#SellerHacks 6 – How To Identify Forbidden Keywords

Optimize your listings in order to level up your game and continue to compete and thrive on Amazon’s volatile eCommerce playing field.

This is the sixth installment of the #SellerHacks series. These are based on hacks shared by Bradley Sutton at the SellerCon event in Las Vegas.

It seems like it would be pretty straight-forward.  

Just follow four simple rules in order to stay on the right side of Amazon’s eCommerce law.  

1. Titles must not exceed 200 characters, including spaces.

2. Titles must not contain promotional phrases, such as “free shipping”, “100% quality guaranteed”.

3. Titles must not contain characters for decoration, such as ~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } # < > | * ; ^ ¬ ¦

4. Titles must contain product-identifying information, such as “hiking boots” or “umbrella”.

As many Amazon sellers have found out, keeping yourself in the online selling giant’s good graces sometimes involves a combination of fancy footwork and old fashioned detective work.  

A quick Google search of what constitutes a good Amazon specific title brings us 390 million results in a little under three quarters of a second.  

I’m going to hazard a guess and say that there are more than a few differing opinions on how to go about slaying this particular listing optimization dragon.  

Even some of today’s largest technology companies hedge their bets.  

Take a look at the difference between two Amazon product listings from Hewlett Packard who six decades after being founded in a Palo Alto garage, still have a major presence on Amazon’s seller page.  

In this first listing, they seem to be taking a little more of a minimalist approach to their title. 

Then, two listings later on the same page, they apparently decided that the ranking powers on Amazon might in fact be looking for a more extensive description. 

So, if a power player like HP isn’t quite sure what Amazon is looking for, it’s no wonder that we sometimes run afoul of Amazon’s wishes.  

That’s where hack number six comes in.  

The Hack

A lot of times, after Amazon sellers update their titles in Seller Central, the new version shows up perfectly in the back-end, and in spite of not getting any error messages, the changes never appear on the actual product page. 

It’s obvious that something has upset Amazon; but what is it?

Well, here’s how you’re going to find out the keywords you’ve placed in your title that are forbidden by Amazon.

Go to Seller Central and open up a case

Then, go to Listings → Product Page Issue → Fix Product Page Issue.

Enter your ASIN and hit search.  

Now you’ll want to enter your title and this is where the detective work is going to come in.  

In this window, Amazon will tell you what they don’t like about your title, and you’ll have an opportunity to make the necessary changes.  

As you can see from this imagined title, Amazon is very clear about what they don’t like, which gives sellers ample opportunity to make the changes that will help you optimize your listings, and move your product up the page.  

Why This Hack Works

Success on Amazon is almost always a moving target and it rewards a seller’s ability to react to changes in the marketplace as well as the fluctuations of Amazon’s wishes. That’s one of the things that makes it so exhilarating.  

Staying agile and leveling up your game by making these needed adjustments to your listings is just one more way that sellers can continue to compete and thrive in Amazon’s volatile eCommerce playing field.  

Check out the whole hack here...

Chuck Kessler

Content Writer at Helium 10
Chuck Kessler is a content writer for Helium 10. Originally from Colorado and Biarritz France, he’s an adventurer, website designer, and tech writer based in Southern California.
Chuck Kessler

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