By Drew Estes
You’re ready to start selling a new product (or you’re struggling to sell one), but you’re not sure how to get it to page one search results. Thankfully, there are some reliable tricks to grow your sales rank.
Massview founder and CEO Paul Johnson runs multiple Amazon businesses which generate 6 and 7 figures annually. He’s mastered the tricks to get products to the top of search results, and he wants to help merchants like you do the same.
For this article, he’s provided a few powerful hacks to help you get new products off the ground.
Getting on the first page of search results for a keyword means a lot more organic (unpaid) traffic, and more traffic means more sales.
Once your listing looks great and is ready to convert, it’s time to board that train straight to the top.
The great part about Amazon’s search ranking algorithm (A9), is that it’s relatively simple. The biggest factor that you need to focus on is your average daily sales over the course of a given month.
Let’s say you’re selling Pokemon-themed coffee mugs (because you have great taste), so you want to focus on the keyword “pokemon mug.”
Using one of Massview’s keyword tools, you can see that this keyword gets a couple thousand searches per month on Amazon, but not a lot of buyers. From here you can see the minimum daily sales you need to maintain to rank for that keyword is just two. Two sales per day!
That means it’s easy to rank for, once you know what you’re doing.
So to rank on page one for “pokemon mug” over all 450ish listings, you need to drive at least 2 full-priced sales per day for your product, through that keyword.
This can be expensive in the beginning, but once you start consistently driving sales from shoppers seeing you in their search results, your daily sales will keep your product on top without any extra support.
The higher your review count, the easier it will become to stay at the top.
You can use ads to help generate those early sales, but it’s important to know these other, more effective tricks.
What’s a crazy fast way to get someone to buy your product? Give it to them for a huge discount.
At first you might be tempted to use coupon deals for this, but here’s the problem: coupon discounts don’t help your ranking as much, and Amazon doesn’t give those reviews the Verified Purchase badge (which helps your ranking and your conversion rate).
Deal platforms like Snagshout let you promote your Amazon products to an audience of early adopters, with an added perk: with each promo campaign you run, you can drive sales for whatever keyword you want to rank for.
This makes it easy to grow your product’s ranking for the right keywords. The only hurdle you need to clear is making sure your product generates enough full-priced sales to stay there.
This is easy when you have a ton of customer feedback on your listing, but even though Snagshout will help you get Verified Reviews, it’ll still be difficult to convert customers at full price until your review count gets higher.
That’s why you need to start with a lower “full price.”
Marking your product down to a low price is a great way to compensate for a lack of reviews, and will significantly boost your conversion rates until you’re able to maintain your page one ranking.
It might be enough to simply drop your price a little below your competitors, but sometimes that’s not enough. Setting your price at a breakeven point (so your costs equal your revenue, and you make no profit) sounds awful, but it’s a powerful way to boost sales and build credibility. Sometimes you might even need to sell at a loss for a period of time until your sales start to climb.
The idea here is to look at Amazon as a long-term game: your goal is to establish yourself in the market and gradually raise your prices. If you raise prices too quickly, you’ll see a drop in sales that the bigger profit margins won’t compensate for.
If your sales drop too much, you may lose your hard-earned ranking, so this strategy takes patience. Thankfully, you can always use rebates again to push your product back to the top if its rank starts to slip.
What you want to avoid is throwing away money on overly competitive keywords. Until you have a giant review count, it can be extremely difficult to maintain top rankings for popular keywords, especially when trying to sell at a profitable price. That’s where the strategy #3 comes in.
Bonus Tip: try setting your product prices to end in uncommon numbers (e.g. $24.88 instead of $24.99). Prices ending in 99 tend to be perceived as more of a sales gimmick, rather than being based on the actual value the customer gets. For a full explanation on how to set the most profitable price for your product, check out our post about ecommerce pricing strategy.
The most popular and most obvious keywords tend to draw the fiercest competition, so you want to be strategic about which keywords you aim to rank for. Here are two proven ways to use keywords to your advantage:
Use Long-Tail Keywords for Specific Shopper Intent
You might be familiar with the idea of long-tail keywords: that is, keywords which have lower search volume than more generic keywords, but have more specific customer intent behind them. Confusing? Don’t worry, it’s simpler than it sounds.
For instance, “water bottle” is going to have high search volume with people looking for all kinds of water bottles,, but “water bottle for biking” (the long-tail) is going to be easier to rank for.
In other words, there might be a ton of good water bottles under the search results for “water bottle,” but if a biker is looking for that specific style of bottle, they won’t be as interested in those other bottles compared to something that fits their needs better. So when they search with a more specific phrase, it filters out all the water bottle results that aren’t meant for biking, meaning there’s less competition for people like you, selling water bottles to bikers.
This means a few things, but mainly: (1) these keywords are less competitive, and therefore easier for you to rank for, and (2) since shoppers are searching with more specific intentions, they’re more likely to buy from you than they would for a more common keyword.
Now, this is Amazon SEO 101, but there are some lesser-known keyword tactics you should know as well.
Use Product Discovery Keywords to Catch Browsing Shoppers
Sometimes you have to think outside the box and figure out where your product might be the most appealing. If you’re selling a children’s puzzle for instance, you’re going to have a ton of competition and your product will blend in next to all the other puzzles on the search results page for “kids puzzle.”
To make matters worse, if shoppers see your product next to a bunch of other similar products, they’re going to rely even more on review count, total rating, and price. As a new product, you’ll be competing with products that may have thousands of reviews already, and you’ll have a hard time increasing your price. Not good.
However, if you target a keyword like “activities for kids” or “indoor games for kids,” you have a better chance at standing out from the crowd. These shoppers might not be looking specifically for your product, but they’re looking for a solution to their problem: they want to give their kids something to do.
Now, you may still have plenty of competition for these search results, but your puzzle is going to stand out a lot more, meaning shoppers can spend less time comparing review counts (a competition where a new product always loses), and more time wondering “which of these products seems like a good activity for my kids?” (a competition you can win).
As mentioned earlier, you can find keywords like this using Massview’s keyword tools, such as the Related Keyword Finder. It’ll help you find related keywords to the ones you search, and even show you keywords that don’t contain any of the same words.
Before you just jump in and start running full-on ranking campaigns with your new keywords, you need to test the product first.
Why is this? Because even though these keywords might be great, and are getting a ton of traffic without much competition, you need to make sure they’re the right keywords for your specific product.
And unless you’re already stuck with the product you want to sell (for instance, if you’re an established business entering Amazon), you might just find that this product won’t do as well as you thought.
You might be selling the same product as the next guy, but due to differences in product quality, review count, or product positioning, shoppers searching those keywords might not pay much attention to you. (At least, not yet).
To pick the keywords and products that will actually convert, we like to run Pay-Per-Click (known as PPC, or CPC) campaigns, in the form of Amazon Sponsored Products ads.
By focusing each ad on a different keyword, you get two important metrics. First, you learn the clickthrough rate (CTR), which gives you a sense for how well your listing captures the interest of shoppers scrolling through search results. Second, you learn your conversion rate, or the percentage of people landing on your page who actually end up buying the product.
Both of these are useful numbers to track. For this test, if you see your product is performing much better for some keywords than others, these are the keywords you’ll want to focus on for now.
If none of the keywords are working, it’s time to test new keywords, or even a new product.
If the product does well, work these keywords into your listing, then run rebate campaigns to drive sales targeting them so you can start showing up at the top of search results.
Launching a new product is hard for a lot of reasons. Everyone knows it can be expensive, but not always in the way you expect.
While you might think that you’ll just be spending money on Amazon Sponsored Products ads or Facebook ads, this is only part of it. That’s because ads alone aren’t enough to reach the top.
To launch a product quickly and effectively, you’ll want to use rebates to help get your target daily sales numbers. Platforms like Snagshout can help you get these early sales while also boosting your review count.
You’ll also want to set your early prices low — sometimes painfully low — until enough people are buying each day that you can start raising them again.
Lastly, you’ll want to avoid fierce competition by using strategic keywords. Focus on long-tail keywords and unexpected “product discovery” keywords, so you can easily build your rank for those keywords and generate sales without spending too much.
And don’t forget to validate your keywords with PPC! It costs a bit in the beginning, but will save you a ton of headache (and money) in the long term.
We find that after choosing a good product, when we follow these steps we can launch it to the top (and keep it there) within a month or two. It’ll take some work, but you can do the same for your product, too.
If you enjoyed this article and want other ways to increase your Amazon sales, check out our free Ultimate Guide to Increasing Amazon Sales.