Ranking on Page One! Everything you need to know about Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm

Ranking on Page One! Everything you need to know about Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm

There’s a good chance you may have never heard of the A9 ranking algorithm on Amazon. But, it’s important that you do get in the know, so you can use it to benefit your listing’s traffic and sales growth. A9 is the proprietary search algorithm developed by Amazon and it has one job – answer search queries with products that customers are most likely to buy. That’s extremely valuable information because people coming to Amazon are looking to do one thing and one thing only: Buy Stuff! And if you’re a seller, you want them to buy YOUR stuff. So how can you make sure that this algorithm is working for you?

Ranking Factors for A9

The factors that affect the items that the A9 algorithm displays can be broken down into three general categories:

  1. Relevancy – Before showing your listing, Amazon first needs to determine that your item is a relevant product for that search term. If you’re not relevant then you can’t rank. To rank higher, your product needs to be more relevant. The elements in this category tell the algorithm that your product is likely to be what the customer is looking for and that it should consider showing your product page as part of the search results. 
  2. Conversion – These are the components of a seller’s listing that Amazon has identified as contributing to a customer purchasing once they’ve reached your listing. 
  3. Customer Satisfaction and Retention – Make customers happy and they’ll keep coming back. The factors in this category lets A9 know that if a customer purchases from you there will be a lower chance of returns and a higher chance of gaining a repeat sale.

Relevancy Factors

Title

A good product title will increase your conversion rate. To optimize your Amazon product title, it should contain keywords, be easy to read, and stay under 200 characters. Generally, a relevant title should contain the following elements:

  • Brand.
  • Product line.
  • Material or key feature.
  • Product type.
  • Color.
  • Size.
  • Packaging/Quantity.

TurnKey Pro Tip: Keyword order and keyword choice can dramatically influence an Amazon product’s sales and ranking. Titles in organic results typically have between 115-144 characters depending on the product/category. Titles in right rail ads have around 30-33 characters and mobile titles have between 55-63 characters. That’s why it is important to place the most relevant keyword first and continually split test your listing to see what converts best. 

Features and Bullet Points

Displaying your product’s features in detailed bullet points which include keywords is a great way to increase conversions. 

TurnKey Pro Tip: Don’t rely on the features alone. Make sure you are always explaining the BENEFIT associated with that feature so you can appeal to customers’ emotional side. Use these benefits as taglines at the beginning of each bullet point before further explaining the feature that produces that benefit.

Product Description

Use the product description to expand on why your customer should purchase your product and include more of your keywords. It’s worth putting the effort into getting this right as a great product description will increase your customer engagement and conversion rates. Likewise, a product description which isn’t up to snuff could mean you lose sales or results in negative buyer feedback. 

Brand Name and Manufacturer Part Number

If appropriate, you should always include the brand in your title. This helps buyers searching by brand name to find your products. It also gives your customer the feeling that your product ahs brand recognition even if they’ve never heard of you before. 

Specifications

The specifications section is where you should list the technical and physical details of your product including size, shipping weight, color etc. Completing this section shows Amazon that you’re diligent when it comes to listings. And again, it’s a place where customers will look for answers. YOu always want to make it as easy as possible to find information on your product. 

Category and Subcategory

When setting up your product listing, make sure you select the most relevant category and subcategory for your product. There’s very little chance that your beauty products are going to get in front of the correct customers if you’ve listed them in the automotive category.

Relevancy Dos and Don’ts

When creating the copy for your listing it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t provide inaccurate, misleading, or irrelevant information.
  • Respect the limits that are set for different fields.
  • Don’t provide redundant information that is already captured in other fields such as title, author, product description, bullet points, brand, etc.
  • When entering several words as a search term, put them in the most logical order.
  • Enter keywords in the manner in which they are entered by customers.
  • Use a single space to separate keywords. No commas or semicolons are allowed.
  • Don’t include statements that are only temporarily true, e.g., new, on sale, available now.
  • Don’t include subjective claims such as amazing, good quality, etc.
  • Include common misspellings of the product name in your backend keywords.
  • Don’t worry about including keyword variants. The algorithm takes into account things like spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization.
  • Don’t include terms that are abusive or offensive in nature.
  • Abbreviations, alternate names, topic (for books, etc.), and key character (for books, movies, etc.) should be included as keywords.
  • Hyphens offer a useful solution to cover several keyword combinations with one phrase.     For example, the phrase “dog-house” will have your product appear for “dog-house”, “dog house”, doghouse”, “dog”, and “house”.
  • Check your Q&A and Review sections frequently for ideas on the types of search terms your customers might be using and information you may need to add to your listing copy 

Keywords

There are several tools you can use to research  the relevancy of your keywords:

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Place a hashtag before the main keyword in the Amazon search bar. This allows you to see all of the phrases and long-tail keywords that include the original word.

Type your item’s ASIN into the search box followed by the keyword(s). If Amazon is indexing your item it will return your item; if it is not, it will say, “We found 0 results for ASIN“. 

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Check the indexing of all your Amazon “Phrase” and “Back End” keywords (Search Terms) in minutes, very inexpensively.  Use the KW Index Checker Chrome extension and with one click of a button you can determine which keywords are not considered relevant by Amazon.

TurnKey Pro Tip: Keep in mind that indexing for a keyword does not necessarily mean that you’re ranking for a keyword, but it is a good indication that your are on the right path.

Conversion Factors

Sales Rank 

Sales rank (also known as Amazon’s Best Sellers rank) is one of the most important ranking factors. Remember: More sales = higher rankings and higher ranking = more sales! To increase your sales ranking, drive traffic to your listing on Amazon by using PPC advertising. Off Amazon you can drive traffic using platforms like Facebook, Google AdWords, etc.

Customer Reviews

The number of product reviews you receive and the quality of these reviews are important ranking factors. It should be intuitive that the number and positivity of your reviews is one of the most important ranking factors in the Amazon Ranking A9 algorithm. How you respond to your reviews also can be a huge factor as well. Don’t let a negative review just sit there! Respond to the customer’s concerns and try to make things right. 

Answered Questions

Answered questions are listed at the top of the product page and play an important part in conversions.While this is one of those metrics that Amazon doesn’t specifically say that they track, it is data they have access to. Also, Q&A’s are listed close to the top of the product page, which typically means it’s important for conversions. Make sure you have a system in place for answering questions that come up. 

TurnKey Pro Tip: If you have a lot of questions, it probably means your copy is not sufficiently answering customers’ questions. Take some time to include the type of information you see asked about in the Q&A section in you listing copy. If you can help it, you never want a customer to have to go looking for information or wait on you to respond to get their questions answered (the lag time could result in a lost sale!).

Image size and quality

Use high-quality images that enable the zoom function. Customers need to be able to zoom in for a closer view of your product so multiple quality images are crucial. According to Amazon’s recommendations, “Images should be 1,000 pixels or larger in either height or width, as this will enable the zoom function on the website (zoom has proven to enhance sales). The smallest your file should be is 500 pixels on the longest side.” 

Price

As well as being one of the most important Buy Box factors, the price of your products also strongly influences conversion rates and sales. (It’s vital for sellers to keep their prices competitive to maintain a good conversion rate.) 

TurnKey Pro Tip: Amazon uses both predicted and real conversion rates for product rankings. For example, if your product is priced higher than other similar products, Amazon will predict a lower conversion rate for your listing and use that rate until real data corrects it. So staying competitive from the start will give you the edge over your competitors. 

Using Parent-Child Products

By using Amazon’s parent-child product functionality you’ll be able to direct customers to a single product page and show them all their purchasing options. This will help maximize your customer reviews and make sure that your customers do not miss any of your size and color options.

Time On Page and Bounce Rate

The amount of time a customer spends of your listing will show Amazon how interested customers are in your product. Quality images and engaging copy will get customers to linger longer. 

Product Listing Completeness

The more complete your product listing is, the better. Try to complete every single field on the listing setup page. Sparse listings tend to feel less genuine and they immediately lose credibility. Don’t be that seller! Make sure your listing is robust and professional. 

Customer Satisfaction and Retention Factors

Negative seller feedback

All negative feedback counts against you equally in terms of product search results. Your feedback rating is also an important factor for your Buy Box chances.Create a systems to address any negative feedback and try to make it right. 

Order Processing Speed

To be successful and rank higher on Amazon, you need to ship quickly and accurately. Make sure you are intentional about your choice to ship via FBA, FBM, or SFP. 

In-Stock Rate

Poor inventory management can result in popular products going out of stock and seriously stunt your upward sales momentum. Amazon likes sellers who keep a high in-stock rate to minimize refunds and pre-fulfillment cancellations.

Perfect Order Percentage (POP)

Sellers who achieve a higher percentage of perfect orders will rank higher than those who experience order issues. What can you do to achieve this? 

Order Defect Rate (ODR)

If a customer makes a claim against an order, this is considered an order defect. Defects can result in: negative buyer feedback, A-to-Z Guarantee claims, shipment problems, and chargebacks. 

TurnKey Pro Tip: If the feedback is later removed by the buyer, this won’t count against your ODR. So, it’s worthwhile trying to resolve any issues that might occur. 

Exit rate

How often does a customer view your listing and then exit Amazon.com? That’s your exit rate. Products with a lower exit rate will rank higher and convert more. If your page has an above average exit rate, Amazon takes that as a sign that you have a low-quality listing. Usually, a high exit rate is because your product has a low in-stock rate, or because your listing isn’t fully complete.


Phew! I know that’s a lot, but knowing what factors contribute to the A9 Algorithm can have exponential effects on your sales. If you’re wondering why your sales have plateaued or you aren’t growing as fast as your competitor, take a look at these factors and consider making changes to your listing. Considering the impact of the algorithm can have on your sales, it will be time well spent. If this feels overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, did you know TurnKey does listing optimizations? It’s a one time coaching call where we help you identify areas to improve your listing and give you a plan to actually take action. Contact us here and be sure to mention that you read about it on our blog, to get 10% off!

Are You Using the Right Keywords?

Are You Using the Right Keywords?

How important is keyword research in your business? Surprisingly, many sellers we talk to don’t put much effort into conducting keyword research, and even if they conduct some level of research, they are not strategic enough about how they use the words. Don’t let that research go to waste, and make the most of your keyword research.

Choosing a Keyword Research Platform

Have you ever tried using Helium10? There are several tools you can choose from if you visit their website, but if you’re looking for an all-in-one software to do market research, gather customer data, and optimize product listings, this will be your best friend. Merchant Words is also great for their user-friendly interface and options for sellers at every level.

Front End Keywords

To begin with, focus on finding front end keywords. Keywords on the actual listing are really important for not only ranking, but for appealing to the right customer. For front end keywords, we are looking for low risk keywords, or keywords that explain your product directly. These are the most likely words customers would type in to find your product. 

Long-Tail Keywords

Once we have found the top front end keywords, then we expand from there and start to look for long tail keywords. A long tail keyword is essentially a keyword phrase that will explain the product a little further and might also be commonly searched for (ie… leather backpack, all in one cooler, etc…).  Even when we are looking for long tail keywords, we want them to be direct and connect with the products. It does not good to show up on keyword searches and be among a list of products that are completely unrelated to yours.  

Back End Keywords

Now let’s address the backend keywords. For all the keywords that don’t really have a place in your listing but are high ranking for the niche, you definitely want to include them in the backend of your listing. This second place for keywords also ensures that you don’t feel forced to clutter up your listings with every single keyword that looks appealing, but you can rest assured, your listing will still pull up when those words are queried. 

Competitor & Branded Keywords

Our final tip is to also find competitor keywords, as well as branded keywords. If you sell a coffee product, make sure that if someone is on Amazon looking for Starbucks, you show up because Starbucks is included in your keywords. These competitor keywords are going to be put in the backend, as you never want to misrepresent your product or your brand with competitor names that are not actually tied to your product. Keywords are not just for optimizing your listing. Doing proper keyword research will give you information to not only build out your listings and backend search terms, but it will also help you plan out your PPC campaigns. At TurnKey Product Management we help our clients to not only perform keyword research, but DO SOMETHING with those keywords, and accelerate their sales on Amazon. If you are in need of more support on Amazon or with keyword research, feel free to reach out and we’d love to chat with you.

Holiday Prep: Make Your List & Check it TWICE!

Are you one of those last-minute shoppers who binge buys on Christmas Eve? Or do you have you had your shopping list all checked off since late August? The holiday season and end of Q4 are MAJOR opportunities for sellers to up their game and achieve their highest sales of the year (unless you sell boogie boards, then December is probably not your top month!). Increased sales don’t happen on accident, you need to properly plan in order to see maximum returns in Q4. 

When should you start planning for the holidays?

Since you may need to apply for some of the promotions you’ll want to run, we recommend planning for the holidays and its coordinating promotions at least a month in advance.  This ensures you won’t miss the window to apply for certain deals. 

Once you know what promotions you want to run, you should immediately start applying for them. Opportunities disappear the closer you get the holidays. If you know you want to do a Black Friday deal or a coupon, look for the application window NOW so you can ensure you don’t miss out. 

Beginning prep this early will also ensure you have enough time to order the inventory you’ll need to get you through the holidays. Don’t miss out on sales because you’ve run out of stock in Q4! Avoid this hazardous mistake by forecasting early and planning ahead. 

What promotions are most effective?

The answer is that it varies for everyone. To start, look at which promotions have worked best for you in the past. Have lightning deals been successful? Does it work to offer a discount on multiple quantity purchases? Have coupons been effective? 

TurnKey Pro Tip: We see coupons that offer a dollar amount discount convert better than the percentage off ones because customers don’t like doing the math! 

If you take the time to run promotions and ads for the holidays, make sure you get the word out about your deals. In addition to reaching out to existing customers, now is the time to attract new customers into the fold. Running external ads work very well in order to share your deals. People tend to trust Amazon more than purchasing on individual random websites, so it’s worth pushing people over to your Amazon listing versus just advertising to your website. 

So, take some time to prepare for the holidays and maximize your Q4 sales. If you want even more strategies, our Client Manager Jenna is over on our Playbook for Amazon podcast chatting with Jeff on Episode 18 all about what she’s doing to help clients prep for the end of Q4!

Don’t Even Think About Selling Your Amazon Business Without Doing This…

Don’t Even Think About Selling Your Amazon Business Without Doing This…

For most business owners, the end goal of building a thriving business is to sell it for a tremendous profit. It’s like investing in a home and then selling it once it has appreciated. Selling a business for top dollar doesn’t come easy, but if you’ve done your part to make the business attractive to a buyer, you can expect a pleasant return on your investment! 

Jeff Lieber, the founder of Turnkey Product Management, started as an Amazon seller. He sold puppy and baby products for several years and eventually grew the business to the point where it became attractive to potential buyers and selling made sense. When he went to his accountant for the next steps, he was shocked by the response he got. He was told that his next step was to clean up his books, to the point where anyone could walk in and think that running his business looked doable. 

Jeff thought his books were fine, but they were only fine because HE understood them and HE knew where to look for information.  Someone else wouldn’t be able to make sense of them, and they certainly wouldn’t want to take them over in the state they were in. Just as you’d declutter a house and landscape the yard before you put it on the market, Jeff set out to give his business some “curb appeal”.

He hired someone to compile all the sales information from his years of selling, created legible spreadsheets, and was able to show a clear upward trajectory in his sales. It took a bit of doing, but once that was finished, he had a much cleaner business to present to buyers. More important, without changing a single system or increasing sales by a single dollar he increased the value of his business. 

Our #1 tip for selling your business: Clean up your books. Think of it this way, if it wasn’t yours, would you want to “move into” your business? If not, what things need to be organized, systematized and dialed in to make that transition seem not only doable but sustainable and profitable for the buyer? Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re on the way towards selling your business for the big bucks. Good luck!

 

Hear the full story of the lessons Jeff learned while selling his Amazon business by listening to Episode 5 of the Playbook for Amazon Podcast.

Networking: How to Get the Most Out of Business Conferences

Networking: How to Get the Most Out of Business Conferences

Who doesn’t love a good conference or networking event? You get the chance to break away from the office, network with like-minded, motivated colleagues, and hopefully learn new tools to level up your business. But on the other side of the coin, you might also feel stressed to break away from your daily responsibilities, overwhelmed by the crowds of people, and leave feeling like you have more to do and no more time to do it. Does this feel familiar? TurnKey attends a lot of conferences and we have three tips for making the most of attending conferences. 

Set an intention

If you go into a conference hoping to get “something” out of it, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed and aimless in your pursuit of the actionable wisdom you were hoping for. Instead, decide ahead of time exactly what you want to get out of the conference. For example: 

  • Learn more about effective email marketing and make a plan to adjust your emails accordingly,
  • Reflect on your “Why” and revisit your mission statement,
  • Find a new vendor for my products.

While you’re sure to get more out of the conference than just the one intention you set, by deciding ahead of time what your focus will be, you can make more informed decisions about which talks to attend or which mixers to visit.

Meet one person

In Episode 3 of the Playbook for Amazon Podcast, Jeff interviews his friend Kevin Liang, who is a MASTER networker. While he shares a lot about his networking tips in the episode, one great takeaway was his recommendation to focus on meeting just one person at an event and to make that interaction count. Whether you have a specific individual in mind or just a type of person you want to connect with, you don’t need to worry about talking to EVERYONE in the room. If you can leave the event having had a meaningful interaction with just ONE person you were successful. 

Debrief and go over your notes with someone within a week of attending.

At TurnKey this is our favorite thing to do post-conference! How many notebooks do you have from conferences filled with jumbled notes that you never even go back and read? There is GOLD in those notebooks, but they will NEVER benefit your business if you don’t take action on those takeaways. Our favorite thing to do after attending an event is to immediately go back through the notes and organize them in a more systematic way. If you have a flight home, that is the perfect time to do that. Then, within a week of the event, schedule a time with a team member or colleague, and share your takeaways with them. Verbalizing what you have learned helps those nuggets of wisdom truths sink in so much deeper and makes it more likely that you will act on the information. 

So, if you have a conference or networking event coming up, use these three tips to get so much more out of the experience. We promise it’ll make these events more enjoyable and it will make their takeaways so much more impactful!