Amazon Link Anatomy: What You Don’t Know Might Be Killing Your Reviews
As it turns out, an Amazon URL, or link path, tells Amazon an incredible amount of information and can be a powerful tool with your book rankings – if you know how to harness them or even control them!
More importantly, understanding what these links tell Amazon, can give you a major advantage in the market.
Don’t believe me?
Check out what we’ll be learning in this article and what kind of benefits understanding Amazon link structures will have on your sales:
- Basic Amazon URL anatomy
- How to conduct an Amazon search by ISBN
- How to hide your footprint while getting reviews – stop getting non-family related reviews removed!
Yeah, you read that last one right.
Using the right links can help ensure reviews from your fans and friends don’t get deleted AND can even give you a leg up in searching amazon via an ISBN.
Amazon Link Anatomy 101
But before we can dive into those two amazing benefits, you’ll need to understand the anatomy of an Amazon link and what all that gobbledygook at the end of the Amazon URL means.
For the remainder of this article, I’m going to be using the book Outlining Your Novel by the uber talented author, K.M. Wieland. Katie is also the creator of one of my favorite writing websites, Helping Writers Become Authors and I highly recommend you check it out.
And with that, let’s begin!
The first thing we need to understand is that there are multiple Amazon websites. While each has the name of “Amazon” , which market you go to is predicated by the Top Level Domain (TLD) at the end. So, if you want to go to the US market, then type in “.com” at the end. If you want to go to Amazon’s China website, then type in “.cn” at the end.
Here is a complete list of those Amazon markets and their TLD.
United States: Amazon.com
United Kingdom: Amazon.co.uk
For the examples below, I’ll use the US version, which is “Amazon.com.” However, if you want to apply the below information to the Canadian market, then all you’ll need to do is remove the “.com” and add the “.ca” to all the links below.
Simple, right? Well, let’s crank it up a notch.
When you go to Amazon.com and type in a search term like “Outline a novel”, you’ll get the following resulting Amazon link:
But let’s take a deep look at that Amazon Search URL and dissect it a little to see what it all means.
This is what Amazon uses to identify which search results to show based on the keyword phrase you placed in it. In this case, it has identified that we searched for: “outline+a+novel” with “+” separating the words.
This is how Amazon tells itself to use the A9 Amazon search algorithm and create a search results page, automatically sorting books by the rankings for that particular keyword term.
Back in the day when I was searching for my own book’s link, I would go to Amazon.com, type in the title of my book, click on it, and copy that page’s URL.
However, using that URL is a big mistake and I’ll show you why.
If you did something like that, the link would look like this:
So, what is all of that?
For brevity sake, I am only going to focus on the parts you need to know about your book’s Amazon sales page.
Each book on Amazon is assigned a 10-digit Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) whenever a book doesn’t have an ISBN number. If your book has a 13-digit ISBN, then Amazon will use the 10 digit version of the ISBN.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is because of this that if you publish your book first on CreateSpace, and then publish a Kindle version, the CreateSpace book will rule and show up first on an “all categories” Amazon search.
We’ll talk more about this a little later, but for now, just understand that number will play a big part in the “perfect link”.
Amazon Keywords Used to Find the Book
Like our search query, this link shows the keywords we used in which to find the book. It’s fun to look at what other people typed to find their own book when they send me this long link.
The Tattle-Tale Tag
Okay, there is no official name for this tag, so I am going to deem it the “Tattle-Tale” tag. As far as I can tell, this is a time stamp and a marking for your unique search and selection. This number tells amazon that at this particular time, your account made this page results.
Notice that the first time I did the search, the number was 1449906235
Now, when I do the same search using the same account and same IP address, I get the same exact link, except that this time the tattle-tale tag has changed to 1449907742
Therefore, as you can see, using a full-width URL on a search will leave a trail that goes back to you! Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone who clicks on that link, buys the book and leaves a review is going to have their review removed. However, it does give a trail that leads back to you and it is my belief that this could increase your chances of having those reviews removed.
I conducted some experiments over time and found that a higher percentage of review attempts from the long URL were removed. However, this is from statistics and not fact. After all, Amazon doesn’t exactly tell us what they use to remove reviews.
Makes sense though, right?
This is the form of the link that you would want to send to your fans so as to ensure that there are no identifiable markings, tags, or whatever, that will connect you to it.
Just the raw link that includes an abbreviated title/subtitle sub-URL and the ASIN.
For More Information of Why Reviews Get Deleted
So, we talked about the importance of the link, but check out the video below to learn more about what else can get your reviews deleted:
Like we discussed above, the ASIN and ISBN (10 and 13-digit version), are actually interchangeable.
So to help you find what you are looking for when searching for books via an ISBN, ASIN, or 10-digit ISBN, I’ve developed a quick cheat sheet to use. Plus, understanding how these numbers work and are intertwined within Amazon, will help you with understanding your own link structure creation.
Conducting an Amazon ISBN Search
If you have the ISBN of a book and want to find that particular book on Amazon, then use Amazon’s advanced search located here: http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Search-Books/
Fill in the ISBN number and Amazon will take you directly to it.
Converting an ASIN to an ISBN
If you pulled the ASIN from an Amazon URL like we discussed above, you can convert it to a 10-digit ISBN or 13-Digit ISBN by using the following ASIN to ISBN converter: https://www.barcoderobot.com/asin-ean/
Converting ISBN to ASIN
Again, if a book has an ISBN, then the 10-digit version of the ISBN will be the acting ASIN (for the purpose of building the Amazon search URL). All you need to do is just place the 13-digit ISBN number into the Library of Congress’ ISBN converter and it will produce the 10-digit version which will act as your ASIN.
Which Link Should You Send to Your Fans?
So, let’s go over what we’ve learned.
If you do the method of searching for your book, finding it and clicking on it, and using that URL, you’ll leave a tag that attaches your account to that link and lets Amazon know that you sent the link to whoever clicked it. This causes a red flag and heightens the probability that the review is tainted and will be deleted.
Again, that’s not always the case, but it’s just one more way of telling Amazon that you have a connection to that person.
So, the best link to send to someone is the following:
NOT this one:
Plus if you are an Amazon keyword person like me, you definitely don’t want to show everyone which keywords your book is ranking for by sending out the link directly above. That’s like broadcasting “hey guys, this is my keyword phrase that is totally making my book get bought by more people.”
Alrighty, well thank you for sticking to the end and reading all about the wacky wild world of what an Amazon search URL is, the perfect Amazon links for reviews, and conducting an Amazon search ISBN function.