Decoding Amazon’s Search Engine Algorithm: What Sellers Need to Know

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According to Gitnux, Amazon has over 9.7 million sellers worldwide, and interestingly, over 7.9 million sellers joined after 2019.  The number is huge, and it is a big part of why Amazon is so competitive. 

If you are among the Amazon sellers who struggle with Amazon SEO, you need to understand how the A9 algorithm behind it works. This will allow you to take measured steps in improving your product listing rankings and not shoot arrows in the dark.  

In this guide, we break down how the Amazon search engine algorithm works and how you can effectively use it to rank higher in Amazon searches. 

What is Amazon’s A9 Search Engine Algorithm?

Amazon’s A9 search engine algorithm is the system that determines which products appear at the top of the search results when you enter a search query. 

Some people refer to the changes Amazon has made recently in their systems as the new “A10” algorithm, but it’s essentially still based on the A9 algorithm. Both systems also rely on the same factors to decide how to rank a product listing.

How Does Amazon Algorithm Rank Product Listings?

Keyword Relevance

If Amazon doesn’t understand what your product is about, it won’t be able to understand what your product does or rank it for relevant search terms. 

You can use tools like Ahref’s Amazon keyword research tool to discover high-volume commercial keywords that are relevant to your product. Our guide on keyword research can be a good place to start.

Once you have these keywords, optimize your product listing by including them in the title, bullet points, description, and backend keywords field. Here’s an example to show you how the keywords should be placed. Say, you’re selling portable blenders:

  • Title: Use “Portable Blender” and “Travel” as primary keywords to indicate the product’s name and purpose.
  • Product Description: Use phrases like these, “Ideal for Camping”, and “Suitable for Traveling and Gym Use” in the product description. These target customers searching for portable blenders for specific activities. 
  • Bullet Point 1: Use secondary keywords in bullet points. For example, add “Powerful Blending On-the-Go”. Here, “Powerful Blending” is a secondary keyword and also highlights a product feature, while “On-the-Go” caters to customers interested in portable solutions. You can also add words like “Versatile Smoothie Maker” to do the same thing.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR refers to the ratio of clicks to impressions on a product listing for a specific search query. 

Amazon’s A9 algorithm values CTR because it indicates that the product is relevant to what customers are searching for, and has a higher likelihood of converting into a sale. 

If you want to improve the CTR of your products, focus on high-quality product images and crafting clear, engaging product titles that accurately represent your product. 

Conversion Rate

Imagine you are selling headphones on Amazon, and your listing gets a lot of views for the keyword “noise-canceling headphones” from ads and organic searches. However, many people may click on your product but not buy it. This means that your product listing has a poor conversion rate. 

Amazon’s A9 algorithm pays attention to low conversion rates because its ultimate aim is to display products that lead to more sales. 

But what qualifies as a good conversation rate for Amazon? 

While conversion rates can vary across different product categories, according to Jungle Scout, a good conversion rate for an Amazon product listing is 10%. You can use that as a reference to see if you need to improve anything for your listings. 

Here’s how you can check your listing’s conversion rate on Amazon:

  1. Log into your Amazon Seller Central account.
  2. From the top bar, click on Reports.
  3. Then click on Business Reports.
  4. Now click on Detail Page Sales and Traffic.
  5. Take a look at the Unit Session Percentage for each ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). On Amazon, unit session percentage is the name for the conversion rate metric. 

If your conversion rate is below 10%, consider evaluating why and fixing those issues. 

It may be because your product lacks sufficient information, images, or videos. Alternatively, your product might be new to the market or buyers might have left negative reviews. In some cases, even a good product can be hard to sell if it is available at a cheaper price from another seller. Fixing these issues can help you fix your conversion rate, and ultimately help with rankings too.

Backend Keywords

Product listings contain hidden backend search terms relevant to your product. Amazon’s A9 algorithm also uses these search terms to rank your product in search results. 

Here’s what you should include in your backend search terms:

  • Keywords that are not in the product description or title: Include terms related to your product that couldn’t fit the main description or title.
  • Misspellings: Add common misspellings of your product keyword that people might search for. 
  • Translated words: While Amazon listings are primarily in English, some users may prefer looking for products in their native tongue. This is especially true if your store serves multilingual markets like India or the EU. 

The caveat here is that there may be speakers of multiple languages using Amazon, and you cannot possibly stuff in keywords to cater to all. Knowing which type of audience uses your products most will be vital in deciding which other languages to include besides English.

  • Keyword synonyms: Add synonyms or alternative terms for your product that customers might use to look for it. For example, if you list a “noise-canceling headphone,” you can add “noise-canceling earphones” and “noise-canceling earbuds” as backend terms.

Sales History

A product’s sales history plays a big role in how Amazon’s A9 algorithm ranks it. 

When products have a good sales track record, the algorithm recognizes them as highly relevant to customer searches and products that are most likely to lead to conversions. 

This poses a problem for new sellers who don’t have a long history running Amazon storefronts. So what can they do? 

Here are things they can do to get the ball rolling:

  • Competitive Pricing: Amazon reported that 76% of customers check prices to buy products. In a study, Seeking Alpha also found that Amazon’s customers are quite price-sensitive. 

As a new seller, you can use this to your advantage. If you can price your products lower than the average, people will find your listing even if you are not ranking on the first page when they sort prices from “low to high.” This will help you build a sales track record.

  • Product Quality: Try to provide high-quality products at competitive or lower prices. This will help you get favorable reviews and encourage even more people to purchase from you.
  • PPC Campaigns: New sellers may struggle to appear in organic searches, but they can still compete by using ads. As their products gain traction, they can choose to either stop using these campaigns or reduce their budget. However, it is still recommended that they assign a budget for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising even after they rank high organically.


According to eDesk, 82% of customers say that price is the most important factor for them when shopping. This is also true for Amazon shopping. 

As Amazon wants to rank products that are most likely to get bought, considering the pricing of products for rankings is a no-brainer. This means that if all other factors are equal between two listings that are selling the same product, Amazon will prefer ranking the one that is priced lower. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you lowball on prices. You still need to consider profitability as a business owner. Finding the right balance is key. Here are some strategies you can consider:

  • Understand Your Costs: Before setting any prices, meticulously calculate your landing cost per product. This includes manufacturing, shipping, Amazon fees, and any marketing expenses.
  • Analyze Competition: Research similar products and their pricing strategies. Look for patterns and identify any price gaps you can exploit.
  • Use Dynamic Pricing: Consider using Amazon’s automated pricing tool. It adjusts your prices automatically based on competitor fluctuations.

High-Quality Product Images

High-quality images are your visual storytellers, showcasing your product’s design, functionality, and benefits. While they don’t directly affect your Amazon SEO, they can have a big impact on its CTR and conversion rates. 

When creating product images, think about what you would want to see as a potential buyer. We suggest doing this:

  • Main Image: Show your product in its best light, highlighting its design and key features prominently. Professional quality images perform better. 
  • Additional Images: Include images from different angles, showing how the product is used or showcasing unique features.
  • In-Use Images: Show the product in action, such as blending a smoothie or being used in various settings like home, office, or camping.

Stock Availability

Most customers get frustrated when a product they have added to a cart goes out of stock. And as Amazon can’t sell a product that’s no longer available, there’s no point ranking it for the time being. Pay attention to your inventory to avoid losing rank. 

Pro Tip: If you use the “fulfillment by Amazon” (or FBA) program, you can set replenishment alerts to notify them when their product inventory goes below a threshold. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Amazon prioritizes FBA products over non-FBA products.

Your Success in PPC Campaigns

Although not a direct ranking factor, PPC can still influence your product rankings. It is similar to how CTR optimization works for Google SEO — you artificially increase the CTR of your listing to give a semblance of increased relevance.

Many Amazon experts believe this can also help with organic rankings.

Final Words

You can use the tips in this article to optimize your listings for factors that the A9 algorithm targets. But your work is not yet complete. Monitoring your listing’s performance regularly is important to improve its scope of ranking even higher. You need to make necessary changes as needed based on your keyword performance as well.

We recommend using tools like KeyworX to track how your chosen keywords are performing and see if you need to replace them with other suitable ones. 

At Vizion Interactive, we have the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to get results and keep clients happy! Learn more about how our status as a Google Partner, along with our PPC Management, Google Shopping Ads, Social Media Advertising, Amazon Advertising, and other Paid Media services can increase sales and boost your ROI. But don’t just take our word for it, check out what our clients have to say, along with our case studies.