginning?
This is not a coincidence.
Let’s have a look at what happens when we search for the keyword ‘candle’.
Check it out; what do we see?
Shearer, Yankee Candle, Lily Flame… they all have their brand name first in the product title.
Note: did anyone else notice that Shearer candles came first in the search results because of the number of keywords in the title…
The reason why is because it enables the product to be found by searches specific for the brand. Some companies’ biggest asset is the brand name (Coca Cola anyone?) so some people just associate a product with the brand itself.
Would you to a restaurant that one of your friend’s has said gave horrible service and poor food?
No, you wouldn’t.
The exact same principle applies to Amazon products.
Customers are much less likely to buy a product if it has poor reviews.
This is why the A9 algorithm looks at this as an important component of product rankings.
To put this into context, let’s look at the searches for messenger bags:
As we can see:
The bag at the top of the list has the best rating out of the three. A9 sees this and so has it ranked ahead of the other two.
The second bag has the same rating as the third but because it has more reviews, it is ranked higher.
The more reviews and the better the reviews, the more likely a product is to be sold leading to higher conversion rates. Again, this is one of the factors A9 is looking for.
However, where there are good reviews that can boost you, there are bad reviews.
And how do bad reviews affect your product? You guessed it… they aid with your decline.
A9 tracks negative feedback.
This is bad news for poor quality products or service.
A9 monitors, specifically, the rate at which you receive negative feedback.
It doesn’t care if a customer leaves a scathing review or leaves constructive feedback. All that matters to A9 is that you have not given the best service possible and so it will harm your ranking position.
If you, as a third-party seller, it is vital that negative feedback is kept to a minimum.
Alongside customer reviews are answers to questions customers have about a product.
If we go back to the Amazon seller central page, there isn’t a specific mention of this part of the ranking system.
Why else would it be so close to the top of the product page? It’s there for a reason (ranking reasons).
This ranking factor works in similar ways to the customer reviews; the more there are the higher it is going to rank on Amazon.
Let’s look at this Remington hairdryer as an example:
This ranks first for the keyword ‘hairdryer’ and it comes as no surprise to us.
True, it has a lot of high rated customer reviews. What puts it above the rest with equally-rated hairdryers is the number of answered questions. It has far more than the second.
The take away from this: more answered questions leads to higher conversion rates.
Still with us? We know it’s a lot but there are just so many things to cover. If you’re still with us at this point, you are already further ahead of the competition.
A few of the examples we have shown are best sellers in their respective categories.
Why did we pick those? Just the same reason as many customers will pick it: it’s first on the list.
By ranking as the best seller, it not only shows to a customer that the product is of quality, but also it’s trustworthy.
Products that are bought frequently must be doing something right (and not just on a SEO standpoint).
This Anker bluetooth speaker is no exception. This is a best seller for the keyword ‘bluetooth speaker’.
The key is in the name really: best seller.
Ok. So remember how we could product images was a big one? Well pricing is above that.
Customers are always looking for the best deals; they want the most bang for their buck, so to speak.
A9 loves pricing as well. In fact, pricing has a big impact on conversion rates. It realises that a customer will more likely pay for a cheaper product if it can deliver the same quality as a more expensive one.
If we look at the keyword ‘hand cream’ we see the following:
Let’s first look at the customer reviews.
The O’Keeffe’s hand cream has the same rating as Garnier’s alternative but has more reviews. Surely this means that it should be ranked higher, right?
Pricing is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, ranking factor A9 is looking for. This is because pricing is directly related to conversation rates, one of the 3 main criteria A9 is looking for.
Don’t get me wrong, customer reviews are still very important, (hence why O’Keeffe’s is near the top), it’s just not as important as pricing.
How many times have you searched for a product, only to find out it’s out of stock? Too many times I imagine…
Just as all customers hate this, A9 feels the same way.
If a seller does not keep on top of their inventory, rankings on Amazon can be punished.
A9 will know that the product isn’t available due to the number of requested refunds. Ah, the dreaded word of the retail world.
Lower stocks lead to more order cancellations and refunds, which is not good for keeping customers satisfied.
Same product, different version
There are a lot of products on Amazon that can be sold as a different variation.
This includes a different colour and various size options.
It is much more optimal to sell these products using Amazon’s built in parent-child feature, as opposed to selling each version as multiple listings.
A9 actually likes ranking products that have different variations on a single listing.
Take a look this pack of Duracell batteries (also an Amazon’s choice product):
Because this single page displays a load of other variations of batteries, you are much more likely to buy multiple sets. This increases conversions and also, look how many reviews this product has!
Having numerous listings increases customer reviews, which as we know from earlier, boosts rankings!
We haven’t mentioned using keywords for a while.
Up to this point, we’ve only used them in the product title.
But wait, I thought SEO was all about using keywords?
In a way, yes, but using them effectively in Amazon is the key! For the features section, using keywords is a must.
Products rank highly on Amazon if their features are rich in keywords.
Let’s take a look at this Martin Smith guitar which ranks #1 for the keyword search ‘guitar’:
Note: can you pick out any other reasons why this product is ranking first? Multiple listings, reviews, pricing to give you some ideas?
There are so many keywords in here. A lot.
They’re detailed and really easy to read. The bullet point formatting is easy on the eye, clearly displaying to customers what the guitar is and what it can do.
Tip: Organic keyword rankings are the single element that build automated, passive Amazon businesses
This section is actually a lot more specific than the product features part of the listing.
Here is where you are meant to say everything about the product; all the nitty-gritty as it were.
Everything that can be said about the product, should be said about the product.
A great example of this is this best selling Windows laptop:
The more detail you can squeeze into this section, A9 can recognise that the listing is relevant to that category.,
And as we know, relevancy inceases Amazon rankings!
This is the last on-page section to go through.
So you’ve flooded the product title and features with keywords. What should you do with the description?
This section is purely describing what the product does. Keywords are useless in product descriptions if they are already anywhere else on the product page.
Here is where you need to go in on all the great things that your product can do. As an example let’s look at Naturelo’s multivitamins for men:
And this isn’t even the full description! There is so much detail here.
But yet it is so so simple. There are loads of pictures for customers and the post itself is vibrant and enticing. It even breaks down each nutrient and how they are naturally produced and the benefits.
Tip: The more complete your listing on Amazon is, the greater the conversion rate.
Make sure that every section is filled in as much as you can. This will greatly increase the likelihood of a top ranking product.
So that’s everything you need to know about ranking for what you can see on Amazon product listings.
But what about things that aren’t on the product page?
Off page Amazon ranking tips
Let’s go through those now.
This is actually a big one and can play a huge role in improving your product’s relevancy.
I know I keep mentioning it but it can’t be underestimated; the more that A9 is satisfied for the 3 factors (visibility, relevancy and conversions), the better the product will rank.
Staying with the Naturelo theme for now, take a look at this URL:
Now, can you tell what query was used to find this product?
Exactly, it’s right at the end of the URL. This actually tells A9 and Amazon that the keyword is ‘multivitamins for men’.
If this product is purchased, A9 will know that this product is relevant for the search query ‘multivitamins for men’, meaning it will then rank higher on the search results.
Order Processing Speed
Amazon knows that one of the best ways to make customers happy is with fast and accurate shipping.
A seller that has proven to be consistent and reliable in fulfilling orders is going to rank higher than a seller that has shown a poor and inadequate service.
Perfect Order Percentage (POP)
This is an interesting one.
POP is a measurement of how many orders go perfectly smoothly from the time that a customer clicks “Add to Cart” to the product arriving at their home.
POP is based on these 3 things:
- Frequently in-stock products
- Accurately listed products
- Fast delivery
Amazon wants its sellers to have a high POP as they want customers to be happy and return.
At the end of the day, all Amazon wants to do is make as much money from customers as possible.
High POP sellers will then be ranked higher than lower POP sales.
Order Defect Rate (ODR)
Amazon likes POP; it does not like ODR!
ODR is calculated by the number of recorded defects compared to the number of fulfilled orders.
Every time a customer makes a claim with an order, Amazon sees that as an order defect.
- Negative buyer feedback, as described earlier in the post
- Complaints about shipping eg late or damages
- Credit card chargeback
Remember, it only takes one claim to be considered a defect order. Each complaint affects your ODR.
Amazon themselves say that all sellers should aim for an ODR under 1%.
Tip: customer removes the negative feedback, it does not count towards your ODR! Make sure you deal with each and every customer problem.
This is how often a customer will look at your product listing and then leave Amazon.
Does Amazon and A9 like a high exit rate? You bet it doesn’t!
A high exit rate is considered by Amazon that your product isn’t good enough to sell, due to poor quality or an incomplete listing.
The key here is to make sure that you’ve done all you can on the product page to complete the listing and basically cover everything this article is saying to keep that exit rate down!
Wow, that was a lot to take in!
I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you haven’t read through all of this.
So for those of you that have scrolled down to the end here, I will briefly sum up the whole post.
When ranking products on Amazon, remember:
- Amazon is interested in making the most money from sellers as possible.
- The A9 algorithm is looking to meet 3 criteria to rank products on Amazon: visibility, relevancy and conversions.
- Use as many keywords as you can when writing a product title and features.
- Think about what a customer likes to avoid negative feedback and fully complete product pages.
So here we are. This is it. You are now the expert in how to rank products in the Amazon search engine.
It won’t be long until all your products climb to the top of the rankings.
We hope to see you there.
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