5 Myths About the Amazon Algorithm

Amazon algorithm at work

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In working with so many sellers and brands over the years, we find there are still a lot of persistent myths about selling on Amazon in general. Most of those are myths about the Amazon algorithm, called A9. Here, we bust five of the most common ones.

 

 

 

MYTH 1:

Nobody knows how the Amazon algorithm works.

 

TRUTH:

Lots of people do, you just have to look it up.

There is plenty of information in forums, manuals, and articles on the Internet that tell you EXACTLY how it works.

We’ve got posts here in our own archive about it, on Amazon SEO in general, and on strategic use of keywords and bullet points, plus more tips for ranking on Amazon.

This sort of algorithm works on a node system. It’s a taxonomy of product characteristics placed in order of hierarchy. Amazon suggests products to users based on finite product description terms entered into its catalogue. Its personalized results are based on a mix of that customer’s behavior on Amazon and online, and what is popular that day.

 

 

 

MYTH 2:

You can figure out your best keywords simply by typing some terms into the search bar and seeing what Amazon auto-suggests.

 

REALITY:

The search bar is personalized to YOU and YOU ALONE.

This is a useless and possibly damaging practice being bandied about by bloggers who think they have uncovered a “secret.” A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Amazon has people assigned to a Personalization Platform Team. Their job is to code the search bar to serve personalized product lists to each and every user.

 

 

 

MYTH 3:

The Algorithm will assign higher ranking to Amazon-branded products, and prefer products from Vendor Central over Third Party Sellers.

 

REALITY:

The source of a listing does not impact the search results and there’s no distinction between Vendor Central and Seller Central products as long as the listing is meeting customer needs.

Products populate search results, not sellers, so it’s important to take into consideration if there is more than one seller in that product listing. In general, every seller with a good PL will have the opportunity to make the sale.

As a merchant on Amazon, you can have two different roles. A Vendor has a kind of retail partnership with Amazon. This is when products are sold to Amazon to be commercialized on the platform and, it does all the marketing and fulfillment.

Or, you can be a Third-Party Seller on the marketplace, using it as a platform for marketing the product. All other aspects of the transaction act independently. There is also a hybrid model where you can be a seller but benefit from Amazon’s fulfillment solution. For more about the differences between Sellers and Vendors, see this article.

 

FUN FACT: On Amazon’s marketplace, nearly half of the top sellers are China-direct manufacturers.

 

 

 

MYTH 4:

The lowest-priced items will always surface higher in search results, because Amazon is “buyer-first.”

 

REALITY:

The lowest-priced item does not always mean a higher placement in search results.

A product could be priced the lowest but have poor listing performance metrics, for which it will get dinged. Amazon’s main priority is customer satisfaction, which can mean a lot of things. It doesn’t necessarily try to sell them the lowest priced item.

This is not the same, of course, as winning the Buy Box because most consumers are price-conscious, and many won’t take time to read reviews. If you’re otherwise hitting all the other metrics used in the algorithm at a reasonably high mark, there’s more you can do. A lot of sellers deploy repricing software to make sure they’re offering the most competitive prices at any given moment in the day.

 

 

 

MYTH 5:

You should make frequent use of your best keyword, throughout your product listing.

 

REALITY:

Repeating keywords over and overdoes not increase indexing power.

Keyword stuffing is a terrible strategy for Amazon. Aside from the fact that the algorithm indexes frequency caps, it’s not attractive to the customer– it sounds completely unnatural. This in turn can lead to a decrease in listing conversions and therefore placement on Amazon.

Focus your optimization efforts in these areas, using natural-sounding language and inserting keywords selectively.

  • Product Title
  • Product Bullet Points
  • Product Description
  • Backend Product Listing Keywords

 

 

Plus, a tip for optimizing whatever you’re selling on Amazon

New Amazon Analytics

Amazon recently issued a new release of Amazon Analytics in Seller Central, currently available for third-party sellers who are brand-registered. Previously, only Vendors had access. In addition to search term data, the Analytics dashboard contains valuable data like click data associated to ASINs and search terms.

Discover 6 Secrets to Amazon Success

Julie Stewart

My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.

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