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Amazon A9 Algorithm: How to Improve Your Product Ranking

How to Rank Higher on Amazon
by Galina Z.posted on 18.02.2018

Every day several million users buy products on Amazon. Most likely these buyers have no clue how Amazon chooses and arranges products. They don’t need to know it, but a seller must understand the A9 algorithm logic as much as possible to be successful. A key to success is to know how the algorithm ranks products in search results.

The A9 algorithm itself is kept a secret. It constantly changes to serve users better. So, we can only guess what parameters Amazon uses to rank products. But some observations can help to reveal the basis of the A9 algorithm…

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Before we dive into the A9 algorithm it is important to understand category ranking and keyword ranking. They are completely different. A better category rank does not guarantee a top position in the search for a keyword your listing doesn’t include. At the same time, if your sales rank is very high (or not good) you may still rank well in a keyword search.

How does the A9 algorithm work?

Let’s imagine a supermarket with numerous shelves. Some of these shelves are located near the entrance, and some are all the way in the back of the supermarket. The market manager of the supermarket decides what stalls he wants to keep near the entrance because (he or she believes it’ll) attract more customers (and increase/thus increasing) the profit… The A9 algorithm is the manager of the supermarket we call Amazon.

Amazon takes all the relevant results from the huge database of product listings.

  1. Amazon takes all the relevant results from the huge database of product listings.

  2. Amazon sorts these results using their unique metrics and algorithms.

  3. Amazon gives search results that maximize chances of purchase.

What is the basis of the A9 algorithm?

Any supermarket manager wants to maximize the profit. How can they do that? By inducing people to buy products! How can they achieve it? By giving potential customers what they want!

What are the things that Amazon uses to keep a potential buyer happy? There are two basic factors:

  1. Relevance (to display products the buyer is asking for)

  2. Product performance (to display the best products)

Let’s look at them closer…


This factor includes your choice of keywords and choice of category/subcategory.

A9 Algorithm Amazon Earphones List

The A9 algorithm works quite differently than Google’s algorithms: repeated keywords within listing/title do NOT improve product rank. Amazon uses all the keywords in the product title, product description, within bullet points and backend search terms giving each keyword its weight. That’s why keyword location is a point you should pay attention.

The immediately relevant keywords should be included in the product title. These keywords should match user’s query very well. Less relevant are bullet points, Seller Central keywords, product specifications, and the product description.

These products have good titles that clearly show the products characteristics and usability. Now compare it to the item below using the same keywords. It doesn’t seem a product that can be found on the 4th page of search result for “headphones for girls”  has a well thought out title.

A9 Algorithm Amazon Products Titles

Most buyers only look at the title image and the title itself. That’s why it is important to include the most relevant and complete information in the title especially information that can’t be seen in the picture.

Some categories are more competitive. You should always check what categories are relevant to your product and place it to the less-competitive category. This increases chances that your product come in at the top of the search. We don’t advise to put your product in an irrelevant category - this practice is not good (Amazon may delete your listing) although sometimes it might allow you to receive the bestseller tag.

Product performance

Sales. Popular products take higher positions on the list. The more sales your product has the lower rank it gets. Fortunately, this is not the only parameter to reach the top search list.

A9 Algorithm AMZScout Screenshot

If your sales for a particular keyword are growing, your product has a chance to appear on the first page, despite its BSR rank. So, every product has a chance to reach the first page using PPC campaign or through organic search.

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Customer satisfaction and reviews. Number of reviews and rating - both are important for ranking on Amazon. The A9 does not only favor products with many reviews, but also products with many positive reviews. This can create a great advantage. It means that a seller with a new high quality product has every chance to get to the top of a particular search.

Price and shipping cost. Amazon aims to provide the user with the best and the cheapest product. The price is very important. That’s why sometimes very cheap products with lower rating come higher than expensive 5-star products.

A9 Algorithm AMScout Extension Screenshot Analysis

Listing quality and images. This parameter is also important. Images have huge influence on the buyer’s decision-making process. Many people just look at the picture and buy. Images help a potential customer to understand what exactly he/she will get. Listing bullet points are important for Amazon SEO because you can write about the product features, benefits and reasons for buying.

Images requirements:

  • Images must be at least 1,000 x 1,000 pixels to enable zoom function

  • There should be at least 5 images (you can use photos to demonstrate benefits or use)

  • Image should have a white background

It is very important to provide as more information about the product as possible. Fill up all the possible fields, including size, weight, packaging, color, shipping information etc. You can use keywords in the description as well and Amazon will include the product in the list of relevant results.

Amazon pays attention to number of answered questions on the product page. If people ask about product (and you answer them) it means the product seems interesting to them. Therefore, helping you get to the top.

All these things increase your chances to come on the first search page.

Bestseller / Amazon’s Choice label. It’s easy to notice that products with special tags appear on the first page. Even if they are more expensive or have fewer reviews. Be sure that having these tags boosts your product rank.

A9 Algorithm Amazon Products Arranged

Nobody knows what you should do to get the Amazon’s Choice badge but one thing is obvious - the product should have good sales on a particular keyword (via PPC-campaign and organically as well). You can find more details about PPC-campaigns and how to get Amazon’s Choice badge in this video.

Parent-Child products.If you have a few products with different specifications (color, size…) it’s better to make a parent-child product rather than to create a few listings. It will increase click-through rate which improves your product performance.

Product availability and returns.These things impact on your account health. Buyers hate when a product they want to buy is not in stock. If a product is not available Amazon drops down its rank. The same refers to returns. If buyers return the product often Amazon may even block your listing.

We hope this information will help you to rank your products higher! Good luck!

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