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An Introduction to Amazon’s A9 Algorithm

If you sell on Amazon or you’re thinking of setting up an Amazon store, chances are you’ve heard of the A9 Algorithm a couple of times.

The search field and Amazon’s internal search engine, powers purchases by providing the most relevant product suggestions when shoppers search for a particular item.

The search engine algorithm running behind the scenes is known as Amazon A9 – and it’s responsible for ensuring searchers get the most relevant results for their queries.

Like many eCommerce giants, Amazon doesn’t give away the secret workings to A9 to avoid merchants trying to “beat” the system. Although we don’t know exactly how the algorithm is built, we can still share some of the best tips to making it work for your business.

What is the A9 algorithm?

Every search engine – including the search box on Amazon – has an algorithm that runs behind the scenes to show searchers products most likely to match their query. Think of A9 as similar to the algorithm Google uses for its search results; It considers keywords on a target page to help match the most relevant results to the search. It then uses different signals to determine how highly a page is ranked and which gets displayed first.

However, there’s one big difference between the Google and Amazon algorithms: A9 puts a strong emphasis on conversions. That means even if a page gets a bunch of pageviews and a low bounce rate, it won’t rank as well if visitors don’t end up making a purchase.

As a business, Amazon has a vested interest in promoting listings that are most likely to result in sales. For this reason, listings with a strong sales history and high conversion rate will rank more highly.

This creates a circular effect wherein products that are more prominent in search are more likely to receive traffic, high traffic makes it more likely to get more conversions,  are more conversions means higher rankings.

But if you’re just starting out, how do you compete?

Why do I need keywords and how can I incorporate them?

It might feel like everyone’s talking about keywords but it’s for a good reason. Keywords are the cornerstone of search engine ranking.

Keywords are terms or phrases that potential buyers search for that should signal purchase intent. These include brand names, product types, gender attributes, colors, sizes and so on. Although it can be tempting to slap keywords here, there, and everywhere, incorporating keywords naturally into your product title, description, and features sections is important.

Rather than trying to stuff keywords to beef up the number of keywords included, aim to be intentional and ensure they are used in a way that feels natural and relevant.

How A9 affects ranking

Understanding how the algorithm works means you can rank more highly on Amazon searches, which is the number one thing you need to do to drive organic traffic to your listings and ultimately boost your sales.

Of course, as we already mentioned, a high sales velocity is beneficial to Amazon, which means they analyze sales results and increase the rankings for products that sell well.

Optimizing for Amazon A9

In order to optimize your listings for A9, you want to ensure that you’re checking all the boxes to boost your chances of closing the sale. We know that Amazon will showcase products with high conversion and sales rates, therefore, your number one goal is to land those buyers.

1. Write strong titles

When it comes to product listings, we really do judge a book by its cover (or in this case, the listing by its title). A strong title includes keywords, clearly defines what your product is, and leaves little room for questions.

2. Use backend keywords

Amazon gives you the opportunity to add “hidden” keywords to your product listings. Although they’re not displayed, these keywords are super useful in optimizing your search results. Amazon limits the length of these term attributes to fewer than 250 bytes, a limit that applies both to newly registered and existing ASINs. In this section, you can include keywords that don’t naturally fit into the title or description, other high-ranking long-tail keywords, variations, and even abbreviations that rank highly.

Not sure what keywords to use as backend keywords? Try making a list of your top keywords and add them in other fields to see what fits naturally. Whatever is leftover can be used for your backend keyword terms.

3. Write concise product descriptions

A concise product description is the foundation for your product listing. Don’t provide inaccurate, irrelevant, or misleading information. Your product description should include keywords that elevate the features of your product. A great product description will increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

The use of bullet points in your description helps your customers quickly skim your listing and showcases the most important features or selling points of your product.

4. Leverage customer reviews

Like it or lump it, we can’t control the reviews customers leave. But, as a seller, you can control meeting their basic expectations to drive satisfaction.

Positive customer reviews are excellent content to utilize throughout your listing, but more importantly, the more reviews you receive, the higher you’ll rank – even if they’re not positive. Just be sure to respond to the negative reviews publically to mitigate any fears from potential buyers who see them.

5. Use large, eye-catching images

When it comes to imagery, don’t settle just settle for a pretty picture. Images should be 1,000 pixels or larger in either height or width. This minimum size requirement enables the zoom function on the website. Zoom has been proven to enhance sales. The smallest your file can be is 500 pixels on its longest side.

Although they’re not a direct, performance-related Amazon ranking factor, your images will play a critical role in click-through and conversion rates. The higher these metrics are for a certain keyword, the higher your product will rank in searches for that keyword.

You images are shown when the customer clicks through to the detail page. Here, you can showcase seven-to-nine images related to the product (make sure they meet image requirements). If possible, allow the zoom function to show the product from multiple angles.

6. Offer Prime delivery

Consumers love fast shipping, and listings with fast delivery have higher conversion rates than those without. Prime includes fast and free delivery, which attracts 88% of shoppers to Amazon, meaning you can capture the majority of shoppers who browse Amazon just by giving them the added value of free, 2-day delivery.

And, since we can reasonably expect these shoppers to choose your product over a product that doesn’t offer free or 2-day delivery, this offer circles back to the A9 algorithm to show products with high conversion rates.

7. Price competitively

The prices you set for your Amazon products can have a huge impact on your conversion rate and sales performance. If you price your products strategically and competitively, your conversion rate will benefit. Do a competitive analysis to understand at what price points your competitors are listing similar products both on and off Amazon and select your price accordingly.

We hope this quick introduction to the Amazon A9 algorithm has helped you put together your Amazon listings or optimize your existing ones.

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