Breaking Down Amazon's SEO Algorithm for Ecommerce

Kelly Shelton

August 24, 2020

SEO. It’s more than just a hot ecommerce buzzword: it’s the key to getting your brand discovered on Amazon. With a little algorithm know-how, SEO can push your products to the top of search rankings and help you crush it in sales.

Here are some things every ecommerce brand should know about Amazon SEO and what differentiates it from SEO on other platforms.

Amazon algorithms vs. other marketplace algorithms

Although it may be easy to assume they’re the same, all SEO is not created equal. What you see in Amazon search results won’t be the same as what you see on Google’s PageRank. This is because Google and Amazon users have different intentions when they’re using the search function.

When shoppers are on Amazon, they are zeroed in on making a purchase and usually know exactly what they’re looking for. For example, 80% of all Amazon clicks happen on the first page, and 35% of Amazon shoppers click on the first product that pops up in their search. To ensure sales, Amazon prioritizes listings that have characteristics like high impressions, lots of off-site traffic, and a good seller performance to increase the likelihood of conversion.

In contrast, when shoppers plug their searches into a search engine like Google, their intent is usually discovery. Google prioritizes relevant links (i.e. if someone’s looking for “plumbers in Salt Lake City,” websites that talk about plumbing in Salt Lake City will rank first) as well as the user experience and credibility of a link.

Knowing that Amazon prioritizes listings most likely to lead to a sale can give brands a sense of what they need to target to improve SEO.

What Amazon SEO looks like today

Amazon’s algorithms are always changing—for example, while keyword stuffing on the backend of your Amazon listing worked yesterday, it doesn’t work today—and frustratingly, the company doesn’t publicize which variables are most important or exactly how they’re weighted.

In fall 2019, Amazon’s A9 algorithm (named for the amount of factors the algorithm takes into account when determining keyword rankings) was changed to an A10 algorithm. While there’s little we know about A10 yet, we do know what A9 factors continue to affect keyword rankings today.

The A9 factors vary in importance, but each is worth considering for brands looking to improve their keyword rankings.

Seller Authority: Are you an active, authorized seller who has plenty of ratings and reviews? Is your feedback rating good and are your performance metrics healthy? How many products do you have in your catalogue? All of these things determine your seller authority and therefore your keyword ranking.

Impressions: Impressions are views a product has across the Amazon site, affiliate links, and partner links.

Internal Sales: These are sales initiated from the Amazon website without being searched for, like “frequently bought with” items.

PPC Sales: Paid-per-click (PPC) sales used to be a major factor affecting keyword ranking on Amazon, but it’s no longer one of the main forces in keyword searches.

Click-Through Rate: The click-through rate is how often your product is clicked on in search results. The more detailed and compelling your listing, the higher your click-through rate.

Off-Site Sales: Off-site sales is one of the most effective factors that can improve keyword rankings. Off-site traffic driven to an Amazon listing is three times more likely to improve a listing’s ranking than PPC.

Conversion Rate: This is the number of views on a listing that are then converted to sales. Like impressions, the higher your conversion rate, the better.

Sales History: How well your product historically sells and how often its in or out of stock are big factors that determine how you’ll rank organically on Amazon search pages.

Organic Sales: This is when shoppers search for and then purchase your product without any marketing or promotion driving their purchase.

The Best Seller Ranking

In addition to A9 factors, the biggest piece of SEO on the Amazon site is the Best Seller Ranking. The Best Seller Ranking is determined by the number of sales your brand makes, and that is determined by factors like your customer reviews, your seller performance, the price of your product, and how quickly you ship. Getting the coveted Best Seller badge means sitting comfortably at the top of keyword rankings for your product.

Amazon Enhanced Brand and A+ Content

Another area where SEO can be effective on Amazon is in the EBC/A+ content space lower down on the page of your listings. These exist to provide a better shopping experience for your customers on Amazon, and on average, A+ content increases sales by 6%.

EBC/A+ content provides more visuals and technical explanation to persuade shoppers to purchase your product, and reinforces your brand equity. One of the most valuable parts of EBC/A+ content is that it’s optimized for mobile. Customers can see a whole listing rather than the first 200 words.

What Amazon SEO will look like in the future

While A10, again, largely remains a mystery, there are some things we know peripherally that could hint at other ways the site will be measuring rankings in the near future. Amazon has already put patents on image search features, like using image alt text for keyword indexing. This could mean photographs that include descriptive keywords may also be used to increase keyword rankings in the near future.

How to improve your keyword rankings

With an idea of how Amazon’s algorithms scrape search results and what is most effective for improving rankings, there are a few things you can do as a seller to take advantage of Amazon’s SEO.

Use relevant and accurate keywords in your titles/descriptions. The most immediate way to improve your SEO is to make sure that your product listings include all of the relevant keywords a prospective buyer would search for, such as the size, color, and model of the item. Pattern can help you mine Amazon keywords to find thousands of relevant and even unexpected options for your product that can be used to push it to the top of search results.

Clean up the copy on your listings. Your copy should be engaging, informative, and well-written to attract potential shoppers. Bulleted lists with your product’s most important attributes listed at the top are an especially effective way to clean up your copy and incorporate relevant keywords.

Use high-quality images. High-quality photographs that show your product from multiple angles and give customers the ability to zoom in allow them to trust that what they see is what they’ll get from your brand. You’ll want at least seven images in your stack, and incorporating video can also be helpful.

Improve your seller performance. The more products you’re selling, the more likely you are to appear at the top of search results, and in order to sell more products, you need to make sure your seller performance is in good health. This includes improving customer ratings and reviews and having a pricing policy that allows you to win the Buy Box.

Reviews are particularly important for sales, as a Pattern analysis showed that the average conversion rate for products with 3.0 to 3.9 stars is 41%, and the average for products with 4.9 to 5 stars is 50%. Just having a few reviews on your listing can be immensely helpful. An item with one one-star review will pull 76% more sales than an item with zero reviews.

Pattern partners with brands across the world to help them optimize their listings for search results and increase sales. With the use of their in-house specialized software Predict, Pattern automates the selling process and gives you the data you need to succeed on Amazon. To learn more, contact us below.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)
Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)