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Archived Author Help > I don't understand Amazon's ranking system

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message 1: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) I was just looking for my book on Amazon, using one of my keyword phrases... my book showed up halfway down the second page of search results. That's not bad.

But what confused me was that most of the books that showed up before mine had 1) FAR lower Amazon seller's rank, 2) FAR lower rankings in the subgenres, and 3) far fewer reviews and far lower review averages.

So, how do they decide the order to list books in, based on a search? Can someone explain this to me? Help me understand?

Thanks!

April


message 2: by Owen (last edited Aug 16, 2015 07:45PM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments In a word, I can't (OK, two words). When I search on Amazon, there's a drop-down that returns results sorted by date, price, featured, average review, and "relevance". How a search algorithm determines "relevance" is basically "magic". And it's not-very-good magic. "Relevance" seems to be the default, and there is not a option for sales ranking.

I think that explains what you are seeing.


message 3: by Jay (new)

Jay Cole (jay_cole) April wrote: "I was just looking for my book on Amazon, using one of my keyword phrases... my book showed up halfway down the second page of search results. That's not bad.

But what confused me was that most o..."


I doubt most of the people at Amazon understand their ranking system. The algorithm used is not something that they're eager to advertise since there are those who are more interested in scamming the system than providing a good book to Amazon's customers.

All is not lost however. Although I'm hesitant to recommend any particular book, I've read several authors who claim their insights will improve your ranking at Amazon. Some of them, particularly those basing their advice on progressively testing and refining your SEO, make a good deal of sense. However, I'm very skeptical of anyone offering a "magic formula" for success.

The only advice I'd be willing to commit to is telling you to take an eclectic approach to ideas for improving your ranking. If an idea makes sense to you, try it, and give it a few weeks to show results. If things don't improve, try something else.

I know it's difficult to have patience, but you're certainly not alone searching for better result.


message 4: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Most likely these other books have been around longer and have been clicked on more often. Just because a book now has a lower ranking doesn't mean much. If it's been out for years, it might have been a best seller or even just a better seller at some point.


message 5: by Erica (new)

Erica Stinson (goodreadscomerica_r_stinson) | 139 comments I'm still trying to improve on keywords. I have an e-book somewhere that tells how to best utilize Amazon keywords and how to get your book higher on the list etc. because I am really trying to get more visibility. My ranking did go up some today but I think that's only because somebody is reading pages of my book, so I guess I'll find out tomorrow what happened today. It's a fluctuates so much it is a little frustrating and confusing though


message 6: by Jay (new)

Jay Cole (jay_cole) Christina wrote: "Most likely these other books have been around longer and have been clicked on more often. Just because a book now has a lower ranking doesn't mean much. If it's been out for years, it might have b..."

Good point! A book's history may be part of Amazon's calculation.


message 7: by Ellison (new)

Ellison Blackburn (ellisonblackburn) | 130 comments I love this group. It's so insightful. Just saying thanks for the wonderful knowledge everyone provides.


message 8: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina wrote: "Most likely these other books have been around longer and have been clicked on more often. Just because a book now has a lower ranking doesn't mean much. If it's been out for years, it might have b..."

This is an excellent point. One way to measure "relevance" is how many times people click on a specific search result (a product) for a given keyword (or phrase) search. When browsing search results, the products people click on are those they deem to relevant to their query, and it would make sense to for Amazon to track that. There may be other factors as well (related keywords, other text) but that could be the main driver here.


message 9: by Grey (new)

Grey Liliy (greyliliy) | 19 comments Owen wrote: "This is an excellent point. One way to measure "relevance" is how many times people click on a specific search result (a product) for a given keyword (or phrase) search."

*points up* Owen pretty much is on the right path. Your book will go up in the "Relevance" listing the more times people click on it after a search.

You'll notice that every time you click a product link on Amazon, there's usually a long string of text after the product that starts with "ref=" - everything after that is sending information to Amazon about what keywords were active when the link was clicked, and where they clicked it from. Aka, did you click this link from the search, the recommended products, or an affiliate link? Sort of thing.

It's all sending info back to the server.

Which is why when you directly link to products, you only really need the information before the "ref" starts on the line.

So yes, the more people search for your name and click on your book, the higher up in the search results you go (when it comes to relevance, anyway). :3


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