Rankings often help put things in perspective. The same is true with Amazon's Best Sellers Rank (BSR). Amazon has established a ranking system for millions of products sold under hundreds of categories and sub-categories. This ranking tells consumers which items lead the charge in different product categories.
However, Amazon BSR is not a simple ranking based on a single factor. In addition, Amazon doesn't fully reveal how it calculates BSR for a particular product. This lack of information has stemmed a lot of confusion among sellers and buyers about BSR.
Is BSR a comparative ranking of products in a category?
Do good reviews and prices have anything to do with the BSR?
Is it just a number that makes sellers feel good or bad about their listing?
This blog will try to clear all such confusion regarding Amazon BSR. Also, we will try to make sense of how BSR is calculated and how sellers can use it to derive some valuable insights for their businesses.
Before delving deep into understanding the dynamics of BSR, it is imperative to know what Amazon says about BSR.
According to Amazon:
The Amazon Best Sellers calculation is based on Amazon sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.
With the above definition, it is obvious that BSR primarily reflects the sales of an item. However, while the e-commerce giant confirms that BSR is based on sales, it still doesn’t reveal the exact method used to calculate this category-based ranking.
BSR is like any other race where every contestant strives to get to the podium. Since Amazon has hundreds and thousands of listings in each product category, BSR is not just about the top 3 or even top 10 positions. Even ending up among the top 50, 100, or even 500 BSRs is sometimes a success.
For sellers, the most intriguing thing about BSR is how it's calculated, primarily because Amazon doesn’t tell how it comes up with those rankings.
Amazon only spells out that it uses recent and historical sales data to determine BSR. How is this sales data processed and used to calculate BSR? There's complete silence from the smiling A on this.
By Amazon's definition, sales volume is the single most significant factor that decides the Best Sellers Rank. Nowhere does Amazon hint at using any other factor (price, secondary listings, reviews, ratings, etc) to calculate the BSR of any product.
Nonetheless, a group of Amazon experts thinks that Amazon’s ranking algorithm is not big on the sales volume generated through discounted prices. In other words, they imply that among two products with similar features and sales volume, the one with discounted price will rank lower.
Some sellers and experts also believe that recent sales data often weighs more than historical sales data when determining BSR. It means a new listing with bumper sales can outperform an old listing on the BSR chart.
However, these are just theories and assumptions in the end. No Amazon guideline and document mention price as a factor in BSR calculation. Similarly, Amazon doesn’t acknowledge having partiality for either recent or historical sales data.
Despite all the ambiguity shrouding BSR calculation, there is no confusion about historical and recent sales numbers being the main ranking factors. So, we will create a hypothesis around these two data points to understand how the BSR of a product may go up, down, or remain stable.
We’ll use these assumptions to play out that scenario.
If product B jumps to the 14th spot in the last 24 hours, its overall sales volume might have exceeded Product A's. It can happen if product A hasn’t had any sales during the previous 24 hours, and product B experiences 100 or more sales in the same duration.
Suppose product B has more sales than product A in the last 24 hours. However, those sales don’t affect their BSRs. In this case, it only means one thing: the historic sales number of product A might still be higher than product B.
The above discussion makes it quite clear that the improvement in BSRs is directly linked to sales— the more sales, the better BSR. So, if you want to improve your listing’s BSR, you need to jack up your sales.
While improving BSR solely depends on sales numbers, the sale itself depends on many different factors. Here, we will talk about those factors that can collectively help you increase sales and subsequently improve the BSR of your listings.
Once you decide to sell a product and list it on Amazon, you need to find the most relevant keywords for it. Those relevant keywords will be buyers' search queries for similar products. You can do this research manually and through intuitive Amazon keyword tools. A tool will always give you more nuanced and accurate results than manual research.
Once you have all the super-relevant keywords ready, integrate them into the different parts of your listing. For instance, add the most relevant and high search volume keywords in the product title and bullet points. Then, add them contextually in the product description as well. If you’re a Brand owner and using A+ Content for your listing, make sure the text there is also rich in relevant keywords.
Lastly, you can put the remaining keywords (that can’t be used in the title, bullets, or description) in the Backend Keyword (Search Terms) column.
Amazon algorithms always favor well-thought-out keyword placement while crawling and indexing listings for relevant search queries. This will improve the visibility of the listing for relevant search queries and that will eventually translate into more sales.
While keywords optimize your listings for Amazon algorithms, product images, short and crisp bullets, and descriptions do the trick for the audience visiting your product page. Visitors spend more time on your listing when a listing features high-definition shots of the given product with easy and informative text descriptions. Subsequently, they are more likely to make a purchase.
PPC and organic clicks usually cover most of the engagement any listing gets. Therefore, most sellers also focus their energies on these two avenues. While you need to be on top of your game with PPC and organic clicks, you should also focus on user traffic that doesn’t come from Google or Amazon e.g. social media platforms.
Promote your brand and products on SM platforms. When you succeed in convincing the “outside” audience to visit your Amazon listing, you essentially brighten the chances of more conversions. You can also team up with websites and blogs that are part of the Amazon Affiliate Program. They can promise you a significant chunk of “outside” traffic.
This strategy pays off when you are neck-and-neck with your competitors on organic and PPC fronts. Having non-Amazon and non-Google traffic will act as a tiebreaker and let you stay ahead of your competitors with accumulative traffic and conversions.
Reviews are social proof of how good or bad a product is. In the online world, customers give product reviews a lot of importance. They often base their purchase decision on the collective verdict of a product page’s review section. Therefore, if you want to improve your sales and BSR, you need to get more reviews from your customers.
It is observed that dissatisfied customers are quick to leave reviews. In contrast, happy and content customers often just leave the rating and move on. Therefore, you need to get reviews from as many satisfied consumers as possible. You can use the Amazon seller-buyer messaging service to send a reminder to such customers. Diligently sending this reminder can make a difference and helps you increase the number of reviews on your listing.
Keeping the prices slightly lower than competitors always pays off for any seller. When you have a fully optimized listing that has made a good first impression, a competitive price often acts as a deciding factor for many potential buyers sifting through multiple listings simultaneously.
To sum it up, improving sales that improve BSR is a great combo. On one hand, your net revenue and profit swell. On the other hand, ending up on the top 100 BSR page of the given product category boosts your confidence as a seller.
Best Sellers Rank and organic rank are the two definitive Amazon rankings for listings. As a seller, you should know how they are different and which is more important.
Best Sellers Rank is primarily a listing position in relevant product categories and sub-categories. Historical and recent sales volumes essentially derive these rankings. Meanwhile, the organic rank of any listing is its position on Amazon Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for the relevant search queries (keywords).
Organic ranking is of utmost importance for sellers since it showcases their listings to the buyers actively looking for that product. It is not the case with BSR. Also, BSR is not a prominent listing feature that quickly catches customers’ attention. It is often hidden in the Product Information section along with other pieces of information.
The BSR of a listing has little or nothing to do with sales. It is rare among customers to use top-100 BSR pages to search for products. Even when customers open a listing and go through its content, they are more invested in bullets, product descriptions, and reviews instead of its Best Sellers Rank.
On the other hand, the organic ranking of a listing has a direct connection to its sales. Therefore, a listing that organically ranks better than other listings for related and relevant keywords experiences more sales.
The importance of organic rank over BSR is also illustrated in the below example.
Belkin Portable Power Bank organically ranks 3rd for the keyphrase "portable power bank". Meanwhile, it has BSR in three product categories and sub-categories, and none of them is anywhere top 100.
Having a 3rd organic rank for such a high-volume and competitive keyword means the listing garners loads of sales. However, if we look at its BSRs, none are even double-digit positions. It shows that a seller needs to focus on improving the organic ranking of its listing. Having a top BSR is always a good thing, but there's no need to fixate on it. The improvement in BSRs is just a byproduct of having good sales.
THE following image can summarize both BSR and organic rank and their connection with sales and each other.
Amazon hasn’t revealed much about the best sellers ranking system. Therefore, many theories and assumptions float around on the significance and implications of BSR. Here, we will debunk those myths and separate facts from fiction.
Ranking among top BSRs might be good for a seller’s self-esteem. However, it doesn’t derive more sales. In fact, it’s the other way around (sales improve BSR). Good organic rank, convincing product details (description, images, etc), good ratings, and positive reviews are the driving factors behind more sales.
BSR and organic rank are not mutually inclusive. There is no guarantee that if your listing has a top BSR, it will also be among the top organic rankers for the relevant keywords. BSR has nothing to do with how the Amazon search engine and SERP work. You can have top BSRs missing from above-the-fold positions on relevant Amazon SERPs and vice versa.
Reviews and ratings play an integral role for conversions. Higher conversions mean better sales volume and eventually better BSR. However, customer feedback is not directly linked to BSR calculation. You can find products with very few reviews and ratings among the top 50 and 100 BSRs.
It is another prevailing misinformation regarding the calculation of BSR. Amazon doesn’t fully reveal the criteria to assign BSRs. It only says that recent and historical sales volumes are used to calculate BSR. So, we can’t say if having more sales in the last month can help a listing beat its competitor that has more overall sales.
Best Sellers Ranks are not as significant for sales as organic ranks. However, they are still a vital performance metric for sellers. You can use BSR rankings and interpret them to get helpful seller insights. Let’s see how.
The top-100 BSR pages of Amazon are a great sneak peek into different product categories and niches. You can sift through them to find what items are in demand in a particular category. Also, the top 100 BSRs of any product category and sub-category can give you a fair idea of the ongoing competition in that niche. In short, BSR exploration can validate and add nuance to your product research.
You can also use BSR standings to see how your competitors are performing against your listing and each other. The fluctuations in BSRs can tell you which competitor listing is experiencing more sales. BSR positions can also tell you how well your competitors have performed historically. For instance, an unwavering BSR suggests that the corresponding listing boasts a good overall sales volume.
Knowing the sales volume of your competitors can help you make more informed business decisions. BSRs can also help you with that. First, you need to keep track of your own sales volume and BSR every month to make those estimates. Then, once you have data for 5-6 months, you can make rough estimations about the sales volume of competitors by looking at their BSRs.
The table below has the sales volume and BSR range for six months.
Going by the above sales and BSR data, you can estimate how much your competitor is selling by looking at their BSR. For instance, if your competitor has the BSR in the 80-100 range, you can assume that they might be selling 300-400 units per month.
Note: This estimation is based on the assumption that both competitors have the same historical volume. Use this Amazon seller tool if you want to find more accurate sales volume of your competitors and that too without running lengthy calculations.
Before signing off, let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions about BSR.
Amazon doesn’t assign any particular BSR range. These rankings can be up to any number, depending on the number of ASINs cataloged in a particular product category and sub-category. However, Amazon only shows the top 100 BSRs on its dedicated pages for every product niche.
It is next to impossible to calculate an average BSR because of an enormous difference between the numbers of listings in different product categories.
There is no absolute “good BSR” value. A BSR can be termed good based on the number of ASINs in the given product category. For instance, having a BSR in thousands in niches with over 100,000 ASINs will be considered a good BSR. On the other hand, having 3-digit BSR in a category where fewer products are cataloged won't be regarded as a good BSR.
We hope that the above discussion helps you steer clear of all the confusion and misconceptions regarding Amazon BSRs. To sum up everything we’ve discussed: you don’t need to think too much about BSR as a seller. This ranking is just a reflection of the overall sales volume of your ASIN in reference to other products in the same category.
Nonetheless, it is always good to improve BSR by increasing sales. Having your listing with top BSR doesn’t just feel good. It may also convert those visitors who run detailed research (including checking BSR) on every product before buying it.
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