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Understanding Amazon’s A9 search engine and how it impacts your sales – Part 1

Understanding Amazon’s A9 search engine and how it impacts your sales – Part 1

Part one of Four Part Blog Series

This is a four-part Blog series. In our first blog, we will discuss the importance of search ranking and paid and organic search. In the second blog, we will discuss four factors that directly influence the search ranking. In the third blog we will discuss factors that influence sales velocity and in the last blog in this series, we will discuss specific strategies to improve the sales velocity and thus your organic search ranking.

Amazon is the world’s largest search engine for products. Over 50% of product searches are now done directly on Amazon.com and 48% of all online sales take place on Amazon. Understanding how Amazon’s search engine works and making sure your products are presented for relevant searches is mission critical to your long-term success.

For our services related to Listing Optimization please refer to our Selling on Amazon Services.

In this blog we will focus on “Organic Search” or unpaid search. Amazon also has programs for “Paid Search” where you can pay to display your ads for relevant searches. These pay per click programs include Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Ads. We will describe Amazon’s Paid Advertising options in another Blog.

Here is an example of Sponsored Brand advertising which shows up on the top of the page:

Here are examples of “Sponsored Ads” which show up on top, middle and bottom of the page mixed with “Natural Search results”:

What is A9?

Amazon’s search engine algorithm is called A9. It is developed by Amazon in a research facility-based o Palo Alto California. A9’s original name was ALGORITHMS, which later was changed to A9 (A followed by 9 other letters).

Every time you search for a product on Amazon, the A9 search engine searches through hundreds of millions of products to select products to be displayed in order based on its search criteria. The order in which the products are displayed to the buyer is the “Search Ranking” related to a specific search term. Typically, Amazon displays 16 products as a result of “Natural Search” mixed with “Paid Search” which includes one Sponsored Brand and 6 or more Sponsored Ads (examples shown above).

 What is “Organic Search” Ranking

For example, when you search for “seat belt travel pillow kids”, Amazon presents the products below. The first two products showing are Sponsored Ads paid for by the sellers. The four products below are a result of Amazon A9 matching the search with the most appropriate products for “Organic Search”.

Who makes the most money?

Amazon shared the following data on search patterns. Today, Amazon has over 600 million products to sell and that number continues to grow. The products on page 1 with ranking #1 to #16 get the most clicks (81%). The product ranking #1 on the page gets 35% of total clicks, while first three ranking products #1 to #3 get 64% of the clicks. This means that your chances of generating meaningful revenue exponentially reduces as your search ranking goes beyond 16 for search terms that are relevant to your product.

Google VS Amazon Search

The search criteria for Amazon is different from Google because their business goals are different than Google’s because of their business models. Google is interested in presenting you relevant search results so that they can generate clicks. On the other hand, Amazon is interested in presenting relevant products that you are most likely to buy. Amazon generates revenue from selling products and generating sales commissions from third party sellers.

Understanding how A9 works is crucial to your long-term success on Amazon. In the second part of this Blog, we will dissect the criteria used by Amazon’s A9 search engine and provide you with strategies to maximize your revenue.

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