Amazon Search Terms Controversy: Should You Be Worried?

amazon search terms algorithm

The Amazon search terms algorithm has turned into more of an “Amazon search shuffle,” providing sellers with different data across different locations and browsers.

There seems to be something fishy going on with the Amazon search terms algorithm, giving people different data.

Lately, we’ve been getting questions about differences in Amazon search terms data from some of our users through tools like Keyword Tracker by Helium 10. Users will claim that their keyword ranking results will vary wildly for some critical terms at different time intervals. Sometimes a seller will be ranked fairly high, and then at other times not appear in the keyword search results at all.

In this video discussion, Manny Coats brings in Helium 10 team members Bradley Sutton (Operations Manager) and Bojan Gajic (Chief Technology Officer and Head of Engineering) to get to the bottom of this Amazon search terms data mystery:

Helium 10 derives its data estimations from detectable Amazon trends and other factors, so the variance in search results are coming from Amazon, not any tool bug. The only thing we aren’t certain of is WHY it’s happening, but we have a few educated guesses.

What is the Amazon Search Shuffle?

The Helium 10 team has coined the phrase, “Amazon Search Shuffle” to describe the phenomenon (just don’t use the abbreviation, it sounds silly).

The shuffling started around mid-August 2018 when we noticed the difference in data that would happen within different locations and different browsers. The data inconsistency even occurs in the same browser or location, but a just different time of the day.

Amazon appeared to be toggling between two separate catalogs or realities.

Removing the Mystery Surrounding the Amazon Algorithm: Part 1

The last time something like this happened was in November 2017 for a few days. There were rumors behind the scenes at the time that Amazon was testing a new catalog or prematurely pushed to production an algorithm update.

Whatever the case, they put everything back after a few days, and the data stabilized again. The difference this time is that now these variations have been happening for a month now.

Bojan explains in detail his experience with these changes to Amazon’s algorithm and offers his insight into what the future may hold for Amazon search terms data consistency.

Bradley points out how anyone can see the results that we are witnessing by trying to see the same data across different locations and browsers.

How Helium 10 Can Help

Helium 10 would like to emphasize that if you are using our tools and are experiencing wildly varied search results, it has to do the algorithmic changes Amazon is currently making and not an error with our system.

We have also been able to normalize the results for many users, but until the issue is resolved on Amazon’s side, you will still see this search result variance on some ASINs.

One reason that you can see this variance in our tool and not others is that if you have the Boost feature turned on, Helium 10 is going out and checking your rank every hour as opposed to other tools that might only check once a day or every few days.

Removing the Mystery of the Amazon Algorithm: Part 2 with Tips to Improve Your Listings

For example, users that utilize our Boost feature (which checks rank every hour, whereas other tools only check once a day or every other day) on Keyword Tracker may notice the data differences more readily because of the more frequent updates.

We hope that like last year, things will normalize soon so that we do not see the wild search result fluctuations, that can affect your bottom line.

Have more questions about the Amazon search terms controversy brewing in the platform’s algorithm? Sound off in the comments below!

Jonathan Dean

Content Coordinator at Helium 10
Jonathan has been writing about the entrepreneurial world for several years, having interviewed many major players at several SoCal companies. He also has extensive experience in crafting product listings and performing product and keyword research.

Cerebro is Jonathan's favorite Helium 10 tool because of it's versatility and value for FBA sellers.
Jonathan Dean

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