Amazon A9 SEO: The Definitive Guide [2018 Update]

This guide has everything you need to know about Amazon A9 and SEO.

So if you want to know how Amazon A9 works and how to

  • Get ALL your keywords indexed by Amazon A9
  • Optimize your product listing for higher ranking

then you’ll love this Amazon SEO guide.

Let’s dive right in…

amazon a9 seo

A9 Algorithm SEO #1: Understand Your Product

The Amazon A9 algorithm begins with crawling your product page and understanding what you sell.

For example, if you sell power bank, you need to make sure A9 understand that is a power bank. Only until then it can start to show your product to buyers who are searching for "power bank".

Make sense?

Let's see how you can make the A9 spider understand your listing:

First, you need to describe your product clearly in Title, Bullets, Description, and Search Terms.

These are the main areas that Amazon spider will crawl and index. Make sure you include all your keywords in those sections.

However, this is NOT true...

I am really worried when I saw so many sellers adding misspelled word in their listings. This can actually HARM your listing and user experience!

Amazon has clearly stated this in their TOS: "Our algorithm accounts for stemming."

What does that mean?

Amazon can understand a buyer is looking for water bottle, no matter wether he searched for "water bottles" or "water botlte".

An example for you:

This is one of the top selling water bottle products on Amazon.

You cannot find this word "botlte" anywhere in his listing including backend search terms. 

However, as the screenshot shows, it is indexed by Amazon for this misspelled word.

A9 is smart!

amazon misspelling word

Last but not least, your content should be written in a way that is readable and make sense to buyers! Stuff keywords here and there will make buyers hard to find the key selling point of your product, which will harm your sales in the end.

Research has shown that, if you cannot let buyers find your key selling point in 50s, they will leave...

Now A9 understands what your product is.

What's next?

Tell A9 what category your product belongs to.

A9 Algorithm SEO #2: Classify Your Product

As you all know, when you create a listing, Amazon will ask you to choose a category for it.

This is a very crucial step.

You need to make sure you have classified your listing into the right category!

Why is that important?

Reason #1: A9 understands which keyword belongs to which category!

In the first section, we showed you how smart A9 is to understand your search intent.

Now you will see A9 is much smarter than that...

It understands which keyword belongs to which category!

For example, when you search for "power bank" on Amazon, A9 knows you are looking for a cell phone accessory product. So it will show you those power bank products under the cell phone accessory category.

Let's visualize it this way:

A9 considers each product category as a shelf in a shopping mall.

It will direct buyers to the right section after it understands what they are looking for.

This means if buyers are searching for "power bank", but you put your power bank in the baby section, then your product can never be found.

amazon product category

This is also why sometimes you find your:

  • Keywords are not indexed by Amazon no matter how many times you repeat it in your listing.
  • Keyword ranking is very low no matter how many giveaways you did.
  • PPC ads has very low impression no matter how high you bid for.

Reason #2: Buyers are browsing category page for products!

Not all buyers' shopping journey begin with a search.

Actually there are lots of buyers start their shopping journey with browsing category pages.

Imagine you want to buy some make up for your Christmas party, but you are not yet sure what exactly you need.

Then your shopping journey may look like this:

amazon browse category
amazon subcategory
amazon best seller

Obviously, if your product is classified wrongly, you will lose a huge amount of browsing traffic.

Now you understand how important it is to classify your products in the right category.

Let's see how you can find the most relevant category for your product.

The easiest way is to check your competitor's listing page, and find the category it belongs to.

find the right amazon category

Now Amazon A9 has understood what your product is and which category it belongs to. 

Next step is the most important one. Let A9 index your keywords!

A9 Algorithm SEO #3: Index Your Keywords

Getting your product indexed for the targeted keywords is the first and the most important step for achieving good rankings and sales.

How to check whether your keywords are indexed by Amazon?

Step 1:  Install this free Chrome extension: Amazon Keyword Index & Ranking Checker

Step 2: Paste in all your keywords, ASIN and choose your Amazon marketplace.

Step 3: Click the “Check Now” button and see the result coming out in a few seconds.

amazon keyword index checker
keyword ranking free checker

Now you can easily see what are the keywords you have been indexed by Amazon, how well they ranked and what is the search volume for each keyword.

You can also use this tool to check the index status of all your search terms after optimizing backend keywords.

We found that this product is not indexed for the keyword “glitter balloons”. So before you wasting money on ranking this keyword to page 1 of Amazon, you should first get it indexed.

But wait!

Does it worth the time you will spend on getting it indexed and ranked?

Let the search volume tell you!

After checking the indexation, the tool automatically shows you the search volume for each keyword, so you can easily sort by search volume to see the most and least demanding keywords. This could save you a lot of time from running a search volume check again.

For example, I don’t think you should spend time and money on ranking “gold balloons party” with such a low keyword search volume.

Ok, now you have a list of non-indexed keywords. 

How to Get All Your Keywords Indexed by Amazon?

  1. Optimize your product listing for those keywords.
  2. Turn on manual PPC campaigns with the exact match for those keywords.
  3. Run giveaway campaigns with superurl targeting those keywords.

These 3 tricks are exactly what we did to get all of our keywords indexed by Amazon in 5 days!

Let's see how we achieve it step by step.

Trick #1: Optimise these 5 areas of your product listing (sorting from the most to the least important)

  • Listing URL
  • Product Title
  • Bullet Points
  • Search Terms
  • Description

We talked about how to optimise your product listing in details in this article.

Normally after this step, you should see at least 80% of keywords are indexed already. 

But why the other 20% are not?

Let's see what is the official explanation from Amazon A9: Amazon reserves the right to not use all supplied keywords for retrieving products. Reasons for not using all keywords may include, but are not limited to, search computational efficiency, potential manipulation of keywords, irrelevant keywords, and offensive or illegal terms.

So what can you do if Amazon A9 choose not to index the keywords you inserted into your listing?

Now it is time to use the super powerful trick:

Trick #2: Use PPC to force Amazon index them!

  • Turn on manual PPC campaign
  • Use exact match to target these non-indexed keywords
  • Set up high bid (e.g. $2-$3) and high budget ($1000)
  • Let it run for 5 days

From our past experience, we can have all of our targeted keywords indexed by Amazon after these 5 days.

What is the reason behind this?

When you bid high for those keywords, Amazon A9 believes that those are very important keywords for you. And with the high bid, your ads can rank on page 1 for those keywords. If the ads brought sales to your product, then A9 believes that these keywords are relevant to your product, as people are purchasing it after searching for those keywords!

You don't need to worry about the high budget ($1000), as it will not be used up. It is just used to tell Amazon how important these keywords are to your product. If your ads works well and the sales comes in fast, you may get those keywords indexed in 3 days! So you can turn off your campaign if you want after the keywords are indexed.

What if there is no sales for a certain keyword after you turn on the ads?

Well, highly likely that this keyword is not very relevant to your product and it is not converting. So I suggest you to ignore that keyword.

But what can you do if you really want to get that keyword indexed by A9 for whatever reason?

Trick #3: Bring sales from external traffic

  • Run giveaway campaigns on social media/email list
  • Insert the keyword into a superurl
  • Bring sales through the keyword-targeted superurl

The logic behind this trick is the same as trick #2: Use keyword-targeted sales to tell A9 that it should get this keyword indexed asap as people are buying your product through this keyword.

Job done!

Now you should have all your keywords indexed by Amazon!

A9 Algorithm SEO #4: Rank Your Keywords

amazon search algorithm

I know you might have heard from many "Amazon experts" that you don't need to repeat keyword in your listing, once is enough, or no need to keep the words in the right order, etc.

However, those are only true for keyword indexing, as what I have mentioned in part #3.

When it comes to keyword ranking, it is a different story.

Let's see what Amazon says about their A9 ranking algorithm:

“Items ranked according to the following criteria: how often the keyword appears in the description, where the keyword appears (the ranking is higher when keywords are found in titles and—if there are multiple keywords—how closely they occur in descriptions), and how often customers purchased the products they found using the keyword.”

To conclude, your product ranking is determined by these 4 factors:

  1. The number of times your targeted keywords appear in your listing.
  2. In which section your target keywords appear.
  3. Whether the words are in the right order, if there are multiple words in your target keyword phrase.
  4. Sales generated by that keyword, and its conversion rate.

Actually we did an A/B test about it recently.

A: "essential oil diffuser" in title

B: "oil diffuser" in title, "essential" in bullets

Result: A ranks much better than B for the keyword "essential oil diffuser".

I understand that it really takes a lot of time to make sure all your targeted keywords are appearing in your listing in the right order, especially when you have tons of long-tail keywords to rank for.

I highly recommend you to use this free Amazon listing builder tool to optimise your product page. It automatically helps you count the frequency for both keyword phrases and individual words, make sure you have covered all your keywords in your listing without missing any!

amazon listing builder
amazon keyword seo

Usually we will repeat our most important 5 keywords 2-3 times in the listing to achieve 1st page ranking.

As this post is about how Amazon A9 SEO works, we don't talk too much about detailed optimisation. You can find the step by step guide here about how exactly you should write your title, bullets, description and search terms to get your keywords fully optimised.

After making sure your listing is fully optimised and ready to rank, it is time to improve the 4th factor of the A9 ranking algorithm, which is sales and conversion.

To increase keyword generated sales, you can do social media ads or free giveaways with the specially designed Super URL. All sales coming in through this Super URL helps rank your keyword higher.

Last but not least, let me teach you a simple trick to triple your conversion rate!

How is conversion rate (CR) calculated?

CR = Sales/Clicks =  Total number of items ordered/Clicks

So, if 1 buyer clicked on your product and bought 3 of it together, your conversion rate is 300%!

This is exactly what we did to triple the conversion rate of all of our products!

Set up a campaign in Sellercentral like "Buy 3 get 50% off", then attract buyers from Facebook with your keyword-targeted Super URL. Job done!

This combination always generate amazing result for us! Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

I hope this article will help you understand the basics of Amazon A9, and why you should start working on optimising your listing following the 4 parts of A9 SEO.

Do you currently work on getting your products ranked on the first page of Amazon?  Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.

If you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!