Search, Find, Buy: Effective for Ranking or Outdated?

Bottom Line: Amazon Search Find Buy funnels have been an effective way to rank products on Amazon for the past few years. However, it’s a riskier tactic to use today, as Amazon tries to stamp out rank manipulation from unnatural sales funnels and seller behaviors. Use with caution, and consider switching to a more long-term focus for ranking products.

Ranking tactics or “hacks” are nothing new to Amazon sellers. As long as Amazon search visibility remains important for attracting organic clicks, detail page views and sales, new hacks will evolve to push products to the top of the search rankings for valuable keywords.

Search Find Buy is the latest in a long line of Amazon ranking tactics, many of which live in a gray area in terms of Amazon’s Terms of Service.

Read on and we’ll explain all you need to know about Amazon Search Find Buy – how it works, whether it’s still effective today, and how to do Search Find Buy funnels for your products.

A Brief History of Amazon Ranking Hacks

As long as Amazon SEO has been a thing, Amazon sellers have had ways to manipulate their listings to be favored in the search results.

Though it’s against Amazon’s Seller Code of Conduct to do things with the intention of manipulating search rankings or sales rank, rank manipulation strategies have been commonplace for some time.

Some tactics get swiftly shut down by Amazon, while others have an easier time going under the radar.

Some have even garnered press outside of Amazon seller circles, as seen in the Wall Street Journal’s article “How Sellers Trick Amazon to Boost Sales”.

Here are a few ranking tactics that came before SFB:

Keyword Stuffing

Unsophisticated search engines are pretty easy to fool by overloading your page with the keywords you want to rank for. On Amazon in particular, it used to be simple to rank, by filling your product listing with keywords, to appease the algorithm.

Today, the Amazon search algorithm is far too complex to be fooled so easily. If you over inflate your keyword density, your rankings are likely to drop. Worse still, you’ll lose out on sales from people who do make it to your listing, as overuse of keywords will hurt your sales copy.

2021 status: don’t do this. Overuse of keywords will not increase your rank, especially in competitive categories. In fact, keyword stuffing (and thus poor listing copy) will probably hurt your rankings, since this is likely to decrease your conversion rate, which is a big ranking factor.

Super URLs

Starting around 2016-2017, sellers started using super URLs to rank. These URLs would mimic the Amazon URL structure, to direct ranking power towards particular keywords.

This is important because you want Amazon to see your product as a popular choice for specific search terms with a lot of search volume. Ranking your products for these keywords will thus result in more organic sales.

Most super URLs don’t work anymore, as Amazon is able to detect these and disregard the keywords when it comes to ranking.

2021 status: not useful anymore. All but the most sophisticated super URLs are now detectable by Amazon, who will either suspend you for using them or (more likely) disregard these sales for ranking purposes.

Learn more about Super URLs

2-Step URLs

2-step URLs are the solution to super URLs losing effectiveness. The idea is the same – show Amazon you have a lot of sales for a particular keyword, and Amazon will rank you high for that keyword.

The difference with 2-step URLs, is you send people to a search page, with your keyword filled out. When they click through to your product, this is a unique click every time, with a unique timestamp. Thus Amazon doesn’t pick up on it the same way they do with super URLs.

2-step URLs are still effective in 2021. However some people report they don’t carry as much weight for ranking, and there are sometimes problems where products don’t show up correctly in search results.

2021 status: appear to still work fairly well. There is a question over whether they still carry as much weight for ranking, though, and some sellers have reported issues with products not appearing to be indexed on 2-step search pages.

Learn more about 2-step URLs


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What is Search Find Buy (SFB)?

Search Find Buy works very much like a 2-step URL. It gives an organic, natural-looking clickthrough from the search term you want to rank for.

As for what it is, the name tells all. It’s designed to get the customer to search, find and buy your product, as if they went to Amazon, searched for a keyword and found your product naturally.

Compared to sending a potential customer to your product directly, this is much more powerful if your goal is to rank for a certain keyword.

By sending someone through a direct link, the sale won’t be attributed to one keyword in particular. However, with Search Find Buy, Amazon sees the customer searched for that keyword and bought your product, and ranks your product higher as a result.

Is Search Find Buy Against TOS?
Technically, any tactic you use to trick the search algorithm and manipulate your product’s keyword rankings is a breach of Amazon’s Seller Code of Conduct. This includes Search Find Buy, 2-Step URLs and using any kind of Super URL. Whether Amazon is able to detect and punish sellers who use SFB is up for debate, however if you want to be 100% TOS-compliant, it’s best to stay away from any ranking hacks.

How to Use SFB to Rank Your Products

If you’re comfortable skating the line and using Search Find Buy, here’s how to do it.

First, you need to get people into your SFB funnel. This usually comes from Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or an email blast (if you have an email list).

In your ad, a landing page or a ManyChat flow, you offer the customer a generous discount for buying your product. Technically you can do this without a discount, but you’ll have much fewer people willing to go and find your product, and buy it.

When you give the link to your customers, you’ll usually send them to the Amazon search page with the search term already filled out, and give them instructions on how to find your product (main image, title, reviews, star rating and price).

Customers will find your product, redeem the promotion, and buy your product.

You’ll want to track your results here, in terms of how many people reached your landing page/ManyChat flow, how many clicked the SFB link, how many actually went on to buy the product, and also changes in rank for your target keyword.

By tracking results, you’ll be able to tell whether your Search Find Buy campaign was a success, or whether you may be better off trying another method.

Now, here are some tips to help you run SFB effectively.

Best traffic source

The first step is where you get your traffic from. The most popular and effective ways to drive traffic are from Facebook Ads, Google Ads, organic social media, or your email list.

Email traffic is often the cheapest and most effective out there. That’s why you should put effort into building your email list.

Organic social media is much the same. Pages don’t have much reach with regular posts anymore, but if you’re able to build a community, such as a Facebook group, these can be a great way to get your promotion in front of people for little to no cost.

On the other hand, Facebook allows you to scale much further, and reach a lot more new customers. It can be expensive when you’re first starting out though.

Google Ads are the forgotten ad platform for Amazon sellers. They have the potential to bring in a lot of additional sales, mostly through people searching for your keywords in Google search. Their suitability for SFB campaigns is questionable though, as you want more of a promotional platform, like Facebook.

Learn more about different traffic sources:

Facebook Ads for Amazon

Google Ads for Amazon

Pinterest for Amazon

The Complete Guide to External Traffic


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Make sure you offer an incentive

Your incentive is a vital part of Search Find Buy. Why? Because you need some way to convince customers to go through the extra steps required to find your product.

If you don’t offer a discount, it’s unlikely that people will go and find your product among all the others in the search results. They’ll more than likely click on one of the products ranking higher than you, and you’ll end up driving more sales to your competitors.

Learn more:

Make it easy – offer clear instructions

Even with a discount on the line, there’s a limit to how much initiative customers will take to find your product.

If it’s like finding a needle in a haystack, your potential customers will forget it and move on. Make your instructions super clear. Provide the main image, title, reviews, star rating and current price for your product. Even better, make sure it’s updated once or twice daily, in case your pricing/reviews change.

Only do SFB if your product is on the first 3 pages

Generally accepted best practice is to only do Search Find Buy for your products if it’s on the first three pages for the keyword you’re targeting. Otherwise, it’s just going to take too long for customers to find it, and your purchase rate will be too low.

If your product is lower than this, it’s best to try 2-step URLs instead, until you’re ranking a little higher. Alternatively, you could send people through a regular link to the product page, at least until you have a little more traction.

If you’re running a product launch, you’ll want to see your product start generating rankings first, before jumping into Search Find Buy.

Are There Any Downsides to Search Find Buy?

There are some downsides to SFB, and reasons not to do it. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, in regards to how much you’re willing to invest, and the risk you’re willing to take to rank your products.

First of all, this tactic is more than likely against Terms of Service. So while Amazon may not be able to detect when someone’s using SFB, it’s a gray hat tactics at the very least.

Next, Search Find Buy is quite expensive, as you need to offer an incentive for people to go through the extra effort of searching for a keyword and finding your product.

It’s also going to result in fewer conversions, as a lot of customers won’t want to bother with the extra steps involved in buying your product through an SFB funnel. You may want to test a more straightforward sales funnel – such as sending people straight to your product through Amazon Attribution links – to see which one delivers the best results.

Amazon Search Find Buy: In Summary

When people buy your product after searching for a certain keyword, your product is eventually going to rank higher for that keyword. That’s why a lot of sellers are pushing their external traffic customers through a Search Find Buy funnel, to influence how the search algorithm ranks their products for their most valuable keywords.

And while trying to manipulate your keyword rankings with Search Find Buy is most likely against the Seller Code of Conduct, many sellers feel this is worth the risk.

Risk aside, Amazon Search Find Buy appears to be a powerful tactic if done right, and may help you get over the hump for competitive keywords.


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