Product Ranking and External Traffic for Amazon FBA Products: Interview with Anthony Lee

by Tomer

January 31, 2022

Product Ranking and External Traffic for Amazon FBA Products with Anthony Lee.mp4

Interview with Anthony Lee

interview with anthony lee

Tomer [00:00:04] All right, so welcome, guys, to today’s video, I have a very interesting guest today, very important and smart guest that sell for Amazon in Amazon for many years since 2014, right, Anthony?

Anthony [00:00:19] Correct.

Tomer [00:00:20] And they are, like I told you earlier in the Amazon years, it’s like 20 normal years so it’s really a pleasure. I follow you for a long time. Thank you, you know for being a guest here. I’m sure many of us will learn and a lot of valuable things that we can take and implement in our Amazon businesses. So, thank you for the opportunity. How are you today?

Anthony [00:00:46] I’m fantastic. Thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure too.

Tomer [00:00:50] Of course. Of course. Why don’t you tell about yourself; who you are for those that didn’t hear about you?

Anthony [00:00:57] Sure. So, I’ve been selling in the Amazon space since 2014. I’ve also worked for a couple of the biggest software companies in the space; Zonblasts, which changed into six leaf and then helium 10 and the signalytics. So I got to see a lot of data I actually helped build out some tools that people have likely used for promotions, built out a bunch of many chat flows for the purpose of doing that exact thing and consulted for 6, 7, 8-figure brands.

So, yeah, I’ve gotten to see a lot of kind of what’s under the hood as far as what’s working and made the focus of what I study Amazon’s ranking algorithm. Kind of talking about external traffic and just overall ways that people can shortcut their growth in the short term for cash flow and then also implement long term strategies.

Tomer [00:02:05] If I’m not wrong, then correct me if I’m wrong. I heard you mentioned in one of the podcast that you’re the first one to come up with the term the honeymoon period for, you know, launching products. Is that true?

Anthony [00:02:18] I don’t know if I’m the first one to come up with it, but I think I’m the first to bring it to the attention of our community. I actually vividly remember myself and the CEO of what was Zonblast at the time.

We were on the phone talking about ranking and like back and forth he was talking about the potential how to study keyword rank, and both of us used to trade futures and commodities. And he was like, I wonder if there are any indicators and I don’t know where it just hit me, and I was just like, “Holy crap. This is the reason why rank is dropping out for six months”, because at the time, that was when everybody, like everybody was seeing these weird rate drops every six months and it just hit me and I was just like; people had posited the idea of is there a period, a grace period where Amazon seems to show your listing favoritism because you’re new and we were like, no, there’s no reason for them to show it because you’re new that’s when it hit me.

I was just like, “no, the grace period that we’re talking about is a benchmark period because they’re using moving averages,” just like when you look at charts for commodities trading and then its kind of all pieced together and that became what we referred to as the honeymoon period. And that was like 2015, I think.

Tomer [00:03:43] Yeah. And now, like everyone is using this term and it’s really cool that you’re the one that came up with Easter. All right. So I came across like  one of your article on Signalytics. That’s the company in a right. If I’m not wrong?

Anthony [00:04:02] Yeah the company that I was with prior to Canopy Management, where I am now, the Signalytics, yeah.

Tomer [00:04:08] with Howard Thai, right?

Anthony [00:04:11] Correct.

Tomer [00:04:12] OK. So I came across like this two-step URL, and I was really curious and this was like really in-depth article; an article that usually people from, you know, Amazon teachings and trainings. No one really talks about this in so depth and so like technical, like as far as changing their referrer and editing and making Amazon look at the traffic that you bring, like it’s organic traffic from Google.

And I really try to explore these that I run a lot of experiments after that. Like reading this article like building a lot of backlinks naturally to improve my organic rankings and sending traffic with this referrer, it went good. But I want to hear from you like, how is your experience with that? What are the things that now working that are similar? This is a topic that, you know, it’s very interesting and there is not enough information about it.

Anthony [00:05:16] So the specific thing that you’re talking about is it’s actually gone through an evolution and it’s really cool how we come up there. So at the time that I wrote that article? You know, me and Howard kind of discovered together just looking over some documents that we had access to that Amazon very much so cares about Google traffic. And this is evident in a couple of different places where they kind of discuss like certain teams that do certain things and then also how they do badges and things.

It all kind of came together that was very evident they care about Google traffic. So that’s when because at the time, I was doing everything through many chat flows, that’s when I started building out flows and sent people to Google. The problem with going to Google is you have to be very specific in order to get that listing page on page one of the search. So that’s what I came up with all the search parameters to make sure that it showed up first. And then we started sending traffic, rebate traffic to Google anyway, and it worked like gangbusters. Problem is it was like a general lift for all relevant keywords. There was no way at the time that I could figure out how to isolate the keyword because in my head I was like, the referring URL has to be Google.

Well, that’s when Casey Goss took it a step further and figured out that A. you could you could redirect traffic from Google and then B. you could actually input a key word if you sent it to a Two-Step. And here’s the thing with a two-step when you get to the listing referring URL, it is still an Amazon URL. But as long as the referring URL has your keyword and Google click ID. Then everything’s in place. So the problem with his method was that you had to constantly build out, rebuild out the links because they would expire after two years.

Tomer [00:07:27] Yeah. Like I’m experimenting this right now, actually.

Anthony [00:07:30] Well, now a bunch of people have figured out a way around that there’s got to be an intermediary page that does the redirects. And then, you know, you could you programmatically put, you know, change the keywords. Anyway, Elite Seller does this, Signalytics has this functionality now too. Even a friend of mine who’s a coder just figured it out and he was like, Oh, you know, I could do this. So I don’t personally know how to do it, but I know that there’s a lot of smarter people out there that can.

But basically it allows it to not, I guess, decay so you could use the same interface. Essentially, what happens is from whatever that intermediary page which only sits there for like a second, right? It’s like one that could be less than a second. It says redirecting to and then it brings them to a to a two-step, which is usually like, you know, the branded page or the hidden keyword page or whatever it is. And then when you click on the listing and you look at the refer, it’s an Amazon URL; but in that URL, there is a Google click ID and there is a keyword. So, all rank juice goes to that keyword, and I’ve been testing it and I mean, it’s probably the most effective, I mean, the most effective thing. So I started out really conservative, took a dead product like completely 4 or 5 months well past any cold start, honeymoon period now; crab sales, not ranking for anything. That product.

Ran rebates to that first targeting like a 4000 search per month keyword; took six days, but after six days it was above the fold. I think number four on page one for the keyword switched out the keyword. Position 4. Switched out the keyword for an 8000 search per month keyword. One day later, that was number five on Page one. Switched out that keyword for like 100,000 search volume keyword. Four days later, that’s up like number seven on Page one. So it’s absolutely powerful. It’s been a week since the first keyword. I think the first key word, we lost two positions, but that’s it. So things seem to be staying in place as long as we’re still getting sales. But the increased ranking has also added some organic sales to the mix, which I think helps a lot.

But ultimately, in my opinion, redirecting from Google is a way that works really well. Two things I want to note. These are kind of technical details, but I think it’s important to talk about. Currently, it doesn’t look like Amazon super worried about the validity of the Google. Click ID because I’ve seen in tests where the Google quick idea was recycled and stayed that way for a couple of days. Everything still seemed to work, so it looks like they just care that the idea is there because it tells them, Hey, this came from Google. Yes, I guarantee you as everybody starts adopting this, that’s going to change. And the reason that’s going to change is because when we have a big population of sellers all using this method, it’s going to throw off Amazon’s analytics. I have an entire team dedicated to working on how all of their pages show up on Google and if a big subset of sellers is sending all this fake redirect traffic. Their analytics are going to be skewed and then the next step is going to be to validate that Google, click ID. So for now, this works. It will not continue to work forever though.

Tomer [00:11:18] Maybe staying under the radar, just work on creating. You know, I’m a programmer too, so I’m thinking, yeah, I can just every click I did that they generate will be unique one I will recorded in the database. And then each time it will check if it exists, just create a new one and redirect it. So it’s all the time like every time, it will be a unique one.

Yeah, they get like, I agree, like, you know, once everyone are using like this, you know, that’s why I didn’t really share a lot of information about this on my channel. I don’t want many people to really try it and then it’s not going to be effective. But, you know, I’m just throwing here like, like for you guys that are watching this to explore with more. If you explore this topic more, you’ll find answers how to do that. Now, you know, this is a compliance with TOS, it’s against? I know it’s a gray area, you know? But what is your take about this? Is it safe to do it?

Anthony [00:12:25] I think that is; here’s a thing, a lot of people are going to challenge this. A lot of people believe there’s people that have been in the game as long as me, and they still believe that superheroes are evil. I have yet to see in my entire career and mind you, I used to work for two different launch services. I have yet to see in my entire career anybody ever get suspended and it be reasonably linked back to a URL. I just don’t think it happens.

Is this TOS compliant? Technically, no. Only because you can fit this under the definition of manipulating the search and browse experience for customers. But I’ve yet to see Amazon take that type of action towards the URL. Will they fix it and change things and validate things in the in the URLs clicked? Absolutely. They add to ideas and they do all kinds of stuff to that all the time, which will diminish its effectiveness. But as far as taking action against the seller, I’ve yet to see that happen over a year.

So that’s my take on it, and that’s why I use it liberally and I’m open to exploring other ways to do it too, right, I would love to see how this would work with redirected traffic from other high authority, high domain authority sites to see if there’s a clear preference for Google or if you know, Tiktok or other platforms are preferred in any way. Like, I think there’s a ton of research that should be done, and I think it was super fun to kind of come to these conclusions and figure out. Even when they stop working, this is a time for us to gather data and figure out how Amazon feels about these external sites, like how much weight do they put on external traffic? Is it all the same? Are there certain domains that they prefer like, this is all fascinating stuff, so we should be testing.

interview with anthony lee

Tomer [00:14:30] Yeah, yeah, for sure. You know, I have a background also with pen testing and the kind of hacking and stuff like that reminds me that this world, you know, those people that I’m sure many people have things that they don’t share and it’s kind of underground. And, you know, it’s very similar to that but back then, when you had the good connections, good networking, you would have access to those like things that are not public yet. So I’m sure you were exposed to those kind of things as well. So yeah, that’s very interesting. You could either explore yourself or just connect with the right people, right?

Anthony [00:15:10] Yeah, absolutely. We definitely don’t advocate for using outright Black Hat tactics, but again, I don’t think that you URL manipulations is a Black Hat tactics. So definitely if you can hook up with somebody that can give you, you know, different means of kind of changing the mouth of the funnel so that when you send traffic to it, people are coming to your Amazon listing through various way, like, that’s my favorite thing to test. And this is what I’ve been telling people forever. We talk about rebates a lot. Like, yeah, because it’s like the cleanest process for a transaction. That’s not that’s not where it ends.

You don’t just talk about rebates to rebates to work. Of course, they always work because rebates is a clean form of transaction. They are buying the product the full price. That’s not the question you should be asking. You should be asking: Where’s all the traffic coming from that I should send my rebates to? various URLs, various organic like I still think it’s worth sending people to a pin with the Pinterest share URL connected to the pin and have them go from Pinterest to your listing, especially now that Pinterest is gaining more and more like recognition as a search engine. I think if Amazon hasn’t recognized it as a high domain authority site yet, they might and that might impact the way they treat traffic from it. So yep, it’s my soapbox.

Tomer [00:16:36] So you’re saying basically like it works, but because what I’m doing like testing is direct traffic from Google ads to a two-step URL, and it works good but you know, eventually the conversion rate that you bring from outside traffic is much lower than, you know, than in Amazon PPC. Now you’re not just looking at the RII, the ACoS and all of that, you’re looking at it from a point of view of ranking but what I find is that the ranking is not that like fast, like you do rebates with that key, you know. So it’s not kind of scalable, you know, you have to run always campaigns with rebates to rank and I wish there was a way that you can like see how the Google like which keyword on specific campaign drove this sale.

I guess you can do it with creating so many ad groups in ads, but it will be very complicated to do it. It’s not like you have an analytics or some data that you can actually like know, OK, this keyword on Google Ads drove me five sales and you can have more control and maybe in the future it will be available with attribution. But right now it’s not.

But yeah, I also heard one of the of your lectures about TikTok. I know it’s a big thing now for a long time. I’m just starting to explore it now. What are the best practices? What are the things that you recommend? Of course, it would be like two hours long conversation. But just in a nutshell, like what are the things that people should do more research on and explore and try?

Anthony [00:18:25] Sure. Well, for starters, I think that probably any brand, I don’t really care what product is, so I think any brand would benefit from having a presence on TikTok. Just because TikTok still has amazing organic reach, it really was the pioneer platform for introducing the concept of content going out and being distributed to total strangers. Right, because before that, if you’re on Instagram, only people will see you are people actively searching hashtags or your followers. Facebook, the people who see you are your followers. Twitter, the people who see you are people doing specific research on hashtags or your followers.

So TikTok comes out and says, You know what? We’re just going to make the whole channel nothing but strangers unless somebody goes to their other channel, which is who you’re following and that kind of change the game. So I think, for starters, it’s good to be on TikTok. That would also force you to get comfortable with making regular video content, which is going to help a brand anyway. You should be running video ads. You should have videos on your Amazon listing like video needs to be a part of your strategy regardless. So I think it’s a great idea to just commit yourself to a platform where you need to be making regular video content; introducing people to your brand, your products, the people behind the brand. I think it does a lot of good for you. Staying consistent is really important key, just because you never know which piece of content will go viral. And if a piece of content goes viral on a platform like TikTok, you could bring a lot of traffic to your listing.

But the other thing that you should really be, in my opinion exploring is one of the easiest ways to leverage a platform like TikTok. And that is where influencers you should be looking and identifying influencers in your space and just explore. A lot of times TikTok influencers are tremendously; first of all, less expensive than an Instagram influencer, for starters. Also, a lot of them command audiences that are incredibly authentic, and the reason is because people onTiktok like part of their growth is from their authenticity. It’s not like Instagram. Everybody expects it to be fake on Tik Tok. Everybody expects it to, for the most part, be real.

So you end up finding really quality influencers who could put your products or services or brand as a whole or even your profile. Maybe that’s the thing you want to promote instead of your actual offerings. You can put anything you want in front of a large audience of people that end up with genuine interest. So I think those are the best practices in a nutshell for TikTok, for brand owners.

Tomer [00:21:14] What is the best way to communicate with them; through the messages on the platform, outside the platform?

Anthony [00:21:23] I would say the messages on the platform is the last where you want to communicate with people just because it’s still one of the pieces of the platform that’s very lacking. It doesn’t always work. Usually, people have either a YouTube channel, Instagram or both connected to their TikTok profile, it’s like in the profile you always see when it’s out.

So what you’re looking for is anybody who provides an email address in their bio or a link tree that ends up with a contact page. That’s the easiest way, right? Because like, it’s the you and me inbox the email. If you can’t do it through email, then I would try Instagram DM.

Tomer [00:22:08] OK, so if I’m not doing TikTok right now, do you suggest we going after watching this video and creating a TikTok account for my brand or just for my personal account; just share things like what is the good strategy?

Anthony [00:22:23] I think for your brand. I think that you should be a part of your brand’s presence. But ultimately, you’re doing it to grow your offering so rather than do it like unless you’re trying to build a personal brand. Rather than do it from your personal. Create one for your brand. Be the face of your brand, but it’s also open to introduce other people, maybe your business partner, maybe your employees, to all kind of contribute to the content.

Tomer [00:22:57] Yeah, yeah. It reminds me something that, you know when you said about like personal or through the brand about Amazon life; Amazon life is something I explored for the last few months. I did give it to influencers, and then I switched it to myself and people on my team. And we figure out that we know much better about our products and can explain it in a much better way, in a more passionate way than influencers. And the results are much better.

You know, my English is not perfect, I’m not a native English speaker, so I had some doubts that people would engage with me better than an influencer like a beautiful girl on Instagram. And I was really surprised, you know, to see that the engagement ring and the clicks and the sales are much better. And I think what actually contributes to that is the fact that I’m passionate about it. I really enthusiastic about my products. What I want to show.

Anthony [00:24:01] Passion speaks; I think more so than passion, though, is the fact that because you’re passionate, people can tell you’re authentic. What people nowadays seem to care about is authenticity, right? They just want to know you’re real. You’re not just trying to be another commercial that’s selling them something. So regardless of your accent, when they see your passion, they’re like, Oh, this guy really does own this brand. These are really his products. This is a real thing.

And that people, people, especially Gen Z and what I call later millennials, which are the younger millennials. They care about that stuff a lot, a lot more than other generations do, and they’re showing that in tons of stats carried across multiple social media platforms. So, yeah, I think that’s great that you did that. And anybody that can muster up the courage to be on live video, I think that’s a fantastic thing to test and try because you’re right better than any influencer. You will be able to convey authentically what your product is and what you represent.

Tomer [00:25:04] You know, yeah. And you know, with like everything in you that you do like, you would look at the first lives that we did it looks like, you know, very bad, but now becomes more professional to the point that they say, maybe we should offer this to other people, you know, but that’s some other idea.

What else you can share with us, some actionable tips that people can take do right now. Anything about Amazon FBA, not just related to TikTok or 2-step URL, just before we wrap it up and end this beautiful conversation.

Anthony [00:25:42] Well, I would just say. You know, one of the things that’s really got me thinking a lot and I can’t wait to test more on this is I recently I’m finishing up like the last little bits of a book by Alex Hormozi called A Hundred Million Dollar Offers, and it’s basically all about how to create offers that are so good that people feel stupid saying no and how it translates in the physical world physical products world. As I remember, once upon a time, we first started selling like very beginning days of learning all these people just learning how to sell on Amazon, one of the things they taught was to always sweeten the deal by like adding an e-book or something, right? And then everybody did it. And then people were like, Oh, nobody cares about e-books any more.

But then I noticed that everybody stopped doing it, and I got me thinking about it. Like, Why did it work back then? And I think it’s because the general idea was that you actually were offering more value, like if I have the same garlic press as this guy but I’m giving you a five hundred page recipe book with it; that carries a little bit of weight. So I think that we should start considering how to make our offers more valuable because we get so caught up in like this tunnel vision of just sell a product to sell a product, get it first as cheap a price as possible and sell it for as high a market as possible. That’s it. And that’s our television and then when we want to expand, it’s all about branding is nothing more than I just have to have a really awesome logo and a great story that it’s like; How do you win on the value side?

Well, if you’re doing more than your competitors, and what I mean by that is imagine if you had the digital download, imagine if every product came with a printed book like hundreds of pages worth of content printed like this is going to cost you more money, of course. But imagine the value upgrade if like you have something tangible that’s helpful along with your product. Imagine if you developed a really, really simple app, some kind of tracker of some kind that could just be really, really easy for you to have built and helpful for them that they could scan the QR code in the box and get that to like, then your value is more than your competitors. Even in the physical product space, you’re giving people more than what your competitors get. And if you can do that, if you can give more for the same price, then you will eventually win as long as you find a way to get to people to know about it.

Tomer [00:28:29] I love this. And you know, while you were speaking, I’m like thinking in my head too about ideas, and I think why people stopped offering the e-books because it’s very hard to really show this USP and the main image or through the titles, so people say, you know what? But I did see some creative sellers that doing it in a really phenomenal way, building like graphics behind the elements, playing with this kind of things. And if you’re a creative enough and you do it in a smart way, you can easily win and like I said, differentiate yourself from others. If you do like, I also thought about printing an e-book like 30 pages e-book and converting it to a physical version, and I already checked with the printing house and all of that, but then decided not to.

But this is something that also other competitors will like you scare them away from the market when they see seller with an app or with the physical e-book, they say, Oh, well, you know, it’s the entry barrier is much bigger and you can also implement this through your future products because you see, Oh, it’s not that bad or it’s not that hard. And then you can implement so this is really useful tip and about thinking how to win and bringing value, because that’s what matters today. So thank you for it, for the tips Anthony, really appreciate you being here. Like I said, I’m following you for a long time. For those that are interested to talk with you more or get in touch with you how they can find about you more.

Anthony [00:30:05] Sure. For starters, anybody that’s looking for help with management of their brand on Amazon listing optimization advertisement, PPC Management, DSP, Canopy we can help. You can reach me directly at [email protected] or find my social media channels, Anthonylee991 And that’s across all channels Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, all of it.

Tomer [00:30:38] Yeah, guys contact him we’ll put, send me later the links. I’ll put everything in the description for people to explore and learn more about you. Thank you very much, Anthony again and all the success in your new position and canopy.

Anthony [00:30:53] Thank you so much.

About the author

My name is Tomer, and I founded Sourcing Monster to share proven tips and methods that I use every day for my Amazon business to provide value and growth for you as well as you journey through your own business!

Feel free to comment or share any feedback down below!

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