Amazon is a great marketplace for virtually any product you want to sell. Looking at the product categories, you can have an idea of just how vast this e-commerce platform is. That said, it is also possible that you may post a product for sale, but no one bothers even to view it. This is largely attributed to how high your product is on the ranking scale.

There are different ways Amazon ranks products put up for sale on its site. One of the most influential is the sales rank also known Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank (ABR). This is found under the product details section on every listing. The ranks are of two types, the main sales rank that is used to determine the number of sales your product gets and another one called sub-categories sales rank.

Here are several things that you should know about ABR if you are to get the maximum possible benefit from it.

1. The Rank is Sales-Based

Most people tend to push tons of reviews and ratings believing that this will improve how their products rank on Amazon. However, Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank focuses on only sales both recent and historical. Also, it doesn’t take in cumulative sales rather the selling performance recorded in the recent past.

Reviews and ratings come into play in influencing people to purchase your product hence indirectly boosting your bestsellers rank. Amazon best sellers list factors in a cocktail of attributes including price, reviews, answered questions, product listing completeness, and sales rank.

2. Product Sales Have No Immediate Sales Rank Effect

The bestsellers rank is calculated on an hourly basis. Sometimes, you may experience a lag between sales increase and rank improvement. It is not an automatic mapping of one onto the other. Though the time lag varies, it cannot exceed three hours.

The debate around this area is basically how the product rankings are calculated hourly. Findings from the research show that in the books category, the top 10,000 books have their rank calculated hourly while the rest are calculated once per day. Both historic sales and current projections are factored in during the calculations.

3. Lesser Sales to Maintain Ranking

The ABR builds each day mainly from sales recorded the previous day. It has been shown through figures that you may need twice as many sales to attain the desired ranking than it takes to maintain it. This means hopping from one rank to another is relatively difficult, but once achieved, 50% of the sales effort is required to stay on the rank.

An important aspect that you should note is that the rank fluctuates not just based on your sales, but also on the performance of other products in the category. If in a particular day you make no sales, your rank will most likely be cut the following day.

4. The Sales Rank is Relative

The products you launch exists in a category where others have posted as well. For instance, if you have a mug or a t-shirt listed on Amazon, as your sales grow, you will replace other products in the respective categories.

Similarly, the reverse is true where the growth of your competitors’ products may mean your products are also displaced. In light of this, one of the steps you can take is to drive traffic to your listing more than your competitors. This will require more work from you and your team, but the good news is that it is achievable. You can use platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.

5. The Weighting is the Same Both for Free and Paid Books

There has been confusion and divided opinion on the performance of free and paid books on Amazon. Some people have maintained that paid books enjoy favorable ranking while free books are left at the bottom of the shelf.

The truth is, both free and paid versions of books are ranked on the same parameters based on the number of sales, relative to the other products in the category. The only difference is that Amazon splits free and paid books into different categories that serve as sub-subcategories. This is what makes them have different bestsellers ranks but using the same algorithm.

To explain further the ranking difference, paid books are normally listed at the top of Amazon’s Popularity Lists mainly because this is driven by price. Free books may never make it to the top because they are basically free and lack the price metric.

Amazon’s bestsellers rank algorithm is, therefore, reliable and not hard to understand. It can help you estimate if the niche you are considering is worth going into and the number of sales your competitor product has garnered. The basics of the algorithms listed above will help you familiarize and make an informed decision on where and what to list.