Amazon Glitches: What They Are & How to Spot Them
If you are an Amazon seller, you might be accustomed to steady sales of your products. Perhaps you usually sell 10-20 products a day. For some of you, that number might be 100-200 products a day. There are even a number of sellers who sell even 1000, or even 10,000 orders per day!
Regardless of which bucket you fall in, you have probably noticed, that barring special sales days such as Prime Day, or products going out of stock, your sales do not fluctuate too dramatically from one day to another. If you sold 200 units yesterday, your sales today are usually not going to jump to 1000, nor fall to 20. If you look at most high-selling products on Amazon using the free Chrome Extension tool X-Ray, you will see more times than not, a fairly steady sales history.
However, at times there are “glitches” that might happen on Amazon that could result in the rapid loss of sales of one or more of your products. In this article we will discuss some of the types of glitches that happen, how you can monitor them, and if there is anything you can do to prevent these from happening.
What Are Amazon Glitches?
“Amazon glitch” is not an official term that comes from Amazon. Over the years Amazon sellers are notorious for making up words and terms to describe things in the Amazon ecosystem. Maybe you have heard of the “honeymoon period” for launches, or you have heard of “reverse ASIN” tools that tell you where products rank, or “rank juice” which some describe as having good listing optimization.
None of these terms are official Amazon vocabulary. “Amazon Glitch” was a term that started trending a few years ago, that sellers use to describe things that happen on listings, search results, or in Seller Central that could have a negative effect on your ability to sell.
What Types of Amazon Glitches Are There?
We will primarily be focusing today on Amazon SEARCH glitches, but there are many other types of things that could happen that sellers call glitches. Some have noted that sometimes their “buy box percentage” metric might glitch. Every couple of months there might be an Amazon Advertising reporting glitch in which your metrics might be delayed or incorrect until they are fixed.
Some “glitches” aren’t even glitches at all. Recently many customers thought that their bullet points disappeared in a glitch, but what had happened was that Amazon was running a test to see how listings perform with the bullet points hidden on default, with the need to expand.
One of the most notorious Amazon glitches is what the founder of Helium 10, Manny Coats, affectionately named in 2018 the “Amazon Search Shuffle.” (You can use your imagination as to the acronym) This is how he described what started happening where on some products, the organic rank (where the product shows up in the search results for a keyword) would fluctuate wildly throughout the day and across different browsing scenarios. Even 6 years later, this is something that some sellers who use Keyword Trackers that check different browsing scenarios notice from time to time.
In 2020, sellers named a new type of Amazon anomaly the “Amazon Search Glitch.” What was happening was that not only would products lose their keyword ranking, but they would become not indexed at all for the keyword. Not ranking means that it doesn’t show up in the search results, which is usually about 300 products, or 7 pages. Not indexing is more severe because it means that there is NO possibility of ever ranking for that keyword.
How Do Amazon Glitches Impact Sellers?
If there are listing glitches such as the wrong image showing up as your main image, this could affect the number of clicks you get. If your title is changed, or a copy of your listing has a glitch, this could affect your conversion rate, and consequently your sales. If your ranking is fluctuating a la the “Amazon Search Shuffle,” it will have an impact on your impressions and sales.
If you have advertising or reporting glitches from Amazon, it might hinder you from making decisions since you would not be confident in the numbers you are looking at. One of the more serious ones is the Amazon Search Glitch. When you lose indexing for your main keywords, your impressions for that keyword go to ZERO! Many times you also will lose the ability to advertise for that keyword.
Over the past few years in our Facebook Groups, many sellers have lamented how their sales have been heavily impacted by these Amazon search glitches.
How to Spot Amazon Search Glitches
One of the first signs of an Amazon search glitch is if you start to see a dramatic drop in sales on a product that is usually very consistent. If this happens, check your Keyword Ranks to see if you have stopped ranking altogether. If so, the next step would be to take those keywords and put them in the Helium 10 tool Index Checker to see if you are still indexed.
Another way to know if you are affected by one of the search glitches is if you have activated your insights on your Insights Dashboard. This is a tool that will proactively inform you if one of your keywords has dropped in rank, or potentially lost rank altogether.
If you would like a free tool that tracks Amazon Search Glitches across Amazon, make sure to utilize the Amazon Anomaly Tracker. Helium 10 is constantly monitoring all products and keywords across the board and thus has an early warning system of sorts that will let the community know if we have noticed an uptick in deindexing of keywords.
What to Do if your Product Is Affected by a Search Glitch
There are many “normal” reasons why one might lose ranking or indexing. For example, if Amazon or you change your category, you could lose indexing if Amazon doesn’t think that your product is relevant anymore for that keyword. For example, if you sold a coffin shelf, and one of your main search terms was “gothic decor,” if Amazon all of a sudden changed your product to the “Screwdrivers” category, it’s likely you would lose indexing for the keyword gothic decor as it’s not very relevant for that category.
However, if you have ruled out all of the “normal” reasons that there could be to be deindexed, and if after monitoring the Amazon Anomaly Tracker you do notice a spike that shows that many are experiencing a search glitch, then it is likely that you are a victim as well of the “ASG,” or Amazon Search Glitch. What can you do?
I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that there is nothing you can do about an Amazon Search Glitch. However, the good news is that these usually only last for a short period of time, anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Amazon usually ends up fixing the glitch in a timely manner, so you just have to ride it out.
If you are still able to advertise for the keyword during the glitch, you could double down on your most profitable keywords so that you show up high in the search results and make up a little for the lost sales from no longer being ranked organically.
Notable Amazon Glitches
The first “Red Zone” search glitch that we noticed after we developed the Amazon Anomaly tracker was in May of 2021.
Even our coffin shelf listing was affected during this glitch as you can see from our historical keyword tracker graph.
Later in 2021, there was another one that lasted only a day in August. In 2022, there were some of the worst glitches ever recorded in September, and then one more one-day glitch in October.
In 2023 there were only a few “Yellow Zone” spikes, and no “Red Zone” spikes the whole year, so hopefully that trend will continue!
There are many kinds of Amazon glitches that can occur. Some you might have control over, some you might not. The ones you need to be aware of are the ones that can affect your sales, such as the Amazon Search Glitch. Selling on Amazon can be, and is for many, a very lucrative endeavor, but if you are not watching out for glitches, your sales can be affected.
Make sure to constantly monitor your Amazon products, and metrics so that you can have a hard start on any glitches that might happen to you!