If you’re selling on Amazon, or planning to in the near future, one of your goals might be to make it onto page one of the search results for relevant search terms. And you’d be right to be aiming for that! How to rank higher on Amazon is a big topic – but one worth exploring.
Studies show that products on the first page get at least 80% of all clicks. The first three listings on page one get 60% of those clicks. Plus, most shoppers don’t go beyond page one of the search results. So if you’re not on page one it’ll be much harder to get found and, ultimately, to get sales.
I’ve shared before that I often get people contacting me and saying they can’t find their own product listing. As I explain, unless you’ve put the work into getting your listing found (which we’ll cover below) you won’t.
Amazon will always show other products, with a sales history and reviews, or those who have paid to be on page one, ahead of a brand new listing. I hate saying that, and it always seems pretty harsh – but it’s true. It’s all down to the Amazon algorithm.
What is the Amazon algorithm and how does it work?
Amazon’s algorithm is called A9. Its main goal is to show the customer the most relevant products for whatever it is they’ve searched for.
Remember, Amazon is a marketplace and customers are probably there to shop. Amazon makes money for every sale made on the platform – so it’s within their interests to show the customer the product they think best matches their search, hoping this will increase the likelihood of a sale.
So, let’s say you go to Amazon and type what you’re looking for into the search bar.
A9 analyses every listing in great detail, figures out what it’s about, looks at sales history and other performance metrics – all before deciding which listings they ultimately show you.
What factors impact product ranking?
There are two factors that determine how well your product will rank:
- Performance and Conversion Ranking Factors
- Relevancy Factors
In simple terms, the thing that affects ranking most of all, is product sales. The problem is, unless you’ve already made sales you won’t be appearing on page one (or maybe not even pages two, three or four)… Instead, those spots will be reserved for products already making Amazon a lot of money.
As I mentioned earlier, the more products you sell, the more money Amazon makes. That doesn’t sound fair, does it?!
While I usually tell sellers (especially new ones) not to worry too much about their Best Seller Rank (BSR), the one thing about this that is relevant is that the better a product’s BSR is the more sales they’re making. So if you want to see who’s doing the best in your product category this is a good thing to look at.
How can you improve your Amazon sales?
When you first launch a product on Amazon it obviously won’t have sales or reviews – so you do need to put some work in to get both.
However your first priority is to have a great product listing, that ranks for the A9 algorithms second factor – relevancy.
What does relevancy mean and how can you increase it?
Relevancy means having a well optimised product listing that reflects the product you’re selling.
Every listing you write needs to have a product title, key features, description and search terms that are well written and optimised for SEO.
The importance of keywords and Amazon SEO
As I mentioned earlier, the first thing most customers do when they go to Amazon to look for a product is type what they’re looking for into the search bar. This is why knowing what words and phrases customers are searching for, and including those in your product listing is crucial.
I use JungleScout for this. You can type in keywords and phrases and let Amazon show you other, similar results. Or, my favourite way to do this, is to look at other, similar product listings (this is where looking at the best selling products in your category, as I mentioned earlier, will come in useful) and see the exact words and phrases they’re targeting.
This is probably the most important aspect of your entire Amazon product listing. You get a 200 character limit and you want to use as much of it as you can and include every keyword and search term possible.
This is a bit of an art as, as well as including all of this SEO information, your title also needs to be relevant, make sense and entice customers to click through.
You get 5 x bullet points, each with a 500 character limit. The information in your product feature bullet points is also indexed and searchable. This is another place where you want to include the keywords that you want to rank for.
This is also a great opportunity to give as much information as you can about your product and really compel the customer to buy. My advice here is to focus on the benefits, rather than the features, and really think about what it is about your product that would entice a customer to choose it over other, similar products.
Your Amazon product description has 200 characters and is a great place to add more details (so maybe the features go here!), as well as including some of your keywords that may not have fit elsewhere in your listing.
Of course, if your brand is enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry, you’ll also have access to A+ Content. Great A+ content mainly consists of images and these won’t affect your ranking or SEO. However, they might help with conversions, as they’re easier to read and more engaging than formatted text.
Remember you can use the product description field and A+ content together.
On the back end of your product listing you can add 250 characters of search terms. This is a great place for anything you weren’t able to use in your product listing text.
Note that it’s important not to repeat words here – especially as you have relatively little space.
Getting your first sales on Amazon
Set up Amazon Sponsored Products ads
Probably the quickest way to get sales started on Amazon is to run Sponsored Products ads.
Yes, this will cost you money, but investing even just a little now can really help get things going. There are lots of advertising options and, unless you know what you’re doing, I’d suggest starting off with a simple keyword targeting campaign (since you’ve already done the work figuring out what you need to rank for), with a low daily budget.
Using Deals, Promotions and Vouchers
If your products are eligible (and they’re not always) you can take part in Amazon Deals. Often these are for set events – such as Prime Day and Black Friday.
If you’re not eligible, you can always set up Promotions, where you either offer a percentage discount, or set up a buy-one-get-one-free deal. You can set these up so you need a code to redeem the offer, or it can be available to everyone.
You could set up a voucher, which gives a discount at the checkout. These work in a similar way to Promotions, although are open to all customers.
Finally, you could simply set up an introductory sale price, via the offer page for your listing on Seller Central.
I can’t tell you which is best, or which will work, but it’s worth experimenting and seeing which has the greatest impact on sales.
Share on social media / your email list
It always surprises me when people set up a product listing on Amazon and don’t tell the entire world about it! There’s lots of promotion you can do for free including emailing your list, sharing on social media (business or personal), texting or emailing friends, family and acquaintances who might be interested (always ask if they can share too), contact groups and networks who might be interested in your product, etc.
If you’re running any promotions, sales or deals on Amazon to kickstart sales then make sure you mention it. It might help to encourage sales and, if nothing else, people love a deal and that might help to spread the word.
Getting product reviews
This is always the hard part! There are only so many ways to get reviews on Amazon and there are lots of rules about asking and what you can and can’t say.
To summarise, you can ask for a review, but you can’t ask for a positive review and you can’t incentivise reviews.
Lots of customers now block the emails Amazon sends asking for product reviews, so it’s very hard to actually ask. Junglescout has a tool that allows you to do this and that’s definitely worth looking into.
One way of doing this is to put a polite request in with the product packing, perhaps even with a QR code that takes them right to the page.
Or, you can know that a percentage of customers will always leave reviews and focus instead on getting as many sales as you can, knowing some of these will result in reviews organically.
How to get on page one of Amazon search results
So now you know what the A9 algorithm is, what it consists of and the key things to focus on in order to rank higher on Amazon.
Your first priority is to ensure your product listing is well optimised and includes all the keywords and search terms that you want to rank for.
Next, you want to focus on getting initial product sales and reviews.
Once you’ve done both of these things, you’ll hopefully start to see an improvement in your ranking.