Amazon Algorithm: The Top 11 Factors that make (or break) product rankings
An increasing proportion of consumers are beginning their product searches on Amazon. While Google has been the go-to search bar for ages, nearly half of U.S. consumers are now starting their product searches on Amazon. And the better the product ranking on the listing, the higher the chances that it will sell.
As a seller or vendor on Amazon, you might wonder: what is the blueprint behind this search bar? How does Amazon decide your product ranking? Here are the top 11 factors that the Amazon Product Search Algorithm, the most complex on the planet, takes into account.
What is A9, the Amazon Product Search Algorithm?
Amazon’s Search Algorithm, A9, is the search and advertising algorithm that powers Amazon’s on-site search bar. It auto-completes shoppers’ search queries and returns the most relevant product list. According to Amazon, the search engine analyzes search patterns and purchase histories so that it can provide the best possible search experience to users. When the search query is formed, and relevant products are available, A9 scores all related products and presents them from the most relevant to the least.
Because of this scoring system, it is essential for brands and manufacturers who are selling on Amazon – such as Marketplace Sellers or Amazon Vendors – to understand the factors that affect the product rankings. Having the fundamental elements in mind can help merchants to improve their products’ rankings on Amazon and increase sales as a consequence.
There are 2 types of factors that actively contribute to Amazon product ranking:
- Listing-related factors: factors tied to the way the listing page is filled and populated with appropriate content.
- Performance factors: factors linked to how well your products and your team are doing over time.
Top 6 Listing Factors
Product Title: When indexing your product page, the A9 algorithm will first go through your title to find out what you sell. It should be able to identify the product category, brand name, model name, color/ variant, size/capacity and informative keywords (the title length can go up to 200 characters depending on the category). The first search results are usually the ones that have an exact keyword match in the product title.
Bullet points and description (2 factors in 1): A9 examines the product description to score the product and gives extra weight to the bullet points. Bullet points should contain all the relevant keywords and category names that the users may type in the search bar.
Photos: Amazon provides very detailed specifications for product photos (resolution, background color, framing, etc.). While it is evident that good pictures will increase CTR and conversion rate, the A9 algorithm is also capable of verifying which photos comply with the guidelines. Non-compliant pictures will tank the ranking of the product page.
Fulfillment method: How the vendor handles the product shipment will contribute to the product rank. Amazon encourages merchants to use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), and its ranking algorithm also gives a better score to those who use the service.
Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) or A+ content. It is an Amazon service, available to professional sellers (both Sellers and Vendors) who have been approved as brand owners. In brief, it enables rich content support on the product pages. Although Amazon does not index EBC, the A9 algorithm still favors pages with A+ content because it proves the seller’s credibility, it supplies added-value elements and boosts sales by 3 to 10% according to Amazon.
Top 5 Performance factors
Sales ranking: high sales performances positively contribute to the product ranking on Amazon. The algorithm takes into account the volume of sales, the sales velocity and the conversion rate of the products in their respective category. It explains why best-selling products usually appear on the top of the search result.
Product Availability: low (or depleted) inventory heavily penalizes search placement.
Pricing: This is a critical factor for vendors to consider as it contributes significantly to the A9 measurement. If the product price (and shipping fee) is competitive compared to its substitutes, there is a good chance that the product will rank well in the product search results.
Customer reviews: There are three main criteria that A9 takes into account: average product rating, amount of reviews and review quality. High ranking products usually have 4.5/5 or 5/5 ratings, with a good ratio of positive reviews and a high number of reviews. Also, reviews that are detailed and contain pictures are considered higher quality and improve the ranking.
Responsiveness: This criterion considers the seller’s ability to answer customer questions and reviews — both positive and negative. Amazon strongly recommends their sellers remain interactive with their customers. Buyers will more likely give reviews and ask questions if they know the seller is active.