If you’ve followed our annual holiday season ecommerce forecast over the past several years, you know Amazon is well on its way to world domination… or at least domination of the online retail space. Some have dubbed it the “shopper’s search engine,” and rather than becoming merely a tired cliché, this moniker really does ring true.
Many consumers are bypassing Google and turning directly to Amazon when looking for information about a product. Think about your own online search habits when performing product research. There’s a good chance you navigate to Amazon to see what’s available, or at least very early in your process.
With Amazon staking an ever-growing claim on the ecommerce landscape, selling on the Amazon Marketplace has become a vital component of retailers’ overall digital marketing strategies. But as the competition intensifies, how do you ensure the right shoppers can find your products among the millions available for purchase on Amazon?
Following a proper Amazon SEO strategy is your ticket to getting your products in front of more customers on the ecommerce giant’s website. You likely already follow SEO best practices to improve your page rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. The good news is that several of these tactics are still relevant when optimizing for Amazon. However, retailers must be aware of Amazon’s own unique search algorithm and the specific factors that affect rankings on their site.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Amazon A9 algorithm, important ranking factors, how to optimize your product listings, and recent developments in Amazon SEO.
The A9 algorithm is the system that determines how products are ranked in search results on Amazon. Just like Google, Amazon wants to show you the items in its database that are most relevant to your search query. If you have SEO experience, you’re probably already quite familiar with Google’s search algorithm and the many oddly-named updates that have adjusted the way it evaluates and ranks web pages.
Amazon’s A9 algorithm works in a similar fashion, albeit with a key twist. Yes, Amazon attempts to provide you with products closely related to your search. But it also wants to make sure these products are ones you’re more likely to buy. That’s where the A9 algorithm works its magic.
The A9 algorithm ranks Amazon search results based on relevancy and purchase likelihood. This involves a two-step process to present users with products likely to satisfy their needs:
Once the results have been narrowed down, users should see a selection of products closely related to their initial search, with the items that Amazon determines the user is most likely to purchase ranked at the top.
That sounds easy enough, but what can Amazon sellers do to ensure their products have a better chance of ranking highly in search results?
As with any algorithm, there are a variety of factors or “ingredients” which work together to determine how individual products on Amazon are valued and ranked according to a search query. Some of these are direct factors, which have the greatest impact, while others are indirect and may or may not have a strong effect on ranking.
Now that you know which factors play the largest role in determining your search ranking on Amazon, how can you improve your product listings to ensure your items show as prominently as possible?
An Amazon product listing includes a variety of elements including a title, descriptions, images, videos, user reviews, and more. Each of these components can be optimized in a specific way to potentially boost your Amazon search ranking.
Below you’ll find an overview of the main parts of an Amazon product listing and how to optimize them.
In general, making these changes will improve the overall user experience on your Amazon product listing, allowing shoppers to easily navigate and find what they’re looking for.
We also recommend consulting Amazon’s product page style guides for more information on best practices for images, descriptions, and more. You can browse by product category to find specific guidelines relevant to your industry.
Just like traditional SEO, changes occur frequently in the world of Amazon search. Sellers need to be aware of these developments and respond quickly to ensure their products continue to rank highly on Amazon.
Let’s take a look at a couple major changes that have recently affected Amazon SEO.
The follow-up to Amazon’s A9 algorithm is aptly called A10. This algorithm gives more weight to relevancy and less to sales driven from Amazon’s internal ad system known as Sponsored Products or “Amazon PPC.”
Seller authority is one of the key factors valued by the A10 algorithm. This includes how long a seller has been active on Amazon, their feedback rating, size of their catalog, and more. It’s now become more advantageous for you to establish your brand and become a trusted seller on Amazon Marketplace.
Other important factors include impressions, click-through rate, conversion rate, and organic sales. These reinforce the need to make your product listings as relevant as possible for your desired search terms. Thorough keyword research and the aforementioned tips for optimizing your product pages will continue to serve you well.
We’ve already mentioned that customer reviews play a significant role in affecting product rankings on Amazon. The introduction of a feature called Editorial (or Expert) Recommendations further highlights the impact of having a well-reviewed product.
Editorial Recommendations are boxes that may appear in Amazon search results featuring short product reviews by a third-party entity. These boxes have carousel functionality and allow the user to cycle through and compare the third-party’s opinion on a variety of options within a particular product category.
If your product belongs to a category for which Amazon provides Editorial Recommendations, you should see which third-party reviewers are being consulted for their feedback. It may be worthwhile to contact these outlets to see if they’ll review your own product. Users tend to place significant weight on the opinions of independent experts, and having your product reviewed favorably by them can set you apart from the competition.
Most small to mid-sized retailers view Amazon as an enemy, which is understandable. However, establishing your brand and selling your products on Amazon Marketplace can give you access to a vast audience of potential customers you likely wouldn’t engage with otherwise.
On a crowded platform like Amazon, businesses must look for every advantage to rank above their competitors. Making your product listings as detailed and helpful as possible is the best way to ensure Amazon’s algorithm recognizes your product as a likely purchase for someone searching for a relevant term.
In general, keep the following Amazon SEO formula in mind to boost the prominence and performance of your products:
Amazon SEO = Optimizing Product Listings = Better Rankings = More Visibility = More Sales
If you’d like more assistance, we recommend checking out our Amazon and marketplace management services. Our experts will work with you to develop a strategy to build your brand presence on Amazon, extract vital insights, and increase your sales.