The Top 2 Reasons Amazon Listing Optimization Is a Big Deal

Amazon is the world's largest e-commerce platform with millions of sellers. Simply publishing a product listing with some images, selling points and maybe a few keywords, is not enough to attract a customer’s attention anymore. Savvy sellers know that if your product pages are not optimized with professional images, snappy copy, you could be missing out on more sales and loyal customers. Here are two reasons why Amazon listing optimization is vital:

Reason #1: Amazon's Internal Search Engine

Many Amazon customers begin their shopping journey on the site's internal search engine. Therefore, it's essential to improve your listings with this algorithm in mind. Amazon's search engine uses a specific set of criteria, including keyword relevance, seller conversion rate, seller feedback rating, and product reviews, to rank products in relation to similar products. By optimizing your listings with these factors in mind, you increase your chances of appearing higher in the search results, which leads to more sales. Their Algorithms Rank Results Differently

A significant difference between Amazon's internal search engine and its external counterparts is found in the algorithms. Every search engine utilizes a series of algorithms to analyze content and rank it accordingly. In Amazon's case, the ranking criteria is much narrower. It is also different because it's intended to meet a specific need: on-site ecommerce.

Though there may be other ranking factors, Amazon's search engine keys in on four things:

  • Keyword relevance
  • Seller conversion rate
  • Seller feedback rating
  • Product reviews.

Amazon listings should be optimized with these four things in mind. Of utmost importance are keyword relevance and seller conversion rates. When both of those are spot on, a seller has a decided advantage in on-site searches.

Reason #2: External Search Engines

While Amazon's internal search engine is crucial, many customers start their shopping experience on external search engines like Google and Bing. Therefore, it's important to optimize your listings for these search engines too. This involves optimizing your product titles, descriptions, and images to include relevant keywords and phrases that customers are searching for, while quickly conveying a product’s benefits and features. By doing so, your listings are more likely to appear at the top of the search results, driving more qualified traffic to your product page and increasing your sales.

Amazon listing optimization is crucial for your business's success. Optimizing your listings for both internal and external search engines to increase your conversion rate through attractive product pages, relevant copy, and excellent product reviews, you increase your chances of attracting customers and generating sales. Don't leave it to chance. Enlist the help of Amazon listing optimization experts to ensure your listings out-perform your competitions’.

Listing Optimization Is Crucial

While Amazon listing optimization is optional – in the sense that no one is forced to do it – ignoring it is bad business. Listing optimization is crucial to being competitive on the platform. It is also key to performing well on external search engines.

If you don't know how to optimize your listings, no worries. We can help. Our Amazon listing optimization services are designed to ensure that your listings perform well on both internal and external searches. The better they perform, the better they are for your bottom line.

Why Does Amazon Suspend Thousands of Accounts Every Year?

Amazon holds the rank of the world's top ecommerce platform. They dominate ecommerce in the same way Google dominates the search space. And with that dominance comes a certain amount of respect. Sometimes protecting that respect and it’s brand means Amazon will suspend seller accounts.

As seller consultants and Amazon reinstatement specialists, we are often asked why Amazon suspends so many accounts each year.

They operate in their own proprietary cloud of secrecy and do not publish any official reports detailing suspended accounts or why suspension action was taken against them.

While we can't point you to a top 10 list of official suspension reasons, we can lean into our experience as Amazon seller consultants to give you some of the reasons we have personally encountered while working with clients.

Here are 6 common reasons for suspension that are pretty easy to recognize if you know what you're looking for.

1 and 2.  Counterfeit Products or Questionable Product Quality

Amazon does not abide third-party sellers offering counterfeit products. They also restrict products that do not deliver as promised. Amazon considers both scenarios a lack of authenticity. They won't stand for it.

They don’t compromise when it comes to counterfeit products. They should never be sold on Amazon or elsewhere. As for products deemed inauthentic because they don't deliver as promised, the simple solution is to improve them or stop selling them. Sellers shouldn't sell products that make promises they can't keep.

Amazon does not want to be known as a company that sells junk. So if a product receives too many complaints in terms of quality, a suspension may be in order. We have seen this more than once as Amazon reinstatement specialists.

Honesty and transparency win the day.

3. Breaking the Rules

Any ecommerce platform that welcomes third-party sellers must have a set of rules governing use of the site. Amazon is no exception. Their list of rules for third-party sellers is rather extensive. Break one rule every now and again and you might get off with a warning. Break numerous rules consistently (or even a single one multiple times) and an account suspension is likely.

4. Violating the Law

Above and beyond breaking Amazon's rules is violating State, Local or Federal law. This is something Amazon absolutely will not tolerate. Things like fraud and money laundering are crimes that could come back to bite Amazon if they do not take steps to prevent it. Any seller suspected of breaking the law can expect a suspension – at the very least.

5. Black Hat Practices

Third-party sellers compete against one another on the Amazon platform. They are allowed to do so using a selection of white hat practices approved by Amazon. They are not allowed to use black hat practices – like paying customers to leave good reviews. Amazon will suspend accounts for engaging in such practices.

6. Consistently Poor Customer Experiences

Last on the list are consistently poor customer experiences. Amazon's number one priority is to make customers happy. They expect third-party sellers to make every effort to do the same. When a seller performs poorly and receives too many complaints about negative customer experiences, Amazon may suspend the account.

As Amazon seller consultants, we can promise you that a suspension doesn't necessarily mean the end of your selling career. With some exceptions, there are usually ways to overcome suspensions and get back to selling. Helping you do that is our job as Amazon reinstatement specialists. If you've been suspended, let's talk.

Optimize Your Amazon Product Listing to Rank Higher and Boost Sales

Amazon is the largest eCommerce platform with a buyer-based online search.  Amazon makes brands and products easy to find and provides customers with a quick, stream-lined purchasing process.  Amazon’s ever-evolving algorithm makes it difficult for sellers to keep up with the best strategies while keeping Amazon’s rules and restrictions in mind.  What worked yesterday may be obsolete today. If you are a private label seller, you already know optimizing your product listings leads to more sales.  Optimizing your Amazon listings with keywords and the overall customer experience will help you:
  • Appear at the top of the search page
  • Gain visibility for your products or brand
  • Provide customers with the information they need to make an informed buying decision
  • Increase the conversion rates for your products
  • Out-sell your competitors
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Increase your Best-Sellers Rank (BSR) on relevant keywords
Amazon ranks products (and sellers) with various metrics in mind, including the following:
  • Relevancy
Are the keywords in the listing relevant to the product and what customers are searching for? Do those keywords appear in the title, bullets, description, and the reviews?
  • Conversion Rate
Are customers finding what they need? Is your product a match for what they wanted? You want to be able to quickly and clearly educate and answer all their product questions through the images, bullets, description, A+ content and reviews.
  • Product Reviews
Happy customers are loyal customers. Do customers leave positive reviews over time, and consistently? 
  • Seller Feedback Ratings: How many ratings you have and the percentage of positive vs negative, are determining factors for winning the Buy Box.  
Your goal is to gain visibility, increase sales, and satisfy customers with the ultimate goal of maximizing revenue per customer.  Optimizing Amazon listings through split-testing different titles, bullets, images, and A+ content until you have a great converting listing will yield the highest number of sales. If you’d like help optimizing your Amazon listings, contact us today!

What is an Amazon Plan of Action?

If your Amazon seller account or product has been suspended, you now face the challenging task of restoring it.  The Amazon appeals and restitution process is neither simple nor straightforward.  You may need to do some detective work to determine what led to the suspension to begin with, since Amazon may not to be forthcoming with the information.  You may also have an ambiguous email from Amazon requiring extra information and/or supporting documentation from you in order to restore the account or ASIN.  It’s likely you will be required to submit a Plan of Action (POA) to reinstate your account. Here’s what all that means… What Is an Amazon Plan of Action? The POA is a crucial component of the reinstatement process.  It’s a plan submitted to Amazon addressing what you did (or didn’t do) to cause the suspension, how you resolved the issue, and what you’ll do to avoid the same or similar issues going forward.  You must also include any further explanation or documentation Seller Performance requests.  It’s best to submit the POA with your Amazon appeal as soon as possible, ideally within 48-72 hours after you receive your suspension notice.  Before you submit a POA, you may need to start the appeal process first by responding directly to the notification in the Account Health section of your Amazon Seller Central profile.  Note: if you’re unable to login into your account, you may need to reply directly to the email you received. Since Amazon email addresses change frequently, you may need to search for the most up-to-date Seller Performance, account suspension, or compliance email address.  How Do I Write an Amazon Plan of Action? Amazon wants you to resolve the problem, and improve your internal processes to avoid future problems.  This is what you will want to concentrate on with clear, objective, and straight-forward documentation that you have resolved the issue and won’t do it again.  Excessive references to the seller’s company, the negatively affected product, or subjective feelings will only hurt your case. Effective POAs address:
  1. What caused the problem
  2. The actions you took to resolve it
  3. The actions you have taken to avoid such an issue in the future; and 
  4. What you would like to happen next
See Scott’s book Amazon Plans of Action: Proven Tactics for Winning Appeals for a detailed explanation of what should be in your POA and over 30 example templates of POAs, relevant to the following issues:
  • CARB Compliance
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Counterfeit Claims
  • Damaged or Defective Product Complaints
  • Drop Shipping Issues
  • Used, Sold as New Complaints
  • Duplicate ASINs
  • Inauthentic Complaints
  • IP Complaints
  • Late Shipping Issues
  • Price Gouging Complaints
  • Restricted Policy Violation
  • Product Recalls
  • Retraction Request for IP Violations
  • Safety Complaints

Check Now: Is Your Amazon Account at Risk?

Amazon can, and does, update its Terms of Service and the Seller Code of Conduct at any time and without advance notice. It’s your responsibility to monitor for any changes that may affect your account and your business. When it comes to Amazon account suspensions, Amazon is notoriously vague about what you did wrong.  Seller Performance, the division that handles Account Health issues, won’t respond to requests asking information on what you did wrong either.  Because Amazon sees it as your duty to identify the issue, it can complicate resolving issues since sometimes you don’t know where to start. Some of the actions you may be accused of include the following:
  • Creating multiple detail pages/ASINs for the same product – this can happen either by accident or on purpose when uploading new products on the Manage Inventory page.
  • Posting offensive product images – this can be different from the obvious
  • Manipulating the Best Sellers Rank (BSR) – including unknowingly accepting fake orders, ordering your own product, refunding orders to provide reviewers with free products, or referring to your sales rank in product titles or descriptions.
  • Sending any messages to customers that are not related to an order or shipment/fulfillment issue. Forbidden messages include those on how to use the product or what to expect, such as directions, or demos.
  • Increasing the price of a product – when changing the price, make small changes up or down. Wide swings in pricing can flag your product and/or account.
  • Inflating traffic to your listing – using bots, paying for clicks, etc. is a huge red flag.
  • Manipulating product ranking through keyword searches or incentivized orders is a clear attempt to bypass organic shopping behavior.
  • Making claims or unfounded complaints against another seller, their product listings or their review ratings.
  • Hiring or incentivizing customers to manipulate reviews or product rank.
Having your Amazon account suspended can be a permanent situation. Successfully appealing your suspension can take a long time and can cost you a lot of time, money, and frustration.  The fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to stay on the right side of Amazon is to review your account activities on a daily or weekly and get help when needed. If you knowingly or unknowingly find yourself on the wrong side of a product or account suspension, contact us now.

Check Now: Are you in Compliance with Amazon?

Amazon enables you to expand your business by reaching millions of customers with its global marketplaces. Amazon also puts its customers first and strives to ensure every business/seller on the platform is trustworthy.  Keeping customers safe is the platform’s #1 priority.  Most ethical people wouldn’t cheat, but even if you unknowingly take part in activities that violate Amazon’s terms of service, you can expect a swift and harsh reaction with product suppressions and/or account suspension. Amazon has spy bots everywhere to discover if you have multiple accounts, use black hat tactics, are a member of sketchy Facebook groups, or connect with reviewers through social media. They go to great lengths to make sure you’re not violating the terms of service. Whether or not you are intentionally violating Amazon’s policies, the repercussions can be detrimental to your business. As they say, since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, it is necessary to review your products and account frequently to ensure proper compliance.  You don’t want to be caught off-guard by having your account terminated, or find yourself without a path to reinstatement. Seller Policies and Code of Conduct Guidelines ( A few obvious tips to keep in mind:
  • Provide true and accurate information at all times
  • Don’t misuse Amazon’s features or services for your own gain
  • Don’t sabotage other sellers, their listings, or their ratings
  • Don’t manipulate or attempt to influence customer ratings, feedback, or reviews
  • Don’t send unsolicited or inappropriate messages to customers or other sellers
  • Don’t communicate with customers outside of Amazon’s messaging system
  • Don’t manipulate product sales, the BSR (best sellers rank) system, or Amazon’s algorithm
  • Do not create or access more than one selling account without prior permission from Amazon
  • Don’t engage in price fixing or price gouging tactics
Amazon is strict about compliance with its policies, so if you knowingly or unknowingly find yourself on the wrong side of a product or account suspension, contact us now.

Account Suspensions, Amazon Terms of Service, and the Seller Code of Conduct

Amazon is the world’s largest online marketplace and a household name today because customers trust the platform and the products.  To maintain this trust, Amazon expects its sellers to maintain the authenticity and integrity of its platform by following its terms of service, policies, rules, and regulations.  If you are an Amazon seller, you must follow Amazon’s Terms of Service and the Seller Code of Conduct to avoid potential customer complaints, IP infringements, and account suspensions.   Whether you are a new seller or seasoned seller, it’s vital to maintain a healthy account and keep Amazon’s customers happy – remember, the customers who buy your products are Amazon’s customers, not yours.  Any notification from Amazon should be taken seriously. DO NOT ignore it, even if you are no longer selling on Amazon or you’re seeking to remove yourself from the platform. It’s best to leave the platform with a clean account and on good terms with Amazon.  Some of the most common ways Amazon sellers get suspended:
  • Copyright, Trademark, or Patent Infringement
  • Selling counterfeit products, or receiving complaints/claims of counterfeit products
  • Selling damaged, defective, or liquidated products as new
  • Creating an Amazon listing for an existing product (duplicate ASINs)
  • Drop-shipping violations, such as shipping in non-Amazon boxes or from other 3rd party marketplaces
  • Purchasing and selling products from unauthorized distributors
  • Poor customer reviews or multiple customer complaints
  • Review manipulation
  • Contacting customers for non-order or product related issues
  • Selling dangerous goods, recalled products, restricted products (restricted policy violation), or products with safety issues (safety complaint)
  • Inauthentic complaints
  • Price gouging
  • Late shipments
The above reasons are frequent, but there are many others. If your account is suspended, you will need to file an appeal, also known as a Plan of Action (POA), to get your account reinstated.  Fortunately, filing a POA is not a legal process, so you the seller, or an individual on your behalf such as a team member, or a consultant, can help with the appeal process. Regardless of who is appealing the suspension, it’s important that the POA is well-written, provides authentic documentation, and is laid out clearly in a specific format, or it will be rejected.  You only get a few chances to appeal before Amazon makes a permanent ruling and the suspension stands. If you knowingly or unknowingly find yourself on the wrong side of a product or account suspension, contact us now.

Forbidden Activity: Buyer-Seller Messaging, What to Do and What Not to Do

Amazon provides the ability to contact customers regarding questions they’ve asked, or issues with their order. However, it’s important to keep in mind that customers you gain through the Amazon sales channel are not yours, they’re Amazon’s. As a result, Amazon is highly protective of that relationship and how and when it allows you to contact their customers. What to Do:  The only communications allowed between you and a customer:
  • Responding to direct questions from customers
  • Customization questions
  • Delivery schedule
  • Shipping issues
  • Product issues or complaints
Note: All customer messages must receive a response or be marked as “no response necessary” within a 24-hour window of receiving it, or it will be counted against your Account Health metrics. You would normally expect that sending directions or instructions to customers for how to use products, results to expect during and after use, or what to do if they have an issue would be considered exceptional customer service. But this seemingly normal activity can cause your messaging privileges to be removed. What Not to Do:  Activities forbidden through the messaging system include (but are not limited to):
  • Proactive customer service, such as sending product manuals, directions or instructions, tips on using the product, answers to frequently asked questions, or business or seller contact information
  • Requests for only positive seller or product reviews
  • Order, shipment, delivery, tracking, or refund information, since Amazon already sends these
  • Out-of-stock or delay notifications, incentives or offers for other products
  • Contact another seller through the “Ask a Question” feature
Customers can also opt-out of the buyer-seller messaging system. Amazon will push through critical messages relating to order fulfillment issues, even if they opted out.  Can you get around some of these requirements? Yes.  Should you? Not if you intend to be a long-term seller on the platform. If you knowingly or unknowingly find yourself on the wrong side of Amazon, contact us now.

Forbidden Activity: Having or Creating Multiple Amazon Selling Accounts

To be clear upfront, it’s okay for one person to have ONE of each of the following accounts: Please note that every professional selling account has a buying account attached to it.  What is not okay with Amazon is if one individual, one business, or even one IP address has access to more than one of each type of account, and that is not authorized by them.  If you manage multiple selling accounts, you can and should only access them through User Permissions access. Never access an account that is not solely yours through the Administrator username and password or you risk suspending or terminating them all.  If you have a legitimate business need for more than one of these account types, the good news is that you must request and obtain written permission from Amazon before creating a second account. Before you request this, you should make sure you can meet the following:
  1. Each account has a unique business entity, including the name, addresses, bank account, and credit card information.
  2. Each business sells different brands and/or products, and is not related in any way. 
Some examples of a legitimate business explanation include:
  1. You and your spouse have formed different businesses, set up as separate entities, that sell completely different products, but which you both sell on Amazon.
  2. You have multiple business partners involved in multiple businesses. Each business should have its own account with user permission provided to the different partners.
Never allow another individual to access their Amazon selling accounts from your IP or network. Avoid logging into your accounts on public IP networks for the same reason. Can you use a VPN for all of the above? Yes.  However, Amazon is aware VPNs are used to get around this rule. You may find pages don’t load properly, or have trouble logging in. It’s best to have a “home base” for most of your account activity when possible. A VPS (virtual private server) can be a better option to host your account access. If you violate the one-account rule, it is grounds for automatic termination/suspension of ALL Amazon accounts. Amazon has zero tolerance when it comes to this.  If you knowingly or unknowingly find yourself on the wrong side of a product or account suspension, contact us now.

How to Avoid Suspensions on Amazon, Part III

Losing your selling privileges is common in the Amazon game, as thousands of sellers are suspended each week on the world’s largest marketplace. For the past six years I have helped hundreds of sellers both reinstate their privileges as well as avoid potential suspensions. During that time I have learned every angle to maintaining account health. Here are a few quick tips when it comes to sourcing that will help you stave off account health issues.

1. Source directly whenever possible. I’m not telling you that you can’t be successful buying from retail outlets. However, you have NO relationship with the brand. Smooth selling these days has a lot to do with authorization to sell. Setting up accounts with authorized distributors and manufacturers is a much better strategy for long-term success, and it's much easier than you think!

2. Take the time to vet your sources. When choosing a vendor you first have to make certain the supplier is reputable. This means verifying that they are officially permitted to sell the products you are looking to source. So, for example, if you are buying hammocks made by American Eagle, the vendor needs to have the official authorization from American Eagle to sell to you and for those products to be sold on Amazon.

3. Obtain permission to sell. I suggest transparency when approaching new souring relationships, as it will save you headaches in the long run. Your vendors should know you are purchasing to sell on Amazon. They should give you permission to do so, or you shouldn’t sell. With the rise of brand protection agencies and rampant IP complaints, you are putting yourself in a precarious position when you don’t have permission to sell, and that WILL eventually adversely affect your account health.

We would love the opportunity to help you grow your Amazon business. We offer a wide-range of client services, including appeals, ungating, coaching, and much more. If you have a need for help, whether it is regarding account health, suspensions, or reaching new goals, please contact me. I take pride in developing lasting relationships with my clients which result in lasting profits!