Many people think of Amazon.com as a place to buy anything and everything under the sun, and have it on their doorstep the next day. They’re not wrong, as Amazon has avalanched into the global default for online shopping and commerce.

Living in the shadows behind all 350 product listings is an uber-powerful brain, a brain that decides what listings to show you and when.

This brain goes by the name Amazon A10 Algorithm and is the proprietary search engine that drives the search results for Amazon’s hundreds of millions of product listings.

While Amazon A10 is the machine, Amazon SEO is the playbook, which can be learned by sellers to drive their product listings to the top of the results pages.

Amazon logo with mobile phone app

Chapter 1: Understanding Amazon SEO

What is Amazon SEO?

The term ‘Amazon SEO’ can be boiled down to the practice of optimizing your product listing on Amazon.com to effectively rank higher in customers’ search results, increasing exposure. Amazon does this with the help of its proprietary ranking algorithm, called the A10 Algorithm.

When referring to SEO, many people will automatically associate the practice to improving website rankings on Google. An Amazon SEO strategy works in a similar fashion, with the ultimate goal of placing your listing at the top of results pages, versus websites.

Despite technically existing as an e-commerce marketplace, Amazon is considered to be a search engine due to its ability to rank and display its plethora of products based on user keywords. Instead of utilizing Google to find the desired product for sale, users can search on Amazon instead, never having to leave the platform.

Amazon SEO is also important due to the fact that 62% of US shoppers begin their product search on Amazon, effectively skipping any other Google search engine and diving straight into Amazon’s A10 Algorithm.

While both Google and Amazon A10 operate in similar fashions, Amazon A10 is more geared toward e-commerce and product listings, while accounting for more than just product titles and keywords alone.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what exactly the Amazon A10 Algorithm is, what it looks at specifically, and how you can shape your listing utilizing Amazon SEO to gain as much exposure as possible.

What is the Amazon A10 Algorithm?

The A10 Algorithm acts as Amazon’s in-house search optimization tool, which is responsible for indexing and ranking all listings on Amazon’s marketplace. Amazon A10 replaced the Amazon A9 algorithm, the previous generation of Amazon’s search engine, in December of 2020.

Amazon’s A10 Algorithm looks at a variety of factors when determining what products place where whenever a customer presses “search,” more so than just what’s included in the listing’s title.

In fact, Amazon A10 has recently shifted its search criteria to focus more heavily on consumer behavior, tying in a variety of factors as a result (some may even surprise you).

If your product has significant sales velocity and drives more traffic than other comparable listings, it will most likely be ranked higher in search results, while less popular listings will be placed below you.

How does Amazon A10 differ from Amazon A9 algorithm?

While the bulk of the functionality is the same in A10 as in A9, there are several key differences. It can be valuable for sellers and those looking to master the latest iteration of Amazon SEO to be aware of these differences.


Here are some of the notable differences between Amazon A10 and Amazon A9:

  • Amazon A10 pays more attention to seller feedback than Amazon A9 algorithm
  • Amazon A10 looks at duration of Amazon Seller account ages, giving “senior” accounts better ranking of their products
  • Amazon A10 factors the seller’s rate of product returns more heavily than Amazon A9
  • Amazon A10 considers customer keyword searches to have a heavier weight when producing results than with Amazon A9, which historically placed emphasis on profitable listings
  • Amazon A10 reduces the relevance of sponsored products and links, increasing the effort and strategy required to push Amazon PPC campaigns successfully
  • Amazon A10 also pays closer attention to account sales velocity, meaning maintaining high sell-through rates is as important as ever

How does Amazon A10 work?

When Amazon A10 searches Amazon’s sprawling catalog to pull results from, it will first look at the keywords entered into the search bar by the customer. Chances are, any listings shown as search results will likely include any and all keywords searched for by the customer.

For sellers, this is why keyword optimization is imperative when attempting to rank your listings higher.

Next, Amazon A10 will analyze the keywords and play matchmaker, attempting to pull results based on only two major factors. These factors include:

  • Relevance ranking factors
  • Performance ranking factors

Within each category of ranking factor are multiple, more granular factors that should be fully considered when attempting to perfect Amazon SEO. When Amazon listings are optimized for both relevance and performance, they will appear higher and higher in the organic search results for potential paying customers.

Below, let’s break down the Relevance and Performance factors, to see what each is comprised of:

Relevance Ranking Factors:

Product Title

Beginning with the most important, a listing’s product title will carry the greatest weight when a customer searches for specific keywords.

According to Amazon’s own guidelines for product title creations, these should contain approximately 60 characters and should represent what the actual item packaging reads.

When a consumer searches for a product on Amazon, despite what Amazon A10 will show, the consumer will attempt to match their desired keywords with those in the title, with the heaviest consideration naturally going to the results near the top.

Think of your title as the subject line of an email, as it needs to be short enough to grab a customer’s attention when scanning an entire list of search results, yet long enough to properly convey exactly what it is you are offering to them for sale.

Backend Keywords

While your listing’s product title and product description face the customer directly, keywords face Amazon A10, behind the scenes.

This is where it would make sense to include any relevant keywords that didn’t make the final cut for the title.

Essentially, these keywords are where any keywords should be entered that would read unnaturally elsewhere, yet still, carry relevance to your product listing.

Backend keywords allow for sellers to include valuable keywords in their listings without diluting an otherwise clean and attractive listing.

Product Description and Bullet Points

The product description should be the “sales pitch” area of your product listing. This is the valuable listing real estate where you write the script, and attempt to persuade potential shoppers to part with their cash.

One approach that many consumers agree on, and even Amazon recommends, is the utilization of bullet points in the product description.

Bullet points are short, concise statements that are easy to digest yet should make a compelling case for your product.

Bullet points will also grab a customer’s attention more than, say, a wall of text. If your product has a specific function, or element that customers look for specifically, including that in a bullet point will be a safe bet that it will be viewed and ultimately considered.

Amazon listing bullet points

As Amazon advises, “Well-written bullet points will naturally contain keywords, but the first priority should be to communicate clearly and help customers make a buying decision. One approach is to start a bullet point with a feature and then state the benefit(s) of that feature.”

Performance Ranking Factors

Pricing

Similar to how pricing plays the strongest role in determining Buy Box eligibility for products listed on Amazon, maintaining competitive pricing is key to improving click-through and conversion rates.

With an improved conversion rate and ultimately, sales volume, Amazon is more likely to better rank these listings.

Prior to listing your products, it is important to do an analysis of competitor pricing. This will ensure your pricing is appropriate while staying competitive, which will in turn boost traffic and sales.

Aura repricing home page

To fully automate your listings’ pricing to stay competitive 100% of the time, we recommend using an Amazon repricer to further improve sales and revenue, which will help with Amazon’s A10 ranking of your listing.

Sales Performance

Amazon’s A10 Algorithm looks at more than just a listing’s title and keywords when determining its rank. Historical sales performance is also heavily taken into account. With a high sales velocity, Amazon is more likely to better rank your product, which will then in turn provide better exposure.

Because Amazon A10 considers consumer behavior with a heavier weight than Amazon A9 did, the historical sales performance of a product is taken more into consideration.

Listing titles, product descriptions, keywords, and pricing all play a part in the actual sales performance, which is then taken into consideration again when ranked by Amazon A10.

In this self-supporting cycle, it’s extremely important to build your listings’ momentum for Amazon’s A10 Algorithm to further promote to new customers.

Amazon Seller app screenshot

Product Images

Another important element of optimizing your Amazon listings is the use of high-quality images to accompany your title and description.

When it comes to choosing one product over a competitor’s product on Amazon, the product images are often a key deal maker or breaker.

While the title, description, and even reviews offer descriptive and persuasive information about a product, Amazon shoppers will pay close attention to the product itself in pictures.

Seeing the item before purchasing, and especially seeing the item either in use, or in a familiar setting can support a customer’s final decision on buying the item or not.

Crocs product images on Amazon

Humans are naturally drawn to visual representations of items they are otherwise unfamiliar with. While your listing may have an attractive title, persuasive bullet points, and relevant keywords, images are the cherry on top of the sundae.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

While you have less control over the customers’ feedback, you do maintain a say in their overall experience. It’s important to aim for a product rating of four or more stars, as worse ratings are less likely to be effectively ranked by the A10 Algorithm.

With the heavy emphasis Amazon places on customer satisfaction and reviews, customers have a direct impact on your listings’ performance and ranking.

For this reason, it’s important to keep a close eye on your products’ reviews and respond to negative feedback in a timely and friendly manner.

Amazon customer reviews

Chapter 2: How to Master Amazon SEO

Now that we’ve analyzed the factors involved in Amazon A10 deciding what listings are shown and where we can take a look at optimizing these ranking factors.

For the sake of this SEO guide, we’ll focus primarily on the relevance ranking factors, as a listing’s performance is often the overall result of the relevant factors in addition to the product’s popularity itself.

We’ll also include best practices for product images, as this is an essential piece that does not rely on sales velocity of the product.

Mastering Product Titles:

Crafting an effective title is vital to the success of a listing, as it is the first piece of information a paying customer will see. Amazon provides sellers with their own internal guide on crafting titles.

Ideally, you should be aiming to strike a balance between being concise yet encompassing all necessary keywords.

Titles should generally include:

  • Brand
  • Model
  • Version
  • Size
  • Color
  • Quantity
  • All relevant keywords

While also dependent on the exact type of product and the product category, Amazon has a loose “formula” for crafting an effective title for your listing:

Brand Name + Model Name + Model Number + Size + Product Type + Color/Variation/Edition

It is also important to pay attention to Amazon’s title criteria:

  • Titles must not exceed 200 characters, including spaces.
  • Titles must not contain promotional phrases, such as "free shipping", "100% quality guaranteed".
  • Titles must not contain characters for decoration, such as ~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } # < > | * ; ^ ¬ ¦
  • Titles must contain product-identifying information, such as "hiking boots" or "umbrella"

Mastering Your Backend Keywords:

When creating your listing, you are able to include up to 249 bytes of backend keywords, all of which are hidden from view.

Despite not being visible to consumers, there are guidelines that should ideally be followed for backend keywords to yield the best results. These include:

  • Stay at or under the 249-byte limit. If exceeded, your keywords will not be indexed by Amazon
  • Include alternate names and synonyms, keywords somebody may search for outside of the actual title
  • Don’t repeat keywords, include intentionally misspelled keywords, or product identifiers that are already included in the title
  • Using all lowercase characters, separate keywords with spaces
Amazon backend keyword

Amazon also warns of rules for backend keywords that, if violated, may result in listings being suppressed or possible account suspension.

As a seller, it is imperative to avoid using the following backend keywords:

  • Your brand name or another brand’s name
  • ASINs
  • Profanity
  • Statements such as “new” or “now on sale”
  • Subjective terms such as “cheapest,” “best,” etc.
  • Abusive or offensive terms

Mastering Your Product Description:

Within the Product Description, Amazon strongly recommends crafting up to five “clear and concise” bullet points.

These bullet points should ideally highlight the top five key features of the product, and may include details for:

  • Product dimensions
  • Appropriate-age recommendations
  • Skill level
  • Contents
  • Country of origin
  • Other similar details from the title or description

Amazon also recommends maintaining a consistent order for the product description’s bullets. In addition, you should begin each bullet with a capital letter, and treat them as sentence fragments.

This means the bullets should read quickly, and also do not require ending punctuation.

Lastly, it’s important to not include promotional or pricing information here, as these are most appropriate elsewhere on the listing.

In addition to the bullets, Amazon allows listings to include up to 2000 characters for a dedicated listing description. This is where you as the seller should try to convey the experience of the product to the customers.

The product description should be treated as a blank canvas but should convey the description and keywords in a digestible fashion. Some things to consider adding to this section could include:

  • How the product should be used
  • Who the target customer for this product is
  • Tell your brand’s story and mission
  • Opportunity to gain credibility and trust

Mastering Your Product Images:

With product images on Amazon, it is extremely important to ensure best practices are followed to be the most effective with SEO.

Unlike a title or product descriptions where the addition or omission of certain keywords or phrases likely won’t have a significant effect, images allow one shot at properly conveying the correct message.

Having good photographs of your images for Amazon listings doesn’t just mean having enough, it will also mean utilizing the right techniques and proper methods of displaying your product in order for it to be fully effective.

According to Amazon, “Every detail page in the Amazon store requires at least one product image, and we recommend you provide six images and one video. Good images make it easy for customers to evaluate the product. Images should be clear, informative, and attractive."

"The first image on the product detail page is the "MAIN" image and is shown to customers in search. The MAIN image must show only the product for sale on a white background, and the product should fill the image frame. Additional images should show the product in use or in an environment, different angles, and different features.”

Here are some best practices for ensuring your product images are as effective for the listing as possible:

  • Take high-resolution images
  • Ensure proper lighting for photographing your product
  • Use a white or otherwise plain background (Main images must have a white background)
  • Include photos from multiple angles
Baratza Encore listing photos

Amazon has requirements for both the Main product image, as well as any additional images included on the listing.

Below are Amazon’s requirements for Main product images:

  • MAIN images must have a pure white background (pure white blends in with the Amazon search and product detail pages—RGB color values of 255, 255, 255).
  • MAIN images must be professional photographs of the actual product (graphics, illustrations, mockups, or placeholders are not allowed). They must not show excluded accessories or props that might confuse the customer.
  • MAIN images must not include text, logos, borders, color blocks, watermarks, or other graphics over the top of a product or in the background.
  • MAIN images must not include multiple views of a single product.
  • MAIN images must show the entire product that is for sale. Images must not touch or be cut off by the edge of the image frame, with exception of Jewelry (e.g. necklaces).
  • MAIN images must show products outside of their packaging. Boxes, bags, or cases should not appear in the image unless they are an important product feature.

Amazon’s requirements for all product images are also included below:

  • Images must accurately represent the product that is for sale.
  • Images must match the title.
  • The product must fill at least 85% of the image.
  • The optimal zoom experience for detail pages requires files to be 1600px or larger on the longest side. Zoom has been shown to help enhance sales. If you are unable to meet this requirement, the smallest your file can be for zoom is 1000px, and the smallest your file can be for the site is 500px.
  • Images must not exceed 10,000px on the longest side.
  • Images must be JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), TIFF (.tif), PNG(.png), or GIF (.gif) file formats. JPEG is preferred. Our servers do not support animated .gifs.
  • Images must not be blurry, pixelated, or have jagged edges.

Chapter 3: Amazon SEO Extras: Tools and Services

After digesting the bulk of the information above, you may be left daunted by what is required to thoroughly compete for Amazon’s search engine ranking.

Fortunately, you are not alone, as there is an abundance of available tools, services, and resources that will help make your SEO journey that much easier.

Below are some of the most effective and valuable tools you may leverage when optimizing your listings for Amazon SEO:

Helium 10 X-Ray

Helium 10 X Ray screenshot

In the Amazon world, Helium 10 is the tool known to do it all. Using their Chrome extension, you are able to find suppliers for ASINs, analyze demand, calculate profitability, see competitors' inventory levels, and more.

Consider Helium 10 to be an all-in-one tool for comprehensive product research.

Price: Free

JungleScout

JungleScout screenshot

Widely considered to be one of the top tools for Amazon sellers, Jungle Scout is available in both web-app and extension formats. With their available Chrome extension, users can conduct product research in real-time, right from the Amazon listing.

The Jungle Scout extension allows users to view sales velocities, historical data, and keyword insights - all without leaving Amazon.

Price: From $49/mo. with Basic tier ($29/mo. if paid annual).

Sonar

Sonar screenshot

Sonar, developed by Sellics, is a keyword research tool. Sonar works by finding all relevant keywords based on real historical customer search queries. Sonar detects and catalogs the key phrases shoppers search for on Amazon.

Sellers will benefit from Sonar's continuously updated database, improving their listing optimization and listing visibility. Sonar is an especially valuable tool for those looking to improve their listings' keywords for SEO.

Price: Free

AMZScout Pro

AMZScout Pro screenshot

AMZScout Pro is a trusted tool used to identify and calculate profitable products and trends. Its functionality differs a bit from many Amazon 3rd party tools, allowing the user enter a product keyword and view every bit of essential data.

You can view the tool's proprietary score for each ASIN, as well as demand forecasts, stock levels, FBA fee calculations, and competitor analysis.

Price: $44.99/month, $197/year, or $499 lifetime access.

Conclusion

wireless earbud search result

Amazon SEO can be considered an art, one that is composed of many elements each requiring its own fine-tuning. For sellers, this is the price to pay for access to the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace and hundreds of millions of customers.

In order to stand out and see significant sales on your listings, let alone traffic, many guidelines and best practices need to be followed.

For sellers who want to craft their own listings, and deliver the best possible candidates for Amazon’s search engine algorithms, proper care and diligence is required, as well as patience in tweaking and adjusting listing content.

If done correctly, the results can be extraordinarily lucrative, and entire brands can be built utilizing an Amazon SEO strategy.

If you have the patience and diligence required to craft your artwork of an Amazon listing, Amazon SEO can become your’s (and your bank account’s) new best friend.