This post is about how to improve Amazon search rankings. In it, we’ll talk about the importance of Amazon search, and just how big it really is. Additionally, we’ll discuss what makes up Amazon’s search engine, and specific areas to focus on when improving your search ranking.
Most people, including many who are Amazon Sellers, don’t think of Amazon when it comes to search. Instead, they think of Google, Bing, or Yahoo. However, Amazon’s proprietary search engine, called the A9 Product Search engine, is one of the most important because the majority of people who are searching on Amazon are not just browsing, but they are actually looking to purchase. The search engine knows the best products, and heavily favors them in search results. Therefore, rankings for a particular product are critical to an Amazon Seller’s success.
Why Improve Amazon Search Rankings? Is Amazon Search Significant?
In a recent survey from BloomReach of 2,000 online shoppers in the U.S., 44 percent of respondents said they go directly to Amazon when looking to buy or research a product online. 34 percent use search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo as first stops for product searches. Only 21 percent start an online shopping trip by searching on another retailer’s website, according to the survey. See the infographic below:
Want more proof? Check out these recent articles explaining Amazon’s climb to the top of the search engine heap for products:
- Amazon’s dominance of online shopping starts with product searches, study shows by Taylor Soper
- Amazon Is Absolutely Eviscerating Other Retailers Online, New Survey Shows by Jason Del Rey
- Searcher Query Volumes Show Google Neck and Neck With Amazon, by Ginny Marvin
Understanding Amazon’s Search Engine, A9
Founded in 2003, A9.com is a subsidiary of Amazon that develops technology for search and advertising. Wikipedia explains that one of A9’s objectives was to develop and leverage complex algorithms, and thus the name, A9, was chosen to represent ALGORITHM (i.e. ‘A’ + 9 other letters). The A9 search engine powers not only search for Amazon.com and its subsidiary sites, but it is also licensed to several other ecommerce retailers. A9 even includes “Search Inside the Book” which allows a user to search the full text of hundred of thousands of books.
A9’s focus, as per its website, A9.com, is to first understand the customer and then to try to give them exactly what they want. Once A9 gets a sense of what the customer is looking for, then A9 uses its ranking algorithms to present the most relevant results. As A9’s website explains,
“Our ranking algorithms automatically learn to combine multiple relevance features. Our catalog’s structured data provides us with many such relevance features and we learn from past search patterns and adapt to what is important to our customers.”
One of the best summaries of Amazon’s search engine ranking we have found is from Startup Bros, in their blog post entitled, “How to Rank Your Products on Amazon – The Ultimate Guide”. Author Will Mitchell outlines three basic rules for Amazon’s search engine rankings:
- Amazon’s top goal is to maximize revenue per customer (RPC)
- Amazon aggregates as much user data as possible, tracking every action on the page…even following where the cursor hovers
- Amazon’s A9 algorithm connects the data from #2 and applies it to #1
Three Main Aspects Of How Amazon Ranks Products
Amazon ranks search results by three main aspects. The aspects are conversion rate, relevancy, and customer satisfaction / retention. A breakdown of the three, and what each consists of is below:
- Sales Rank
- Customer Reviews
- Answered Questions
- Image Size and Quality
- Parent-Child Products
- Time on Page & Bounce Rate
- Product Listing Completeness
- Features / Bullet Points
- Product Description
- Brand & Manufacturer Part #
- Category & Sub-Category
- Search Terms
- Source Keyword
- Negative Seller Feedback
- Order Processing Speed
- In-Stock Rate
- Perfect Order Percentage (POP)
- Return Rate
- Order Defect Rate (ODR)
- Exit Rate
- Packaging Options
Ways You Can Improve Your Amazon Search Rankings
- Sales velocity is the biggest product ranking indicator. Increased Sales = Higher Rank = More Sales.
- Fill out as much of your product listing page as possible, using as many keywords as possible. You want to make sure that you establish relevancy with your target market.
- Use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to automate your fulfillment. FBA does it better than anyone, and the benefits are well worth the additional cost.
- Find ways to encourage customer reviews, and do everything you can to keep your customers happy. Seller feedback is critical. In today’s competitive environment on Amazon, you will not likely survive, let alone thrive, with average or below average customer reviews.