The battle for supremacy in Amazon’s search rankings never ends.
Since Amazon’s marketplace became the smallest bit competitive, everyone’s been trying a ton of strategies to rank their products higher than the next person.
Super URLs are one of those strategies. Many sellers believe these can play a big part in ranking high for valuable keywords. But knowledge around super URLs is a bit of a grey area.
Do they work? Did they ever work? Are they legal?
In this article, we’re going to explain what Super URLs are, along with why, how and if you should use them.
The Amazon URL format
The first thing we need to understand is the elements of a URL.
You’ll often notice long strings at the end of the link to a listing, which seems like gibberish. But the link actually contains information on how the person came to that listing.
If we take this example:
There are several parts to note.
This part (blender) shows the keywords used in the search that found this listing.
The numbers after “qid” are the search’s timestamp. This is the UNIX Epoch time of the product search – the exact number of seconds since January 1st, 1970.
The “sr” section shows what position it was for this specific search, in this case, 16th.
Why does all this matter? It helps the Amazon A9 search algorithm’s ranking process – connecting relevant listings with customer searches. If a lot of customers buy a product after searching a particular keyword, rankings for that keyword go up.
The rest is
What is an Amazon Super URL?
Many Amazon sellers use external traffic to drive additional sales and grow their business.
[Further reading: How To Drive Traffic To Your Amazon Listing]
Yet, with an estimated 49% of online product searches beginning on Amazon, internal search rankings are still crucial for sellers.
Millions of customers come through Amazon each day. Thus being in the first few results for a high-volume keyword makes a significant difference in revenue for any business.
The problem: how do you gain customers from external channels while optimizing for Amazon SEO?
The answer is to generate links that fool the algorithm into thinking purchases result from organic search traffic, i.e., Super URLs. Super URLs are links that include a unique timestamp and the keywords that a seller wants to increase rankings for.
When to use a Super URL?
As mentioned earlier, Super URLs simulate search results from externally driven traffic. These sources might include:
- Social media ads (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)
- Pay-per-click advertising campaigns (e.g. Google Ads)
- Email marketing
- Blog posts
- Links on the seller’s own e-commerce website
External traffic is already extremely beneficial for Amazon sellers. Even more so if it helps the listing rank for specific keywords at the same time.
There is an obvious problem. Static Super URLs (links containing the same timestamp and identifier) won’t work too well. Once a single user clicks the link and converts by making a purchase, all other sales through the same link are “duplicates”. This means the ranking system will omit them.
Some services offer the solution of a dynamic Super URL generator. The seller links to the Super URL service. This service redirects the traffic through a unique link with a specific timestamp and the desired keyword, before they land on the Amazon listing. Each external click is then treated as a new search by the ranking algorithm.
Super URLs increase perceived search volume for the listing, from the specific keyword(s) desired by the seller. But it is important to remember that these links don’t increase sales, which remain the most important factor in ranking on Amazon.
In fact, funneling a large volume of non-converting traffic through a Super URL may actually damage your search rankings. The search engine’s goal is to optimize purchases. So if a search term is not resulting in purchases, the listing will stop appearing for that search term.
Keep this in mind: one should only use Super URLs for traffic you are confident will convert. Offering the customer a discount at the same time will greatly increase your chances of a sale. (Using a tool like LandingCube you can easily distribute single-use promo codes and boost your sales).
Are Super URLs allowed within the Amazon terms of service?
Amazon doesn’t make specific mention of Super URLs. However, they do explicitly state that manipulating their search algorithm is against the TOS:
Whether Super URLs are considered under this term is a matter of interpretation.
It is likely that Amazon will be able to tell if a link is manufactured, by cross-examining the keyword, timestamp and search rankings (if they care to check). For this reason, a less sophisticated Super URL generator may put you in danger of running afoul of Amazon.
Should I be using Super URLs?
New and improved tactics are constantly discovered to optimize search rankings. Amazon is adjusting their algorithm and policies at the same pace.
Some sellers are already claiming that Super URLs no longer work for optimizing keyword rankings. But since Amazon doesn’t make the details of their search rankings public, we can’t know for sure if they have stamped it out or not.
In general, Super URLs are something of a grey area. There is a chance that directing traffic this way might benefit your rankings. But knowing Amazon’s history of preventing ranking manipulation, it’s safe to say you are not missing out if you choose not to direct through Super URLs.
An Alternative to Super URLs – the 2-Step URL
At the time of writing, Super URLs appear to be dead (or at least, largely ineffective). It’s too easy for Amazon to spot sales coming from regular Super URLs, due to the timestamp.
That doesn’t mean sellers can’t run external traffic campaigns targeted at particular keywords. The 2-Step URL is widely used, to good effect by many successful sellers.
What is a 2-Step URL?
As the name suggests, it is a link that takes a customer to the listing in two steps. Instead of going straight to the listing, the customer lands on a search result page, with a keyword search already inserted. This means once the customer clicks through to the product listing, it will result in an organic clickthrough attributed to the keyword you added. If they go on to purchase, your rankings for the specific keyword will get a natural boost.
This is an example (keyword in this case is “coffee grinder”):
There are several variations to the 2-Step URL:
- Storefront URL (brings up a product search in your seller storefront)
- Brand URL (works the same, but in your brand storefront)
- Field-ASIN URL (a keyword search confined to a particular ASIN)
These URLs are a great idea for product launches, or promo campaigns with influencers, paid ads or email marketing. What’s more, you can easily create multiple 2-Step URLs for your external traffic campaigns by using LandingCube’s URL builder feature:
By looking at the URL, crafty sellers figured out at some point how to turn external traffic into a boost for keyword rankings. And while it may have worked for some time – this is debatable though – methods like this don’t tend to last long with Amazon.
The best method to improve your Amazon search rankings is still doing things the right way. Build a strong brand, drive traffic, get reviews and make sales. If you do this, your rankings will shoot up, and you won’t have to worry about penalties.