There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not adding products to wishlists helps keyword ranking on Amazon. It almost seems too easy; almost an affront to all of the hard effort we put into ranking our products. If all someone has to do is have their listing added to a whole bunch of wishlists, maybe we’ve been going about this the wrong way.

While the ever changing amazon TOS is vague, most people agree, that pushing for wishlist adds for the purpose of a rank boost likely falls under the umbrella of “rank manipulation.” To be clear, the TOS say nothing at all about wishlists. They also fail to define in any way what rank manipulation is defined as (we know now, but had to follow up several times with Amazon for clarification).

But we aren’t here to pass moral judgement. We aren’t here to enforce TOS either. We are only here to gather and present the data. So the question remains; do wishlisted items rank better for relevant keywords on Amazon?

Wishlist Activity APPEARS to Have Some Affect

Before diving into the data, I want to share some anecdotal experience. A few months ago several of those secret “SEO” companies were spamming Amazon sellers claiming to be able to get them to page one for keywords without doing promotions. I have to admit I was intrigued. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be “above board” activity, but I was at least curious how you rank a product without doing any sales.

I won’t mention the service used (honestly I don’t even know what it was. It was a friend of a friend who just “handled” everything anyway). I also won’t mention whose account or products we used, but suffice to say we decided to test one of these programs to see how it might work.

As was expected, we were kept entirely in the dark about the process. All we were told was that we should expect to see the product reach page one for the keywords we selected within three weeks. So we did that….and waited.

Sure enough, three weeks later the listing we were testing with made it to page one for two of the three keywords we selected. At that point we wanted to try and reverse engineer what we could, given the limited knowledge we had. And we found one very interesting thing; the product was in the top 20 (number six actually) of the “most wished for” list in its subcategory.

It wasn’t there before and had never been. It was unlikely with the low volume sales it was doing that it made the list organically. So at least we knew that wishlist adds were a PIECE of the puzzle.

What Over 1000 Most Wished For Listings Tell Us

My team was able to analyze 1,019 listings in the top 20 results of a number of “most wished for” categories. We scoured all categories ranging from arts and crafts to electronic devices to baby and more. This was the most in depth research we’ve done yet.

We looked at the most wished for items, then ran a search for the most relevant yet general keyword for that item and checked to see if it made it on page one. We analyzed 51 subcategories, and of the 1,019 listings, 595 of them were found on page one for their respective search term.

That means a whopping 58% of all most wished for items ranks on page one for relevant search terms. And, of the listings that made it to page one, 73% were in the top five results! That most certainly IS significant.

Due to the fact that there are all manner of keywords at play here, and products are moved on and off wishlists constantly, this isn’t an exact science yet. However, this data at least confirms something that has been rumored for a bit – that listing activity seems to be accounted for to some degree by the algorithm. This is reminiscent of eBay’s Cassini.

By better understanding how marketplace algorithms work in general we can make more informed decisions on our marking strategy.

And of course, the best way to get your products on wishlists and registries LEGALLY is to market and sell a quality product that people love.