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Identify Restricted Keywords in Amazon To Optimize Product Listing


When your product listing gets taken down without any warning, it means you have used restricted keywords in the Amazon product listing. This happens when Amazon does a random sweep when indexing your listings. This is frustrating because you have probably been selling this product for months, and all of a sudden, Amazon has imposed a ban on your product listing. If you are trying to get help from Amazon, the bad news is that they won’t help you out with this. For an Amazon seller, it’s difficult to identify restricted keywords and there is no list of Amazon’s restricted keywords.

What Are Forbidden Keywords on Amazon?

There is no list available that a seller can refer to for the restricted keywords as Amazon hasn’t published any list as of yet. But sellers can educate themselves by looking into Amazon’s list of restricted products. There are some items that the list includes which are strictly prohibited by Amazon such as drugs and drug paraphernalia. There are items which are not that obvious, such as cosmetics, skin, and hair care.

Here is a detail that we should look into. Cosmetics are sold on Amazon all the time but still, it is a restricted keyword, Why is that? Amazon restricts the sale of cosmetics, to those who are new, and not selling under their own brand or selling with the manufacturer’s packaging. Also, Amazon allows it if there is no illegal drug or paraphernalia associated with the seller.

Here’s something you should know

First, let me share with you four basic rules that you need to follow to maintain Amazon’s guidelines.

  1. The maximum number of characters including spaces is 200, which the titles must have.

  2. Promotional phrases such as “free shipping”, and “100% quality guaranteed” must be excluded from the titles.

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

  4. Product-identifying information such as “hiking boots” or “umbrella” must be excluded from titles.

If you search Google for what makes a good title, you will get more than 346 million results within 0.62 seconds.

The problem is that there are a few differing opinions on Amazon listing optimization. Even new technology companies protect their strategies for listing optimization. For example, let’s look into the two different Amazon product listings from the brand company HP (Hewlett Packard).

In the first listing, the title takes a little more of a minimalist approach. The brand hasn’t given that much information in its product title.

After they publish a new listing on the same page, the title now has more, based on what Amazon is looking for in terms of an extensive description, so that ranking is high.

Update Title on Seller Central

There is a common problem faced by many sellers. When they update their titles in Seller Central, it shows up in the back end but the new version of the title doesn’t appear on the actual product page. If you haven’t received any error message, you would not know there is a problem, and even if you did, you would not know how to fix it. In fact, there are moments when you need to contact seller central support and have the title changed. But as an Amazon seller, it is important to identify if the actual issue is the presence of forbidden keywords. And this is where the question comes in. How are you going to find the forbidden keywords in your title?

Here are the simple steps you have to follow to identify the keywords forbidden by Amazon:

  • Go to Seller Central and open that product listing.
  • Click on Product Page Issue, and from there, select FIX PRODUCT PAGE ISSUE
  • Enter your ASIN and hit the search button.
  • In this window, you will see why Amazon won’t accept your title.
  • This is a great opportunity for you to make the necessary changes and update your title.

If you want to succeed in your Amazon selling business, you have to understand that this is a moving target. Amazon sellers are continuously improving themselves with the fluctuations of Amazon’s wishes as well as the changes in the marketplace.

If you need professional help with your Amazon store management, do contact us.
BIE is a Vancouver, British Columbia-based agency providing human resources to manage all things Amazon.

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