2020 certainly was a doozy. In general, these have been incredibly tumultuous times from a global perspective. But in the e-commerce world, it’s provided a massive boom in sales and revenue for sellers all over the globe.
I wanted to update an article we created previously that detailed everything you need to know to rank on Amazon — and in light of this crazy year, I decided to get right to the point and remove all the fluff.
Ironically, I see many sellers NOT ranking on Amazon, and once could guess it’s because they are spending their valuable time consuming far too much content. Taking meaningful action always trumps content consumption.
So, with that, let’s tackle how to rank on Amazon in 2021.
We will be breaking down the key factors first, and then putting it all together to form your 2021 ranking strategy.
The honeymoon period is the all-important time when your ASIN goes live. During this time, Amazon truly evaluates what your product is, and creates a sort of ‘relevancy matrix’ how your product performs during these initial weeks. Understandably, that means this period is crucial. However, the honeymoon period isn’t just a time to create a massive influx of traffic and conversions.
It’s ideal to use this time to create a steady and growing stream of traffic and optimized sales. To be clear, anytime you see me refer to an optimized sale (in this article or elsewhere), I’m referring to a sale that’s tied to a keyword. Think: 2-step URLs, search find buy, etc. This is anytime a conversion is realized by a prospective customer that ties a keyword into that buying process.
Let’s bring it back to the honeymoon period. This continues to be a steady and relevant factor to rank as you think about launching new products to your Amazon line. It’s a more heavily weighted time period, and you can take advantage of this time by closely mimicking top sellers in your respective category.
This is where crucial data points like Brand Analytics come into play. (Tip: if you’re not brand registered or you just inefficiently ‘tag on’ Brand Analytics to your keyword research, check out Seller.Tools and R2A for this - Brand Analytics at your fingertips!). Going beyond Search Frequency Rank (a Brand Analytics metric), we can see data, such as conversion rate at the ASIN level, to really understand how the top ASINs for a keyword are truly performing. This is extremely powerful data.
With that in mind, we look at performance, expected level of sales, etc. to mimic top sellers for optimized sales over an extended window of time during our honeymoon period. This is intuitive, right? Amazon is analyzing your listing, and you’re serving it intentionally relevant (keyword-driven) traffic that’s converting over that extended period of time. Rank simply by utilizing the honeymoon period.
As a ranking factor, driving external traffic has earned its place above the most important factors. This is intuitive — it makes perfect sense for Amazon to reward your investment in driving outside traffic to their platform. Viewing it from their perspective, it’s a no-brainer and something you can see them rewarding liberally.
This factor has also become a mainstay, and it’s safe to assume its place will remain quite high on the list.
Other important considerations are Amazon’s shift to creating what amounts to their own social media platform. Think Amazon Lives, Amazon Posts (more media-rich experiences), etc. All the signs are pointing to these as growing trends. Again, this is quite intuitive. Social channels are becoming easier and easier to transact on (ie., Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and if Amazon can entertain, engage and inform customers on the platform, this translates into more revenue (or less missed revenue, depending on how you look at it).
Tying this back to external traffic, Amazon rewards that inbound traffic from other, higher-authority resources. What does that mean for sellers in terms of priority? As of drafting this article, this emphasizes the ‘big ones’.
Think Google. Think YouTube.
My personal favorite is YouTube. It is a channel that is engagement- and direction-friendly and leaves a lot of control to sellers utilizing it. Maybe a great touchpoint to use before driving your customers from ManyChat to your Amazon listing? Who knows? But you heard it here first ;)
Smart money is on external traffic, and as a ranking factor, it’s not going away anytime soon. Think about how you can point out exactly how you’re using it both in an evergreen fashion (ex: blogs) and for immediate benefits (ex: paid ads).
Product detail page interactions remain on the list of important factors. For those who have geeked out (emphasis added) on the Amazon search algorithm, you’ll know this too is a consistent but often misunderstood variable.
Amazon rewards your listing when it welcomes more page interactions.
Just to clear things up: page = Product Detail Page
This can include everything from a customer (or potential customer) engaging with the media about your products to the more commonly-known activities like adding a product to a wishlist, adding to cart, etc.
But here’s a funny and memorable example: activities like printing out a product detail also equate to a page interaction and can translate into a greater rank benefit. Refer back to my 2019 version of this article for more images and info.
But what I want to make clear as a takeaway from this factor is you need to think about how you drive more page interactions, especially when it comes to driving ‘conversion-ready’ external traffic. As I pointed out in the prior variable of external traffic, this can be immensely powerful. However, you can add some fuel to the fire by adding activities a customer can/should complete.
Insert pre-purchase prompts. Or the ‘new PPP’. It’s not really a thing yet, but I’m going to make it a thing!
What does this entail, and how can you put it to use?
This is where ManyChat is so powerful. When you completely own the customer journey in messenger, SMS, etc., it allows you to make clear offer requirements and steps needed for a customer to become eligible, or to ‘unlock’ a deal, promotion, etc.
If you can gamify this, you can both make an enjoyable experience for the customer and get the optimal rank benefit. Win-win.
To give you some ideas, think about asking a customer to share their favorite, most informative review. As you can imagine, this requires a bit more scrolling, investigating, and time on the detail page. Other popular options include reviewing competitor listings, but as a general recommendation, I prefer sticking to your own listing and thinking of fun ways to encourage interactions, reviewing media (images, videos, etc.), and other similar activities.
It just doesn’t get any better than using ManyChat to take this ranking factor and own it completely.
The quality of customer that you interact and transact with on Amazon has become a focal point over the past few years. It’s become clear that Amazon has begun to give weighting to customers with internal quality metrics. This means some of the aforementioned activities (ex: External Traffic) could be diluted by a lower quality customer.
What sort of variables are we looking for to achieve a ‘higher’ quality customer?
Considerations could include:
- Age of buyer account
- Number of purchases on Amazon
- Number of Amazon reviews
- Ability to complete all ‘actions’ on Amazon
- Customer region and/or IP-related variables
Without factoring in explicit variables, just simply think of this from Amazon’s perspective.
They put an emphasis on long-time costumers with perceivably regular and consistent buying and engagement (ex: reviews, Q&As, etc.) activity on Amazon.
This, again, is really intuitive.
Admittedly, no one person/source outside of Amazon has the complete and detailed list of factors to include. If you think of this variable from ‘Amazon’s eyes’ (with the considerations listed above), this makes a lot of sense both now and looking forward.
A final tip: constantly curate your audience. Building that powerful VIP list isn’t a one-time activity. The best FBA sellers are constantly sussing out inactive or non-participatory customers from their list. Be willing to actively take measures when first growing your list and then curating over time.
Tying it all Together: Ranking on Steroids
What’s the perfect way to tie in all these factors? ManyChat.
I’m admitting my bias, but also pointing out why the Seller.Tools team spends so much time and energy here.
We configure our flows to run right alongside the honeymoon period. Our flows include multiple checks to gauge customer quality. We also limit any bad actors or suboptimal customers with the Seller.Tools Blacklist.
We then encourage our customers to complete a pre-purchase prompt. Once this is completed, they become deal/offer eligible. Direct customers to an external social site prior to their purchase (External traffic? Check.), using either an optimized link or through search find buy.
Boom. We’ve rolled in all 4 major factors.
This isn’t to say you have to check off each one of these boxes.
Leveraging the honeymoon period and external traffic correctly still seems to be quite rare. Proper use of limiters like the Seller.Tools Counter and Seller.Tools Blacklist also misses the potential of customer quality control.
Doing some of these steps, even in a mild fashion, can help you level up relative to your competition.
So there you have it. These are the biggest factors and their implications on rank on Amazon in 2021.
Good luck and happy ranking!
Are you ready to get started with your winning strategy for 2021? We have you covered.
There are zero excuses for not putting this knowledge to work for you. What are you waiting for?