Optimization for Amazon

There's no denying Amazon's influence on the Web and in the ecommerce space in particular. It's such a significant player that many Internet retailers can't exist without it.

If you're currently using Amazon but looking to increase performance, it's essential to know what factors influence the search results and how product rankings work. Fortunately, Ripen Ecommerce recently studied this important and issue and has shared some excellent insights for those looking to know more about optimizing their Amazon selling experience.

While Amazon results aren't "organic" per say, the search engine does leverage its own ranking algorithm and Ripen went into some detail about what those ranking factors and the correlations they found. Let's take a closer look.

+ There is a strong correlation between sales rank (an ordinal rank provided by Amazon that is available to the public) and a product's search ranking position. As a product's sales rank improves on Amazon, the number of search queries resulting in that product also increases. That means marketers are able to target and optimize a page for multiple search terms and phrases without detrimental effect.

+ Amazon uses categorized indexes. When users conduct a search they can either select from a list of categories or do so without defining a category - the results are different for each. When the latter occurs, Amazon does try to interpret the search query and will send the user to the category they determine to be most appropriate. Amazon will also at times show alternative results from major categories or show blended results from more than one category. Only certain indices are supported when considering results for blended search. What's important here is ensuring the right category is selected as just 2.2 percent of products are listed in multiple indexes.

+ Fulfillment seems to be another important ranking factor at Amazon and the Ripen Ecommerce study found that it actually had one of the highest correlations with search rankings - but not always a positive correlation. Those sellers with products shipped and sold by Amazon have a strong positive correlation, while third-party sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or third parties selling and shipping on their own have negative correlations with search rankings. Something to keep in mind when choosing how your products are being sold.

+ In relation to keywords and search position at Amazon, Ripen Ecommerce found a strong correlation with product titles. More specifically, the closer marketers are to using keywords exactly in the product title, the better. Of course, keyword stuffing those product titles isn't the best course of action. The reason? The user experience. Click-through and conversion rate are indirectly correlated with Amazon's sales rank so product title's that don't elicit a click could ultimately harm your optimization initiatives.

Ripen Ecommerce goes into greater detail on the role of advertising and the use of discounts and their respective influence on search position at Amazon as well. If you're selling on Amazon and looking to improve performance, take these lessons seriously and you'll be selling more - and placing higher - in no time at all!