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Amazon’s A9/A10 Algorithm: How to Rank at the Top of Page One

Ryan Faist

Ryan Faist, Channel Key

January 27, 2022

Amazon is much more than an ecommerce marketplace. It is a giant search engine. An average of two billion customers visit the retail giant each month to browse and shop for products, according to Statista. For sellers, this means your items need to be searchable. Products on the first page of the search results get at least 80% of all clicks, while the first three listings get at least 60% (Jungle Scout).

To rank at the top of Page One for any given search term, you need to win the Amazon A10 algorithm (formerly A9). Before you can do this, you must understand how it works. Some might call this a Catch-22, considering Amazon is highly protective of its algorithm. It’s a trade secret. There are endless theories, but the truth is: nobody knows for certain except Amazon.

Now for the good news. It’s not necessary to solve the mystery of Amazon’s complex algorithm to understand how to rank at the top of Page One. You just need an accurate understanding of the algorithm’s key components. As a recognized Amazon Partner that has helped over 150 brands generate nearly $500 million in sales, Channel Key’s unique and extensive experience on the platform can help shed light on one of Amazon’s most heavily guarded secrets.

The Key Elements of the Amazon A10 Algorithm

First, the basics. Algorithms are precise sequences of instructions implemented using programming languages. There are three basic stages of an algorithm: data input, data processing, and data output. The processing stage is the heart of any algorithm and includes the predefined rules that are used to produce the final results. In Amazon’s case, the results are where your product ranks on the search results for a particular set of keywords.

It’s important to remember that Amazon values customer experience above all else. When a customer searches for a product, Amazon wants to display the one with the best chance of resulting in both a purchase and customer satisfaction. This item will win the highest organic placement at the top of Page One. The product with the next best chance of delighting a customer will rank second, and so on.

To determine which products a customer is most likely to purchase and enjoy, Amazon considers their shopping and browsing history. Then it matches this data against a multitude of factors regarding the available products, including (but not limited to):

  • Product Rank: This metric measures the sales performance of a product against similar products in that category.
  • Sales Velocity: The number and dollar amount of a seller’s transactions during any given month.
  • Keyword Relevancy: The use of keywords in your product listings that match the terms used by customers when searching for similar products.
  • Listing Traffic: The volume of customers visiting your product detail pages.
  • Price Competitiveness: The price of your products compared to similar ones.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors to your product detail pages who have completed a purchase.
  • Detail Page View Rate: The percent of shoppers who clicked on your product listing and viewed its content for at least one second.
  • Inventory MGMT: How well you maintain inventory levels during any given time.
  • Fulfillment Method: Amazon tends to give placement priority to products that are enrolled in FBA compared to products enrolled in FBM.
  • Customer Reviews: The amount and quality of customer feedback on your product detail pages.
  • Average Star Ratings: The amount of one to five-star customer ratings on your product detail pages.

Next, Amazon assigns a level of importance to each factor. For example, the number and quality of customer reviews might be slightly more important than the amount of traffic to a product detail page. This is the most highly debated part of Amazon’s algorithm. Ask ten different “experts” and you will get ten different answers. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. All of these factors are important and your goal as a seller should be to excel in each one.

Finally, Amazon analyzes your “score” based how well you rank in each of these areas compared to similar products. This is how Amazon will determine where your product listing appears in the search results. If you outperform your competitors in most of the factors that Amazon’s algorithm uses, you’ll likely appear at the top of Page One.

Channel Key Takeaway:

Winning the Amazon algorithm is no simple feat – especially for brands that are new to the platform. It works much like a flywheel. To generate sales, you need reviews. To get reviews, you need conversions. To get conversions, you need traffic. To get traffic, you need – well, you get it.

Powering the flywheel is difficult in the beginning, which is why brands usually rank low in the search results when they first join the marketplace. However, after time and effort, turning the flywheel gets easier. It is designed to power itself on its own momentum. The more sales you get, the more reviews you receive, the more traffic you generate, and on and on. This is how you rise in the ranks of organic search.

Remember: it’s not about any one metric. It’s about how you perform in every aspect of Amazon, from your product detail pages to inventory management to customer service. Amazon measures everything on its platform, so you need to excel in every area possible. Prove to Amazon that your products will consistently delight their customers and you will win the algorithm.

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