We all want to increase our Amazon ranking…

It would make sense to understand how the Amazon Ranking Algorithm works – right?

Most sellers have no idea how Amazon delivers search results; let alone how (easily) exploitable it can be!

Well it turns out that THREE TIMES as many buyers search for products to buy on Amazon, rather than Google.

Think about it…

Where do you go when you need to know if a product is worth buying?

Amazon…

So, what if you knew how to rank on Amazon instead of google?

You’d have THREE TIMES more ready-to-buy customers than you’d EVER get in Google – and you’d do it in a fraction of the time!

Lets begin:

Introducing A9: Amazon’s Ranking Algorithm

A9 is the name of the Amazon Ranking algorithm. Since this is a guide about ranking on Amazon, let’s go to the source.

So, this is A9’s official statement for how they calculate search results.

Amazon Ranking Explanation
As we can see here, much of the work is done before the customer even touches the keyboard. Once the customer actually hits “Enter” to perform a search, the A9 ranking algorithm delivers results through a two-step process:

Explaining Amazon Ranking
It’s a pretty simple process at its core:

  1. First, they pull the relevant results from their massive “catalog” of product listings.
  2. Then, they sort those results into an order that is “most relevant” to the user.

Now, some of you SEOs out there might be thinking, “Wait a second… Isn’t relevancy Google’s turf? I thought Amazon only cared about conversions! What’s all this focus on relevance doing here?”

The answer is simple: Relevance doesn’t mean the same thing to Amazon that it does to Google. Read this statement from A9 carefully to see if you can catch the difference:

Amazon Ranking Explanation
See that?

  • Google says, “What results most accurately answer the searcher’s query?”
  • Amazon says, “What products is the searcher most likely to buy?”

The difference between those two questions is the difference between how Amazon measures relevancy compared to Google.

Ranking on Amazon is easier than ranking on google because you’re essentially cutting the work in half. They only use internal factors to determine how a product ranks. Backlinks, social media, domain authority… These are all things you don’t need to worry about on Amazon.

Keep these 3 rules in mind:

  1. Amazon’s top goal in everything they do is always maximize Revenue Per Customer (RPC)
  2. Amazon tracks every action that a someone takes on Amazon, right down to where their mouse hovers on the page
  3. The A9 algorithm exists to connect the data tracked in #2 to the goal stated in #1

So far, so good?

What Influences the A9 Amazon Ranking Algorithm?

Conversion Rate* – These are ranking factors that Amazon found to have a statistically relevant effect on conversion rates. Examples of conversion rate factors include customer reviews, quality of images and pricing.

Relevancy – Remember the first step in the A9 Amazon Ranking algorithm? They gather the results, and then they decide how to list them. Relevancy factors tell A9 when to consider your product page for a given search term. Relevancy factors include your title and product description.

Customer Satisfaction – How do you make the most money from a single customer? Make them so happy that they keep coming back. Amazon knows that the secret to max RPC lies in customer retention. It’s a lot harder to get someone to spend $100 once than $10 ten times. Customer Retention ranking factors include seller feedback and Order Defect Rate.

Note: Amazon uses both predicted and real conversion rates for product rankings. For example, if your product is priced higher than other similar products, Amazon will predict a lower conversion rate for your listing and use that rate until real data corrects it.

Okay! We’re finally ready to start talking about how to rank on Amazon. What you’ll find below are 25 Amazon ranking factors that either Amazon themselves or independent marketers have confirmed the A9 algorithm to use.

Top 25 Amazon Ranking Factors

Amazon isn’t like Google where they go to great lengths to hide the factors that they use in their algorithm. Inside Amazon’s Seller Central, they’ll blatantly tell you several of their top ranking factors. You can also visit the official Amazon Seller Support Blog for some great insights. And here’s the UK Seller Support Blog if you’re interested.

Conversion Rate Ranking Factors

1. Sales Rank

After just a couple searches on Amazon, it should be pretty obvious that the number of sales compared to other similar products – otherwise known as Sales Rank – is one of the most important rankings factors.

Even now Amazon is testing a new feature in their search results where they automatically append a #1 Best-Seller banner (see below) to the best-selling product in category-specific searches, like this one for “Strollers”:

Amazon Best Seller Banner

It’s simple really…

More sales mean higher Amazon rankings – and higher Amazon rankings mean more sales!

It sounds like a vicious cycle, but luckily there are still many ways for new sellers to compete. If you have a problem with Amazon hijackers stealing sales make sure you know how to protect yourself first!

2. Customer Reviews

It probably doesn’t need to be said that the number and positive-ness of your reviews (which we cover how to get customer reviews here) is one of the most important ranking factors in the Amazon Ranking A9 algorithm. How you respond to your reviews is huge as well.

This example product search for the keyword “vacuum” illustrates some interesting points about how Amazon weights review volume vs. review quality:

Amazon Reviews

Let’s dissect this search results page:

  1. The BISSEL vacuum (green) has the most reviews AND the highest review rating. It’s also the best-seller in its category, so it ranks at the top.
  2. The second-ranked Dirt Devil (red) has more reviews, but a lower review rating. It’s also a best-seller, so it ranks second.
  3. The third-ranked Shark Navigator (blue) has less reviews, but a higher rating than #2, and it’s also a best-seller, so it ranks #3.
  4. The Hoover WindTunnel at #4 has substantially more reviews than any of the top three listings, but it’s not as highly rated as #1 and #3, and it’s not a best-seller, so it ranks #4.

3. Answered Questions

This is one of those metrics that Amazon doesn’t specifically state they track. But, it’s data they have access to and Q&A’s are listed close to the top of the product page, which typically means it’s important for conversions.

Furthermore, products like this (me-approved) Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, which ranks #1 for the keyword “electric toothbrush” over other equally rated best-sellers because it has almost twice as many customer Q&As than any other listing in the category:

Amazon Questions Answers

4. Image Size & Quality

Amazon continues to tighten their image size and quality policies for product listings. Right now, some categories won’t even display results that don’t have at least one image that is 1000×1000 pixels or larger. These are called “suppressed listings”.

The 1000×1000 pixel image size allows Amazon to offer customers their Hover-to-Zoom feature, shown below, which they’ve found has a dramatic effect on conversion rates.

Amazon Image Zoom

Awful artistry aside, you can see that as my cursor hovers over the image, Amazon automatically displays a zoomed-in version in the product information pane.

Notice that image quantity is not what’s important here. This Tippmann paintball gun is the #1 product for the keyword “paintball guns”, but it only has one image. Since the image is big enough and informative enough to give the customer all the info they need, that’s all it takes to make Amazon happy.

You can rank better if you have one large, high quality image than having multiple normal-sized images. Not to say that multiple images won’t convert better than one image, just that the benefits quickly taper off after the first. You can try the DIY route to high quality product photography.

5. Price

Remember earlier when we talked about how the Amazon ranking algorithm uses both predicted and real conversion rates to determine which products to show in their search results?

One of the biggest ranking factors Amazon uses to determine predicted conversion rate is pricing – they know that customers tend to seek the best deals. More importantly, Amazon uses pricing as a major factor in picking which product to show in the buy box, which is the part of the page containing the Add to Cart button (we’ll talk more about that later).

Amazon Listing Price

Notice here that the top-ranking product for the search term “juicer” has less customer reviews, lower customer rating and lower Sales Rank than every other listing in the top 4. It still shows #1 because it’s got decent ratings and is priced waaaaay below the category average.

Note that reviews are still vital here. And pricing isn’t the only reason that the Black & Decker Juicer ranks #1…

6. Parent-Child Products

If you have a product listing (parent) and decide to offer color or size variation those are known as (child listings). They appear on the same listing as variations.  It’s much better to use Amazon’s built-in parent-child product functionality to direct all customers to a single product page.

This has several benefits:

  • It maximizes your customer reviews, since Amazon will combine your similar products into a single primary product page
  • It makes the most sense from a UX standpoint; keeping customers on the same page makes it more likely they’ll buy your product
  • Amazon has shown a preference for ranking products with multiple options in their listing

Let’s look at that top-ranking Black & Decker Juicer again:

Amazon Parent Child Products

If you scroll back up the page, you’ll see that this juicer is the only one in the top 4 results to utilize parent-child product connections. When you enable the parent-child relationship, it shows as an extra option in Amazon’s search results…

This not only increases click-through rates, we can see here that it also helps you rank above the competition!

7. Time on Page & Bounce Rate

Remember, Amazon can measure every way a customer interacts with their website, so it’s easy for them to track detailed time on page and bounce rate stats.

Here’s exactly what these similar-but-different metrics mean on Amazon:

Time on Page: Amazon believes that the amount of time a customer spends on your listing page is a good measure of how interested they are in your product. A customer who reads your full product description, looks through reviews and investigates the Q&A’s is much more likely to buy than the one that spends a couple seconds skimming the features.

Bounce Rate: A “bounce” is when a customer performs a search, visits your page, and then either goes back to the search results or clicks on a Related Product offer. Keep in mind that Amazon has a much more exact measurement of bounce rate than Google, again, because all user activity happens within their platform.

8. Product Listing Completeness

Finally, the last conversion metric to optimize for is listing completeness. The individual sections of the product listing mostly have to do with relevancy, as you’ll learn below, but the actual completeness of the listing has an effect on conversion rate.

The Definitive (2018) Guide to Amazon Product Listing Optimization

As a general rule, the more complete you make your listing, the better. Do your best to fill in every single field in the listing setup page to maximize your chances of appearing at the top of product search results.

Relevancy Ranking Factors

9. Title

In Google, you want a concise, engaging title with your keyword close to the beginning.

In Amazon, all you care about is keywords. You want to cram as many keywords into about 80 characters as you possibly can.

In fact, you can actually go beyond 80 characters if you want, and it’s better to have too many keywords than too few. I’ve seen top-listed products with titles that make no sense and have over 200 characters, like this top-rated “Nexus charger”:

Amazon Product Listing Title Keywords

 

It should be noted that Amazon is starting to crack down and standardize Product Titles – keep an eye out for this moving forward…

10. Features / Bullet Points

The other big reason that particular Nexus charger ranks so highly is because it has lots of keyword rich, informative features. Features, which are displayed as bullet points right below the pricing and product options, are an absolute must.

Just like with images, features are so important that Amazon no longer allows products without bullet points to be featured in the buy box, and not having them is a serious road-block to good Amazon rankings.

Another good example of proper Feature usage is this Asus computer monitor, which ranks #1 for “computer screen”:

Amazon Product Listing Features

Notice how the bullet-points are both extremely detailed and include a ton of keywords? At the same time, they’re easily readable, which means they won’t confuse customers and risk hurting conversions.

11. Product Description

Your product description is basically where you expand on your Features. It’s also the part of the page you have the most control over. If there’s anywhere to really put a lot of effort into engagement, it’s in the product description.

That being said, keep in mind that unlike with Google there is no benefit to having a keyword appear multiple times on the product page; if it’s anywhere in your product listing at least once, you will be relevant to rank for it.

If you want to see a truly appetizing product description, check out the one for this DeLhongi Espresso Maker – the #1 ranked listing for the term “espresso maker”.

Amazon Perfect Product Listing

There’s nothing advanced about this product listing – they just covered all the bases. It’s thorough, inviting, easy to skim, includes plenty of images, captions, and they even included extra tech. specs that aren’t listed in the normal Specifications section (which we’ll talk more about below).

12. Brand & Manufacturer Part #

Remember earlier when we looked at the top results for the keyword “Juicer”? You can refresh your memory below:

Amazon Juicer Listings

Something that every single one of the top listings do right in that category is list the brand and manufacturer number first in the product title. In fact, if you do the search yourself it’s not until the 15th result that Amazon shows us a product listing without the brand and manufacturer number included in the title.

You always, always, always want to include a brand in your title because it enables your product for search filters AND allows you to capture customers searching for a specific brand. And if you’re in a niche where customers are using the manufacturer number to search for products, you definitely want to include that keyword in your title.

13. Specifications

These are different than Features – this is the part of the page where you actually list the technical and physical details of your product. This includes size, shipping weight, color, publication date (if you’re doing books), tech. specs and more. You can see this top-ranked product for the “home theater system” search term using their product specifications to the max:

Amazon Product Specifications

14. Category & Sub-Category

You probably didn’t realize this, but once a customer has entered into a category – every other search they perform on Amazon will, by default, be limited to that category.

Take a look at the example below:

Amazon Search Category

You can see here that a simple search for “dog food” actually takes us three categories deep into Amazon’s product catalog, indicated by the red lines in the image above. The blue box shows that we’ll stay in the Dog Food category until we either return to the home page or manually tell Amazon to show us All Departments.

When setting up your product listing, make sure you put your product in the most relevant, narrow category possible.

15. Search terms

In addition to categories, you can also specify search terms that you want associated with your product.

Even though Amazon lists five different 50-character search term fields, you’re better off thinking about it as one big 250 character text box in which you can enter every possible search term you can think of for your product.

This is somewhat complicated to explain, check out this incredible Amazon listing SEO article focusing on what’s going to happen in 2018! So just head over there if you want to learn more about this specific factor.

16. Source Keyword

This is one of the biggest hidden ways that Amazon determines a listing’s relevance to a given product search. This is also yet another example of how Amazon tracks every single minutia of a customer’s activity on their website.  Take a look at this URL that links to a listing for a Black & Decker electric drill, and see if you can tell me what search term I used to find it:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-LDX172C-7-2-Volt-Lithium-Ion/dp/B005LTNLDI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416351135&sr=8-1&keywords=electric+drill

You can see the source keyword right at the end of the URL – &keywords=electric+drill – that tells Amazon that the source keyword was “electric drill”.

Therefore, if I were to buy this drill, Amazon would know that this listing is highly relevant for the term “electric drill”. The next time a customer searches for that term, this listing would be more likely to rank higher at the top.

Here’s a neat little Amazon ranking hack you can do to take advantage of this factor:

  1. Construct a URL for your product listing using the [&keyword=your+keyword] query (append the code inside the brackets to your product URL).
  2. Use a link shortening service like bit.ly to create a shareable link to that URL.
  3. Drive traffic to the shortened link.

Now anytime you make a sale from one of these shortened keyword links, you’re basically tricking Amazon into thinking that these visitors performed a product search for your target keyword.

If you want an in depth look at the perfect way to make your listing perfectly relevant check out the post below!
Amazon Keywords: 4 Tips for Perfectly Optimized Product Listings

Customer Satisfaction Ranking Factors

17. Negative Seller Feedback

Why do I list negative seller feedback specifically, as opposed to just seller feedback in general?

Interestingly, Amazon actually claims not to track positive seller feedback; at least, not for the sake of their product ranking algorithm.

Instead they track negative seller feedback rates, or frequency. It doesn’t matter how bad the feedback is – all negative feedback is the same, and it all counts against you equally in terms of search result rankings.

To be clear – as a third-party seller attempting to win the buy box (shown below) you want your seller feedback as high as possible. However, negative feedback rate is the only metric with a known effect on product search results.

Amazon Buy Box Feedback Ratio

18. Order Processing Speed

Amazon knows that one of the best ways to make customers happy is with fast and accurate shipping. Therefore, a vendor or seller who has shown consistent and efficient order processing is more likely to rank higher than a vendor who’s had complaints of inaccurate or slow shipping.

19. In-Stock Rate

Customers hate it when they want a product but can’t have it. One of the most common ways this problem occurs is when an item is out of stock, or when a seller doesn’t keep proper track of their inventory.

Whether you’re a first-party vendor or a third-party seller, keeping your inventory in stock is vital to maintain top rankings, both in A9’s product search results and in your product’s buy box.

Two of the big customer satisfaction metrics are Percentage of Orders Refunded and Pre-Fulfillment Cancellation. In both cases, Amazon has found that vendors/sellers with low in-stock rates tend have higher refunds and cancellations, which of course is bad for customer retention.

20. Perfect Order Percentage (POP)

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.

If you have a high Perfect Order Percentage, that means you have a high in-stock rate, accurate product listings and prompt shipping. That’s exactly what Amazon wants for each and every one of their customers, so they’ll naturally rank high-POP sellers above lower-POP ones.

21. Order Defect Rate (ODR)

ODR is basically the opposite metric of POP.

Every time a customer makes a claim with an order, that’s considered an order defect. Here are some of the most ways an order can defect:

  • Negative buyer feedback
  • A-to-Z Guarantee claim
  • Any kind of shipment problem
  • Credit card chargeback

Each of those examples by itself would count towards your Order Defect Rate, which is the number of order defects compared to the total number of orders fulfilled over a given period of time. Amazon says that all sellers should aim for an ODR under 1%.

Important! Buyer-removed negative feedback does not count towards your ODR. So, it really pays to address each and every one of your customers’ issues.

22. Exit Rate

How often does a customer view your listing and then exit Amazon.com? That’s your exit rate.

If your page has an above average exit rate, Amazon takes that as a sign that you have a low-quality listing. Usually a high exit rate is because your product has a low in-stock rate, or because your listing isn’t fully complete.

23. Packaging Options

This is a metric that I didn’t used to think Amazon used for ranking purposes, but recently I’ve been seeing stuff like this in product search results:

Amazon Listing Packaging Options

Clearly packaging options are something that Amazon has found their customers care about. But, even if it weren’t, it’s a great way to separate your listing from other similar products (and rank higher through an increased conversion rate).

An easy way to do this – seen in the example above – is to use Fulfillment by Amazon to offer Frustration Free Packaging. This is where Amazon uses less packaging and fully recyclable materials without sacrificing product protection. You can read more about it here.

Too Long; Didn’t Read

(If you want ALL the strategies on the go then…Download This Post as a PDF “How To Rank Your Products On Amazon – The Ultimate Guide”)

This post is getting dangerously close to 4,000 words, so I know that a lot of you probably won’t read it all.

That’s okay – I’ll forgive you with time 🙂 We did a post of quick Amazon Ranking Hacks for new sellers 🙂

Key takeaways from The Ultimate Guide to Ranking Products on Amazon:

  • Maximum RPC (Revenue Per Customer) is Amazon’s top goal.
  • The Amazon Ranking algorithm uses conversion rate, relevance and customer satisfaction to rank products.
  • Fill out as much of your product listing page as possible, using as many keywords as possible.
  • Use FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) to automate customer satisfaction.
  • Find ways to encourage customer reviews, and do everything you can to keep your customers happy.
  • Above all: More sales = higher rankings = more sales

There you have it! You now know exactly what ranking Amazon is looking at to make sure their customers are happy. All that’s left is for you to go out there and capitalize on your superior knowledge!

Whether you’re starting on Amazon with private label or creating your own products in China you can rank your products with this guide!
Other Amazon sellers are starting 2018 selling via retail arbitrage. So whatever your choice just take action.

In the meantime, do you have any additional questions about ranking products on Amazon? Do you need me to clarify something I didn’t explain well enough?

Let me know in the comments below, I’ll be responding to every last one 🙂

Author

Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the StartupBros About Page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

  • Adepeju Mariam Oloko says:

    Wow… (we say waawu where I come from). this is unarguably the best post ive read concerning search engine optimization. i took a 4-page note. thank you for this write up. im currently doing my product research to determine what to sell on amazon.

  • SP says:

    Hey cool except think the # of kws needs an update right? it’s strictly limited to 250 isn’t it?

  • sak says:

    Thank you for this post has helped me in what I was looking for. I have one question my listing is not discoverable on when I search specific keywords which means I wont be getting any sales = no reviews. what is the best way to rank my listing.

    Thanks.

  • Kate OMalley says:

    How can you find a company or person who is an “expert” with creating your Amazon page? I need help with my product….

    • Rachel says:

      Hey, I use Panda Boom they are top performers in every aspect of the business listwrting external traffic and blogger services that boost my reviews and ranking. super recommended

  • shoaib saleh says:

    great !i want to start my e.commerce store i need few suggestions on can you tell me ,how to contact you

  • […] and bullet points (<li></li>) to make your content more attractive. Understanding more about the Amazon product listing algorithm will also […]

  • sumit says:

    this is really a helpful post for all those who already have store on Amazon or who are looking to create like me. I need to now that which product we should sell? can we sell the product to other countries too ?how will we send these products to other countries? and most important how to research which product is best to sell on Amazon? please answer it would be more helpfull from your side.
    thank u 🙂

  • May be we all know these stuff but reading all together is a refreshment for mind to act and perform better selling on Amazon.

    These are very simple steps we can easily follow but we do mistakes by not taking them seriously as we go older with selling concentrating only on increasing the sales but we forget that these are the basic Tools we must have always 🙂

    Thanks Will Mitchell for collecting all the stuff together with awesome presentation.

  • […] can read more on how to rank for Amazon’s A9 search algorithm. Sellers Playbook can also help you navigate the ins and outs of Amazon’s search […]

  • […] better your rank in search results, which will ultimately lead to higher sales. In this in-depth article, Will Mitchell from Startupbros does a great job of explaining the role that customer feedback and […]

  • CA says:

    Your content is really helpful! But, I’m still a little lost on sourcing keyword. How am I supposed to construct a URL? Another question is how can I determine which keyword to target for my product? How do I know if the keyword I’m targeting for has sufficient search volume?

  • […] How to Rank Your Products on Amazon – The Ultimate Guide […]

  • […] How to Rank Your Products on Amazon – The Ultimate Guide […]

  • […] free traffic which results in more business opportunity… we can also have a similar effect by RANKING AMAZON listing. It is the sellers that master the art of ranking their listings that sell the most products. Juts […]

  • Clara says:

    Hey Will Mitchell,

    Thanks for writing a great article. I love it and also implement in our all products and I am sure your tips will definitely work.

    I have also one more question. If you have time please give me a reply.

    My question is, Can I get potential buyers on our Amazon products if I promote our products on social product submission sites like wanelo.com, theproductrank.com, and etc…?

    I hope you will give me best answers.

    Thanks again.
    Clara

  • Partha Bhatia says:

    Hi:

    The very much required information which you wrote over here, are those applicable on amazon.in also?

    Regards

    Partha

  • Jenna says:

    When was this published? Things change so fast on Amazon and I hate reading content that’s 1+ years old. It’s impossible to know if an article like this is worth reading when I can’t find the published date.

  • RD Plast Pvt Ltd says:

    When I am doing any changes in product pages from inventory panel, our product seller rank is increasing despite of decreasing frequently. Can someone tell me, why it’s happening? And how to overcome it?

    You can see our products page on amazon by searching “RD Mounts”.

  • henry says:

    Really this blog helpful for rank a product on Amazon. and I follow this steps and let’s see what happen. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jasvir says:

    Hi,
    I like the advice you have given in this blog post.
    Can you please show us how to do this part of it.
    Construct a URL for your product listing using the [&keyword=your+keyword] query (append the code inside the brackets to your product URL).
    Use a link shortening service like bit.ly to create a shareable link to that URL.

  • anarose says:

    A very very help full for newer an amazon affiliate.truly it’s amazing

  • Yawar says:

    Really helpful.. Thanks for sharing such precious knowledge.

  • wikhack says:

    wow, superb..
    really intrested article. thankyou for this article.
    I’m Alwayes follow your blog.

  • Tom Buckland says:

    Everyone who runs an online business with Amazon wants to ensure that they are getting high ranking since this will help increase the conversion much better. This article is such an excellent help to individuals who are having challenges with their ranking

  • […] really knows what exactly how it works, but like increasing your search ranking, there are some factors you can sway in your favor. Amazon select products that are priced […]

  • Annie Seberson says:

    Great info. Thank you!