Product Launches

Search Find Buy: Amazon and Walmart Ranking Strategy

by Brendon Fields July 11, 2021

What is Search Find Buy?


Search Find Buy is a process utilized by sellers on various marketplaces which is intended to improve their product listings organic rank. Typically an SFB process would involve providing a shopper with a keyword phrase to search for and a picture of your product. Shoppers are then directed to search for your product, find it amongst the search results and buy it. Shoppers are usually provided some incentive for completing this process and purchasing your item, often a discount or rebate.

This ranking strategy is most commonly used by Amazon sellers but can be applied successfully to Walmart, Etsy, Ebay and other marketplaces. It is frequently used in combination with rebate promotions which generate full price sales, with the discount being provided off-marketplace, usually in the form of a rebate check, or PayPal payment to the shopper.

amazon search find buy screen


Why it Works


All marketplaces that are accessible to third party sellers are faced with the monumental challenge of sorting and displaying millions of products in a sensible way. When a shopper enters a search term, the marketplace algorithm is tasked with providing relevant results. For example if shopper searches for “electric toothbrush”, electric toothbrushes should be displayed in the search results. Not skateboards, shampoo or other irrelevant products.


The marketplaces have some methods for identifying relevancy, namely the keyword in your product title, bullet points and description. But ultimately the marketplace algorithm is dependent on shoppers telling it what product listings are relevant for a particular search term. How do shoppers train the algorithm on product relevancy? By tracking search terms and purchases. If hundreds of shoppers search for “electric toothbrush” and purchase Product A. Then the algorithm learns that Product A is likely very relevant for that search term, therefore that product should rank highly in the search results when that term is used.


This is precisely what the Search Find Buy process does. It trains the algorithm on the keyword phrases that are relevant to your product. By instructing shoppers to search for your product using a relevant keyword phrase, then purchase your item, it initiates a powerful mechanism that moves your product listing toward the top of the search results.



How to Make the Results “Stick”


Keyword searches and sales, AKA “conversions” are a key element of reaching the first page of search results. But multiple post-order metrics are closely monitored and considered when the marketplace algorithm sequences listings in the search results. Here are a few of those key metrics:


Return Rate: A low return rate indicates that most shoppers are satisfied with their purchase. This would support a higher ranking in the search results. On the other hand, a product with an above average return rate would indicate a product that was inaccurately described, low quality, or potentially even defective. This would justify a low search ranking. AKA page 7+ where almost no shoppers ever venture.


Review Rating: Similar to return rate, reviews are another key indicator of customer satisfaction. A high average review rating indicates most shoppers are satisfied with their purchase. This justifies a high search ranking. On the other hand a low average review rating, typically less than 4.0 stars indicates many shoppers are not satisfied with the product. This can cause a listing to sink deep into the search results.


Repeat Purchases: Few sellers are aware of this one, but it has recently been uncovered that repeat purchases is heavily weighted in the ranking algorithm. When a shopper buys the same item they previously purchased again, it sends a strong signal that they were satisfied with the initial item. Therefore a product listing that is frequently repurchased often ranks highly in the search results. In fact Amazon will frequently show a “Buy it Again” box in the search results when a shopper searches for a term related to an item they previously purchased. A low repeat purchase rate may not hurt your listings rank, but a high repeat purchase rate certainly will help.


amazon buy it again screen


What is Enhanced Search Find Buy?


There is tangential evidence to suggest some marketplace algorithms are able to detect manipulatory activity and disregard it for purposes of keyword ranking. For example if you generate 100 sales in an hour, all using the same SFB keyword phrase, that could be detected and identified as artificial.


Naturally you (and the algorithm) would expect to see a steady stream of orders come in throughout the day. Moreover you would expect those orders to come from a variety of keyword searches. For example “electric toothbrush”, “rechargeable electric toothbrush”, “best electric toothbrush”.


Since shoppers are tracked through their entire visit on a marketplace website, you may also expect that some shoppers would click on a few product listings before making a purchasing decision. This is particularly true of mor expensive products, where shoppers may be inclined to research more thoroughly before purchasing.


So for best results, use a variety of keywords in your SFB campaign. If using Rebaid for your campaign, you can enter up to 3 keyword phrases which will be rotated and displayed to shoppers at an even frequency. Alternatively you can manually set the display frequency to have higher priority keywords used more often.


Also pace your redemption rate by lowering your rebate value. Sellers often choose to offer high rebate values, often 90-100%. This can be fine however it often results in a surge of orders being generated in a short span of time. Lowering your rebate value to 70-75% can slow the redemption rate and spread your orders out over hours, rather than minutes. This not only ensures demand for your product appears natural, it also saves you some money!



Is it ToS Compliant


This is a hotly debated subject, with no clear answer. Most marketplaces including Amazon have vague and general language prohibiting manipulation of search rank. There are however a broad spectrum of tactics for improving your listings search rank, with varying perceptions of acceptability.


For example, running Facebook or YouTube ads to your Amazon product listing in an attempt to improve sales and move your listing up in the search results would be considered “white hat”. While technically this could be considered manipulating search results, very few ecommerce experts and consultants would consider this to be a risky strategy.


On the other hand, paying a third party service, or having friends and family write negative reviews for competitors listings in an attempt to overtake them in the search results would most definitely be considered “black hat”. This is broadly viewed to be a prohibited and unethical activity, yet it happens with disturbing frequency.


Search Find Buy campaigns would be considered somewhere in the middle. While they could certainly be viewed as a way to manipulate the search results, the reality is this is only a short term strategy to get a good product noticed. If your product does not generate predominately positive reviews and have a low return rate, the algorithm will relegate your listing to a deep page in the search results where it will rarely be seen.



Get Started


Rebaid was the first major rebate platform to support Search Find Buy campaigns, and now facilitates thousands of these campaigns each and every month. You can create a launch an SFB campaign in minutes. Create a Rebaid Seller Account then click the Create Campaign button on the upper right hand corner of your dashboard. You will be prompted to enter some basic information about your product; images, title and description. Then input up to three different SFB keywords. You can have your keywords rotate, displaying at an even frequency between shoppers redeeming your offer. Or set a manual display frequency to focus on particular high value keywords.


Lastly you’ll set your rebate value and the number of units you would like to offer per day. There is no minimum rebate campaign size, so feel free to start with a small campaign, then scale up as you become more familiar with the system and see the positive results start to take hold!