It’s June 2021, but we’re still talking about 2020. It was a tumultuous year, and the ecommerce landscape morphed accordingly as people’s lives and lifestyles radically changed. We documented many of these impacts throughout the year, but through all the commotion, there’s one impact that seemed to slip under the radar. Sometime in late 2020, Amazon rolled out a new search algorithm, referred to as A10. This A10 algorithm replaces the A9 algorithm that Amazon had utilized for years before. While many of the core components of the algorithm remain unchanged, we’ll discuss the key changes and how you may need to adjust your search strategy accordingly.
What does the A10 algorithm do?
Like the A9 algorithm before it, at its core the A10 algorithm’s job is to comb through Amazon’s millions of product listings, titles, detail page content, pricing, sales history and customer purchase history to find the most relevant products for a customer’s given search. These data points are all factored into which products rise to the top for a given query, as well as: conversion rate, click-through-rate, organic sales, paid search sales, profitability, customer reviews and even seller authority.
Amazon’s search algorithm has different weights assigned to each of the metrics that determines a product’s placement within search results. With the roll-out of A10, the weighting of these metrics has shifted in ways that focus on a better customer experience:
- External traffic driven to Amazon product pages now has greater weight
- The A9 algorithm had a relatively strong Amazon profitability bias factored in. A10 has pulled back that bias in favor of better product relevancy for customer searches
- Consistent availability and a steady sales history are now more important than ever
- Sponsored search ad impressions, clicks and sales have less impact on organic search results with A10 (though not entirely removed)
- Click-through-rate (CTR) remains a key component of determining product relevancy and is now bolstered by a greater weight on conversion rate as well
What does this mean for Amazon search strategy?
Although the components remain the same, these weight shifts have potentially large consequences to search results.
- CTR and conversion over all else. While compelling images and accurate titles are key components of any winning search strategy, price tends to reign supreme when it comes to CTR and conversion rate. If multiple products are variated together on a detail page, consider showcasing your trial sizes or less premium products over others, and optimize your paid search keyword selection and bidding accordingly.
- Drive external traffic to Amazon. Coordinate with your social, influencer and programmatic display partners to ensure your Amazon channel is getting a fair slice of the pie, as this will have an even greater influence over organic search than it has historically.
- Be consistently buyable! It goes without saying, being available with fast shipping and owning the buy-box have always been crucial to organic search success, but now more than ever.
One watch-out. Amazon has given ground on their ability to squeeze profitability out of search results with the A10 algorithm, favoring customer experience instead. This means your Amazon counterparts may be looking to claw back that profitability in other areas of the business. We are seeing Amazon taking firmer stances on CRAP’d ASINs, advertising eligibility due to profitability, and operations related chargebacks. Ensure you allocate the time and resources to address these, as it will likely take some tough negotiating and additional time to address these issues as they arise.