Amazon’s A9 search algorithm

When selling or focusing on your future transition into the Amazon marketplace, you should pay close attention the following facts

The unique monthly visitors on the Amazon North American Marketplace totals around 100 million for desktop users and 70 million for mobile.

Across the pond in Europe, there are 80 million desktop and 45 million mobile.

There is a reason why Amazon has become such a powerhouse in today’s market. For example, where else can you find a quality trampoline, an in-home sauna, or a grill side countertop all in one place? Right… nowhere. Let alone this store being in the comfort of your own home!

On top of that, shoppers are 80% more likely to buy when on Amazon compared to Google, and there are three times as many buyers on Amazon!

Most companies who list products on Amazon see what we call a ‘blast effect,’ an instant increase in sales. Followed by, surprisingly, a decline in sales. Or, on the flip side, might not even experience the initial increase.

Picking apart Amazon’s A9 ppc

If you want success on Amazon, you need to understand how Amazon’s Search Algorithm works – right? For today I will focus on one, their PPC algorithm. A9 is the name of Amazon’s product search algorithm. Since this is a guide about ranking products on Amazon, it makes sense to start at the source.

A9’s official statement for how they calculate search results: “Our work starts long before a customer types a query. We have been analyzing data, observing past traffic patterns, and indexing the text describing every product in our catalog before the customer has even decided to search.”

– Amazon. Most of the buyers browsing your products have already been hand selected and tailored based on their past search patterns. Keeping this in mind while building listings and PPC campaigns for your company is critical.

Five key points on how ppc works on Amazon

  • Keyword Research Strategy
  • Bidding Strategy
  • Match Type Focus
  • Category
  • Optimization

keyword research

While initiating your keyword research, it is helpful to have a full understanding of keyword search volume.

There is software available that will help you determine the estimated search volumes for keywords you wish to be within your campaign.

First: Compile a bulk list of keywords and keyword phrases. Then thoroughly reread and niche down your list to the ones that are in direct relation to your product.

Creating a mix of words is essential. Using words and phrases with search volumes ranging from high to low will optimize multiple target markets.

High vs. low volume phrases

Keywords with high search volume can be very competitive and costly. Your bid for these words will be expensive, so be sure that the keyword directly correlates to the product you are selling.

Many people disregard key terms with low search volume, in reality, it should be the exact opposite. You could potentially be missing out on purchases from excluding these lower volume phrases. The competition for bids will most likely be very low. If the keyword phrase is in relation to your product, it is a cheap and easy way to make sure you are not missing out on potential customers.

optimal strategy

Your strategy should be choosing words that have a medium to high volume, or number count. If no one is searching for your keywords, then he or she will never see your product. However, you may want to include words that are at a low search volume.

Note that if too many competitors are using the same keywords, your content is bound to get lost in the shuffle.
For example, the keyword “trampoline” may be searched by millions daily, whereas “12 ft. trampoline” may only be searched by half.
Another vital part of keyword research is keyword relevancy. You want to select keywords that pertain to your content so that the reader or consumer finds exactly what they are looking for.

For example, imagine you own an athletic shoe company. Relevant keywords could be sports, outside or running shoes. Certainly, you would not choose keywords such as “evening attire.”

bidding strategy

Bidding High:

  1. If you believe that a keyword is going sell, bidding higher ensures more impressions and clicks.
    1. This can be costly so be sure to bid high on words you are confident in.
  2. Secondly, when bidding high, your chances for ranking are significantly easier. It may be costly, and you may lose some money at first.
    1. However, moving forward you can then decrease your bid and still win the bid slot.
  3. The final strategy when bidding high would be to only bid high for keywords that you know are directly correlated to your product.
    1. Bidding high on a phrase and exact match types will almost guarantee that you will generate more impressions and clicks; which would result in an increase in sales.

Bidding Low:

  1. A low bid option should be considered when the broad term is highly competitive, highly relates to your product, and the keyword has had poor performance, but still makes sales. If you are looking to run a PPC campaign, you have to know when to hold and when to fold. When you bid low on high-competition words, your ads will appear at a smaller fraction of the time. If you decide to run a campaign selling “running shoes” you may want to start the bid low, so you do not miss out on potential buyers. Keep in mind that low bids result in low clicks and impressions. For example, a trampoline company hoping to capture buyers searching for trampolines, it would be hard to gauge whether the term trampoline is worth the standard bids or not. Thus a low bid option is best.

match type

One should also consider the keyword match type when running a PPC campaign.

In other words, determining whether or not your keywords will be broad, phrase or an exact match.

For example, keywords that are broad like “running shoes” or “trampoline”? How about a phrase such as “summer running shoes” or simply “Nike shoes” as an exact match. Be careful not to flood the campaign with unwanted keywords such as hiking or weightlifting.


Based on your product’s category, Amazon’s A9 algorithm matches you with similar products in your specified category. If you make the crucial mistake of selecting the wrong category, then your keywords will not relate to the product. To play it safe, do a simple Amazon search using your products name and review the left-hand side of the screen to see which categories best work. You are looking for the main category and sub-supporting categories. Again, remember the athletic shoe company. You do not want to be listed under “appliances” or your keywords will never be searched. However, if you select “apparel” with a sub-category “outside footwear” you have a higher chance of gaining impressions in front of relevant buyers.

Making it all worthwhile

By using PPC, Software one can easily and efficiently determine which keywords and search terms are: receptive to the public, ones that will generate sales, ones without clear prominence, and certain which may fall flat.

Although this may take hours on hand, it is important to analyze all keyword reports.

Finally, optimize your PPC campaigns by doing the necessary research needed to determine which keywords are working effectively to your advantage and which are not.

Note, regular audits should be done every two weeks.

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