We’ve discussed how to optimize your pages for Amazon searches, how to competitively win the Buy Box, and how to utilize Amazon Sponsored Ads to your advantage. These all work together toward the end goal of gaining visibility and increasing sales. Greater visibility means more sales; more sales mean higher conversion rates, and higher conversion rates mean greater visibility. It’s an endless, positive cycle.
Now we’re here to tell you about another tool that can help your listings wiggle to the top of Amazon’s search pages and enter into this positive “Amazon Success Circle.” This strategy is Amazon’s Custom Super URL, and it’s a “hack” that some sellers use to manipulate the Amazon algorithm in their favor.
To understand how a “Super URL” works, you have to first understand how Amazon’s system operates.
When someone does a search in Amazon’s search bar, a page of results comes up. This page of search results has a specific URL, and that URL will include the keywords that were searched for. For example, if you search “vacuum cleaners” in Amazon, you will be brought to a page with the following URL:
Notice the last portion of the URL: keywords=vacuum+cleaners. The two search terms “vacuum” and “cleaners” appear in the URL itself after the code keywords=. This code helps Amazon’s site recognize that this is a search results page in accordance with those specific keywords.
Click on a product listing, and another URL will appear:
This URL is both the product listing’s URL plus the route that the consumer took to get to this page. For example, you could put into the browser just the first half of the URL, and you will come up with the same product page: https://www.amazon.com/BISSELL-9595A-Vacuum-OnePass-Corded/dp/B00AZBIZTW/.
Everything that comes after ref= is Amazon’s way of tracking the consumer’s pathway to this page. It tells Amazon’s site that the consumer found this product using the keywords “vacuum cleaners,” which you can tell again by looking at the end of the URL with keywords=vacuum+cleaners.
Basically, Amazon is able to track what consumers search, what pages they click on, and what products they buy based on these URL pathways. URLs become like a map to tracking the purchasing process.
One of the primary factors that will help you win the Buy Box and boost your product listings is having a high conversion rate. Amazon tracks each product’s conversion to see how successful it is in the eyes of the consumer. Those products with high conversions from browser to purchaser move up on the search results pages.
In this way, Amazon also tracks the conversion rate of products in accordance with given keywords. For example, the Amazon algorithm can determine which vacuum cleaners sell best after a consumer searches for “vacuum cleaners” in the search bar.
Thus, the next time someone types “vacuum cleaners” into the search bar, Amazon’s algorithm has pushed that previously sold product to the top.
It associates a unit sold to a unit sold for that keyword specifically. It automatically pushes sold products towards the top of the search results for those keywords.
In this way, if your product’s permanent URL has the code keyword= with one or two keywords attached, Amazon’s algorithm will assume that all of your buyers came through that search result channel. It will link your products and your conversion to that keyword. Therefore, this URL will boost your listing optimization for that targeted keyword or phrase.
Custom URLs are supposedly the most targeted form of Amazon optimization.
Custom super URLs are a “hack,” and some even call them a “dirty hack.” Because they’re a hack, this means that it is not a tried-and-true tool that is proven to boost your Amazon optimization.
Some experts say that super URLS are just another optimization resource, and it is permissible—and recommended—to use. They suggest trying it for one or two product listings to see the kind of reaction that you get. It doesn’t take much effort, and it isn’t customer-facing, so it can’t hurt.
Other experts say that these super URLs are more super-villain than a superhero. Amazon has a policy that prohibits these sort of outside manipulations of optimization. Under their Prohibited Seller Activities, it reads: “You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings.” While they are primarily talking about offering an excessive number of free or discounted products with the statement, the sentiment rings true with super URLs as well: don’t cheat the algorithm, and don’t cheat the system.
Furthermore, super URLs don’t have a proven track record of success. While some businesses claim it works, it is likely because their product listings are already optimized.
Here’s why. In order for super URLs to hypothetically work, the listing has to organically attract traffic on its own. The custom URL then links that purchase with a given keyword. Then, that product will be optimized for that keyword search in the future. “In the future” is a key phrase here. It shows that the product has already had success on its own, and the custom URL is acting like a boost or a “power up” after the fact.
In this way, the perceived super URL success is likely coming from other Amazon optimization resources that attracted the buyer in the first place.
While custom super URLs are likely not harmful to your listings, there are other listing optimization tools that are proven more effective. These include SEO keywords in titles and descriptions, quality product images, cross-platform content standardization, branded templates, and Amazon-specific marketing.