Ranking in organic search results is key for achieving success on Amazon.
Doing so allows you to benefit from the millions of shoppers on Amazon, using the platform’s search engine to find their next online purchase.
Amazon’s own software decides which products show up in the search results, in which order, for each search a customer performs.
So, appeasing that algorithm – known as A10 – is central to success when selling on Amazon.
Competition for places is fierce, with more than 2 million sellers on the Amazon marketplace all trying to do the same thing. So understanding everything about how the A10 algorithm works is vital.
Read on, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Amazon A10 algorithm, how it is different from the A9 algorithm, and 5 steps you can take to adjust and rank your products with the new algorithm.
What is the Amazon A10 Algorithm?
Amazon’s A10 algorithm is the most recent version of the Amazon search and ranking algorithm. Updated in 2020 from the Amazon “A9” algorithm, A10 puts more weight to several ranking factors, making it more sophisticated at matching customer searches with relevant products.
A10 is designed and run by Amazon themselves. It began as an independent company – called A9, shorthand for “algorithm” – in 2003. The company was built to produce search and advertising technology.
The A9 company has now been officially absorbed into Amazon (the domain redirects to Amazon.com).
It’s worth mentioning that there is no official information about the Amazon A10 algorithm. Amazon doesn’t even mention the term A10 in any official capacity. However, we have details on how it works from the extensive testing and notes from Amazon sellers and agencies.
While the search algorithm is constantly being updated, the more significant update in 2020 prompted the change from A9 to A10. Next up, we’ll look at just how A10 changes the game for Amazon sellers.
Differences from the Amazon A9 Algorithm
The A10 algorithm is not a massive change to Amazon’s search engine. At its core, it still works in many of the same ways. It’s still designed to show popular, high-performing and relevant products for customers’ searches.
Sales history, sales velocity and conversion rate are all still strong product ranking factors.
Basically, if your product sells a lot, and maintains a strong conversion rate, you should rank high, assuming your listing is optimized for the right keywords.
Product reviews are still important too, not just as a ranking factor, but to boost your conversion rate and generate more sales.
Aside from that, there are some subtle but significant changes to the way Amazon ranks products, which are important to understand if you want to master Amazon SEO.
Focus shifts to relevance
Relevance and popularity have always been the core of Amazon’s search platform. It uses a text match system to match keywords with relevant product listings.
In the past though, it may have skewed slightly towards popularity/performance metrics. Meaning Amazon liked to promote products that made a lot of money.
The Amazon A10 algorithm puts a greater focus on relevance, and matching the right product to the right search. They’re not as concerned about making as much money as possible from a single sale, as they are making customers happy, so they come back and buy again, and again, and again.
Seller authority as a ranking factor
One of the biggest changes is the introduction of seller authority in ranking.
No longer is the product the only thing that’s important for the Amazon algorithm. Now, it favors products sold by Amazon merchants with a proven history of performance and reliability.
Some seller authority factors include:
- Sales history (a proven history of selling products on Amazon)
- Seller feedback rating
- Performance and account health metrics (return rate, number of A to Z claims)
Seller authority also includes the size of your product catalog. Sellers who sell more products are seen in a favorable light under A10, likely intended to push big brands higher.
(note that seller authority refers to the seller currently holding the Buy Box).
Impressions & click-through rate weighed in search ranking
The new Amazon algorithm takes into account the impressions and click-through rate (CTR) your product generates.
Impressions are when your product shows up anywhere in the Amazon ecosystem, such as search results, Pay-Per Click (PPC) campaigns, or on Amazon partner sites. While click-through rate is how often your product generates clicks from these views.
The new algorithm still values sales history, but it also values the metrics above, which show engagement from Amazon customers.
More power to off-site traffic
With A10, this traffic is even more valuable. Driving traffic to your products is thus a great way to rank higher and increase search visibility.
The Amazon A10 algorithm now also weighs “internal sales” a little higher. These are not organic sales – instead, sales that come from other areas within Amazon, such as the “Frequently Bought Together” box.
Internal sales signal that these products had a hand in increasing Amazon customers’ average spend. For example, they may have come to Amazon to buy one thing, and ended up adding another product to their cart from a related products section.
This is super valuable to Amazon, so it makes sense why this would be prioritized in the new algorithm.
Less ranking benefit for PPC sales
Finally, A10 gives a little less product ranking power to sales generated from PPC campaigns.
This is not to say PPC campaigns are now worthless. It’s still really valuable to use sponsored links to push your products up the search page, or target other product listings. However, it’s not a great way to increase your organic rankings, despite being great for your overall sales velocity.
A 5-Step Plan to Rank Your Products with the A10 Algorithm
If you’re already familiar with ranking products in the Amazon A9 algorithm, we’re going to give you a simple 5-step plan to adjust your strategy for A10, on top of the universal best practices such as generating sales and reviews.
1 – Prioritize customer experience and account health metrics
It’s clear that Amazon wants you to provide a first-class experience for their customers. So make it a priority to stay in Amazon’s good books and provide that first-class customer experience.
Do things that will result in positive seller feedback, such as going above and beyond with customer service. Make sure you have shipments inspected, and the products you send to Amazon are the highest quality, without any defects.
Not only will superb seller feedback and account health help you win and keep the Buy Box, it will now help your product rank higher.
2 – Increase your range
Product range is another thing factored into a seller’s account health. This didn’t matter with the A9 algorithm, but in the A10 era, you may be able to rank higher than another seller if you sell more products.
Thus, it’s a good idea to expand your store on Amazon, rather than launching one product and focusing on that alone. A wider range will also lessen your risk should one product lose rankings or be suspended.
3 – Conduct in-depth keyword research and optimization
This is not such a new development for the A10 algorithm. But with this update, it’s all the more important to make sure your keyword research is extensive and has covered all possible angles.
The new A10 algorithm focuses more on relevance than A9 did, and also values the total impressions your product generates across Amazon. In-depth keyword research, and optimizing your listing to include as many search terms as possible, will help you show up for more searches, and increase your chances to show up on “related products” sections across the site.
Make sure your Amazon listings feature the most important keywords in the right places, such as your product title, bullet points and product description.
4 – Run promotions in off-Amazon channels
With the added power to off-site sales, it’s a better time than ever to drive traffic to your product from outside Amazon.
Ads on Facebook and Instagram are a great way to boost sales velocity, and even better for ranking higher.
The cost of Facebook Ads is a turn-off for some, but it should be thought of as an investment. You’re spending money to boost rankings, which will result in a big increase in organic sales.
Email is a cost-effective alternative to paid ads on Facebook, and is just as powerful at giving you a quick boost in rankings. It can be even better, in fact, as people in your email list are usually more engaged than social media audiences, so traffic from email will be better for your conversion rate.
It takes time to build an email list though, so it’s a good idea to start working on this asap.
5 – Set up evergreen external traffic referral channels
Finally, you should set up evergreen referral channels, to give your Amazon listings a slow and sustained boost in rankings.
This will work independently from Facebook Ads or email marketing. With the previous methods, you’re resigned to making little to no profit from your sales, after calculating the cost of running promotions (such as discount codes or rebates) and ad spend.
The payoff is an initial spike in sales performance and rankings, so it’s worth it. But you probably can’t justify running an expensive promotion, like a rebate campaign, indefinitely.
On the other hand, you can set up evergreen channels like Google Ads, to generate a consistent rankings boost, while still maintaining a little profit from each sale.
These ads (Google Search Ads in particular) are great because they reuse a lot of your learnings from keyword research and Amazon PPC, and you can run them indefinitely.
Google Ads can basically operate in the background, and give you a really strong leg up in ranking power over the competition, not to mention extra sales and cash flow.
Another option is to promote your products with bloggers. Find sites that write about your niche, with blog posts posts like “Top 10 (x) for (y)”. These posts can be great for a steady stream of referral sales.
Just find posts that mention similar products to yours, contact the site owner, and pitch your product as a selection.
There’s very little ongoing cost required, as the bloggers are usually making affiliate commissions directly from Amazon. All it might take is a free product sent to them, or a one-off payment.
Final Thoughts on the Amazon A10 Algorithm
If you’ve been building your selling strategy around the previous A9 algorithm, and fear that you now need to change everything to adapt, don’t worry. A10 features some new wrinkles, but it’s not a huge change from what you had to focus on with A9.
Some of the changes, like seller’s authority, are things that you should have been focusing on already. Likewise, external traffic has always been a valuable tool for ranking, and with the A10 algorithm, it appears even more so.
Keep your focus on selling well, keeping customers satisfied, and you’ll find the A10 algorithm quite friendly to you.
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