Amazon Rankings Explained
In the last few years, our unique combination of organic ranking campaigns and listing optimization techniques has helped us take over 600 of our client’s products to high level positions within the Amazon A9 ranking algorithm.
We also manage some client’s entire Amazon accounts – but throughout all of our years of boosting sales and profits, one fact has become abundantly clear:
Organic Rankings On Amazon Are Absolutely Everything!
There are many ways to achieve success and boost sales in Amazon, but organic rankings are the only one that (if done right) lead to long term sustainable growth.
For example, PPC takes a cut from every single sale you make, putting you at a big disadvantage to other sellers. Even worse, if you switch your PPC ads off, your sales dry up immediately.
So while Sponsored Products campaigns can be a good way to give up some margin in order to gain some extra sales in the first instance, it is rarely a viable long term strategy.
On the other hand, if you get to a high organically ranked position within the Amazon A9 algorithm, as long as your product is high quality, price is competitive, and listing is attractive, you can expect guaranteed sales in the long term.
The challenge comes when we discuss how to achieve this – after all, keywords range dramatically in how competitive they are, and some are full of established sellers’ products with thousands of positive reviews. Some of these products have comfortably sat at the top of the results for years, raking up the sales, and for a newcomer, outranking them is going to be a gargantuan task.
As a result, this article is going to be in-depth.
We’ve been knocking those established sellers off their perches and giving new, often better products a chance to sell as much as they deserve for years now – and we’re going to show you exactly how to do it, right here!
It’s going to be a long read with numerous points to get through though, so sit back and grab a coffee first!
Let’s begin with the very basics:
What is Amazon’s A9 Algorithm?
If you want to learn how to increase organic rankings on Amazon, you need to study the Amazon algorithm, how it works, and what it tries to do.
Before I go into detail on this section, I should probably explain what an algorithm is!
“a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”Lexico
It’s as simple as that.
If you don’t get involved in any other algorithms, you can just consider it the Amazon ranking system to keep things even simpler.
Within search engines, like Google or Amazon, an algorithm is simply the set of rules used to organise the results into order based on relevancy.
It goes without saying that Google is the most advanced algorithm in the world – the sheer range of topics they need to cover makes that a necessity.
The complexity of Google’s search algorithm is compounded by the differences in intent held by different users.
Some people are looking for products to buy, others are just looking to research a topic, others are looking for information on local companies or even for one specific side of an argument.
Google needs to recognise these different intents and provide the best possible information for every search term, which is why it is so infinitely complex.
Amazon has the benefit of not needing to worry about intent – everything searched in it’s A9 algorithm is a request for a specific type of product.
For example, if somebody types “shoes” into Google, they could be looking to learn about shoes, looking to study shoe design, or looking to buy shoes. If somebody types “shoes” into Amazon, there is a 100% chance they are looking to buy shoes.
As a result, A9 is much simpler than Google’s algorithm – all Amazon needs to do is organise products in order to provide each potential customer (Searcher) with the most relevant product to their search, in order to increase the conversion rate for every search and make as many sales as possible.
With me, so far?
The next step is about how high your product shows up in these search results:
What are Organic Rankings within Amazon?
When you search most keywords into Amazon, the first few products listed are paid ads. You can tell these apart from the others as they say “Sponsored”.
“Organic rankings” is the term given to the other products listed here. They will be listed in order of their “organic rank” which is simply, how relevant Amazon thinks they are to your search query. In other words, the order of how often they are purchased by people who have searched the exact keyword you just did.
The sponsored products are not part of the organic ranking in Amazon – to get one of the sponsored spots, you need to pay for it via a PPC campaign.
We’ll provide a full guide on that soon.
While PPC can be a great way to pay for extra sales and win some visibility, it also cuts into your margin, and isn’t a sustainable way to grow in the long term as the second you turn it off, the sales disappear.
Amazon organic rankings on the other hand, can lead to long term sustainable sales at no ongoing cost.
So the next question is, how do you get to the #1 organic ranked position?
How Does Organic Ranking in Amazon Work?
As most SEOs will know, ranking in Google is incredibly complex and when you deal with it every day, the possibility of Google suddenly changing the algorithm becomes a constant fear.
Due to the fact intent isn’t an issue in Amazon, the ranking algorithm there is thankfully much more simple, and much less of a focal part of Amazon’s business.
There are still numerous factors to take into account – but it’s actually possible to experiment with Amazon rankings and figure out what it’s doing, something that would take decades to do manually in Google.
Remember – for Google, their algorithm is their business model. 99% of their income comes from ads.
For Amazon, this isn’t the case – they have to invest in logistics, warehousing, customer service and more. This means the Amazon algorithm doesn’t dominate their business strategy as much, and therefore doesn’t receive as much investment.
This is good news for us Amazon marketers, as the algorithm evolves much more slowly and major updates are pretty rare.
We’ve spent almost a decade ranking our client’s products and have been able to get products to the #1 spot in a huge range of highly competitive keywords across the UK, US, and European Amazon marketplaces.
We’re about to show you our exact process, step by step, so that you can do the same.
First, in depth research is essential, as it informs everything that comes next.
If you get it wrong, you’ll be ranking your products for the wrong keywords, so don’t be afraid to spend as much time as you need here.
1: Keyword research for your Amazon product
This stage involves completing in depth research on keyword opportunities, as well as your competition.
This is arguably the most important stage because it’s when you’ll decide on the best keywords to target.
You’ll also find out things like the average selling price of your competitors. Click through rate is a huge part of ranking organically in Amazon, so if your price is too high, people won’t click on your listing, which essentially means you don’t stand a chance.
First, let’s take a look at the competition:
Before you launch a new product, you need to know how competitive the primary keyword is. If you’re launching into a highly competitive niche with hundreds of established sellers, you may not stand a chance.
Even if you’ve already launched your product and know the competition is manageable – competition analysis remains important. This is because in order to get the best possible rank and the best possible sales you can, you’ll need to be strategic in how you position your product in relation to the others.
We’ll post a full guide focusing specifically on competition analysis soon, but here are the basic steps that are involved:
Value Analysis: This is probably the simplest part, but it’s no less important for that fact. Simply put, your product needs to offer good value for the price you’re asking, in relation to the other products on the market. An excellent way to ensure this is go through the reviews left on competitor’s listings. Positive reviews will help you to see what people look for in this type of product. In the same way, negative reviews will tell you what pain points you need to avoid. If a product is getting a lot of 1 or 2 star reviews, with buyers citing one particular issue, and your product has that same issue – you need to solve it before you can expect to do well, even if that means going back to the drawing board in manufacturing terms. It’s also a good idea at this stage to think of anything you can offer to increase the value of your product without increasing your manufacturing costs too much – a free eBook, a coupon off a refill, or a bonus accessory are often good ideas.
Demand Analysis: Imagine spending weeks conducting R&D on products, optimizing listings, and spending money on stock, just to find out that the product you chose is one nobody wants! For sole traders or individual sellers, this stage might be as simple as checking search volumes. Large companies who need to sell a certain amount to cover overheads will need to go much more in depth here.
Target Market Analysis: The more precise you can be when deciding who you’re targeting with your product, the better. I’m not just talking about their hobbies – I’m talking specific age, interests, lifestyle, income, etc – get as granular as you can. Then think about the issues in this person’s life. How can you fix these problems? If your product gets rid of these problems entirely, you’re likely onto a winner.
Keyword research is a crucial part of getting ready to sell on Amazon.
This is how you find out exactly how many people are searching for your sort of product on Amazon, which helps you understand roughly how many sales you can expect.
All too often, we see Amazon sellers who simply “guess” the keywords and optimize their listings based around what they would call their product.
There are billions of people in the world, and likely millions in your country – all of whom speak slightly differently and use different names for things.
By only optimizing for the keywords you can find off the top of your head, you are basically hiding your product from people who would search other related terms, and therefore are limiting your potential sales to a fraction of what they could be.
Getting a full list of all of the keyword opportunities for your product is a powerful thing.
For example, you can run large organic ranking campaigns on the most competitive ones to dramatically increase your visibility. If they are especially competitive and will take some time to rank for, you can also run PPC on them to win some sales in the meantime.
For some of the less competitive keywords, you may be able to rank for them much more quickly, simply by updating your listing or adding the keywords to your backend search terms. If not, then a smaller ranking campaign will do it.
It’s often worth going for the low competition ones first because you can get rapid results, and by the time you target the more competitive ones, you already have some good sales and reviews coming from the pevious keywords you ranked for.
The simple fact is, if you don’t know what people who might be interested in your product might be searching, you are in the dark, likely missing more than half of those keywords, and at a huge disadvantage.
If you do – you are in a position of control, and knowing what to do with them can lead to huge increases in sales and profitability.
There are countless keyword research tools for Amazon sellers. In all honesty, none of them are 100% accurate, but a lot of them provide pretty decent estimates that are very close to reality.
We will soon bring you an in depth post going into detail on all of the major Amazon seller tools, but for keyword research specifically, it’s hard to go wrong with Helium10.
Helium10 has two main tools worth using for this. One is called Cerebro.
Cerebro allows you to input a competitors ASIN and gives you back a list of keywords that competitor is organically ranked for.
If the competitor product is highly similar to yours, chance are you’ll find a ton of great options worth including in your own listing.
The second tool is Magnet2.
The best way to use this is to first search the most generic keyword related to your product, for example “paint by numbers”, after which you will be provided a full list of keywords Helium10 considers to be related.
Go through the results and build a list of relevant options, and then type some more specific ideas to find some keywords with extremely high relevance.
For example if your paint by numbers product includes a picture of a lion, you would now search “lion paint by numbers”, “animal painting kit” and anything else that you can come up with.
Each time you search in Magnet2, it provides a list of related keywords including search volumes and competing products.
The figures displayed aren’t 100% accurate but they are very close to being so, and are proportional to each other, so they provide a great way to judge the competition of different keywords.
We’ll bring you a full keyword research guide soon including advanced tips for using Helium10 and other tools, but the general aim here is to get a complete list of relevant keywords to your product and sort them by competition. This will be a goldmine going forward as you can use it to help with all decisions, from which edits to make to your listing, to which organic ranking campaigns to run.
It can even help you to find related products that are in demand but that you never would have thought of!
If you’d rather let us generate organic sales from genuine buyers under a specific target keyword and boost your organic rank in Amazon, letting you focus on other areas of your business, contact us now!
Tracking Keyword Positions
Once you have decided on your target keywords and how you plan to rank for them, it’s important to use an Amazon keyword ranking tracker tool or software.
Once again, we will analyse these against each other in a future post to help you decide which works best for you, but Helium10 is a great option and the one we most commonly use internally. KeyworX is also a great low budget option but we’ll discuss this at a later date with a full review.
These software tools keep track of your organic rank in all of the keywords you choose, making you aware of every time they move up or down in rank.
This is crucial because it teaches you which of your marketing strategies are effective and which aren’t.
For example, if you upload a product picture and your organic rank drops, it’s probably a good idea to switch it back.
On the other hand, if you make a change and the rank increases, this is likely a sign that the update has made your listing more attractive to the type of people searching that keyword, which can only be a good thing.
The simple fact is that every relevant keyword that you aren’t in a high ranked position for, is a missed opportunity that is costing you money daily.
By now, you should have an idea of how your product should be positioned next to the competition, and a list of keywords you need to rank for.
Now it’s time to put all of this research into practice:
2: Amazon Product Listing Optimization (Optimizing Your Listing Using Everything from Above)
Ok, so most of you are here on this page to learn how to rank a product on Amazon.
This is arguably the most important stage for this. In order to get a rank for a keyword in the first place, Amazon needs to see that the keyword is relevant to your product.
If your product listing doesn’t contain the keyword at all, then they have no reason to think this.
However, this doesn’t mean you should just jam all of the keywords into your listing in any possible way you can make them fit.
After all, copywriting is crucial in Amazon, and if your listing reads as a garbled mess of keywords instead of a clean, effective ad – you won’t covert views to sales, regardless of how well you’re ranked.
It’s possible to get ranked for keywords that aren’t included in your listing however, and this is because genuine organic sales are the single ranking factor that is weighted more heavily than listing content.
So in some cases you may be able to rank for a keyword that isn’t included in your listing at all. If Amazon deems that keyword to be related to one that is in your listing, shows it to people who search that other keyword, and they buy – Amazon will keep showing you in those search results. Why wouldn’t they? Their main goal is to win as many sales as possible so they can get more revenue from seller fees.
Here are the main parts to an effective Amazon product listing:
- Bullet Points
- Product Description (or Enhanced Brand Content)
- Categories & Subcategories
- Backend Search Terms & Subject Matter
- Product Photos
Here’s one super important tip before we begin:
Think like Amazon!
With all of these different aspects to the Amazon product ranking algorithm, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Amazon is a business, and they aren’t here to make money for you. The Amazon ranking algorithm’s primary goal is to provide each searcher with the product that’s the most likely to convince them to go ahead and buy. This means the most possible revenue for Amazon from sales fees. So if all else fails and you have no idea why your product isn’t ranking – SHOW AMAZON IT CAN SELL UNDER THAT KEYWORD. We will talk about a lot of ranking factors throughout this post, and so will anyone else writing a guide on this topic. But sales are #1 everything else pales in comparison. The simplest way to think of it is – organic sales in Amazon work like backlinks in Google, increasing your authority for that keyword.
How to Optimize Your Amazon Listing Title
Your Amazon title may seem like the most simple aspect of optimizing your listing, but it’s also the first thing most people will see, so neglect it at your peril.
Here’s a few pointers:
- Include your most relevant and highest searched keywords in the title. It’s also a good idea to put these right at the front of the title so there can be no possible confusion about what you’re selling.
- Include any info a potential customer would want to know. This means colours, sizes, measurements etc. Above all, it means the benefits of your product. If you’re selling a vitamin B supplement that contains 180 capsules but most of your competitors contain 90, scream this from the rooftops! Similarly if you are selling a protein powder that has 150 servings, put this in the title to get across the value you’re offering.
- Include your brand name. This helps people to remember you and associate your brand with the sort of products you offer.
- Utilize elements to increase readability. This can mean pipes (|) and hyphens (-) to space things out. In some categories Amazon doesn’t like this but it’s best to try first as it can make your title read considerably better than the competition.
- Don’t forget marketing techniques. Despite all of the above being important and the necessary keyword inclusions, old school copywriting tricks and using CTR techniques to encourage people to click through to the listing will create long term results too.
- Don’t use too many keywords. Obviously you want as many as you can, but it should still read naturally. Stuffing multiple similar keywords into the same title is going to be a red flag for Amazon and is equally likely to read badly for the customer.
- Be aware of how your title is shown. The cutoff point on a smartphone isn’t the same as a laptop, so be aware of how much of your title people will be seeing, and ensure the most important selling points are near the front.
If you would rather focus on growing your business while letting the experts deal with this, you can also work with an Amazon Optimization Consultant such as ourselves to get this done quickly and professionally.
If you aren’t sure how to change an Amazon listing title, we have an in-depth post on the topic coming very soon.
How to Optimize your Amazon Bullet Points
The bullet points of your Amazon listing are a way to list your benefits and selling points in an easy to read format.
Often, after seeing your title and images, people will have another question or two.
“What’s the battery life like?”, “can I use it with my Mac?” for example.
This is your chance to fill them in on all of the appropriate details while also adding in further copywriting techniques and keywords.
In some instances we’ve taken clients’ conversion rates from 10% to 40% simply be rewriting the bullet points, so it can not be overstated how important this section is.
Here’s some tips on how to write effective Amazon bullet points:
- Ensure you list all the primary benefits of your product, as well as the benefits of these benefits. So not just “more battery life”, but “More battery life, so no need to cut the party short!”. Explain exactly how the product will help lives of buyers.
- Frame these benefits around those of your competitors. If your dry dog food is high protein and low carbs, but the other high ranked competitors contain carbs, make this is as obvious as possible! For example “Unlike other dry dog food brands, we don’t include carbs which are not well suited for dog’s digestive systems and can cause health issues”.
- Mention your additional value offerings here. If you added a free eBook or similar like we discussed in the value analysis section – mention it here. If somebody is trying to decide between your juicer and another, for example, “FREE EBOOK OF SMOOTHIE RECIPES” might just swing it your way.
- Add any additional keywords you haven’t managed to fit in yet. This goes without saying but if you had a list of 10 super relevant keywords and only managed to fit 4 into your title, sprinkle a few more in here without ruining the copy.
- Strategies to increase trust such as brand storytelling, promising a free refund if not completely satisfied, or discussing why you’re different to other companies can also be effective here.
- Remember your personas and target your bullet points towards the right type of person
- Use clear, simple, readable language that isn’t packed full of technical jargon that the average person won’t understand – they’ll just get bored and leave
The most important thing to remember about your bullet points is that the person reading them has already seen your title, price and product photos and has decided to click onto your listing.
This means they are pretty close to buying – give them as many possible reasons as you can to click that buy button, right now!
How to Optimize Your Amazon Product Description (or Enhanced Brand Content)
There are two main aspects for this section.
If you are brand registered on Amazon, you can upload Enhanced Brand Content here (more on that in a minute).
If you aren’t then you will only be able to upload a simple product description.
Let’s look at that first:
The product description itself is a simple wall of text that is very boring to look at.
We have to be honest and say the vast majority of Amazon customers do not bother to read this section.
However, it can still be important.
For example, if somebody has read your title, bullet points, and the text on your images, but still have a question about your product that hasn’t been answered, they are likely to scroll down in their search for further information.
Since the character limit for the product description is much less restrictive than it is for the title or the bullet points, this is your chance to go in-depth on every possible detail and give those customers what they’re looking for.
Equally, it is a great place to fill in all remaining low priority keywords that you haven’t managed to fit anywhere else.
For the standard product description itself, that’s basically it, although it can be a great place to add some brand storytelling and background to your business too.
If you’re selling your own trademarked products, however, then you can apply for Amazon Brand Registry – which allows you to replace the product description with Amazon Enhanced Brand Content (EBC).
If you have this option, then it’s an absolute must.
EBC is proven to convert viewers to buyers at a much higher rate than a simple product description, and in our own client testing we’ve managed to make the rate almost double in some instances.
For reference, here’s one example of a product description, followed by one example of effective EBC, both for a separate pair of wireless earbuds:
I don’t think you need us to tell you which would be the most effective!
Here are some tips for creating EBC that works:
- Add some brand and product storytelling. Are you passionate about what you do? Or just a faceless corporation? Why do you offer this product at all? Why should any customer want to do business with you?
- Beef out the product benefits and USPs. In the same way as we mentioned for the product description, anyone who has scrolled down this far is looking for more information. Give it to them, as much as you possibly can. Leave them in no possible doubt that this is the product they want.
- Show pictures of the product in regular day to day use. This is a powerful one that has been shown to increase conversions and that can make the viewer imaging themselves using your product and think about how it could benefit them.
- Target a very specific demographic. This is where your personas can come back into play. Using our wireless earbuds example, an image showing how a runner can use them without getting sweaty wires tangled around them can be a huge selling point. General images that target everybody, usually appeal to nobody.
How to Optimize Amazon Backend Search Terms
Optimization of this section is pretty simple.
Simply list as many relevant keywords as you can, with no commas or anything to separate them.
However, the keywords used in the backend search terms are single words and not multiple word phrases, and to repeat any individual word is to waste a spot.
In other words, if you want to optimise for both “high protein dog food” and “low carb dog food”, you would simply enter “high protein dog food low carb”. To double up on “dog” and “food” would add nothing and be a waste of space.
A good idea here is to prioritise longtail keywords. This is because they are usually the easiest to rank for, and you may well get a good position in a low competition one simply by entering it here.
It’s also because many longtail keywords contain multiple smaller keywords, you can get the biggest “bang for your buck” by entering them here and benefiting on the other keywords too.
We have had a couple of one off instances where clients have not been ranked for a specific keyword, and have added it to the very front of their backend search terms, then immediately showed up within the search results within an hour.
It’s also a good place to add keywords that would look unprofessional or cause issues if added to the actual listing text, such as competitor’s brand names or misspelled keywords.
We had some huge success with this lately as a client wanted to launch a brand new product into the most competitive niche on Amazon, making it almost impossible to get seen. By adding all of the relevant misspelled keywords to the backend terms, we managed to get the product to show up first for a bunch of keywords that no other products were targeting, some of which had 57,000 search volume.
How to Optimize Amazon Product Images
Product images are an important part of this.
Some people are visual learners and will click on a listing then immediately go through the images to make a decision on the product, showing almost no regard for the bullet points.
Your product images should be filled with benefits and images of the product being used in beneficial situations to help encourage these people.
Here are some tips for optimizing Amazon product photos:
- Sell the benefits of the product and the benefits of those benefits
- Be as specific as possible in regards to who the product is for
- Make references to social proof for example “100% satisfaction amongst runners” or display quotes from shining reviews
- Use high quality imagery that displays the product from every angle in high definition and with bright colours if possible
- Make sure you follow the Amazon imagery guidelines such as having white backgrounds and having the longest side be at least 1280 pixels
Here at FBASellingGuide, we don’t just provide easy to follow tips to master your Amazon FBA business. We also provide complete services for Amazon sellers, allowing us to do this for you if you would rather focus your time elsewhere. We can provide both in-house product photography, and benefit-driven image editing and graphics that are based on the results of our countless clients over the years. Feel free to contact us at any time to discuss your needs and how we can help!
3: Improving Your Organic Rankings in Amazon
Ok, now that you’ve gotten to this stage of the process, you should have a well optimized listing with great images, great copywriting, and that is optimized for numerous relevant keywords.
Your next question is almost certainly about how to rank higher on Amazon.
If your niche is a low competition one, and your product is genuinely something uniquely high quality and not offered by anyone else, this might be all you need to do!
But realistically, competition is constantly growing in Amazon and many niches are highly saturated, so this probably won’t be the case.
If this is the case for you – you now have a great listing that converts, and that is ranked in all the right keywords – but potentially in a rank that’s too low to do any good for you.
If you’re showing up in the search results on page 5, you aren’t going to get many (if any) sales from that.
This next section will go into detail on how you can improve your organic ranking within the Amazon platform to improve this situation:
Option 1: Friends & Family
This is the easiest and cheapest way to increase your organic rank within Amazon.
It’s also doable by anybody and relatively cheap, which means for the majority of you it’ll be the first port of call.
Let us explain:
As we mentioned above, the most important ranking factor in Amazon is sales.
In other words, if somebody searches your product and buys it, your rank increases.
This strategy is very simple – it involves getting people you know to search and buy the product, and refunding them (or simply paying them back another way). Certain close friends and relatives may even be happy to do it without being refunded.
Giving away free products and paying people to buy them may seem counterproductive, but if you can get enough people to do it across a short enough time period, you can move your product from the second page in the search results (or further back) all the way to the top of the first page.
This leads to a huge increase in visibility, as the vast majority of Amazon searchers only check the first few listings.
For example, if the keyword you’re ranking for has 2,500 search volume, there are now roughly 2,500 people per month seeing your listing.
They might not all click on it, and they certainly won’t all buy – but this is a huge improvement over being several pages back where the amount of people seeing your listing could well be zero.
This is technically against Amazon’s terms of service, but not specifically – they just have a vague rule about “algorithm manipulation”.
It is best to avoid any people that are TOO close to you (same address for example), but realistically most people will be fair game.
How many people you’ll be able to get will range a lot – it could be 5 close friends, or if you’re popular on social media you could potentially have access to a few hundred.
How effective this can be in ranking your products will vary wildly depending on how competitive the keyword is, how many other products are there, and whether any of those sellers are running similar campaigns.
But as a rough guide on how to rank on Amazon successfully, we would recommend aiming for these sorts of numbers:
- Search Volume 0-1,000 = 20 sales
- Search Volume 1,000 – 9,999 = 50 sales
- Search Volume 10,000 + =100 sales
It’s also best to keep these sales contained to a period of 8-9 days. Any longer and they’ll be too spread out, which can reduce the effectiveness of the sales as your rank could decrease in the time periods between them.
We would also recommend using people who are spread out across your country as much as possible. This isn’t a must, but Amazon is aware of the geography of it’s searches, and if a huge amount of people in one city or town start searching for your product, there’s a chance it could rank well there and stay lower down elsewhere.
A great thing about this strategy is you can ask them to leave 5* reviews too….but you didn’t hear that here!
Of course, the friends and family method can only take you so far.
Maybe your network is pretty small, or maybe your product has some keywords that are highly competitive and you just can’t get enough people.
If that’s the case, you might need somebody else to generate these sales for you, and that brings us to our next strategy for how to rank high in Amazon:
Option 2: Giveaways
Giveaways are a popular option for Amazon sellers who are trying to generate sales under specific keywords to improve their rank.
Discounted giveaways used to be a popular one. They were super easy to carry out because you could add a discount code to your product and then get people to search and buy it, meaning you get all of the ranking benefits for a fraction of the cost.
Unfortunately Amazon caught onto this and now a discounted sale is heavily deweighted in the ranking algorithm. Discounted Amazon products and organic rankings simply don’t work in the same way anymore. It’s still a strategy that can work, but you will need an absolutely huge amount of sales to get the best results, so it’s probably one of the worst options.
There is another form of giveaways too, and this is via Amazon agents.
You have probably seen these people start to pop up on social media. They basically offer a huge range of Amazon products that they claim are “free in return for a review”, under the guise of product and market research.
Of course what they are really doing is getting people to search keywords and buy products, then refunding them.
In essence, this is a friends and family campaign on a larger scale, where you are paying an individual to find buyers for you and help you get a wider reach.
There are ups and downs to this strategy:
- Have a much wider reach than a friends and family campaign, allowing you to rank more highly in more competitive keywords
- Can be a great way to build up reviews
- Let’s someone else handle it, meaning much less of your own time than managing a friends and family campaign
- You are relying on the agent to find consistent sales. They won’t always be able to, meaning your rank might go up and down and not consistently increase.
- Some agents are scammers who don’t refund buyers. This leads to buyers returning the products which gives you headaches with Amazon. You need to do research and go with someone trustworthy
- If Amazon spots your product in a “Free Amazon Products” Facebook group or similar, they may derank you or even cancel your account.
While this is another great option, just like using your friends and family network, it has it’s downsides.
Regardless, it’s a good cost effective option, if you can find an agent you trust and have the inventory available.
Option 3: Organic Ranking Campaigns
If you’d prefer to sit back and let the experts handle it, the third option is running a campaign through us.
We maintain a network of thousands of buyers across the USA, UK and EU, with other countries to come soon.
When you run a campaign with us, the process is similar to that of an Amazon agent but without any of the inconsistency or unpredictability.
We will work with you directly to prioritise your keywords and recommend a volume of sales.
Once agreed, we will build a list of buyers from our networks and not go ahead with the campaign until the list is complete. While this means a short processing delay at the start, it also means a consistent ranking result with the best possible impact.
Since our process is a bit more pricey than the above two options, we would recommend sellers who wish to rank in less competitive keywords stick to the friends and family option.
However, the size of our networks means we can bring hundreds of buyers to bear, so for larger brands who are selling in highly competitive niches, we provide a much more reliable result.
To discuss options or request a quote, feel free to contact us now!
In all honesty, for the vast majority of sellers, the above information is all you need.
The two main factors are your organic rank and how well your listing converts traffic to sales.
If you nail both of those aspects, sales are guaranteed.
For new sellers, we’d recommend sticking to the above in order to keep things as simple as possible.
However, there are plenty more factors to Amazon product ranking, so if you want to get a bit more granular, here are some more things to take into account:
Using External Traffic in Amazon
If a customer searches and buys your product, Amazon is happy.
Why? Because thanks to their sales fees, they made money from your sale too.
However, that person was already on Amazon, and already searching for your type of product, so from the point of view of Amazon, the sale was a likely conclusion from the start.
If somebody comes from outside Amazon to your product, that’s a different story.
In this situation Amazon is really happy, because you’ve generated a sale within their platform that otherwise would never have happened.
As a result, Amazon’s A9 algorithm adds a higher weight to sales that come from outside of the platform. You can use this to your advantage, pointing backlinks to your listing to get it showing higher in Google, or using social media ads to drive traffic to it.
Driving traffic to your Amazon listing is an amazing strategy that can aid other campaigns and boost the rankability of your product. When combined with standard organic ranking campaigns, you can push yourself up the search results rapidly, even in highly competitive keywords.
In the coming weeks, we’re going to bring you a full in depth post to driving external traffic to Amazon. It’s a bit too in depth to go into fully here, but here are some great methods for achieving it:
- Backlinks to help your listing rank in Google
- A blog or review website detailing your products
- Paid social media ads
- Email marketing
- Search network ads
- Organic social media posts
Does Amazon Sponsored Ads CTR Affect Organic Keyword Ranking?
This is a question we get asked commonly, and it’s a fair one.
Does Amazon PPC influence organic rankings?
If you are trying to improve your organic rank within a keyword, is it beneficial or counterproductive to also run paid ads in the same keyword?
Some people worry that this could reduce your organic rank over time by attracting some searchers who would have otherwise clicked on your organic listing, to instead click on the paid ad.
Luckily, Amazon takes this into account, and any sale that comes via a sponsored ad instead of an organic listing is not a detriment to your ranking.
Other people hypothesise that Amazon potentially improves your organic rank in this situation, as a reward for throwing money at their advertising, and as a result of the increased conversions.
This isn’t quite the case either – in our extensive testing, we have found that sales from paid ads do have a beneficial impact on your organic ranks, but only a very mild one designed to make up for the fact the sale isn’t organic.
In other words, organic ranks and sponsored products are best treated as two entirely separate strategies – organic ranks are what to lead to long term sales without additional investment so they should be prioritised, but PPC is a great way to give up a little margin in order to win more sales on top of your organic ranking strategy.
Now that we’ve taken you through most of the basics of the Amazon product ranking algorithm, let’s go back over the different times of sales and how they’re weighted:
How Sales Are Weighted in Amazon
All sales of your product have an impact on your organic rank, but different types of sales are weighted in different ways.
By being aware of this, you can prioritise the ones with the bigger impact on your ranking and improve the results of your marketing efforts.
Here are the most common form of sales, ordered from most effective to least effective:
- Organic search and buy (full price). A customer searches a keyword, chooses your product, and goes through the checkout.
- Full priced PPC sales. The same as the above, but the customer chooses your product via a paid ad.
- Sales from external traffic. This has a lesser organic rank increase on the specific keyword used, but overall improves the authority of your seller account a lot.
- Super URL sales. These are heavily deweighted compared to genuine organic sales, but are still more effective than discounted sales.
- Discounted/coupon sales. Once just as effective as organic keyword searches, discounted sales are now heavily deweighted. They can still form the backbone of an effective ranking strategy, but the deweighting is proportional to the discount, so if you’re giving away products for 10% of the price, you’ll need 10x the sales for the same result.
Instead of throwing in with all of these strategies (although in some highly competitive situations you may need to), it’s best to take an ROI-focused approach and figure out which option is the most likely to get the best bang for your buck, which is usually organic search and buy.
How Often Does Amazon Update Rankings?
This is a question we get asked a lot, but it comes from a misunderstanding of how it works.
Amazon rankings don’t need to regularly update, they are constantly changing and always accurate.
In fact, you can directly see it in action. If you found a very low competition keyword, where one sale is enough to move the needle – you can search and buy a product, and then search the keyword again and see for yourself that the product is now ranked higher.
Amazon’s A9 algorithm is constantly organising products based on the above weighted sales, so the answer to this question is 24/7.
Do Reviews Help Your Amazon Ranking?
It is a common misconception that reviews are a direct ranking factor in Amazon.
This is false, however, they are major indirect one.
While increased reviews don’t directly affect your rank, they do increase the chances a customer will click on your product and buy it.
Social proof is a major conversion tool, and people find the experiences and opinions of other customers to be highly trustworthy.
What this means is that if you rank highly in a keyword and have the most reviews, people will assume you’re the best version of that product and happily buy your offering every time they search the keyword.
On the other hand, if you rank at the top of the keyword but have a very small amount of positive reviews, whereas the other highly ranked competitors have thousands of reviews, you may find customers continue to choose those over you, causing your ranks to drop over time.
This often means it’s a good idea to push reviews first, and ensure you have enough to sit well within a specific keyword before going after product rankings.
This can be a real challenge if the competing products are well established and have been selling for years, but your product is brand new.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are the best options for how to get more reviews in Amazon quickly:
1: Have a great quality product
This may seem painfully obvious, but if your product is low quality, easily damaged, or difficult to use, your reviews will suffer.
You can use competitors’ reviews to your advantage, seeing what their customers love and hate and then using this knowledge to improve your own product.
One or two negative reviews here and there are unavoidable, some people are impossible to please – but if you keep getting negative reviews about the same thing, chances are it’s a genuine problem that needs to be fixed.
2: Don’t make false claims
If your product turns up and isn’t exactly what the buyer was expecting, this can also lead to bad reviews.
You can avoid this by making your bullet points, title, product description, and images as genuine and accurate as possible.
You may think exaggerating the benefits is a good idea, and it may well increase your sales briefly, but if your claims aren’t true, you can expect a lot of returns too.
3: Email followups
Email followup services such as those run by Helium10 or Feedbackwhiz are highly efficient at boosting your review count.
We will review both of these tools in detail soon, but generally, Feedbackwhiz is by far the cheapest and is the best option for new Amazon sellers and startups.
Helium10 is a lot more pricey and likely not worth it for newcomers, but it is an all in one tool that does countless other things besides, so for established sellers who can afford the higher pricetag, we would highly recommend it.
These tools allow you to send automated emails to customers a set amount of time after they buy.
You can’t specifically request positive reviews as it’s against Amazon’s TOS, but you can say “feedback really helps us, so please leave a review if you get time” to increase the positive reviews that get left, while also saying “please get in touch if you have any issues so we can put it right”, essentially reducing negative ones too.
4: Friends and Family
You’ll remember, above, we recommended using friends and family to boost your organic ranks in small/low competition keywords.
If you’re getting friends and family to buy your product and refund them, you can ask them to leave reviews too.
This is risky as if Amazon detects any connection between you and them, the review won’t go live – so it’s best to avoid immediate family and people you live with.
But if you have friends and family in different parts of the country with different surnames to you and no obvious connection, they can be extremely valuable for this. Even better, they don’t snitch on you and they are less likely to charge for a review than people you don’t know! (just don’t tell Amazon we told you).
5: Giveaway Agents
On social media, you can find “Amazon agents” who will find buyers for your product for a small charge.
They often do so under the guise of improving organic rankings, but as noted above, they can rarely product consistent sales and so are not reliable for this.
Reviews don’t need to be posted consistently to be a benefit though, so they can be a great source of positive reviews, if you can find a trustworthy and cost efficient agent.
6: Pay for them
There are Amazon marketing agencies who can provide reviews of any quantity for a specific cost.
They are typically more reliable than agents and result in more believable, although they can also be more pricey.
Paid reviews are against Amazon’s TOS, so you will need to find a trustworthy supplier with years of success, otherwise you might end up paying for reviews that never go live. We generally advise avoiding it if the other options here work well for you, as you could be risking your listing, but it is mostly untraceable when done correctly.
Besides, if you need large amounts of high quality reviews quickly, this is the quickest way by far.
We work with multiple suppliers who can offer this service, so if you are looking for more information, feel free to contact us.
7: Amazon Vine
Amazon Vine is Amazon’s response to paid reviews.
They allow you to pay for reviews through Amazon themselves, and therefore avoid breaking the TOS.
The upside of this is they are less risky and are much more likely to go live. They are also pretty cheap and look highly authoritative, making some people trust them more than regular reviews.
The reviews come from professional experienced Amazon reviewers and will often come with lengthy text and images, etc.
The downside is that the Vine reviewers will be completely honest, meaning if your product isn’t up to par you may find you pay money for negative reviews.
If your product is truly great, unique, and this isn’t a concern of yours, then this actually may be the best option.
Amazon Vine is an invite only programme, but we can help with getting you access if you aren’t involved yet – just reach out and ask.
Other Ways to Boost Sales in Amazon
Reaching Out to Bloggers & Micro Influencers
This is a great way to build brand awareness outside of Amazon and start to get people searching specifically for your brand name.
Engagement is the most important metric here – an influencer with 1,000 followers who are relevant to your niche and regularly engage with the influencer’s content are much better than one with 1 million followers where this isn’t the case.
This can be a powerful strategy for quickly boosting sales and can be incredible if done alongside a launch.
We all know email marketing – if you have a list of email addresses on your site, all of those people are potentially interested in your products, so email them!
However, you can also find other sites with large email networks and frame your product as something useful that their followers might like to know about.
Even if you have a low conversion rate, getting your product in front of a large amount of people with relevant interests is likely to boost sales noticeably!
Using Affiliate Websites
Affiliate websites are “best of” websites or “review” sites that regularly post product reviews, top 10 items of a specific type, etc.
Some of them will happily add your product to the top of a list for a fee.
Others may do it free of charge if they genuinely think your product will be of use to their audience.
Even better, they will still win the same cut from the affiliate sales that they were previously, so it’s win/win!
Other potential options you have include:
- Old fashioned marketing (print ads, billboards etc)
- Video/YouTube marketing
- Amazon headline ads
- Guest posts
- Social media ad campaigns
We’re coming to the end of today’s post, but we’ll leave you with a few more pointers to help you get to the top of the Amazon search results:
3 More Ranking Factors That Matter
Amazon keyword relevancy to product
Relevancy is crucial.
If your product is one of those teeth whitening kits with the LED lights, and you rank for “teeth whitening strips”, you aren’t going to do that well because the people searching that keyword aren’t looking for the strips.
It’s often better to go for a more relevant keyword even when it has less search volume, as your conversion rate will be much higher there.
Conversion rates are crucial for your ranking on Amazon, so if you have a higher price than your competitors, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
You can make this work,if your product has a major benefit over the others, and if you make that benefit as clear as possible.
But if it doesn’t then you need to price competitively, otherwise you’ll constantly be fighting a losing battle in your attempts to improve your Amazon search rankings, and even if you do everything else right, people simply won’t choose your product.
Inventory Supply & Velocity
Amazon doesn’t want to put products at the top of the rankings if they’re likely to run out of stock.
The reason is that they want the top selling products across all niches and categories to be constantly in stock and always ready to sell, because this means the least possible missed sales for Amazon.
If your product regularly sells out, your rank will drop each time. If you’ve spent a lot of time and money on building your ranks, this can be painful to witness.
It’s also a delicate balancing act, considering that if you stock too much inventory you could be charged storage fees.
We hope you enjoyed our complete guide to Amazon organic rankings.
As the leading supplier of Amazon product services and ranking campaigns, we can help manage any of the above for you and help provide a 10X ROI while you focus on product research and growing your business.
If you’re looking for help or tips on how to rank a new product in Amazon, contact us now!
If you’d rather do it yourself, you can use this guide and still contact us for tips!
Otherwise, keep it locked here for more regular Amazon FBA selling guides!