Amazon Super URLs: The Best Way To Kill Your Reviews [Avoid Using Them]

We get a lot of questions about what Amazon Super URLs are and if they are a manipulation of Amazon’s system. 

In this blog post, we decided to address all these questions and explain to you why this black-hat tactic should be avoided at all costs.

CHAPTER I What Are Amazon’s Super URLs?

The Super URL is like a redirection service, similar to bit.ly, tinyurl.com (and hundreds of others), in that it generates a “short” URL that can be published and used throughout the Internet.

This short URL then redirects the user to a dynamic URL generator that goes to Amazon, which creates the qid parameter and the search position parameters to make it look like an Amazon search occurred, and that the buyer selected the desired product to buy.

The easiest way to understand what exactly Amazon Super URL is is to go to Amazon.com, search for something in the main search box, then click on the link for one of the products. Look at the URL for that page. 

You’ll see something like this:

Amazon Super URL search term

Basically, this is what Amazon Super URLs look like. 

Notice the keywords I searched for are at the end of the URL. There are some other parts of the URL that I’ll describe shortly.

CHAPTER II How Do Amazon Super URLs Work?

Let’s pretend you bought this leakproof water bottle. Amazon would save that information into a database that may look something like this:

Sales By Keyword

Order IDASINTimestampKeywordqid
103-1039485-19238405B088GRQDCQ2021-02-25 12:34:56“water bottle”1615543269
103-9182737-85736284B088GRQDCQ2021-02-25 13:45:54“water bottle”1615543269

With the exact information from millions of sales, the A9 search team has some fantastic data to use in its search algorithm. They can figure out what products were purchased most often for a specific keyword.

CHAPTER III So What’s the Problem With These Super URLs?

Being ranked well in Amazon’s search results means a significant boost in sales and profitability of a product. This is why sellers do a lot of things to fight for the top positions. 

Amazon Super URLs have become a tool that some sellers use to benefit from Amazon’s search algorithm.

Does it help sellers rank higher in Amazon’s organic search results?

It does for a period, until your seller account is suspended.

Is this truly a viable option to go for? 

Nope. Our recommendation would be that you avoid using Amazon Super URLs as any attempt to manipulate Amazon’s metrics only ruins your seller status and stunts your growth.

Specifically, we believe that Super URLs are an attempt to manipulate Amazon’s search algorithm.

1. The ‘qid’ parameter of the Amazon Super URL

With the keywords being passed in the URL, there is one other consideration. What would happen if somebody linked to one of these URLs from another website? They wouldn’t want sales from such links to be counted over and over again. This is where we need to dig into the URL to get a little more detail.

The other important part of the URL is the part that contains qid=1615557303.

The qui part of the Amazon Super URL

If you perform the same search twice in a row–just a few seconds apart from each other–then look at both of the URLs for the products on the page. You’ll notice the qid parameter has changed by a little bit.

The qui part of the Amazon Super URL

The value of that parameter is actually a Unix Timestamp, or the number of seconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970.

So, the effect of that qid= parameter in the URL looks like this to make it appear as the search counted once for the sale of the product. One of those URLs could be published and generate hundreds of sales, and since all of them use the same qid parameter, it would only count towards Amazon’s search algorithm once.

2. Search position with Super URLs

There are two other parameters in the Amazon search URL. Those are the ref=sr_1_7, and sr=8-7 from the example above. The number 7 in both of these examples is because the product that was clicked was the seventh item in the search results. 

Search position with Super URLs

I don’t see an obvious technical reason as to why those are included. However, in order to make the URL look as natural as possible, most Super URL generators will periodically check the search position of the product to make sure that it is correct. 

That’s why Amazon Super URL services are always paired with Search Rank tracking services — they need the data anyway.

CHAPTER IV How Amazon’s Search Algorithm Works

To understand why using Amazon super URLs is illegitimate, you should first understand a bit about Amazon’s search algorithm. Read on to get a quick overview of the process.

Refer to the article below to get a detailed picture of the way Amazon’s search algorithm works. 👇👇👇

Amazon SEO: How to Get Your Products Found in 2021

As you may know, Amazon is obsessed with customer satisfaction. When a customer searches for a product on Amazon.com, it wants to provide the customer with the search results of the products they are most likely to buy. 

It has an entirely separate business entity called A9, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley and employs ridiculously smart people who work on engineering and tweaking the product search algorithm.

Experience and logic says that better-selling products tend to be towards the beginning of the results list, but, just like Google, Amazon is in no rush to disclose the secrets behind their search engine algorithm. 

The number of sales, seller feedback, the quality of product listings, and many other things definitely help rank better within the algorithm. Taking that logic one step further, it makes sense that a product would rank better in search for a search term that the customer used to buy it.

Example: If Amazon shoppers consistently search for “water bottle” and end up buying product A, then product A should be moved up in the organic search results for “water bottle.”

All of these assumptions are based on logic and observations. We have no visibility into how Amazon’s system actually works. However, with the popularity of these services and the number of people who claim increased conversion rates from using them, these tricks have worked for at least some period of time. 

CHAPTER V How Sly Sellers Hack This Algorithm [And Why You Should NOT]

In an effort to promote products, sellers post Amazon Super URLs throughout the internet. As a result, it appears that the very same link is used on social media, sent out in an email newsletter, or shared on other different resources.

When a user clicks on the link, the Amazon Super URL service dynamically generates the qid parameter and the search rank parameters, then it performs an HTTP 302 redirect so it looks like the user just performed a search on Amazon.com.

If the user then buys the product, it will get counted as a sale for the desired keyword — even though the buyer didn’t actually perform the search and select that product.

Is it manipulation?

It is. 

As with providing the user with a coupon code for the product (a no-no strategy!), using Amazon Super URLs in combination with a seller that is likely to convert many sales is a manipulation of Amazon’s search algorithm into placing their product higher in search results.

There seems to have been some chatter in the past month or so that Super URLs aren’t as effective as they used to be.

Regardless of whether they are effective or not, the use of an Amazon Super URL is clearly an attempt to manipulate Amazon’s search algorithm. 

This is why Seller Labs no longer uses these dynamic URLs and is publicly encouraging our customers, and others in the industry to stop using them as well. 

With several of the phrases in the recent policy change having to do with “intent”, it is prudent for Amazon sellers to avoid tools and tactics that are a clear attempt to manipulate in order to avoid policy violations and account suspensions. Identifying products that have been sold using a Super URL is probably one of the easiest and most conclusive technical ways in which Amazon can identify potential violators of the new policy.

CHAPTER VI FAQ about Amazon Super URLs

If I don’t use a Super URL, then what URL should I use?

We recommend you copy and paste any URL on the Amazon.com website that gets you to the page you want. The manipulative part is using a service that changes those parameters each time a user clicks on them. 

If you want to use the most basic URL possible, then you can generate one in this format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/{$ASIN}

However, the safest link to send to your customers is the base URL.  This is the Amazon link up to the 10 digit ASIN number.  

See below:

Amazon Base URL

How can Amazon really identify products sold using Super URLs?

We are taking such a bold stance because identifying products sold using Super URLs is very easy. Technically speaking, it is probably one of the easiest ways for Amazon to identify sellers who are manipulating the system. To get a bit technical, the &qid parameter in the URL is a time stamp showing that a search for the given keyword was performed. Certainly, Amazon maintains a database of each timestamp and search performed on the site. All they need to do is find sales that occurred for searches that never took place.

But that is a huge set of data. How will Amazon be able to find the very small percentage of sales resulting from a Super URL in such a large data set?

You may have heard the term “Big Data” being used a lot lately by IT professionals. The Amazon AWS division is at the forefront of making Big Data tools available to IT professionals around the world. Amazon AWS provides several Big Data tools available, including Redshift and Elastic EMR that are made to perform queries on huge data sets like this. Since the Amazon website runs on the same infrastructure, you can be sure that these tools are readily available for such queries.

But the policy doesn’t say anything about Amazon Super URLs or Search Position?

There  wasn’t any language to specifically say that linking to Amazon in an unnatural way is against its policy. We see it as a larger issue of trying to manipulate its system, and the new policy does make several mentions of intentional manipulation.

But if a seller receives a policy violation or account suspension, we don’t think an argument like “I was trying to manipulate my products’ search position, not its sales rank” would go very far to bring your account back into good standing.

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