Amazon Algorithm Updates: Tips for Better Search Results

November 3, 2021
11 min read

Everything you need to know about the new Amazon algorithm to make sure your product listings are being seen by your best-fit customers.

Amazon’s Search Algorithm

Amazon uses a proprietary algorithm for search results. The current version is called the A10 algorithm and was implemented in 2021. Although many of the terms used to talk about the algorithm are similar to terms used to talk about search rankings on familiar search engines like Google (SEO, PPC, CPC, etc.), Amazon’s algorithm has very different priorities.

As the most popular product search engine, Amazon is an important part of any multichannel merchant’s marketing strategy. Ultimately, whether a shopper buys your product on Amazon or another one of your channels, they will most likely discover your brand on Amazon, so it’s essential to optimize your Amazon listings for the Amazon algorithm.

The Basics of the Amazon A10 Algorithm Update

The new Amazon algorithm, known as A10, has garnered a lot of attention, particularly as Amazon’s presence as a major digital advertising platform continues to grow. With the A10 update, Amazon is generally placing importance on the same factors: seller authority, conversion rates, and customer reviews are still key to high rankings, but many of these factors have been re-prioritized. Seller authority seems to be of much greater importance than PPC ads, for example, and off-Amazon referral traffic is now given significant weight.

While some of these factors like how long you’ve been selling on Amazon (a major contributor to your seller authority) are outside of your control, there are some ways that you can optimize your listings and build your marketing plan to move up the ranks within the new Amazon algorithm. Ahead we’ll share 3 tips to improve your visibility within the new Amazon A10 algorithm update.

Recommendations for Better Amazon Algorithm Results

1. Prioritize Keyword Research

Most Amazon sellers understand the need to invest in Amazon PPC campaigns, but where many brands fall short is marrying their SEO effort with advertising research. That’s because most marketers are accustomed to optimizing for Google search, where PPC and SEO have very little in common. Within the Amazon algorithm, however, there is a direct relationship between organic and paid search, and the two directly feed into one another. In other words, there is no search engine optimization without paid advertising optimization and vice versa.

Any good marketer knows that SEO is a long-game, and Amazon’s search engine is no exception to that rule. Identifying the highest intent (and therefore highest converting) keywords and optimizing your product listing with those keywords will immediately match your listing to those terms. It will take time, however, to climb the ranks and appear at the top of the search results. One way to significantly improve organic rankings is to increase sales, and the most effective way to increase sales is to launch a PPC campaign.

In contrast to SEO efforts, PPC campaigns can instantly improve visibility if your product is relevant to the shopper’s search terms. This is where your SEO efforts can boost your PPC performance. If your product listing is optimized for the same search terms as your ad campaign, your product will be more likely to show up in front of your best-fit customers. And with the de-prioritization of PPC ads in the Amazon A10 algorithm update, it’s important to factor in the relationship between organic and paid search when building your campaigns.

As with any keyword efforts, however, it is important to create content that matches the intent of the searcher. Shoppers will likely be turned off by a listing stuffed with keywords without describing the product and building trust in a compelling way. A low conversion rate will negatively affect your Amazon algorithm ranking, so you don’t want shoppers immediately bouncing away from your listing due to poor content.

2. Treat Product Listings Like Landing Pages

This is another area where the Amazon algorithm varies greatly from Google. The purpose of a Google ad may be to sell products, drive newsletter signups, or increase web traffic. The only goal of an Amazon paid ad, on the other hand, is to generate sales. So while a Google ad campaign drives a browser to a landing page, Amazon PPC ads are pulled directly from the product listing.

For this reason you should purposefully design your product listing the same way you would design a landing page. Again, SEO and PPC are closely linked, so optimize your product page for the same keywords throughout your gallery images, bullet points, and your A+ content. Think about the user journey from both PPC and organic clicks. What words did they search to find your product, and is your listing delivering on their expectations? Are you including the basic components of a conversion-focused landing page (a clear call to action, social proof, and engaging media)?

Another consideration when crafting your landing page is to optimize every part of the page for conversions. Online shoppers move through listings quickly and may not even make it to your A+ content before they decide to move on. In fact, many Amazon shoppers are classified as “gallery skimmers”. They gather all the information they need from your gallery images and video. To convert gallery skimmers, include as much content as you can in your images. Convey your bullet points within the images and prominently display trust and credibility badges like “Made in the USA”, certifications, and fast shipping guarantees within the gallery as well.

Learn more about Amazon Fulfillment solutions for guaranteed 1 to 2-day shipping.

3. Prioritize Off-Amazon Traffic

One major change in the Amazon A10 algorithm update is the level of importance placed on non-Amazon referral traffic. For registered brands who were monitoring their performance through Amazon Attribution, this change may not have come as a big surprise. With Amazon Attribution, brand-registered sellers can monitor conversion metrics like click-through rates, cart creations, and sales as well as the percentage of traffic and sales coming to their product from a non-Amazon source. When the tool was first introduced, sellers had the advantage of seeing how all of their marketing efforts were performing, but also began to speculate that if Amazon was monitoring off-Amazon traffic, they must have been prioritizing it to some extent in the algorithm.

By giving greater search priority to products that drive traffic to Amazon from outside sources, the Amazon A10 algorithm update is Amazon’s means of taking aim at competing ecommerce marketplaces. Because while most shoppers still start their product searches on Amazon, competing marketplaces like Walmart and Target are winning in Google search results, with nearly half of Walmart Marketplace traffic coming from search. The best way for Amazon to start moving up the ranks in Google search results is for sellers to prioritize external links and non-Amazon traffic.

That means Amazon sellers need to diversify their marketing spend — buying banner ads, Facebook, and Google ads that route back to their Amazon listings. Amazon PPC ads will still be an important part of a complete marketing strategy but have become considerably less significant since the A10 update. Influencer marketing is also an important tactic for driving off-Amazon traffic as more product discovery migrates to social media. When partnering with influencers, be sure to include the link to your Amazon product listing through their profile or the swipe up function to build up your off-Amazon traffic.

4. Curate Your Product Catalogue

The A10 algorithm also places a higher importance on conversion rates. In short, if browsers are landing on your products but not purchasing them, Amazon will start to see your listing as irrelevant to their searches and push you further down on the results page.

To improve your conversion rate, you should optimize the user experience with the listing itself rather focusing purely on your ad campaign. Keep your product descriptions concise but persuasive. Include social proof in your listing, including customer reviews, awards, and certifications. And make sure your photos are eye-catching, showing every angle of your product and pointing out key features.

It’s important to note that slow-moving SKU’s will actually pull down the performance of all of your product listings. Amazon will begin to see your shop as a whole as irrelevant, and poor conversion rates on an under-performing SKU will begin to bring down the search rankings of even your faster-moving SKU’s.

For this reason it’s important to curate your Amazon product catalogue to include only the products that you know will sell well and that you plan to market aggressively. Having a smaller allows you to be more targeted in your marketing approach, and once a shopper discovers your brand on Amazon, they can find your full product catalogue on your ecommerce site.

5. Become a Brand Registered Seller

The Amazon Brand Registry has become the hallmark of serious Amazon sellers. It requires your product to have a registered trademark displayed on the packaging, which easily differentiates legitimate products from counterfeits. Other benefits include:

  • Control over your listing content, including A+ content and a fully branded storefront.
  • Advanced tools for monitoring and optimizing ad performance.
  • Sponsored brands ads, which get prime placement in search results and can lead shoppers directly to your Amazon storefront.
  • Interactive content opportunities like video and Amazon Live Creator.

All of these tools can help increase visibility, encourage more meaningful customer interactions, increase your conversion rate, and ultimately improve your search rankings.

Making the Amazon Algorithm Work for You

The Amazon A10 algorithm update certainly will not be the last update. As the ecommerce market continues to grow and become increasingly more competitive, Amazon will continue to optimize search results to help shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for. As a company long-known for its devotion to customer service, Amazon’s goal will always be to optimize for the best possible customer experience. 

This is exemplified not only by the new algorithm update, but also by their renewed commitment to industry-leading shipping speeds — including enhanced requirements for Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) sellers. In order to stay ahead of this and future Amazon algorithm updates, sellers should continue to focus first on customer experience. Prioritizing on-page experience for shoppers and delivery speed for customers will always be at the foundation of the Amazon algorithm, so focusing on customer service will continue to make the Amazon algorithm work for you.

Looking for an Amazon fulfillment solution? Reach out to one of our in-house experts.

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