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Whether you're a seasoned seller or a novice looking to get into e-commerce via Amazon's marketplace, chances are you don't know all the intricacies of the algorithm A9 that governs Amazon's entire SEO system. However, understanding how it works will allow you to develop several strategies to improve your search rankings and thus generate traffic to your products.

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What is the Amazon A9 algorithm?

Amazon has implemented the A9 algorithm to define, in the most relevant way possible, the ranking of products in search results. It can be compared to Google's algorithm, in that it takes keywords and certain performance criteria into account to decide which products deserve to be displayed first. However, unlike Google's algorithm, Amazon takes into account sales data because the American firm gets paid on each transaction. The best-selling products are usually the ones that appear first, and then it's a snowball effect! The best ranked products are more likely to receive more traffic and therefore have a better chance of being sold. In return, this will improve their ranking and so on.

Why should you rank well on Amazon?

Because of its dominant position in many areas, Amazon offers a huge potential for sales. The platform also allows you to attract new customers without investing heavily in marketing. Moreover, it is possible to entrust the logistics of your products’ delivery directly to Amazon, which relieves the seller of many problems. But beware, all this has a cost. Marketplaces can be part of a development strategy on the web, but you should not become totally dependent on them.

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Relevance criteria or pull factors

Product title

The title of your product is the most important element. According to Amazon's recommendations, it should contain elements such as: type of product, brand, material or key features, color, and optionally size and packaging. To help you find the most relevant titles, you can also :

        • Use the Keyword Inspector to research your main competitor.
        • Choose a competitor in the top three positions with the most reviews and observe the keywords they use for products in their catalog.
        • Combine this data and use a word and phrase frequency counter.

Bullet points

Take the time to optimize the bulleted lists at the top of your product pages. For example, you can take advantage of this to add keywords that were not used in the title. This is also the right place to list the complementary products in your catalog.

Product description

Like the bullets, the product description has no direct impact on ranking. However, it is indexed by search engines and therefore impacts its visibility. So a good description will help you improve your conversion rate.

Optimize your images on Amazon

Integrate your images according to Amazon's technical requirements: a width or height of at least 1000 pixels. Amazon even recommends an ideal width of 2560 pixels. The product should fill 85% of the frame and the background should be white and neutral.

Product reviews, comments and ratings

Ratings and reviews are paramount today because they strongly affect the buying process. Over 80% of consumers trust the reviews they read, which is why Amazon takes reviews into account when ranking products. To encourage your customers to leave reviews, you can set up a follow-up email for them to share their impression of the product. Just avoid aggressive techniques, which will do you a disservice.

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Product price

For consumers, Amazon is the kingdom of bargains. But you need to stay consistent on the pricing of your products. Trust is an important factor in conversion. So, if a product was originally priced at $100, but has recently been reduced to $24.99, it may look suspicious. Some users may then think that the quality is not there and turn to a competitor's product. This is called the psychological price.

Keywords

Keywords are one of the criteria that Amazon uses to determine the relevance of search queries and to establish the different rankings on the results pages. That's why it's important to write your content with SEO in mind, incorporating a significant amount of keywords. You can start your research with the keywords that generate the most searches by using for example the MerchantWords provided by Amazon. Then you need to think about the intention behind the user's search. Use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to find the terms that have the highest search volumes in general. Also, make sure your content doesn't contain any spurious keywords that could land you on results that have nothing to do with your offer. Don't forget the long tail, which is made up of keywords that have a low search volume but are less competitive. These keywords have the advantage of ranking you more easily and generally show a better conversion rate.

How to integrate keywords

Have you identified the best keywords for your product list? Now it's time to use them strategically. The essential step is of course to integrate them in the product title, in an intelligible order for both robots and Internet users. Then use your long tail keywords in your description and do not hesitate to use synonyms and logical connectors between them.

Product inventory management

To optimize your costs, you must control your stock rotation. To do this, the ideal solution is to use Amazon's inventory management software, which will also help you understand the delays in your supply chain and anticipate seasonal fluctuations.

Delivery (fast and free or cheap!)

Amazon puts the consumer's interest first. Thus, shipping costs are a ranking criterion because it is proven that too high shipping costs can discourage a large number of Internet users. So make sure you negotiate the lowest possible delivery costs with your carrier to convince your prospects without impacting your margin too much.

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Amazon's performance criteria

Frequently sold Amazon product

A product that is sold frequently is a product that will naturally rise in Amazon's ranking. To enter this virtuous circle, products must have a good conversion rate. Items recently added to the catalog can reach the first pages if they are sold very quickly after being put online.  

The sales frequency is a criterion that hinders many new sellers in their beginnings, which is why it is essential to keep other acquisition channels, the time for them to prove themselves on Amazon. (Adwords, SEO, etc.)

Product conversion rate

Like frequency, the conversion rate is a very important indicator for the A9 algorithm. Amazon has a vested interest in displaying products that sell well, not only for customer satisfaction but also for the commissions they generate. You should therefore regularly monitor the conversion rates of your products to prioritize your actions. As for SEO, there are several ways to optimize the conversion rate of an Amazon product. First, make sure you optimize your bulleted lists at the top of the page. This is what your prospects read first and many will stop at this summary. Internet users generally read diagonally and do not take the time to go through the whole page. You must therefore hook them very quickly with terms that meet their research and needs. Address the main features of the product right away and support your claims with social proof (e.g. "recommended by 95% of our customers!").

The main image of your product is also part of the elements that immediately hook the prospect or, on the contrary, make him run away; a bit like the first visit of a property! So avoid poor quality photos or photos that do not show all aspects of the product. Ideally, even ban photos of your supplier because it is likely that your competitors will have the same ones. Of course, taking beautiful pictures requires a certain budget, but the stakes fully justify this expense.

Before publishing your images, test them with your friends and family. This way, you will make sure that they reflect the characteristics of the product, that they make people want to read, etc. Of course, do this test on desktop but also (and especially!) on mobile. It would be a shame if your images did not stand out well on mobile, which is now the main browsing medium for Internet users.

The click rate and the bounce rate

As on the different search engines’ SERPs, the click and bounce rates are very important on Amazon. This is logical! A product that is not clicked on enough and/or that makes the user leave immediately sends a negative signal. If you notice shortcomings in any of these metrics, take a close look at your listings and compare them with those of your competitors: Is the price too high? Is the shipping cost too high? Is my title catchy? Are the reviews good? Is my description clear enough? Is my photo of good quality? There are many things that can impact click-through and bounce rates, and it's often quite simple to fix them.

Performance goals defined by Amazon  

Amazon imposes performance goals on its sellers to maintain its own reputation. They are regularly monitored to ensure that they are meeting their goals. If they don’t, penalties can range from a simple warning to a total shutdown of the store.

Targets include return rate, cancellation before fulfillment rate and shipping delays:

Taux de défauts de commande : < 1%

Taux d’annulation avant exécution : < 2.5%

Frais d’expédition tardive : < 4%

These goals seem easily attainable, but the reality is quite different for new sellers. Some have only a few products online and sometimes it only takes 2 or 3 returns to generate a dissatisfaction rate that is considered too high by Amazon.  

Sellers with a 1 or 2 star rating are not considered very recommendable by Amazon. You must therefore be sure of the first products you sell. Avoid for example fragile products that may arrive broken or products that are too expensive for which consumers are more demanding.  

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Conclusion

Amazon is part of many marketing strategies. The marketplace occupies a huge place on the web and offers an exceptional visibility that no other platform can match. However, its numerous requirements and high commission rates can discourage newcomers who do not always find it profitable. However, Amazon can become a very profitable sales channel as long as you take the time to select your products and optimize your ads.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

Further reading

The complete guide on the referencing of e-commerce sites

The 6 key steps to follow to correctly optimize your e-commerce site with a good natural referencing. 

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