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What is the Amazon Best Seller Rank (BSR) and Does it Matter?

Best Seller Rank is a metric that a lot of Amazon sellers look at. What it really is remains a bit of a mystery, however. Amazon isn’t very clear on the details, but we have some good indications of what it means for sellers collated from experience and popular opinion. More importantly, we can infer from this information whether or not it holds any importance.

What is the Amazon Best Seller Rank?

The Amazon Best Seller Rank page describes it as an hourly calculation of product rank based on sales that takes into account both the recent and historical sales of every product sold on the same Amazon marketplace. You can see a product’s rank in the Product information section of the listing.

Hourly Sales

Amazon products are awarded Best Seller Rank when they are ordered more times within a certain period. It’s calculated by comparison to other products in the same category. A high rank means that it has recently sold more than any other product in that category. This computation looks at recent sales more than cumulative sales, so it doesn’t give a clear idea of how well a product really sells.

Products get ranked for subcategories, too, but the primary category holds the most weight. Similarly, products in top-level categories are prioritized.

Because the updates for the top 10,000 products are so frequent, a product’s Best Seller Rank can change on a dime. Products that don’t make the cut, however, get updated after about three hours.

On top of category, recency and number of sales, the algorithm analyzes factors that predict future sales as well. This means that changes in Best Seller Rank don’t immediately reflect actual changes in sales.

hour time world

All of Amazon

This means that the same product sold by the same store on Amazon US versus Amazon CA or UK, for example, can have drastically a different Best Seller Rank on these marketplaces.

It’s important to note that visibility for a product depends on where the customer is searching. A search on the main Amazon page will bring up the top results for the most appropriate department whereas a search within a specific category will bring up the top results within that specific category.

Does Best Seller Rank Matter?

On the surface, yes.

A high Best Seller Rank gets picked up by Amazon’s algorithm as an upward trend. This tells Amazon that the product should be optimized in search results. This means that the product will be prioritized in customer searches and get placement in the section where Amazon shows what other customers who bought a product also bought. The products with the highest Best Seller Rank also get featured on Amazon’s coveted Best Seller list.

And we all know that better visibility means more sales.

But looking deeper, Best Seller Rank doesn’t actually do very much for a product’s visibility. It doesn’t add a lot to organic rankings and fluctuates so much that it’s a headache to keep up with considering the uncontrollable variables.

The Bottom Line

Sellers should stop spending time and energy looking at their products’ Best Seller Rank.

Instead, they should focus on reasonably priced quality products with optimized listings backed up by strong marketing to get sales. This is what you can control, and how you get a high Best Seller Rank in the first place – note the other way around.

Best Seller Rank is just the icing on the cake, a trophy for doing Amazon sales right. Using the right launch strategy can help you gain the initial sales that  you need to really achieve success on Amazon. A great example can be found in this case study on how to launch to the top of page 1 without using heavy discounts.

By optimizing products, sellers can also collect positive reviews. Reviews don’t factor into the computation, but they do play an important role in visibility (like winning the Buy Box) and ultimately, more sales.

Reviews come from customers who were impressed enough with a product’s quality and a seller’s customer service to tell others about their experience. This is what really drives sales and therefore drives Amazon search placement.

Julia ValdezWhat is the Amazon Best Seller Rank (BSR) and Does it Matter?
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