Amazon just announced that starting on July 22, it will suppress (read: REMOVE) listings from its search engine that do not comply with its Title Guidelines.
This is a major announcement and will impact many sellers who are unaware of how to properly write a listing title and follow the rules.
As a seller who has seen an influx in “bad behavior” and “bad actors” on Amazon – using tactics to attempt to circumvent the Amazon indexing algorithms to position higher in the organic search results – I see this as a good move.
However, what this will likely mean is that Amazon's scanning algorithms will pick up many “false positives” in terms of title violations. For example, if a brand name is made up of ALL CAPS and registered as such, then if the brand name is in all caps, then it might be flagged and removed from search.
Be prepared for a wild transition phase as sellers who are in violation scramble to change their titles to be in compliance. This will most definitely cause algorithmic “surges” for not just the organic search but PPC placement as well.
Given that the change will occur AFTER Prime day, the change should be less impactful.
Here are the guidelines, according to Amazon
[NOTE: Since the first news release, Amazon has changed the title length restriction from 50 characters to 200 characters (probably due to the massive “push back” from sellers)]
MUST NOT EXCEED 200 characters for ANY product in ANY category. Even if it states in the style guidelines a recommended limit under 200, as long as it does not exceed 200 characters, your listing will NOT be suppressed.
- Capitalize the first letter of each word.
- Do not use ALL CAPS
Kindra's Question: What about sellers that might have brand names registered in ALL CAPS?[UPDATE ANSWER: From three different Amazon support team members, I have been told that the algorithms *should* “skip over” brand names that are capitalized.
- Conjunctions (and, or, for) and articles (the, a, an) should not be capitalized.
- Don't capitalize prepositions with fewer than five letters (in, on, over, with).
Numbers and symbols:
- Use numerals (2 instead of two)Spell out measurements ( 6 inches not 6″ )
- Don't use symbols, such as ~ ! * $ ?
Kindra's Question: What OTHER symbols won't be allowed? Commonly used symbols: “-” and “|” for example – are these still acceptable?
- Don't use Type 1 High ASCII characters (Æ, ©, ô, etc.)
- Include the size and color in “child” ASINs for variations1
- Don't include price or promotional messages, such as “sale” or “free ship”
- Don't use subjective commentary, such as “Hot Item” or “Best Seller”
- Your merchant name for Brand or Manufacturer information should not be included unless your product is Private Label
And about Titles Using Variations (Parent-Child)
In Variation Relationships, remember that only the title of the parent ASIN is shown on the detail page.
This means that the title for the selected child ASIN will appear once the ASIN is added to the customer's cart, so it is important to include the variation attributes (such as size and color) in the title for the child ASIN.
- Example parent: Crocs Beach Clog
- Example child: Crocs Beach Clog, Lime, Medium (Women's 8-9 M US/Men's 6-7 M US)
There's already quite the discussion about this change in the Amazon's sellers forum. For an entertaining and thought-provoking read, you can visit the thread here
What do you think? This seller seems to think it's a good idea:
In my opinion, rarely should one feel compelled to write a title past 50 characters, although 150 I find is a great “sweet spot” for higher conversions and keeping within most title guidelines for the major categories. Some categories like Lighting only allow a max of 50 characters.
And 50 characters is the recommended length because of mobile optimization. Amazon is giving us these guidelines for a reason. They have all the consumer data! They know when, where, and how shoppers are making purchases.
When Amazon says “200 characters MAX” – it's not just some arbitrary amount they pulled out of the sky – they are have done the research and the research shows that titles with shorter titles are converting better. Titles that read naturally and don't look spammy are converting better.
Use this information to your advantage and crush the competition, so that Amazon doesn't crush you!