4 Lesser Known Metrics That Help You Rank on Amazon
Let’s be real. Whether you are a veteran Amazon seller or dipping your toes in the river for the first time, selling a new product on Amazon can be nerve-wracking.
It doesn’t help that there are a gazillion articles, YouTube videos, podcasts, and opinion pieces denoting the best strategies to help launch and rank your product. It’s always good to have resources, but how do you know which ones are the best?
To make things even more confusing, Amazon uses what also seems like a gazillion metrics to determine your placement and success among its pages.
Discerning which metrics to focus on is a daunting task, even more so because they all influence one another. However, when you understand the systems Amazon has in place to measure performance, you’ll realize that you really need to only focus on a handful of fundamental metrics.
To be clear, this article isn’t meant to imply that Amazon only uses four metrics to determine the health of your listing, nor is it to oversimplify how easy it is to succeed on Amazon. The A9 algorithm uses dozens of internal and external factors to determine how well a listing is going to perform. Some of them are more heavily-measured and well-known pillars, whereas others are obscure and less emphasized. This article will focus on some of the lesser known measurements that influence the more common ones like sales, relativity, SEO, and reviews.
For starters, don’t make the mistake a lot of Amazon sellers do which is to hyper-focus on the BSR (Best Sellers Rank) of your listing. Many sellers get hung up on this and it doesn’t necessarily correlate with actual sales or the success of a listing. According to Dave Cooley at CPC Strategy, “The Amazon Best Sellers Rank is more of a vanity metric than anything else.”
However, your Amazon Best Sellers Rank is still a trailing indicator of sales velocity. It’s updated by the hour, and using tools like Helium 10’s Xray you can track your BSR to get an idea of how consistent or volatile your product sales velocity is.
BSR is far from the most important metric to spend time on, however it may be something to check in on every now and again.
Now let’s focus on the metrics you should hyper-focus on!
The Price is Right
For obvious reasons, you want to make sure your product is in a price range that makes sense to the supply and demand of similar products also selling on Amazon. Priced too expensive and shoppers will be discouraged from purchasing. Priced too cheap and shoppers may assume your product is low-quality (or you won’t make the net profits you need to succeed). Both instances will hinder your success.
But another factor to consider when pricing is owning the Amazon Buy Box.
The Buy Box is found to the right of a product you are viewing on Amazon. Whichever seller controls the Buy Box gets the gift of the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” by their name, one of the main factors in convenience buying for most Amazon shoppers. It’s where you want to be.
A Buy Box can be removed when Amazon’s algorithm doesn’t identify a single seller with the best possible offer. As a result, a brand can be listed among the additional sellers also selling your product on Amazon. This can also occur when Amazon recognizes your product is being sold for less on another marketplace, such as Walmart.com.
You can also lose the Buy Box if another seller has a better offer (including Amazon itself) based on your price point.
This is why maintaining a competitive price based on the market is so important.
Make Sure Your Backend is Filled Out Correctly
No matter how great your product, how great the price point, how great the reviews, and how great the photography – if a potential customer can’t FIND your listing, everything else becomes null and void. This is why your listing has to be search engine optimized, both for organic search and for sponsored ads.
Most Amazon sellers already know how important SEO is, which is why they do extensive keyword research using Helium 10’s tools, Cerebro and Magnet, to optimize their listing. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to focus on the front end of their listing and neglect their backend fields in Seller Central (i.e. the KEYWORD section and MORE DETAILS section).
This is problematic because Amazon’s algorithm pulls a significant amount of information from these fields populated in Seller Central. These fields allow Amazon to determine the relevance of your product and its keywords to the browse node and subcategories you are in. And relevance is one of the fundamental metrics to determine your ranking (and ultimately your success) on Amazon.
Just as importantly, PPC suggestions also pull information from these fields. If your backend fields are not optimized and filled out correctly, this can skew the results of auto campaigns which will influence the performance of manual campaigns.
In other words, it’s crucial to ensure your entire listing is SEO compliant in order to organically rank and have success with PPC.
If you have your keyword list all ready, be sure to use Helium 10’s Amazon keyword ranking tool, so you can keep track of how your product is ranking for those keywords!
Attracting Low-Scoring Buyers When Running Discounted Campaigns
Discounted campaigns (coupon at checkout or a rebate after purchase) – though controversial and sometimes volatile – are practiced by numerous Amazon sellers using several strategies, companies, and platforms. One of the more common and popular ways people run discounts outside Amazon is via chatbots that act as a way to attract and vet buyers, then send them to Amazon and purchase said product at a steep discount.
The only problem with this method is that many chatbots attract people that scout out these types of deals and tend to have a low buyer’s score because of it. A person’s Amazon Buyer Score is based on the kind of activity a customer has on the marketplace (i.e. how many returns they make, how many bad reviews they leave, how many deals they seek). If your chatbot is attracting consumers with a poor buyer’s scores, this may influence how the A9 algorithm “reads” the influx of purchases on your page. If you choose to use a chatbot, it’s best to integrate a vetting system into the bot to impede those with poor buyer’s scores from purchasing your product.
However, for a safer method, you may want to just use Amazon’s Early Review and Vine Program to generate sales at a discount.
Feedback Reviews: The Red Headed Stepchild of Product Reviews
Everyone knows how important Product Reviews are in relation to the success of a listing. No reviews mean there is no social proof that the product is quality. Bad reviews… well… we all know what those can do to your sales.
However, Feedback Reviews (less commonly discussed) are also factored into Amazon’s metrics with relation to how a listing will perform. Feedback reviews are similar to a report card that customers fill out based on their buying experience. This is not found on the product page, but in Seller Central. The quality of your feedback score helps buyers decide whether or not to make a purchase based on your average rating. It can also impact your ability to maintain the buy box and can even lead to suspension or expulsion if a customer leaves a complaint or the feedback rating goes below Amazon standards.
This is why it is important to make sure both your product reviews and your feedback reviews are healthy.
The Moral Of The Story
Amazon uses a number of metrics to determine how well your product/s will perform on its platform. The main factors (SEO, category and keyword relativity, reviews, sales, and pricing) are all influenced by the aforementioned factors addressed in this article.
Not winning the buy box, not having high-quality buyers, not filling out your Seller Central properly, and not having positive buyer feedback will all impede your ability to both rank and sell well on Amazon. And that is not a luxury any seller can afford.