Amazon Listing Optimization | How to Avoid Being on A9’s Naughty List

January 4, 2021
Written by Jayce Broda
amazon listing optimization

The holiday season is almost upon us. For Amazon sellers, it’s the most awaited time of the year because of the expected sales boost that happens only at Christmastime. Holiday sales soared to 21% in the last three months of 2019, translating to $87 billion. The word is, things will be a lot better in 2020.

This is also the time of the year to make sure you get a big slice of the sales pie by doing an Amazon listing optimization. Why not? A surge in sales means more competitors vying for that big bonus that you can only achieve by getting more sales. 

Amazon’s A9 algorithm will surely be working overtime to keep the competition clean -- no underhanded tactics or unscrupulous methods. Make no mistake; big brother will be watching. The best thing you can do as a seller is to make sure you’re on the A9 algorithm’s good side while getting a good search ranking for your products. Here’s how you can achieve this. 

Keyword Stuffing Won’t Help in Amazon Listing Optimization

This has got to be the oldest dirty trick on how to add keywords to your Amazon listing. Keyword stuffing is putting keywords multiple times in your product listing, often producing subpar and unreadable copies. While this can sometimes create short-term success, Amazon has made sure any seller who does this will regret trying to hoodwink its A9 algorithm. Punishment is inevitable. 

Any attempt to resort to keyword stuffing to get an artificial search ranking boost will undoubtedly result in a warning, your listing getting removed, your account suspended, or all of the above. As a seller, long-term thinking pays off. It’s better to follow the ethical rules on how to improve your listing in Amazon. 

Never Attempt Counterfeiting

Amazon’s Anti-Counterfeiting Policy is clear. Any product offered should be authentic. If you attempt circumventing this rule, it could result in getting your selling privileges revoked, your earnings being withheld, or the destruction of your products in Amazon’s possession (for FBA sellers).

Many programs have been started to protect legitimate brand owners, manufacturers, and authorized dealers such as the Amazon Brand Registry and Project Zero. The A9 algorithm and a dedicated Seller Performance Team watch sellers closely looking for any indications of selling inauthentic items. It’s better if you refrain from doing this, as this seriously jeopardizes your success in Amazon. 

Piggybacking Isn’t Worth It

Don’t plan on finding a hot-selling item, buying in bulk with discounts, and selling them cheaper under the same listing. Owners don’t appreciate that. If anybody reports that you’re piggybacking, Amazon will suspend your selling privileges pending an investigation. To lift the suspension, you’ll need to produce documents proving that you’re the brand owner, an authorized reseller, or the manufacturer.

You’ll also be asked to produce invoices dating up to 90 days prior to your suspension and any other relevant documents. Failing to produce this documentation will result in your funds being withheld or in other cases, legal action. Worse, you can find yourself stuck with a huge inventory with nowhere to sell it. Other e-commerce companies also frown upon this practice.

Creating Fake Reviews Is Old News

Some sellers who know how to optimize products on Amazon know how effective good reviews can be. It could mean the difference between a lucrative selling career on Amazon and a frantic search for another money-making scheme. 

Creating fake accounts to buy your own products and give positive reviews, paying others to give good feedback, and giving out freebies to influence your customers are just a few ways sellers can manipulate the system. It seems like an excellent way to increase your sales as customer reviews are one of the factors that affect your search ranking.

Once you get caught (and you will), this could result in your seller account being deactivated permanently and the end of your Amazon dreams.

Dropping The Brand Name from Your Product Title Is Wrong

Amazon’s rules on an acceptable product title are very clear. This how you should do it:

Brand Name + Series Name + Model Name + Form Factor + Unique Identifier (color, capacity, pack size, etc.)

In addition to it being mandatory, putting the brand name is also important for brand recognition. Failure to do this might result in getting a very low search ranking or getting your listing removed. 

Targeting Your Competitors’ Brand Names Is Unethical

Mentioning your competitors’ brands in a negative way is a big no-no when it comes to learning how to optimize your Amazon listing. It will only make you look desperate and tacky. Buyers will start to perceive your brand negatively. Don’t forget the legal implications too. 

The best way to promote your product is by outlining its benefits, advantages, and unique features. Dissing the competition can be considered unethical.

Don’t Use Special Characters in Your Product Title

Amazon listing optimization heavily depends on your products standing out in your buyers’ eyes. Thus, it might seem acceptable to add a few special characters to your product title just to give it that little extra kick it needs. Wrong! Amazon prohibits this practice, as mentioned in their Product Title Guidelines. Failure to do this could result in seller account suspension. Don’t risk everything for a few fancy symbols.

Signing up for A+ content is a legal way to make your listing stand out. However, you’ll need a professional seller account and must be approved as a brand owner through the Amazon Brand Registry.

Making Unfounded Product Claims Will Hurt You

Here’s the number one rule in advertising: Never promise if you can’t deliver. Amazon follows this rule to the letter as required by the Federal Trade Commission. Any deceptive advertising and marketing practices that raise legitimate health and safety concerns will be penalized by account suspension, permanent deactivation, or legal action. 

If you have the right to make these health and product claims, you’d better be ready with the documents because Amazon will ask for them. Be careful when making claims that your product can help people lose weight in 2 weeks or that your item can cure cancer. 

Adding Extra Things to Your Product Image Is Frowned Upon

Your product image is probably your most important tool to increase your conversion rate. That means customers’ decisions are most swayed by how good your product images look. Many sellers make the mistake of making the images they use flashy and more attractive. This is not what Amazon prefers.

According to its product image requirements, it has to be as simple as possible with a pure white background. You can also forget about making it more attractive because no additional objects can be added to the product image. It has to be as simple as possible, minus all the frills. 

Failure to comply with these requirements could mean your listing not showing up in search results. That would defeat the purpose of an Amazon listing optimization, wouldn’t it? 

The Right Way for Amazon Listing Optimization 

It’s essential to avoid doing things that will put you in the A9 algorithm’s naughty list this holiday season. You need experts who can advise you in improving your search ranking without resorting to unethical practices. 

If you need more information on the right kind of Amazon listing optimization, you can email us at [email protected] or [email protected].

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