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What You Should Know About Amazon's A9 Product Ranking Algorithm

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

How to maximize your organic ranking on Amazon's algorithm

In eCommerce, visibility counts for everything. Even top selling brands looking to expand into new markets need a reliable benchmark. And relying on current sales volume isn't always enough.

Amazon may be the most popular eCommerce destination. But when it comes to achieving product visibility, it can seem more like a question of luck than strategy.

It isn't. Amazon searches may be the result of customer intent, but how do you make the most out of searches from prospective customers? How do you ensure maximum results? And just how are those search results calculated?

Much like any other search engine, they're largely the result of Amazon's algorithm: A9.

Search Results and Product Ranking on Amazon

Amazon A9 and search results

When Amazon first launched their A9 product ranking algorithm in 2004, SEO was still in its relative infancy. Today it's a relatively sophisticated tool estimated in generating nearly $80 billion in revenue.

But while SEO remains a primary focus for any industry, few know just how Amazon SEO differs. That's largely because it's based on Amazon's proprietary A9 algorithm.

And Amazon is nothing if not secretive about their own proprietary solutions.

Naturally, you want to land first page results on Amazon. And A9 is just one of the secrets on how to get there. But how does it work? And how does Amazon A9 differ from other indexing engines?

What Is Amazon A9?

Many people often forget that while Amazon is a digital marketplace (historically, the most successful one), it also functions as a search engine. It may be more limited in results than Google or Bing, but it's still a search based platform—simply one which ranks search results internally.

A9 is the algorithm which determines just how search results are indexed and ranked on Amazon. But unlike other search engines, how those results are determined isn't simply a question of popularity.

It's a question of sales.

How Amazon A9 Differs From Other Algorithms

Amazon's algorithm and index performance

One of the most significant differences between Amazon's A9 algorithm and other indexing algorithms is that it can't be used for generalized searches. You're not going to find world news and events on the A9 algorithm. It strictly scans for products sold on Amazon and products sold on Amazon alone.

In fact, 54 percent of all product searches begin on Amazon. That means that the Amazon product search ranking process is based on several distinct qualifying performance metrics, including:

  • User history

  • Amazon popularity

  • Pricing

  • Best seller rankings

  • Sales conversion rate

  • Sales velocity

  • Relevant keywords

  • Imaging

And perhaps most significantly: paid traffic.

Unlike SEO results you may see from Google, A9 recognizes no distinction between paid traffic and organic rankings. That's primarily because Amazon is first and foremost a business. And product listings which are intended to boost sales will naturally take top priority.

But it's not merely Amazon sales which drives first page results on A9. It's the sales velocity of your product. And the higher and faster your products sell on Amazon, the greater the chances are that your product will rank highly on A9.

How to Improve Your Product Ranking Results on Amazon A9
Conversion rates as a result of the A9 algorithm
Keyword targeting

Choose only high quality, relevant keywords under 250 characters. Avoid both subjective claims and time-based distinctions in your product descriptions.

Instead, focus on your product strengths and how they relate to your relevant keywords. Make certain your titles are coherent and easy to understand, using bullet points in your product descriptions to emphasize specific strengths. Leave your customers with just enough information to pique their interest.

Backend search terms

Few brands realize one of the secret strengths behind Amazon A9. Namely, that much of what drives your search results happens behind the curtain.

Overstuffing keywords in your product description doesn't just read awkwardly. It establishes your brand as being unprofessional—and untrustworthy. However, relevant keywords and search terms can be used in your backend description, far away from the eyes of readers yet no less optimal in driving product discovery.

Product images

Use only high quality, relevant product images with a neutral background that clearly highlights the product, as well as its actual use.

If possible, make certain all images are mobile-friendly. We suggest a minimum of 1000 x 1000 pixels to ensure zoomability. Taglines, video and customized graphics can also be used to achieve optimal results.

Competitive pricing

Seller pricing changes daily on Amazon. And if you're not careful, you may find that the only reason your competition is ranking higher is their price advantage.

Reviewing competitive product listings may seem like a time consuming task. That's because it is. But it's also one which you need to conduct regularly if you hope to make a dent in a prospective customer's buying decision.

A competitive price may ultimately cut into your own short term profit margin yet result in higher rankings on A9. But long term visibility is just one of many factors you'll need to take into consideration when developing any marketing strategy.

Finding the balance point between maximizing visibility and maximizing profitability has never been anything but tricky for brands on Amazon. But finding that point doesn't just mean surviving on Amazon.

It could mean the survival of your brand.

Paid traffic

How strongly does paid traffic actually influence sales conversions?

In some cases, paid traffic can result in an ROI of 200 percent.

Conversions are one of the chief cornerstones of A9. Amazon currently hosts a wide number of paid solutions that can increase your A9 visibility, including Sponsored Products, and Product Display ads which can help boost your results from the last page to first— faster than you could even imagine.

But what happens if you're not entirely certain which product listings should be prioritized through paid traffic to ensure higher rankings on Amazon A9?

It's natural to assume you'll want to prioritize products which have a historically high sales volume. It's a perfectly logical strategy. But what you may not be taking into consideration are competitive trends.

Amazon is never static. And neither are search results on A9. You may not have the time nor inclination to follow potential consumer trends. But your competition does. And they're more than willing to take advantage of those trends to maximize their own product listing visibility on A9.

Product Ranking on Amazon A9: A Game of Retail Roulette?

A game of chance

There's no such thing as rigging the system with Amazon. And that includes the A9 algorithm.

What brands can do to achieve a higher ranking on Amazon A9 is to develop a strategy that combines a thorough understanding of their search frequency rank, their own product strengths and available advertising solutions which are entirely unique to the Amazon landscape.

Sound simple? We didn't think so.

Achieving a high ranking with the A9 algorithm can seem like a roulette game. That's because it is. But unlike other games of chance, you can actually maximize the odds to be in your favor if you know how to.

The Amazon A9 algorithm has come a long way since 2004. Shouldn't your Amazon strategy catch up as well?


Our strategies don't just maximize your rankings on Amazon. They maximize your product itself. Find out more at Color More Lines.

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