What is Amazon’s BSR?

Any e-commerce seller who has made at least one sale on Amazon will notice that their product is added to the Amazon BSR (best seller rank) list. You can spot this easily in the product description. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the significance of a best seller ranking and how it can help your business.

After all, a big part of any winning strategy on Amazon entails getting your product listings to appear prominently at the top of relevant search results. It’s one of the key ways you reach customers. And a lot of it boils down to SEO (Search engine optimization).

So let’s begin by breaking down and explaining what the best-sellers rank list is and what it means for your e-commerce business on Amazon.

What is the Amazon Best Sellers Rank?

As the name indicates, the Amazon Best Sellers Rank simply lists out products in terms of their sales volume. In a nutshell, the more you sell, the better your ranking will be. The highest-selling rankings appear at the top of the list.

For example, if your product is listed at #305, it means there are presumably 304 products that sell better. A crucial point you should note is that the rankings are based on overall sales data and don’t necessarily group similar products in the same category in ranking.  

In short, the best seller ranking isn’t taken as an indicator of how successful a particular product category is. It only shows you how many sales the product listings have attracted.

If you’re interested in exploring which categories are in demand, you should try the sub-category best-seller lists which give you more specific insight into the success of a product type.

How to spot a best-selling product?

You can identify Amazon Best Sellers by a distinct-looking orange icon that shows up on the product. Another way you can find top best-sellers is by selecting any specific category. The highest sellers at the moment instantly appear on the page. Additionally, you can find the BSR for any given product given under the listing.

Interesting things you should know about Amazon’s BSR:

  • The Amazon BSR list uses past data as well as recent sales records to rank products, based on an assigned score. It is worth noting that you might find a product ranked differently in a certain category as opposed to its sub-category.

Some products are also listed under multiple categories.  Which means their rankings might differ under each other. For example, a product that’s ranked at #41 under Kitchen & Dining might be ranked at #51 under Home and Garden, even though it’s the same product. This is because the products are ranked in comparison to other products under the same category.

  • Some products have different rankings under separate sub-categories, as we just mentioned. Additionally, rankings may differ based on the web address. For example, the BSR of a particular product may be #789 on Amazon.co.uk and #44 on Amazon.com.
  •  Amazon BSR list is prone to changes and fluctuations. This is because the ranking is based on sales performance. So a product may keep climbing up the list if it’s experiencing a boom in sales compared to a high-ranking product that has been stagnant recently. 
  • Amazon BSR may be a difficult tool for predicting sales but is incredibly handy for ascertaining products that are in demand at the moment and over a period of time as well. We touched on this in a previous lesson, where we mentioned how Amazon BSR is useful when it comes to deciding what product you want to sell on the website.

How does Amazon Calculate the Best-Sellers Rank?

We can’t be precise or entirely sure how exactly the Amazon Bestsellers Rank is determined – The company has maintained to keep the actual process a secret for obvious reasons. However, we can make a reasonable guess about the factors that can affect and contribute to changing a product’s ranking. Based on what we know so far, the BSR takes the following into account:

  • Sales Volume (Current Data and Past Data)
  • Price fluctuations
  • Competing products in the same category.

Hourly updates and Historical Sales Data

As we just mentioned, Amazon updates its BSR list hourly. Consider, for instance, that your direct competitor made only 2 sales in the past hour whereas you sold 30 units. Your BSR ranking would be much better (lower than your competitors) on account of this.

Now let’s say that in the next hour you sold 4 units whereas your competitor sold 5. You’d still maintain your lower ranking because, as we mentioned, past sales data is taken into consideration as well.  This is what we mean when we say that the algorithm accounts for both your current sales data and past sales data. A sudden decline in sales won’t reflect in any drastic rank-dropping.

International ranking

Another point worth mentioning is that your product’s BSR is evaluated based on which site you’re selling on. If it’s an international site, say, Amazon.co.uk, then your product’s ranking will be calculated accordingly. This means that your competing products might differ based on the location of the site you’re selling on.

What’s a Good Amazon Best Seller Rank?

It is very difficult to say what makes a good BSR ranking, mostly because the stakes for each category are different. A generally reliable rule to follow is the lesser products there are, the lower your rank needs to be. If you’re ranked way down on the list in a category full of high-demand products that sell really fast, chances are you’re not doing too bad. At the same time, if the category doesn’t attract much demand, then the further down the list you are, the lesser your prospects of making a sale are.

The Ideal Benchmark

Considering the fact that Amazon is home to millions of products across varying categories, gaining a rank that’s less than 2500 is a great place for beginners. Products that fall under this benchmark are most likely in high demand.

Taking a Reverse Approach

Since the same product can be ranked differently under multiple categories, we need to note that what’s considered a “good” ranking can also differ widely. A good strategy for deciding an ideal Best Seller Ranking range is to take a reverse approach. In other words, decide what you want the average sales volume to be for the product each day and each month, then find out what ranking that falls under.

Let’s say I want to make at least 5 sales each day for a Home & Kitchen product, which is an average of 150 sales a month. Now what I need to do is find out what the BSR is for a Home & Garden product that sells around 150 items a month. Once I pinpoint that, I can decide what the ideal ranking range I’m pursuing should be.

In short, it makes more sense to decide how much your sales should be and then find out what the matching BSR is for a product that sells on that level.

The Difference Between Amazon Best Sellers Ranking and Organic Ranking:

Let’s clarify firsthand that the Amazon Best Sellers Rank of your product and the organic rank mean two different things. Just because you’ve achieved a better BSR score doesn’t necessarily mean that your product will rank well for certain keywords and search terms.

Amazon BSR indicates how well your product is performing in terms of sales. Your organic ranking, on the other hand, is determined largely by keywords. The type of keywords you use affects how and where your product appears on the organic search results.

Think of it this way, your organic ranking centers largely on how well you’ve optimized the product title, description, and overall listing using relevant keywords and search terms. Your BSR depicts how well you’re selling during a specific time frame.

To make it simple:

 “Your BSR shows how well the product ranks based on sales whereas the organic ranking shows you how well the product ranks for a given keyword. “

The Indirect link between Amazon Best Sellers Ranking and Organic Ranking:

So far we’ve shown how the two rankings are different. So in what way are they linked to each other?

“The more optimized your product listing is, the higher up you rank organically. This in turn means your product appears on relevant search results. The more frequently your product appears, the more likely you are to make sales. The more sales you make, the higher up you climb on the Best Seller Ranking.”

However, keep in mind that it is not at all unusual for a product that sells really well through organic search to have a bad BSR score. This can be the case for small-scale products in local markets. 

3 ways to make the most of Amazon’s BSR:

Know your product’s demand

The BSR list indicates how fast a product is selling during a given season or time period. This informs your research, especially when you’re looking for a product that has a high potential for sales. Products with a BSR of 2500 or less are generally a good place to start. However, there are exceptions to this benchmark, since Amazon hosts millions of products from diverse categories.

Know your competitors

As we discussed earlier, organic ranking and sellers’ ranking are two different things. However, they do tend to inform and influence changes in each other. A great way you can utilize the BSR is as a tool to find competitors and see how well they are performing. If they consistently outdo you in sales, then it’s about time you start investing seriously in optimizing your product listings with the right keywords and other SEO strategies. After all, the goal is to drive sales and ultimately, BSR is an indication of how well you’ve succeeded in doing this.

Know your sales performance

Another advantage of having the Best Sellers Rank is that it allows you to keep track of your sales performance in a very empirical way, using reliable metrics. For example, you can find what your BSR is and establish a link between the rank and your sales performance for the month. Using this and past data, you’ll have a general idea of how many sales you need to make on average in order to get further up towards the top of the list.

When you make sales online and compete with similar sellers from different parts of the world, it’s important to note that you’ll mostly be dealing in estimates. However, these are still valuable data because they are based on actual recorded transactions.

How Can I Improve My Amazon Best Sellers Rank?

Your organic ranking doesn’t directly affect your BSR nor does the BSR have any direct bearing on the organic ranking. The key deciding factor in achieving a better Best Seller rank is making more sales, plain and simple. However, you need to outsell your competitors on a regular basis to accomplish this. As we’ve mentioned earlier, a sudden drop in sales or a boon doesn’t make any drastic or noticeable change to the BSR. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at some key things you can do to boost your best-seller ranking, either directly or indirectly.

Optimize your listing

As an e-commerce seller, you need to make sure that you use the most relevant keywords strategically in your product listings. This plays a key role in accelerating your product’s popularity through heightened visibility on the website.

Optimizing your listing for search is crucial to a winning BSR strategy. Make sure you describe your product in crisp, clear terms. Use quality images, bullet points, and compelling copy to make it easy for your audience to grasp what the product is all about.

Pricing is key

As we’ve discussed in previous lessons, pricing can greatly affect your sales performance. It can also be decisive in helping you win the buy box, which gives you a competitive edge in the online market.

Make your product images compelling

We listed out several guidelines for product images that you can refer to in the previous lesson. Amazon is an e-commerce website that’s proliferated with all kinds of product images from every corner around the world.

Your goal is to stand out by emphasizing quality. One way you can do this is by using high-resolution images of the product captured in the best possible way, using a professional setting. 

A few quick things you can pay attention to is making sure the images support zooming in, are well-lit, and come with size and dimension details. 

Giving your audience an idea of the product’s exact proportion will help you avoid unnecessary product returns and adds a layer of transparency to your business that fosters a sense of trust and confidence in your brand.

The Amazon Sponsored Program

Amazon offers an advertising program for e-commerce sellers to organically enhance their product ranking on the search results through targeted promotional images of your product, displayed at varying intervals across the online marketplace.

Use Relevant Keywords, Even Hidden Ones

In addition to keywords that are visible to customers, Amazon Seller Central also allows you a feature to use search terms that describe the product information in the same manner metadata informs Google about a particular page. By going a step further this way, you can ensure high visibility and make good use of the search algorithm to work in your favor.

Better Reviews, Better Sales

Try to boost your product reviews. This is a strategy that partly helps with optimization, boosting your organic rank further up the algorithm’s results. It also helps instill confidence and encourages other prospective customers who might be on the fence about your product, to make the final decision. Furthermore, a negative review indirectly helps you detect flaws in your marketing or product, enabling you to improve in areas you might not be aware of.

Positive product reviews and high ratings should not be underestimated. They act as a type of online word-of-mouth marketing tool that helps you boost sales. So always make sure you encourage customers to offer feedback.

Amazon’s Choice and Amazon Best Seller

Let’s explain the key difference between Amazon Choice and Amazon Best Seller.

Amazon Choice is awarded to unique products that perform outstandingly, based on an algorithm that possibly uses keyword placement as a deciding factor for choosing.

In other words, there can be up to 100 Amazon bestsellers in a single page for a certain category, but Amazon’s choice is reserved for the most outstanding product in that category.

Do promotions help boost your rank?

It is also worth noting that any sudden increase in sales resulting from certain promotional offers or discounts doesn’t necessarily lead to a better Best Seller Ranking. This could be a way of deterring e-commerce sellers from attempting to manipulate the ranking by taking a shortcut.

The Takeaway

Let’s quickly summarize the link between sales, optimization, and best-sellers ranking with everything we’ve discussed so far: 

One of the key ways to rank higher on the BSR is by making consistent sales. In order to do that, you need to work on listing optimization. By placing the right keywords and making the product listing attractive, you’ll be able to appear on the relevant search results. The more customers buy from you, the higher up you grow in organic ranking, and the higher your sales become. Eventually, this translates into a much more favorable Amazon Best Seller Ranking.

Amazon has no doubt become one of the most important e-commerce giants and product search engines across the world. In order to help your business succeed on the super-crowded platform, where product owners from all over the globe compete for local markets, you need to climb up the bestseller ranks and make an impression. It’s also equally important to turn up on the right search results.

The Amazon Bestsellers rank may not seem as important as the Buy box button or the Amazon Choice Award, which actually can be utilized to push sales. However, you shouldn’t overlook its importance as a valuable metric that gives you insight into how well your business is doing. It helps you notice where you stand in the market and drives you to think of ways to grow.

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