How to Rank on Amazon and Stay There
When you're an online seller, your rank on Amazon is critical to revenue. Improving your ranking gets you in front of your buyers, and products on the first page of Amazon search sell the best.
Many first-page Amazon sellers think that they got there because they have the highest sales. While this is true, products on the first page are more likely to be viewed by consumers, will get the most Amazon pageviews, and are therefore more likely to be purchased, which in turn pushes them up higher on Amazon’s first page and contributes to their Amazon best selling rank. It becomes a cycle.
It’s like getting a job straight out of university, where you need experience to gain experience.
This is how Amazon's algorithm works;
Despite the cycle that favors sellers already on the first page, you can use tactics such as review building, keyword ranking, and sales incentives to boost your product's Amazon ranking so you get more sales for that product listing.
Here is what you need to know to make sure you’re Amazon listing receives exposure, is viewed (Amazon calls this “Sessions”), and, most importantly, gets purchased.
Amazon’s First Page Study
It's crucial that your product be as near to the top of Amazon’s first page as possible.
One Click Retail estimates that only 30% of all shoppers look past the 1st page, which means your chances of making a sale drop exponentially after page 1. Most buyers will rarely click through past page 4 on Amazon.
(Image courtesy of Compete by Millward Brown Digital https://blog.compete.com)
Find out how to rank on Amazon by searching your primary keywords directly on Amazon.com. You can also check your Amazon Best Selling Rank, which looks like this:
You Amazon best selling rank is algorithmically calculated based on factors such as sales, reviews, conversion rate, and keywords. All of these ranking factors tie in together to your product title, description, and images.
Create Compelling Content - Write for Conversions
On Amazon, your product is represented by the title, description, and photo. These components must work together for both Amazon's search algorithm and conversion marketing. While it's easy to ignore the seller in favor of creating a title and description aimed only at search, or vice versa, this will lower your conversion rate, and reduce your ranking.
Amazon uses keywords (Fire HD, 8" Tablet, 16GB) but also pays attention to conversion optimization. The shopper should know exactly what they are clicking on, what color it is, and what size it is. Despite that, they can still click through to any of the of the All-New Fire HD options right from the page.
Your Conversion Rate on Amazon is Critical
Sellers use conversion marketing to turn Amazon visitors into customers. A high placement on any page will not achieve anything if you can't turn clicks into sales. And, if you aren't selling, Amazon won't rank you on their first page. This means that your product description should be written with the buyer in mind.
Here are a few tips for creating listings that convert.
- Clearly outline what the product is at a glance. If the customer still has questions left after reading your description, you're doing something wrong.
- Include high resolution photos, charts, videos, and other media in the description whenever possible.
- State what makes the product great, outstanding value propositions, and integrate third party reviews if possible.
- Use A/B testing to check different calls to action, different photos, and different descriptions to see what performs the best.
The average conversion rate on the first page of Amazon is about 13%, meaning that 13 out of every hundred visitors will make a purchase. You should aim for that or higher as a minimum standard. How do you increase conversion? Deliver on what the photo and the title promise, offer more information than the consumer might need, and include plenty of pictures of your product. Amazon browsers are there to buy, so all you have to do is convince them that your product is something they need.
When it comes down to it, keyword ranking is valuable but not vital. The most important consideration is that the customer should always come first. This means that you should write a quality title at the expense of including keywords. But, ideally, that quality title will also include your keywords.
How to Write a Product Title
If you want to know how to rank on Amazon, you need keywords in your title, but you also have to appeal to the customer. Product categories still allow you to rank for products and for keyword searches, so your title isn’t as important as it would be if you were trying to rank on Google. Most shoppers will only take a few seconds of glancing at your picture and your title before deciding whether or not they want to click. While Amazon allows you to write titles of up to 500 characters, the average cut off in search is between 74 and 110 characters depending on the device. More people will click and make a purchase if they can see the entire title at a glance.
Your title should include the basics:
- Actual Name (Brand, Product)
- Variant (Model Number, Line, Color, Pattern, Material, etc.)
- Size/Value (When Applicable)
- Keywords (Actual description of product)
Using this outline, you can create a product title for almost anything. Putting the keywords at the end allows you to add more than is absolutely necessary without greatly affecting the quality of your title.
Aim for at least one primary keyword in your title, while keeping the title quickly digestible at a glance. Pay special attention to your category and tags, which are sometimes more important than a title on Amazon. Finally, having keywords in your product description isn’t absolutely necessary.
Long tail keywords are search phrases with more than one word in them. While the average search on Amazon is a short 1-2 words, Marketing Land showed that longer search queries have fewer searches but a higher conversion rate, meaning that more clicks resulted in direct sales, because the shoppers had a better idea of what they were looking for.
How can you use this information? Research your keywords and your average buyer, and balance your title keywords between short and long-tail terms that your consumers will look up.
Invest some time into keyword research, check Amazon suggested searches for your products, and analyze what your most successful competitors are doing.
Amazon banned incentivized reviews in its Community Guidelines update on October 3rd of 2016. This means that it's against Amazon's terms of service to offer discounted or free products in exchange for a review, and if you are caught using incentives to create reviews, they will be removed and your account could be penalized. This change to the terms of service is part of Amazon's attempt to improve the quality of reviews.
However, Amazon does allow companies to offer incentives in the form of free or discounted products through their Vine program. This is a similar program to many review building sites, but is run through Amazon, and the reviewers are chosen by Amazon.
The good news is that Amazon Vine allows you to get free reviews of your products, which can help to boost sales. The bad news is that these reviews are completely unbiased, and if you aren't offering a quality product, the review will say that. Amazon Vine is only available as a paid service through Amazon Vendor Central (not Seller Central).
There are a few other tactics you can use as well.
- Invite your actual customers to leave you a review. Including invitations or reminders to review can increase the volume of purchases that result in reviews.
- Improve your on-page conversion optimization to increase sales, which will naturally increase reviews.
- Offer an incentive (such as a discount coupon) to customers who leave an honest review.
Remember, you cannot ask for a biased review without violating Amazon's terms of service.
Amazon requires that your product match or exceed the sales of products on the first page in order to move you onto that page. In most cases, this means that you will have to increase sales using promotions, discounts, or other means in order to reach that goal.
You have a few different options to do this:
- Amazon Product Promotions – Amazon Product Promotions allows you to offer your product at a discount for almost any period of time. It's important to calculate your minimum rate where you will break even after shipping, handling, management, manufacture or purchase, and other costs, so you don't lose money on any discount. Will this increase your sales? Generally, yes. The basic rules of economics suggest that the lower the price, the higher the demand. But, you should still make sure that any buyers understand that you want a review. If you're not sure about your fees, use the Amazon FBA Revenue Calculator to check your Amazon-related fees.
- Ads – Whether you use Amazon's advertisement program or a third party option, you can boost sales by paying for ads. Just like with discounting products, it's important to understand your costs, so you won't lose money on advertising. It's also important to check your conversion rate, and optimize your product before you pay for advertising to avoid wasting time and money. Amazon Pay Per Click ads are a great way to achieve this, because you can target all of the top keywords in your category and have your product show up right where buyers are looking for it.
- Build an Audience – This is especially important if you have a product that the same consumers will order again and again. However, you should always try to leverage your existing store audience to purchase your new products, either through social media, email newsletters, or simple promotions. This will get your product additional exposure, and if it aligns with the same things that your existing consumers are looking for, it will improve your Best Seller Rank.
- Maintain Sales – It is important to continue running promotions or ads until your sales match or exceed those of your competitors, so that your product will stay on page one.
Calculate How Many Sales You Need
Use a product research tool, or check on your own to see how many sales your average competitor is making per week or per day. One simple way to check manually is to add the maximum amount of the product to your shopping cart each day, and then check back the next day to see how many are still available.
Offer a Quality Shopping Experience
The most important part of your ranking campaign is to offer a quality product. Without that, you will eventually get bad reviews, which will hurt your sales and possibly even your Amazon account. But, you should take this even further. Online shoppers expect fast, low-cost shipping, and they want great customer service. How can this help you rank? Quality sells. All of the marketing techniques in the world won't help you over time if people don't like your product, they have a bad experience with your customer service, or shipping takes too long. This is also crucial for maintaining your Amazon seller account and your sales over time.
If your conversion rate is high and your sales and reviews are the same or higher than the people already on the first page, you will move to the first page. For that reason, your primary goal with a new product should be to boost sales as much as, so your organic sales will naturally increase. From there, ensuring that your product gets consistent reviews and keeping the quality of your product and your customer service high will typically do the rest.
For more tips check out our guide on how to improve in the Amazon marketplace.
Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.