What is the Amazon A9 Search Algorithm?

Whether you’ve just ventured into the world of Amazon selling or have already established firm grounding in the eCommerce world, there’s a good chance you don’t know a lot about what is A9 or how it works.

Understanding Amazon’s A9 algorithm is the key to ranking high in Amazon searches – the number one factor that will effectively get you better traffic, and ultimately, drive more sales.

What is A9?

Since keywords is a big part of how Amazon works, the eCommerce giant has come up with its own search engine which works according to the A9 algorithm. It also works distinctly from Google’s own search engine.

Each time a user searches Amazon for a specific product, they have essentially used the A9 search engine. Whenever a search needs to be performed at scale, Amazon’s internal search engine and algorithms spring into action, determining which items should be displayed as the ‘most relevant results’, according to what the user keyed-in and its relevancy to the search terms.

The ranking algorithms at Amazon are capable of automatically learning to combine several relevance features and analysing past search patterns as well – to adapt to what’s most important for a specific user’s search query. So, whenever you wonder “What is A9?” – Just keep in mind that it is based on these two core tenets: relevance and performance.

For example, a product that has had a strong sales performance track record will always rank higher in Amazon’s own search results, whilst a product which is searchable through the use of proper keywords to match a user’s queries, will also rank just as high.

Let’s shed some light on the ‘relevance’ tenet; think about how relevant your listing is to what your potential customer is looking for. As for ‘performance’, consider how much money you are earning on Amazon – the more sales you make, the better it is for Amazon. These two tenets are important to keep in mind when optimising your product listings, because they will have a direct impact on your organic rankings.

Optimising for A9 – How it affects rankings

Understanding “what is A9” will allow you to rank better in Amazon searches – which will ultimately increase your sales.

Use strong titles 

In this case, the proverbial “judge a book by its cover” does apply because we’re talking about product listings, after all. So, always use a strong title which includes your main keyword(s), while also clearly defining what your product does and who it is meant for.

Concise product descriptions

This is the foundation of every good product listing! The information you present needs to be 100% relevant, accurate and up to date. Again, appropriate keywords should be used that highlight and showcase your product’s main features. Using bullet points to showcase these features (with keywords) is always a good idea.

Large, enticing images

Your average “pretty picture” just won’t do. Use large and eye-catching images which are minimum 1,000 pixels or more in height/width. When users zoom in, they will be able to see a clear photo and Amazon loves this!

Images may not be a direct Amazon ranking factor, but they play a very important role in driving higher clickthrough and conversion rates. Seven to nine images at a time are good, and adding a zoom function will always help.

Backend keywords

If you’re not already doing this, then you need to start taking advantage of “hidden” keywords in your product listings. These keywords, which users do not see when looking up listings, are extremely useful in optimising search results for your product.

A few key things to keep in mind is that they are limited by 250 bytes, so you may include the hidden keywords anywhere in the variations, high-ranking longtail keywords, title or description, or even your product abbreviations that are ranking well.

Use customer reviews to your advantage

We have no control over the reviews users leave us, right? But, we do have control over their general expectations in order to drive higher satisfaction levels.

Therefore, any positive reviews you receive can be utilised throughout your product listing, but keep in mind that the more recent these reviews are, the better, even if they are not positive – shocker, we know!

Speaking of negative reviews, make sure you respond to them publicly in order to mitigate the fears of potential buyers who stumble upon them.

Prime delivery facility

Every customer loves fast shipping turnarounds, and listings that are known for fast deliveries always see higher conversion rates. Prime includes quick and free shipping facilities, which attracts nearly 88% of buyers to Amazon.

By adding this 2-day delivery facility, you can add a lot of value and, resultantly, improve your Amazon search engine ranking.

Competitive pricing

The prices you end up offering on your products will have a very major impact on your conversion rate and overall sales numbers. By pricing your products competitively and strategically, your conversion rate will increase as well. A competitive analysis can reveal the price points your competitors have set for similar products on and off Amazon – you can set your price accordingly.

Product description

In our quest to better understand “what is A9?”, you should know that the A9 algorithm will always prioritise products which sell more – and this is where a compelling and detailed product description comes in – without being too wordy or overwhelming, of course. 

Make sure you answer any potential questions in the description, use engaging marketing lingo to speak to people’s inner interests, while demonstrating your product’s key benefits and features.

Include keywords in a very organic way within your descriptions and try to write it from the perspective of a potential buyer – i.e. how it stacks up with other similar products and why they would choose this one over that one (your competitor’s).

Want to find out more about “what is A9?” and what it means for your listings? Chris and his intellectual team of Amazon marketing specialists would love to help.

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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