Does Amazon Best Selling Rank Impact Ranking and SEO?

The Amazon sales rank, also referred to as Amazon Best Seller Rank or simply Amazon BSR, displays the top 100 best-selling products within a given product category and subcategory.

What is Sales Rank in Amazon and why is it important?

Amazon BSR provides useful information which you can use to compare your sales to your competitors’ – kind of like a measuring stick to see where you stand.

There are many Chrome extensions you can use to check your Amazon sales rank data and other relevant statistics (which we’ll discuss shortly) straight from Amazon’s own search results pages, although the insights you gain from a dedicated Amazon marketing agency is what smart sellers do.  

The Amazon A10 algorithm uses BSR to organise its search ranking for a specific product – those with higher sales are naturally more likely to be a good choice for buyers. With that said, Amazon best seller rank numbers aren’t the ‘be all, end all’ of SEO because a product may rank low in a specific category where there are thousands to millions of other products – and still be included in the top 1% in search results!

The A10 search engine algorithm actually looks at several metrics to decide if a product will sell or not to begin with – this includes Amazon sales rank (Amazon BSR), price, click to sale (CTS), Amazon reviews (based on both quantity and quality), relevancy (based on your listings’ keywords), and more.

So, should you obsess over the Amazon BSR metric if you want your product to rank as high as possible on Amazon’s search results pages? Well, not quite – we can’t use Amazon sales rank alone as a measuring stick for how effective your SEO is. Rather, it is to be used with a variety of metrics to establish your SEO strength, which we briefly mentioned above.

The Amazon best seller rank is your products’ sales rank, based on the total number of products you have in the given category. So, in short, it is a measuring stick for your sales velocity, in contrast with your competitors and other products you want to measure against. Therefore, you typically want to measure Amazon sales rank over time, and not in terms of a competing product.

You’ve probably heard the “it takes money to make money” many times, right? Well, if we talk about Amazon SEO, then it’s more along the lines of “it takes sales to make sales”.

Let’s quickly divert our attention to CTS or click-to-sale which is basically what your conversion rate is on Amazon (this is called clickthrough rate on Google, just so you know). We need to think about how many visitors are actually clicking on your listing and buying too, rather than just browsing through them and leaving, or worse still, navigating away from Amazon altogether. Did your product smell that bad? Just kidding!

So, what we should do is improve our conversion rates on Amazon – the higher your CTS, the better your Amazon sales rank (BSR) will be. That’s just one aspect of the entire equation though but it’s a good start.

The factors that determine your Amazon Best Seller Rank

Unfortunately, Amazon has not flat out revealed the formula or criteria it uses to calculate your Amazon BSR. But what they have revealed is that they use your product’s recent and historical sales in order to come up with BSR every hour.

With that said, there are other factors you need to know which can impact your Amazon sales rank:

Product category

Your product category can affect your Amazon BSR as best seller rank is a comparative metric. So, if you categorise your product (e.g. treadmills) as “Electronics” instead of “Gym and Fitness”, this will have a direct impact on your BSR. Depending on the total number of products you have, and the search intent behind all your product categories, you may or may not earn a higher Amazon best seller rank.

Product subcategory

Similarly, your product subcategory can also shape your Amazon sales rank.

It can be a tough proposition to bag a top spot in Best Sellers lists for main product category (due to the sheer number of products going head to head), which is why sellers often find it easier to compete in Best Sellers lists in a subcategory.

Since these lists are more specific, they can help you gain a high ranking, particularly if you’re selling something which matches the subcategory word for word.

Sales frequency
Sales frequency is another metric you want to watch as it influences your best seller rank. Amazon even admitted to the fact that the frequency of your product sales directly correlates with popularity and, hence, BSR.

For a steady Amazon BSR, you need to maintain a high sales frequency, because the more people buy from you at a high rate, the more popular and in demand your product will be – that’s important in terms of best seller rank.

Sales history, sales velocity and relevancy

Amazon will also look at your products’ sales history when deciding your Amazon sales rank. Even though brand new products tend to top the BSR list, Amazon will often choose products that boast a consistent sales history.

So, your product doesn’t have to be something unbelievable, just something that performs and sells well over time. Products with fluctuating sales over time will often struggle to get a good Amazon best seller rank.

In addition, Amazon gives preference to a product’s recent sales as opposed to its historical sales performance. This is why you will see that brand new products that are high-selling tend to dominate the Amazon BSR list because they are selling!

People are buying it left and right without hesitation, which demonstrates that its recent sales are consistent. However, sales recency is not to be confused with frequency. For example, a brand new product may dominate the BSR list for, say, a week – but if its sales and demand go down, it will have dropped lower in the BSR list because its sales frequency is now lower compared to its recent performance.

So, even if your products are selling well for now, but not selling as well as they used to, you’re going to drop in the Amazon sales rank list.

Steps you can take to improve your Amazon Sales Rank now

Now that we know ‘what is sales rank in Amazon’ and what can influence your Amazon best seller rank, let’s discuss a few ways of improving it:

How are competing Amazon BSRs getting it right?

Competitor research and analysis will prove invaluable to discover what your best-selling competitors are doing to boost their Amazon BSR. There are tools available for free and paid ones too, although an Amazon marketing agency is your best bet when it comes to in-depth competitor research and analysis.

Start by viewing the Best Sellers list for your product’s specific category and subcategory.

What are the best-selling products here? Or, what are your competitors’ best-selling products? What are they doing that drives people to buy from them? For example, are they doing a better job of optimising their listings for SEO? Or are they writing fantastic A+ product features descriptions that highlight what their products are used for and how they are beneficial?

It’s the little things that can take you up in the BSR list, so find out what your competitors do well and try to integrate that into your own listings as best as you can.

Select the right categories and subcategories in your niche

Any seller looking to top the Amazon BSR list (who isn’t, right?) needs to be very picky about the categories and subcategories they choose. In fact, the subcategory you pick will often offer the most value and potential – as we discussed earlier, main categories tend to have far too much competition, especially for small-medium businesses to compete in.

To get the most value out of your subcategory selection, you must:

  • Come up with a list of potential product subcategories, focusing on the most relevant ones, of course
  • Analyse what the best-selling products are for those subcategories and see if they match your specific product
  • Search for niche categories because competition isn’t as stiff here (typically)
  • Update your product subcategory accordingly

It’s good to experiment with different options as the product subcategory can always be changed later.

Optimise product listings for both your buyers and Amazon’s A10 algorithm

Maximising your sales anywhere, and not just Amazon, requires that you do your SEO right. For this, you need to optimise your product listings for users as well as Amazon’s product ranking algorithm, A10; the latter looks at several elements to decide how your product should rank in its search results.

Here’s how you can optimise your product listings so that they pop up on top of Amazon’s search results pages:

  • Research and use keywords throughout your listings and product descriptions. You can use a tool to get this done although an Amazon expert or marketing agency can really help you nail this.
  • Add those keywords to the product’s title, description, and features.
  • Upload professional-grade product photos.
  • When writing about features, focus more on the benefits and uses than simply listing out what your product can do in terms of features.

Be competitive about pricing

The right pricing strategy could ultimately help you sell more and that will, naturally, boost your Amazon sales rank. So, pricing too high or low would not be of use, and pricing ‘fairly’ depends on how your competitors are pricing their products.

Add a video

Did you know that a product video, in addition to professional-looking images, can take your listing to a completely new level? Since video is the closest a potential buyer can come to visualising what your product is like, Amazon ranks products with videos higher, thus, improving your BSR score.

Where do I find Amazon best seller rank and what is a good BSR?

To find your product’s Amazon BSR, just go to your product page and scroll down until you find the Product Information section.

At the bottom, you’ll see ‘Best Sellers Rank’, with a number (e.g. #324) right before your product category. That is your Amazon sales rank or BSR.

Let’s say your product is in the “Garden and Landscaping” category and shows an Amazon BSR of #358 – this essentially means that out of several hundred to thousands of products in this category, only 357 products sell more than your specific item, which is considered pretty good.  

It’s important to keep in mind that Amazon best sellers rank works differently for every category. So, if you get a “good” rating under Garden and Landscaping, that doesn’t mean the same could be considered a good rating under “Electronics and Hardware”, for example.   

Figuring out what a good BSR should be takes some insight as “good” in this case is subjective. If you speak to an Amazon marketing consultant, they can tell you what Amazon BSR you should shoot for.

Calculating Amazon BSR and closing thoughts

As we mentioned at the start and throughout the article, calculating your Amazon best seller rank involves specific factors, including:

  • Your current and historic sales
  • Your competitors’ products
  • Produce pricing and promotions

Amazon BSR’s biggest deciding factor, however, is ongoing sales trends and historical sales volume – the latter is updated every hour.

So, if you sell, let’s say, ten units in an hour but that frequency drops to one unit the next hour, your BSR will not drop down to the same as other products selling only one unit per hour because that what they started with. Instead, Amazon’s BSR algorithm will consider both sales velocities – current sales volume and historical sales volume.

Amazon’s sales rank may appear like a complex maze at first, but it isn’t, really, once you know which metrics to focus on.

Improving your BSR starts with optimising your product listings, and putting in a fair amount of work into your marketing and advertising efforts too.

Chris and his team are always available to consult on how you can push your listings higher on Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank. With the right marketing, advertising, and especially Amazon SEO strategy, you can dominate Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank.

Chris is the managing director of Ecommerce Intelligence, a full service Amazon agency. He has over 13 years experience selling on Amazon and other marketplaces. Follow Chris on LinkedIn for daily tips and advice.
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