The week of June 17 was full of shock, fear, panic, confusion, and a bit of relief as Amazon announced quietly that it would begin enforcing its product title guidelines starting July 22, 2019.
One of my smart Facebook group members posted a link she saw on the Seller Central News page on Monday, June 17. (Thanks, Vickie!) That got everyone in a flurry and quick!
SIDE NOTE: You are welcome to join my private Facebook group if you’d like. Click here, and when asked where your invitation came from, type “blog post”.
This is not the first time that it has taken Amazon seemingly forever to correct an issue and begin enforcing title guidelines that it previously ignored.
Here’s the original announcement from Amazon. Don’t panic; it has been updated… TWICE.
If you clicked to the Product Title Requirements page, you would have seen this:
Even though the announcement read “Use 50 characters as a general rule,” many sellers panicked, thinking that they had to have 50-character titles. SPOILER ALERT: You can have more than that.
After a blizzard of questions in the Amazon forum, one moderator posted this announcement later in the day on June 17.
This emphasizes that Amazon does not want promotional messages in the title such as announcements about free shipping or any mention of guarantees. This is nothing new. As a matter of fact, most of these are not new title guidelines. Amazon is just now (after all these years) beginning to enforce their own rules.
This notice also states that you will be notified about suppressions via the Manage Your Inventory screen, so make a point to check that regularly.
The official word came about 24 hours later with a revision of this page.
Then, without notice or fanfare, the page was updated again on July 17, 2019 to this. However, unlike the previous information that made everyone cringe, this update loosen the reigns a great deal. Here’s the entire announcement.
What you see below in blue are what I’m referring to as the 4 title prime directives.
What You Should Take Note of Regarding Amazon’s Product Title Guidelines:
- Amazon is stressing that 80-character titles will work best. Most sellers aren’t comfortable with this short of a title. Testing it would be a very good idea.
- Even if the Style Guide says the character limit for titles is less than 200, you can use 200 as long as you don’t violate one of the 4 prime directives from Amazon.
Deadline for Updating Your Titles to Avoid the Suppression of Your Listings
This, too, is a bit confusing. Amazon states that they will begin suppressing listings with titles which violate TOS as of July 22, 2019. However, Amazon then says you need to review the criteria by July 15 to verify that your titles meet their guidelines.
I’m hoping this is just friendly advice, so you don’t forget to review your titles and end up in a mess.
My Recommendations for Titles
Here’s what I suggest:
- Don’t use any characters to try and make your titles stand out. If you use slashes, dashes or anything else, be sure you have a grammatical reason.
- Inform in your titles; don’t promote. Avoid using phrasing like “great for _____,” “perfect for ____,” “newly updated,” “this year’s hottest seller,” etc. Instead, give factual information about the product name, color, size, uses, features, and so on. Sell in the bullets and description.
- Review your grammar. It’s true… listings on Amazon have gotten horribly sloppy. I’d venture a guess that half of the product pages are written in broken English with pitiful grammar and almost unreadable sentences.
- For product title optimization, choose the most important, gotta-have-it keyphrase that you want to rank for and include that in your title (near the front). Don’t stuff your titles full of repetitive keywords.
Non-Compliant Amazon Title Examples vs. Compliant Amazon Title Examples
Bad Amazon Title Example (Non-Compliant)
Heavy Duty Kitchen Shears Scissors Stainless Steel Multipurpose Spring Loaded Grade Poultry Shears Great for Cutting Meat, Chicken, Bone, Fish (Green SK1033)
I’d change this into a compliant Amazon title with optimization like this:
Heavy-Duty Kitchen Shears, Stainless Steel Multipurpose Spring-Loaded Scissors, Food Grade Poultry Shears Great for Cutting Meat, Chicken, Bone, Fish, Green, SK1033
Bad Amazon Title Example (Non-Compliant)
Aootek New Upgraded Solar Lights with Wide Angle Illumination, Outdoor Motion Sensor Waterproof Wall Light Wireless Security Night Light with 3 Modes for Driveway Garden Step Stair Fence Deck 2pack
I’d rewrite this to be a compliant Amazon title with optimization optimized like this:
New Upgraded Outdoor Solar Lights with Motion Sensor and Wide Angle Illumination, Wireless Waterproof Wall Light for Night Security, 3 Modes for Driveway, Garden, Steps, Stairs, Fence, or Deck, 2 Pack by Aootek
Next Steps for Ensuring Your Amazon Product Titles Are Compliant With (and Optimized for) the New Guidelines
- Keep the new guidelines handy as you review your listings. For larger sellers, this may be a time-consuming process.
- To save time, you might try loading your titles into a spreadsheet or document and doing a find-and-replace command for common errors such as:
- Removing capitalization
- Removing symbols, non-compliant characters, etc.
- Deleting promotional text and/or replacing it with other text
- If you have to remove keywords so that your title fits into the allotted space, remember that those terms need to be worked into the copy (bullets or description) or placed in the back-end Search Terms fields, so you don’t lose the traffic they were generating.
- If they are relevant, you could put the overflow of keywords into the Subject Matter fields and/or your Amazon PPC campaign.
Above all, get started reviewing your titles now. Don’t wait until the last minute.
Finally, don’t rest after the changes are made. Keep a close eye on the results. While we hope that all goes well, it is common for Amazon to have issues that cause unexpected errors. Be on guard!
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Have questions about Amazon product title guidelines & optimization based on the new guidelines? Talk to me below!