Amazon US search ranking changes Storage location determines ranking

Storage location impacts Amazon US search ranking

Amazon is flapping its wings and shaking up the pyramid structure.

Since the beginning of this year, Amazon has made numerous modifications to existing regulations, among which the adjustment of search ranking is worth mentioning. There have been sellers reporting significant changes in the autocomplete and ABA rankings, and the Wall Street Journal has reported that the search ranking for the US site has been adjusted, with products closer to the storage location being ranked higher.

01 Storage location determines ranking

After improving its delivery and inventory systems during the epidemic, Amazon is now displaying products located closest to the warehouse at the top of search results for buyers.

Udit Madan, Vice President of Amazon Transportation, told the Wall Street Journal that this is one of many measures taken by the e-commerce giant in recent years to speed up the delivery process. According to Madan, Amazon’s data shows that the faster the delivery speed, the more likely customers are to become repeat customers.

As online shopping demand has significantly increased during the epidemic, Amazon has also expanded warehouse space and recruited personnel to meet demand, with its warehouse space almost doubling in two years.

Prior to the epidemic, Amazon would ship items nationwide regardless of where they were stored, which was usually more expensive than using regional warehouses. However, as Amazon hoped to reduce costs and utilize its increased warehouse space, the company has divided its US logistics distribution network into eight regions, storing regularly ordered items in each region to keep transportation as localized as possible, which can save time and costs.

In order to achieve localized transportation, Amazon’s search results may place products closer to specific shoppers at a higher position on the page. For sellers, the adjustment of search ranking will inevitably bring changes in traffic. For example, if a seller has inventory in all regions, they will receive more organic traffic. Conversely, small sellers with fewer products will receive less organic search traffic.

With the change in Amazon’s rules, I wonder how many sellers are panicking once again.

02 Changes in Search Suggestions and ABA Ranking

“Recently, the product’s order volume and keyword ranking changes have been very strange. Daily order volume fluctuations are large, advertising exposure does not decrease but click-through rates have decreased significantly. Even with a budget that was previously insufficient, it now can’t be spent at all. Even if CPC is increased, advertising spending still decreases,” said one seller.

Using the example of Canadian Bluetooth noise-cancelling earphones, an interesting phenomenon was discovered when looking at the ABA ranking of keywords over the past few weeks:

Image source: Zhiwubuyan

As shown in the above figure, the keyword “noise cancelling headphones bluetooth” was ranked first among keywords containing “noise cancelling” in weeks 15-17, with an ABA ranking of around 1000. However, in week 18, it suddenly dropped to second place, with an ABA ranking of over 2000.

Meanwhile, the long-tail keyword “headphones bluetooth wireless noise cancelling” dominated, with an ABA ranking jumping from 30,000 to around 2000, without any logical reason.

Through the search box, it can be seen that “headphones bluetooth wireless noise cancelling” is also ranked second in the dropdown list, second only to the big keyword “headphones bluetooth wireless” (ABA ranking 719 in week 18).

Image source: Zhiwubuyan

To determine whether only this one keyword was affected, and whether the change occurred only in week 18, the seller conducted a statistical analysis of other keywords for Bluetooth noise-cancelling earphones from weeks 15-18, as shown below:

In order to determine if there is only one keyword and if there was only a change in the 18th week, the seller did a statistics on other key words of Bluetooth noise cancelling earphones from the 15th to the 18th week. The statistics are as follows: those marked green are ABA<10000 and those marked blue are 1000030000.

Image source: Zhiwubuyan

From the table above, it can be seen that from the 15th to the 17th week, there were no significant changes in the ranking of the same keyword ABA. However, starting from the 18th week, besides the long-tail keyword “headphones bluetooth wireless noise cancelling” mentioned above, there were a large number of other related keywords that had a significant increase or decrease in ranking, which is not in line with actual logic.

To verify this, two more keywords were entered into the search box for keyword analysis of the drop-down menu. It can be seen that there are a large number of long-tail keywords in the drop-down menu, rather than the commonly searched big words.

It can be seen that when searching for “noise”, the following long-tail keywords appear in the drop-down menu, and the ABA ranking has increased significantly:

“noise cancelling headphones for adults”, ABA ranking increased from 12W to 1W; “noise cancelling headphones for kids”, ABA ranking increased from 5K to 4K (this keyword did not change much, maybe because its ranking was already high from the 15th to the 17th week);

“noise cancelling earbuds for sleeping”, ABA ranking increased from 4W to 1W; “noise cancelling headset”, ABA ranking increased from 10W to 2W.

For keywords that did not appear in the search box or ranked lower, the ABA ranking also decreased significantly:

“noise cancelling headphones bluetooth”, ranked 6th in the search box, ABA ranking increased from 1K to 2K;

“noise cancelling ear plugs”, ranked 9th in the search box, ABA ranking increased from 1W to 2W;

“headphones noise cancelling”, not found in the search box, ABA ranking increased from 1.7W to 3W.

Many sellers can empathize with the ABA data. Some sellers said, “I pay attention to the ABA data. Previously, the big keywords ranked high, but gradually became long-tail keywords with higher rankings. At the same time, the conversion rate of the big keywords was very poor. I thought it was due to the market decline.”

Some sellers also said, “Recently, there are indeed problems with the dropdown search terms. Previously, they were ranked according to search volume. Now, the word with the largest search volume is not displayed.”

The changes in Amazon’s rules will affect the daily operations of sellers comprehensively. Next, sellers can only watch and wait… Perhaps they should also understand the principle of not putting all their eggs in one basket, not just focusing on one platform or one region.

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