At Artefact, we know the importance of Amazon in the search ecosystem. Indeed, a 2018 study suggested that 46% of product searches started on Amazon in the US, and where the US goes, the UK is never far behind.
We’ve been talking a lot about paid searches on Amazon, but our visit to Brighton SEO re-emphasised the importance of organic optimisation, not just for the great ROI it can bring, but also for its impact on paid campaigns.
Introducing the A9 algorithm
In case you haven’t come across it before, the algorithm that powers Amazon searches is called A9. The specifics are, of course, a closely kept secret. But there are some key ways in which you can optimise your product listings to help the A9 algorithm surface them on the first page.
This is key because 70% of users don’t get past the first SERP on Amazon, and 63% of clicks go to the first 3 products listed.
So what affects rankings within Amazon?
There are a number of ranking factors at play within the A9 ecosystem. As with Google, Bing or any search engine, some are direct and some are indirect. All of them have been uncovered by SEOs like ourselves through trial and error.
A great talk by Katherine Khoo at Brighton SEO confirmed much of what we already thought, so now’s the perfect time to share some key Amazon ranking factors.
Which factors directly affect rankings on Amazon?
- Text Match Relevancy – potentially the most relevant of the bunch is how well your text fields answer user questions. There are a couple of fields to play with here:
- Titles can be up to 250 characters on Amazon. se as many of those as possible, bearing in mind on mobile users only see the first 80 so key elements should be here.
- The Key Features are the 5 bullet points (3 on mobile) which give users top line information about your product. Using relevant keywords here is important in making your product stand out to both users and the algorithm.
- Your Product Description is the one place where you want to be extra careful about being stuffy – instead focus on selling here.
- Price – Katherine shared a report which said that for 41% of users price is the single most important factor in deciding whether to buy something on Amazon, and it seems the A9 algorithm understands this – generally the first 3 products are 20% cheaper.
- Availability – Amazon wants to help users buy products as easily as possible, so it makes sense that if there aren’t many available, or certain sizes or colours are out of stock, the A9 algorithm will de-prioritise these listings. There are a couple of other elements which come into play here, as well:
- Order Processing Speed
- Perfect Order Percentage
- Order Defect Rate
Of course these things can be challenging for marketers to influence, but they’re important to bear in mind!
- Sales Velocity – Amazon likes products which are sold consistently over time, so the A9 algorithm rewards products which are sold in a steady stream. Of course, not all sales are created equal, and so full price organic sales are weighted more than PPC sales, direct sales, and discounted items.
And then which elements could be considered indirect ranking factors?
- Reviews – We all know that good reviews are important for generating sales. However, Katherine shared some research which confirmed that the quantity of reviews, as well as the number of stars, was key.
- Customer Convenience – it makes sense that Amazon should prioritise orders which it helps to fulfil, so FBA products and those available on Prime perform better.
- Page Interactions – We already suspected that on page interactions such as scroll rate, reviews and answering questions were positive metrics in the A9 algorithm. However, Katherine also shared research which suggested that if a customer were to add your product to their basket but ultimately not purchase, this would also positively impact rankings. She posited that this was because Amazon considers someone not checking out to be on them, and, as we all know, they can subsequently be quite aggressive in their retargeting.
A quick note on the A9 update
The recent A9 update, which has been dubbed A10 in some circles, basically re-weighted and re-emphasised these points.
For example, it encourages less stuffing of titles, places even more importance on click through rate, favours high quality images, and, most interestingly, values organic sales over paid sales. This last point means that organic optimisation is increasingly important.
As you can see, many of the organic factors are really similar to those which are taken into account in paid Amazon campaigns. At the end of the day, the key takeaway should be that if you’re starting out on your Amazon journey – or indeed if you’re a well-established seller – you should be ensuring you have the organic building blocks in place. As ever, ensuring your offering is well optimised and helpful to the user will support your overall strategy.