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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Product line.
- Material or key feature.
- Product type.
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.
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.
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
There are several tools you can use to research the relevancy of your keywords:
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“.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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!