News & Insights
Understanding the Amazon A9 Algorithm
The Amazon A9 algorithm is the engine that the massive marketplace uses to determine which and in what order products are displayed in response to a customer search. Recent tweaks to the algorithm have led some to begin referring to it as A10; however, regardless of the moniker, the priority for sellers is to optimize their listings for the current iteration that is behind every Amazon product ranking.
While Amazon keeps the exact recipe behind the algorithm’s rankings under wraps, a product’s sales performance, availability and relevancy to shoppers’ searches are clearly at the top of the list when it comes to influencing the algorithm. The more closely an in-stock product’s listing content matches a search term, the better the chances it will appear among the top results. Still, there are other less-transparent factors that sellers should be mindful of. And while they are harder to target for ranking optimization, there are steps that every seller pursuing sales growth should take.
Elevate Amazon SEO by targeting the direct factors
Attempts to help a product listing reach a higher spot in the Amazon A9 Algorithm’s rankings should begin with the areas that most heavily influence results. It should not be surprising that these direct factors are the most closely linked to sales performance and customer satisfaction. Therefore, products with substantial sales numbers, precisely-targeted keyword optimization and industry-leading fulfillment capabilities will be best positioned to conquer Amazon search results.
Amazon SEO starts with strong sales
Amazon’s priority is selling products to shoppers. That’s why ranking among the marketplace’s top search results requires your products to be available for purchase. The second your item becomes out of stock, it will drop out of search rankings. Similarly, brands that can’t provide fast shipping will have trouble breaking through to do well within the algorithm. That’s why a robust inventory management program is essential for sellers looking to improve their ranking on Amazon.
It’s also essential that your product is priced competitively without sacrificing too much of your margins. As e-commerce continues its rapid growth, pricing policies are becoming more critical for retailers and manufacturers. The alternative of using a destructive race to the bottom and hoping a lower price will improve your ranking is unlikely to be a successful long-term strategy. Other resellers will become frustrated by brands undercutting their margins on Amazon, and consumers will begin to lose confidence in the product’s value. Instead, prioritizing margins and protecting retailers is the better way to see a bump in Amazon’s ranking of products. That’s why the pricing of products should be monitored continuously to identify threats from illegitimate sellers and avoid missing the opportunities that come with a fast-paced and fluctuating market.
The reason availability and pricing are so crucial to a seller’s performance within the algorithm is because of the role that sales velocity plays in the A9 algorithm. Amazon defines this metric as the number and dollar amount of Seller account transactions during a month. The ranking algorithm analyzes sales results and increases the rankings for products selling well. Therefore, the more items you sell, the more you will sell in the future, and the better your placement in the search results will be.
How to prioritize keywords for a better product ranking
Another primary tactic for sellers hoping to climb Amazon’s rankings, and achieve sales growth, is to focus on making a product easily searchable. Shoppers need to be able to find your item quickly, and this is accomplished on Amazon via keyword research and optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) on the platform gauges relevance and value to determine how to best leverage a keyword in a product title, feature bullet points, product description or elsewhere. But optimization is also not as simple as repeating keywords numerous times. When it comes to Amazon’s A9 Algorithm, quality is way more important than quantity. In many cases, once a search term appears in your Amazon listing, it has likely added all the value it can. Therefore, adding it repeatedly, especially to the detriment of the copywriting, is unlikely to improve your spot in the search results.
As part of your keyword research, you should also account for how those terms relate to a user’s objective and whether that purpose adequately aligns with your company’s goals. Focusing on customer search intent reveals the keywords that deserve the most attention. When done effectively, this approach results in lucrative long-tail keywords that target a particular type of customer.
Long-tail keywords can often take the form of a question or will include one or more defining aspects of a product. For example, “What are the best waterproof shoes for kids?” or “large, white round wall clock” would be long-tail keywords that could be targeted by brands more efficiently than the head keywords of “waterproof shoes” or “wall clock” alone. Typically, a shopper using long-tail keywords for their search is closer to the point of purchase, making them an excellent opportunity to increase your conversion rate. Pinpointing the most relevant long-tail keywords can allow you to outmaneuver competitors and significantly strengthen your Amazon product ranking.
Since 2021, brands have had access to anonymized data on customer interests, preferences and shopping behavior via the Amazon Brand Analytics Dashboards. The available dashboards provide vital metrics on top search terms and allow sellers to explore where customers lose attention or click away. As a result, they are an incredible resource for companies looking to optimize Amazon listings, manage inventory, plan product development, and boost sales and margins.
Amazon’s Brand Analytics Dashboards will likely be the most important keyword tool for your optimization plan, but they shouldn’t be the only ones. Google’s Keyword Planner can likewise guide your discovery and ranking of keywords. It can identify popular search terms based on a product or category and provide search data on visitors to brand assets other than your Amazon store, such as your website or social media sites. Several proprietary keyword services are also available for businesses looking to partner with someone on Amazon listing optimization. Regardless, utilizing tools beyond those Amazon provides is a more well-rounded strategy.
Boost SEO with the right fulfillment model
When it comes to a seller’s fulfillment strategy, the power of Prime is hard to ignore. Amazon force ranks Prime-eligible items, while users are more inclined to select 2-day free shipping. At Amify, we often see a 50-100 percent increase in sales when a brand moves to Prime eligibility.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is when a brand ships its products into an Amazon warehouse. When a customer buys a product on Amazon, the product is shipped from an Amazon warehouse to the end customer. The products are Prime-eligible, and sellers can offer 1-2-day shipping to their customers. Shipping costs are also typically much less than seller fulfillment via other providers, and Amazon takes responsibility for customer service and return processing.
Of course, relying on FBA won’t guarantee a top ranking, and it comes with its own challenges. The brand must ship products into Amazon warehouses, thus creating a separate “warehouse” just for Amazon products. Also, the products must comply with all of Amazon’s requirements, including labels, temperature, and expiration dates. Once the product is at Amazon, changing, inspecting or fixing problems is challenging. Finally, Amazon controls the amount of inventory allocated to each product, frequently resulting in stock-outs during busy seasons. If FBA is managed poorly, it can quickly lead to unavailable products that cause your search rankings to nosedive.
Indirect factors also impact the A9 algorithm
A product’s popularity with customers may be enough to rocket it to the top of the rankings, but that is highly unlikely. Instead, most sellers will probably need to rely on product listing optimization of both the direct and indirect factors that influence the Amazon A9 Algorithm. The indirect factors include many parts of an Amazon listing, buyer feedback and how well a seller’s marketing strategy drives traffic to listings from outside the marketplace.
The interaction between a prospective customer and your product listing often begins with your Amazon product title. A well-constructed and optimized product title can be the difference between profitable shopper conversions and a struggle to get your item in front of the appropriate audience.
An optimized product title is more than just a description of your Amazon listing. It needs to be a concise balance of accuracy and detail that targets the most valuable keywords for your brand. One of the challenges of listing optimization is crafting a title that simultaneously satisfies the expectations of Amazon users and strategically influences the site’s algorithm. While it may take up less real estate than other parts of an Amazon listing, it certainly plays an outsized role in results.
Images & Video
Images have a huge influence on a shopper’s decision to buy. Great-looking, high-quality images help customers feel confident in their purchases. In fact, they are among the most influential pieces of Amazon content are high-quality images. Seventy-eight percent of people say video has convinced them to buy a product, while 30 percent of shoppers won’t even consider a product that presents low-quality images.
However, optimizing photos means more than just good resolution and high resolution. The media on your product page should tell a story. Your products should be showcased from multiple angles and also in use by consumers. Well-designed and appealing infographics that add compelling text overlays and use precise measurements and comparisons to establish size and function are essential to this area of Amazon listing optimization.
In addition to increasing the chance of converting a shopper to a buyer, videos can keep people on your page longer and offer another opportunity to include relevant keywords in your Amazon product listing. Videos can also result in more appropriate expectations that can reduce negative reviews. These advantages all work together to improve Amazon listing optimization and can help a product rise in the rankings.
Features & Description
While some brands might see much difference between their product’s key features and description, the ones that take A9 algorithm optimization seriously know better. Amazon’s Key Feature section relies only on short bullets to communicate the essential aspects of a product to consumers. The text displayed in the key features can also weigh more heavily in the ranking done by the platform’s algorithm, making keyword placement critical.
Alternatively, the product description is the place to provide detailed information about product features and product usage to guide a customer’s purchase decision. It’s the place to highlight specific product information not included in other areas of an Amazon listing but may still influence Amazon shoppers. In both the features and description areas, sellers must follow Amazon policies, such as the restrictions on mentioning competition or promoting temporary price cuts.
Developing a Key Features section and product description that complement one another, taking advantage of keywords and captivating the audience with an eye toward conversions is not easy. Like so many parts of an Amazon listing, a single weak link can harm the entire listing and result in long-term problems for an Amazon seller.
Ratings & Reviews
Poorly reviewed products are seldom purchased. Conversely, listings with higher reviews (3/5 stars and up) are likelier to be bought, resulting in higher sales velocity. That’s why product ratings and reviews play a substantial role in your listings’ success. But beyond how they can influence your performance within Amazon’s algorithm, product reviews offer you insights that can grow your company. Whether positive or negative, they can be a guide to improving your listing descriptions, product photos, packaging, shipping methods or even the product itself. They’re worth too much to ignore.
Implementing a proactive approach to reviews will allow you to identify the reasons that a customer chooses to buy your product and may provide better awareness of the key benefits you might use as keywords to lead prospective buyers to a completed purchase.
Similar to ratings and reviews, customer questions offer a glimpse into the minds of your customers. Someone on your team should be mining this area of your Amazon listings to spot deficiencies and find new keyword opportunities that might otherwise be missed.
One overlooked way to increase sales velocity and sales rank is through Amazon PPC advertising which helps to put your product in front of interested customers. While getting to the top of Amazon’s Search Engine Results Page is important, staying on a shopper’s radar throughout the decision-making process is often just as critical. Amazon’s research has shown that only four percent of shoppers buy a product after their first search. Instead, it can take them an average of six to seven days to make a purchase.
One of the most effective ways to avoid losing prospective customers during this purchase journey of comparisons, evaluations and distractions is to utilize Amazon Sponsored ads. When used correctly, this specialized Amazon tool can reach the relevant shoppers at the most critical points of their search and substantially boost conversions for an Amazon seller’s product listing.
Since the most recent updates to the A9 algorithm emphasize listing traffic originating from off the platform, PPC ads are a direct way to drive people to your product listings while improving the item’s placement in Amazon search results. Due to its multi-faceted benefits on Amazon, online advertising can be quite cost-effective. But a poorly planned campaign will have very little Return on Ad Spend (RoAS), meaning you will have paid too much, no matter the cost. A solid plan, ongoing data analysis, and coordination with other digital marketing initiatives are also necessary to create and maintain sales impacts that will organically improve product rankings.
Amify can put a top spot on Amazon within reach
The path to dominating the A9 algorithm can seem overwhelming. But the right partner can make getting your business where you want it to be easier. The pros at Amify are ready to discuss how an Amazon SEO plan can help you climb the search result rankings.
From Amazon keyword research to actionable data analysis, reach out to our experts today to discover the difference we can make for your brand.