How to Adapt to Amazon’s Ever-Evolving Algorithm in 2020

With millions of sellers stocking the virtual aisles of Amazon, it’s not easy to stand out in the crowd. Amazon wants to promote competition and allows multiple sellers to fulfill customer demands across various categories. But the real question is, how do some sellers fair better than others?

The first step is to understand how Amazon’s algorithm works and how it determines what products appear on the first page. As the search algorithm evolves, focus on the buyer’s intent holds more value, so customers get exactly what they’re looking for. Broadly, Amazon is now paying more attention to the authenticity and authoritativeness of sellers, products, and reviews. In this newsletter, we dig into what’s in and what’s out as the algorithm continues to mature.

From a broad perspective, the 2020 update is similar to the previous one with the biggest difference being that many factors are weighted differently. The ever-changing algorithm constantly attempts to focus on genuine sellers with popular products. How does it do this? Let’s find out.

  1. External traffic gains relevance

While PPC campaigns on Amazon were one of the driving forces for sales earlier, Amazon has realized that users look beyond what sellers have paid to promote. To adapt to the evolving algorithm, diversify your ad spends by investing in off-Amazon advertising. Use Facebook and Google ads to drive the right traffic and positively influence rankings.

  1. Seller authority and feedback matters more

The latest algorithm places more emphasis on seller authority. If two sellers have the same product at the same price, the one with better feedback will prevail. It takes into account how long a seller has been on Amazon, how high their return rate is, and how they handle those returns. A pro tip here is to have a broad product portfolio. This would mean you cater to a diverse customer base. Therefore, the algorithm infers that you are handling products well and attaining great reviews, leading to an increase in seller authority.

  1. Higher weightage on product credibility off Amazon

While one might think that Amazon only keeps a check on what happens on their website, they’re looking beyond it to rank products. In addition to off-Amazon advertising, add your product URL to your own website and others’ blog posts. Garner reviews from experts and microbloggers in your industry to drive up your rankings. Use various techniques to build high-quality traffic and leverage websites with high domain authority.

  1. Organic sales take precedence over promotions

When a buyer searches for your product and purchases it, it is considered an organic sale. Amazon will award you with a higher rank than if the buyer purchased it through marketing or promotion. Infact, discounts and promotions have become a harder way to increase your ranking. Excessive deals & coupons may be counterproductive. Additionally, sales that initiate anywhere from the Amazon website (for example, frequently bought together), is also more effective in tilting sales in your favor.

  1. Compelling products get more prominence

From titles, ratings, the number of reviews, discounts, and images, shoppers can decide within seconds whether they want to engage with your product. If a product appeals enough to consumers and is clicked quite often from search results, the algorithm attributes brownie points to that product. While having high-quality images, positive reviews and lucrative pricing is a given, following it up with readable titles is also absolutely vital. Since the recent iteration gives equal weightage to all components of the listing, avoid keyword stuffing and optimize titles for user-friendliness.

In a nutshell, focusing on organic traffic, establishing seller authenticity and exploring off-Amazon platforms to promote your product is the crux of the latest algorithm update. There are now more products competing to appear at the top than ever. Understanding and mastering the algorithm is one of the top things you can do when selling in the marketplace. When you know how it works, you can apply strategies to maximize traffic and sales for your products.

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Author: Kiran Patil

Kiran Patil is the founder and CEO of Growisto, an E-commerce marketing and technology company based out of Navi Mumbai. He has 16+ years of experience in e-commerce, phone commerce, and digital marketing. Growisto helps brands & private labels grow their businesses on… View full profile ›

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