Amazon Best Seller Rank: Everything You Need to Know

Amazon best seller rank is something that is often of immediate interest to new Amazon sellers.

It’s something that’s constantly changing, as a result we’ve decided to update this guide for 2020 so you can get the most up to date information about Amazon BSR.

It’s pretty immediately clear that it’s something that can help us to make more sales, but outside of that it is pretty mysterious!

How does Amazon best seller rank work?

How do we go about getting it, and perhaps more importantly, how do we keep it?

This guide will answer all of the above and leave you understanding Amazon best seller rank sales more than ever!

Let’s start with the basics:

What Does Amazon Best Seller Rank Mean?

The simplest way to think of it is this:

Amazon exists to make as much money for themselves as possible, not for us.

This requires them to keep track of which products are more likely to convince a user to purchase, so that they can display these products higher in the rankings more often, therefore increasing the overall number of orders.

If your product listing earns Best Seller Rank #1 for a specific search term, it will not only display its BSR badge with pride on the search results page, but it will begin to show up on Best Sellers pages and on some Category and Sub Category pages that would previously need to be clicked into to search for your product.

All that Amazon BSR really means, is that a product listing is the best selling product in that category.

However, when calculating BSR, Amazon prioritises recent orders, so it is more like you’re the recent bestseller, not the best seller of all time.

Where can I find the Amazon Best Seller Rank for a product?

You can easily find this out by going to the product details section of the listing you want to check, like so:

That’s all well enough, but if Amazon don’t make the algorithm public, we are all left asking one major question:

How is Best Seller Rank Calculated?

Since Amazon doesn’t actively tell us how BSR is calculated, we are limited to watching how it reacts to new changes in the marketplace and taking note of when this happens in order to get the most accurate look at how it works.

What we do know is that the algorithms are changed regularly, quite possibly to keep an air of mystery about this but also to keep the BSR working as effectively as possible.

Luckily, as you know, we have spent the last few years developing the most effective Amazon rank tracking tool on the market, which took a fair bit of tracking BSR rank and taking note of what makes it tick.

We’ve put all of the things we’ve learned together to create this guide on Amazon best sellers rank, which will hopefully make it easier than ever for you to understand how Amazon sales rank works, and of course to get Amazon bestseller rank for yourself!

Let’s take a look at some more important things to keep in mind:

Best Sellers on Amazon are More Volatile Than You Think

It’s not uncommon for a product listing to have Amazon sales rank 1 at one moment, then lose the BSR within an hour or two.

This is because the algorithm is constantly updating and tends to check the total amount of sales of each listing every 2-3 hours or so.

This means it’s common to see massive best seller rank fluctuations and changes in rank within a single day.

You can’t simply tell how a product is selling in the long term by checking the BSR, you need to watch these fluctuations over a month or more to see how much time your product is spending with the BSR rank compared to others.

When asking the question “What is Amazon Best Seller rank based?” the best answer is that it is best treated as a rough idea of recent sales as opposed to a solid metric of sales to date.

Let’s dive more into exactly what that means:

In BSR, Recent Sales Count for Much More Than Total Sales


For Amazon’s algorithm and the BSR, timing is more important than any other metric or piece of data.

For example, a listing that sold 2 products 12 months ago will be less highly ranked than a listing that sold 1 product 6 months ago.

More sales is a good thing but count for very little compared to recent sales.

A good way to think of it is that after a product sells, the BSR boost that sale gives your listing will slowly shrink until the sale becomes practically irrelevant.

The only way to keep your BSR rank is to get consistent sales. Each new sale will push that rank back up, with the ideal situation being orders constantly coming in every hour or so to keep the rank high and prevent dropoff.

There are Amazon best seller rank calculators out there that claim to be able to predict the average sales you could get if your product reaches a specific BSR, but in all honest most of them are pretty suspect in their data sources – we will look into bringing a more reliable one based on Keyworx data so check back soon.

Are Any Other Factors Relevant to BSR?

A lot of people speculate that reviews have an effect on Amazon best seller rank too, but none have as of yet been able to provide any evidence, and with the algorithm being a mystery, we may never know for sure.

There has been some evidence that returns can damage a BSR, but it doesn’t seem like they return your rank to it’s pre-sale status, meaning it’s unclear just how much of an effect returns have.

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about Amazon’s best seller rank and how it’s calculated, the next question is how can you use it for your own benefit?

There are more ways than you might think:

What Does Amazon BSR Tell Me About my Competitors and Their Products?

As you now know, BSR isn’t a 100% solid metric, or at least we don’t have a 100% solid way to track it and use the data.

Luckily, BSR is still incredibly useful for product research.

Using Amazon BSR for Product Research

If you are looking to dip into a new niche or product type on Amazon, BSR is a great way to judge the demand and to see whether the product is worth your investment.

For example, if a category has 50,000 results, and the product listing you’re looking at has BSR 5,000 or below, then you know it is in the top 10% of products in that category.

This is one of the most powerful ways to find out which products have a good probability of selling well and which don’t – especially since it’s straight from Amazon.

This is also an excellent way to judge your competitors.

For example, if you sell a very similar product to your competitors but they have a much higher rank than you, you can assume their product is more attractive than yours somehow, either by being priced lower, having it’s listing better optimised or something else.

Once you know this, it’s as simple as 1-2-3 to use KeyworX to reverse engineer their ranking improvements, see exactly how they’ve outranked you, and make the appropriate changes to your own listings to catch up, outrank them, and stay there! 

Important things to Know About Amazon’s Best Seller Ranking

Here is a simple breakdown of the most important facts you should be sure to remember about Amazon’s BSR:

  • BSR tends to update/reconfigure within 3 hours of a sale as previously mentioned
  • Every single product on Amazon has its BSR ranking updated every time any of them do – there’s no updating just the top 1,000 listings, for example
  • Despite our point above about recent sales holding much more weight, historical sales do still heavily factor in
  • Products with similar BSRs can still have vastly different sales counts, so page optimization and conversion rates should always be a priority
  • BSR is judged by the number of orders, not the number of units – so essentially, one order for 300 items would not be worth any more than one order for one item
  • An increase in BSR doesn’t necessarily mean a boost in organic ranking (as the image above proves)

We hope this article has gone a long way to helping you understand how Amazon Best Seller Rank works.

If you have any advice regarding BSR that isn’t mentioned here, feel free to mention it in the comments as we would like to keep updating this page over time.

Feel free to ask questions too if you’re unsure!