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…yeah, you got to pay attention to this stuff or you could be losing sales. You’re going to want to know about that. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today. I also wanted to remind you depending on when you are listening to this episode. The day it airs should be June 15th so you’ll have time to register for the upcoming workshop which is tomorrow or June 16th. The reason why I am announcing that this one here is the last one I’m going to be doing for a while is because I wanted to remind you if you’ve missed one, now would probably be the time to join us.
It’s going to be Thursday June 16th at 9 pm eastern time and we are going to be doing more in the future just not until probably mid-July. Depending on when you’re listening to this again, that you can go and register and you can see when the upcoming one is. Right now if you’re listening to this on the day that this goes live which is June 15th, it should anyway then June 16th is a Thursday and that’s at 9 pm eastern time. On the workshop, just to let you guys know that are brand new, we actually go through all of the steps to pick a product, source a product and do a launch, promote the product. All the stuff to get a product to Amazon to start selling and to start marketing it. We cover on this live workshop.
So would love for you to attend if you’re at all interested. It is live so you can definitely check that out by registering at theamazingseller.com/workshop and you can register for that upcoming one. I also want to remind you about the show notes and the transcripts. Some of you have asked for transcripts and I just want to let you guys know and remind you that they are available now. If you want to download the transcripts or view the show notes just head over to the episode and in this case it’s episode 216. The link will be theamazingseller.com/216.
[00:02:03] Scott: Before we jump into why my Amazon listing was suppressed I wanted to also just say hey thanks for hanging out with me today. I know that there’s a lot of podcasts out there and different people that are either talking about this or just talking about business in general or just life in general. I want to thank you again for tuning in and for hanging out with me and hopefully you get some value from these lessons that I learn or the guests that I have on. I just wanted again personally say, “Thank you so much you guys are awesome.” Let’s go ahead and dive into today’s topic and that is all about a listing being suppressed and not knowing about it.
Here’s kind of what happened. It was fairly new on a listing that I had launched and everything was going good. We had some sales starting to come in. I think we were about ten or so a day. Things were starting to go good. We launched the product, we did our launch. We did everything that we talk about here on the podcast. Things are running along pretty smoothly. Now in the mornings usually I go in and I check the listings just to see if I have any feedback that I have to check on or if there’s any red flags that have come up that I need to be aware of.
Any of that stuff I usually do that or I just go in and look at the pay per click. I go in there and look around. I didn’t do that for a day or so, for whatever reason I got busy. Got out of routine, I might have been travelling. I logged in and I seen that that little red box up top there or the little message note, there the little flag that said that there was a problem.
[00:04:00] Scott: So because of that I had to drill in a little bit here and see what the heck was the problem. Well on one of the listings that I had recently launched, there was a problem. Usually when you have a problem like this, if your listing is suppressed, usually that means it, most of the time not always, that it’s usually an error on the listing itself or there’s a problem with the listing itself. Sometimes they’ll give you exactly what it is, sometimes they won’t. In this case this has happened to me a couple of different times. The one time pretty recently, I’d say probably about maybe about six, seven weeks ago, I noticed that when I was in editing one of my listings I noticed that it said that there was an error or… It wouldn’t allow me to save again. I’m sorry. It wouldn’t allow me to save.
It didn’t suppress the listing necessarily but it wouldn’t let me make changes unless I corrected these problems. So in this case it didn’t suppress the listing but it still I think could have had a problem on the back end with rankings and stuff like that because there was a problem with the field that allows you to put in related ASINs. If you have ASINs that are your product your SKUs, if you have related products you can put them inside of this field.
Well I did that a while ago and just let it go and for some reason there was too many. I think that they only allowed like three or five and I might have had seven or something like that. I had to remove them until I seen that I could now save the listing. If that was the case and I couldn’t save the listing well I got to kind of leave it even though it wasn’t suppressed and that’s not good either. What I did is I just deleted everything at first and I wanted to see if that fixed the problem and allowed me to have the save button and it did. Then what I did I just started slowly adding back the different ASINs until I got the ones in there that it would allow me to.
[00:06:04] Scott: I forget the number of what it was but again you just have to figure out exactly what is drawing the red flag and in that case that was that one situation. This most recent one that the problem was within the listing was the title. Even though it said that I had a 250 character limit for some reason I think they might have updated it. It might have gotten to 200 now or something. They might have made a change recently and what happened was is it suppressed the listing and it said that the title was too long. Rather than them just cutting off, which I think that would probably be a way to keep your listing going, is they could have cut off from the point of where it was too long and then just let that be out there. Then they could have notified me but then they might say well then if we did that it would have chopped off maybe half of the word, I get it but I still wish I could have been alerted a little bit sooner or maybe as I was setting it up it would have been correct.
It wasn’t so that was the most recent one is again when I’m going through trying to figure this thing out I noticed that the title had too many characters. Every category’s a little bit different. I’ve been launching a few new products in a different category and they’re 250 characters but I know in some categories it’s only 100 characters or even less. Really just does depend on the category but that’s one thing that it could be. It could be an image. Maybe the image that is there. I’ve had that happen in the past too where I didn’t suppress my listing but it took my main image and it removed it automatically and it bumped the second image to the first image, which was weird but that happened as well.
Again this is why you want to always, always be monitoring your seller’s account or your back end. If you’re not doing it have someone else do it for you. Really, really important that you do that because we don’t want to think that everything is running smoothly and then all of a sudden our sales start dropping because our listing is suppressed. Basically that means that the listing isn’t visible.
[00:08:05] Scott: They’re not allowing us to show our product in the catalog and we’re going to lose rank, we’re going to start losing our reviews that are coming in or any of the other benefits of having that momentum moving forward. The solution that I did and I put like a little bullet point list here together of the things that I did here is, Number one, I removed the words in the title. The very first thing that I did was I just kept eliminating words until I seen that I was under the 200 and… However many it was. It might have been 200. Mine went up from 250 to 200. I just kept using the back space and then seeing where was the true number. Then from there I started to look at the title to see what were the non-important words that were in there that I could get rid of but then not take away from the listing or from my main keywords.
You guys have me talk about this before. Your main keywords should be in you title. Your title in my eyes is weighted the most meaning it’s going to pull the most rank. Then the second best place is in the back end of your listing. Whatever words that you had to pull out there if you felt they were important then definitely go in the back end of your search terms and then put them there. You want to definitely insert those terms in the back end. Now the other thing that I’m doing now that I learned here through this process is I’m getting in the habit of checking the listings especially new ones more often.
Again some days I won’t check the listings themselves. I’ll just go ahead and just assume everything’s running. Well even though it might not be suppressed you might have an error in the back end so you might want to go into a listing as you’re going to edit it and then see if it’ll allow you to save. That’ll give you an idea if you have any problems inside of that listing. I’m not saying you got to do that all the time but you might want to give yourself like a schedule where you can go in once a week and check that.
[00:10:04] Scott: You definitely want to check your emails for your account and you also want to check your notifications because they usually will alert you on that. The other sign that you might see here is that sales drop. If you see a sudden sales drop from one day to the next, you might want to check that out.
Now I’m not saying very first thing in the morning but you might want to look and say well normally at this time of the day I have X amount of sales or I have no sales there might be a problem there. You might want to then go and check that but again like I said they should notify you but they’re not always going to do that. Then the other thing is here is, again this is a takeaway for me and hopefully for you is to stay within the terms of service. It’s best as you humanly possibly can. That means your images, that means your titles, your bullets, your descriptions, the keywords in the back end, all of that stuff you want to make sure that you’re doing things the correct way and within the terms of service.
Now there’s a lot of different people out there that are twisting the terms of service or saying that, “It says here that you can do this and you really can’t,” or vice versa. Here’s the thing, we all know that when we’re pushing the boundaries. For example if you have an image, your main image and you’re starting to put text on that image we pretty much know that that’s not what Amazon wants. That’s not in their terms of service. Can you do it and get away with it? Yeah you probably can and I see my competition doing it all the time. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to continue doing that. Again, you want to make sure that your images are clean especially your main image. Your secondary images I do believe that you can put text in there, arrows in there, highlight an image, maybe zoom in on a certain part and draw attention to that showing your product being used. That’s another great way to use those images but again staying within the terms of service.
[00:12:01] Scott: You don’t want any red flags to get drawn up that you get shut down for a certain period of time. This way here you have to get the ball rolling again. Your title, definitely stick to the rules on this one. Don’t put in there, “Father’s Day special.” They don’t want that in there. If you want to do something like that you could probably put it in your bullet point, maybe your first bullet point. I would stay away from doing anything that is marketing related inside of your title. Like I said, “Best price on Amazon.” No don’t do that. That could potentially get your listing suppressed or banned. Now you don’t want to do that stuff. Keep it clean. Again but the title again is really, really important because that is weighted the most. You’re going to know your top keywords, put those in there. Make them naturally fit. Put them in there so this way here you’re allowing the person that’s looking for that product to see exactly what your product is and it’s going to tell them what it is in words.
I always go back to understanding the optimization of a listing and if you understand the optimization of a listing everything else is pretty much easy. Your images, those right there are getting your attention but you don’t get attention if you’re not found. We really have to start with a really solid title. The title, if you put in there something that just talks about what the product does in the title that doesn’t necessarily get you found. The keyword that you put in there that people are searching for will help you get found. The title again is really important just to have your keywords in there that explains the product. That’s going to help you get found. The image is going to get you seen or get you noticed. Then from there we should talk about the back end keywords. Now I talked about this in a past episode and kind of an experiment we did with one of our students in our private label classroom.
[00:14:08] Scott: You’re not going in the back end and going to stuff keywords just to stuff them. You want them to be relevant as well. There’s been some talk that Amazon is also going to go through the back end of our listings to make sure that we’re not just trying to go after these popular keywords that might not even be related to our product. You want them to be related. Again it all comes back to common sense right? We want to use common sense when we’re building our listing when we’re marketing our products on Amazon and all of that stuff. You need to keep that stuff in mind. The bullets, the same thing. We don’t want to put in there any sleazy marketing tactics. We want to explain the benefits. I stress that every single time whenever we’re talking about optimization is you really want to make sure that you’re talking about the benefits. What is it going to do that’s going to help your customer?
They’re looking for that product to solve a problem usually and that problem could be increasing their golf swing. It could be something like that even though it’s not like a hardcore problem, it’s something that’s going to help them with something usually. Not always, usually. If someone’s buying a gift for someone with your item or they’re buying it to give to someone as a gift to make that person happy so bring out the benefits of what that gift’s going to give to that person that they give it. Does that make sense? Hopefully it does. You know what I mean? The benefits are really important.
The features are important too if someone’s looking for that because not any other product out there on the market has this particular feature. You want to make sure that you’re calling that feature out because it’s a benefit that it has that feature. You see what I’m saying? You have a benefit to that feature. That is the bullets. Then your description is really again talking about the benefits, the features.
[00:16:04] Scott: You can have a call to action in there that more or less says, “Hey if you’re ready to start pressing garlic this holiday season go ahead and click the ‘add to cart’ button or the ‘buy now button’ above to get started today.” Something like that. Again I know I just went through the optimization stuff again but it’s pretty important and that stuff there is where people can get in trouble because when you’re starting to stuff things in these different areas or use html in the description and then you wonder why your listing is getting suppressed it’s because you’re not following the guidelines. Really simple guidelines is just have your title be legit. Have it be keywords that are related to your product. Your images, make sure that they show your product and only your product.
If you’re going to show your product being used that needs to be in second, third, fourth, fifth sixth picture whatever order you want to put them in like a lifestyle picture whatever. Your main image needs to be on a white background. We all know that it’s supposed to be without any other text or anything like that. You can use a prop they say so if your item can be used with something you can use that as a prop. They say that if you’re using a model to show how it’s being used that can be there as far as I can see within the terms of service. It says that right there when you’re creating your listing.
Again, just pay attention to what you’re doing. Usually it’s going to be an error on our part. It’s going to be something that maybe we didn’t do purposely but we did it so we need to own up to that. Not always but it could definitely be part of our problem. Now recently with me, with my listing getting suppressed it wasn’t necessarily my fault because it accepted everything I put in there. I was stuck to the guidelines of how many characters and at the time it was 250 characters. Then they for some reason started to take these titles and reduce them and then from there suppressing my listing.
[00:18:02] Scott: In the backend before allowing me to put up, up to six or seven ASINs as related ASINs but now they went down to five. Now because of that that’s going to take my listing and make it not optimized anymore or have flaws in it. We don’t want the listing to have flaws. Our listing is telling Amazon what we are selling and what the product is all about and all of the different keyword that we put in the back end or different features. There’s different things in the back end of our listing. True, that might not pertain to your product. Don’t fill them out because you’ll probably have your listing suppressed once they do a scan of it. Just always just keep in mind we want to stick to the terms of service as best we can. Always, always be checking in on your listings because if you don’t you could find out that your listing is suppressed and you’re wondering why you’re not getting ranked and your sales are down and all of that stuff.
A little side note, if you change your title because for whatever reason, you’re probably going to see a dip in rankings. It’s just the way it goes. Just understand that if you have gotten a flag for too long of a title and you have to change that, there’re a chance that your ranking will drop. It’s okay, be patient because most likely your rank will come back. The other thing I want to note on that as well is if you mess around with the back end of your keywords that could also make your listing dip temporarily and then it can get pulled back or maybe the change makes it worse. That’s why you should be tracking that stuff as well especially those main keywords that you’re looking into. Now I talked a lot about optimizing a listing and all that stuff. Well, episode 86 I did what Karon Thackston, that one there gives a lot more in-depth about all of the optimization and stuff.
[00:20:02] Scott: You can definitely check that out by heading over to theamazingseller.com/86. That one there we talk all about listing optimization and what is good practices and stuff like that. Definitely check that out. I’ll leave them in the show notes as well. This might be an episode too that you might want to go check out the show notes for this episode, episode 216. That’s theamazingseller.com/216. I got a little side note here, I got a few side notes here that I wanted to kind of include here at the end of this episode. Take the time to find relevant targeted keywords for the back end. We seen some really, really good results by doing this. I was at the Miami event, it was a Steve Chou’s event for the conference Sellers Summit, was really awesome by the way.
I met a guy there and he had a very unique suggestion and he said that he seen some pretty good results with this. Now, I’m just currently testing it so I can’t say exactly if it is working but you guys have heard us say about not putting comas in the back end. Well putting commas in the backend doesn’t necessarily make you not rank. Here is the problem and this is why we say not to put commas in there. If you put a comma in the back end, like lets just say for example you do garlic press and then you do comma and then immediately without a space you put black handle and then you put comma and then you don’t put a space and then you put in stainless steel.
If there is no spaces in there that’s where you get the problem of Amazon looking at that as just a string of characters. When we said not to put in commas, I still agree with this by the way, what you are doing is you are allowing those spaces to identify the break or the comma where Amazon would then understand that garlic is a word, press is a word, black is a word, stainless is a word, steel is a word.
[00:22:11] Scott: What he was saying that he has played around with, and again am just testing this, but what he’s done is he’s taken the phrase that he wants to rank for. Maybe it’s stainless steel garlic press and he’ll put that in in the front end of the backend of the keywords and then put a comma and then a space and then start with another keyword phrase. He said that he’s seen a bump in his rankings for those search terms, for those phrases. Now again, I have no proof of this right now but it’s something that I’m looking to play around with. Again we are talking a little bit about optimization here because that’s what drew the red flag for the suppressed listing so we covered the suppressed listing stuff. Just always be monitoring and stuff but stuff like this right here is really important to understand too because as you are tweaking and you are testing things, if you do something in the back end that alerts Amazon that something is wrong that could suppress it.
When you are doing these little changes I guess I‘m reminding you right here again to pay close attention to that listing for the next couple of weeks especially because you may have did it and it may have worked right then but then all over sudden they scanned it and then it got flagged. Again, I’m just going randomly here at the backend because the backend we’ve recently experimented ourselves, myself included with just putting keywords that we find that are really highly targeted whether we are using keyword inspector which I’ve talked about using that tool to go after your competitors and then scrape a listing and then use the top keywords they are ranking for and then deduping them and all of that stuff. We’ve talked about that in the past episodes.
Again if you want to check out the keyword inspector tool we’ve got a special offer there. It’s an affiliate link that I have. You will buy me some coffee as usual if you go through that link but you also get extra credits for running more scans.
[00:24:06] Scott: You can head over to theamazingseller.com/resources and just scroll down to where it says keywords and then you will find Keyword Inspector. Go check that out if you wanted to find more keywords, Merchant Words which I’m not an affiliate for currently but I’ve used that service as well to get ideas, Google Keyword Planner that’s another good one. Again, just wanted to say the backend keywords, now that they have added up to a thousand per line, it’s powerful stuff to help you rank for relevant key words. Again, as I said, you are messing with things so there is a chance now that something could become suppressed and if it does you need be aware of that. That’s why I wanted to do this episode because I wanted you to be aware of what could happen from just one little tweak.
Like I said I did a brand new listing, I changed the title or I added the title. It went through fine and then a couple of days later it got suppressed. What I’m saying here is when you are doing these tests and these tweaks and you are modifying things just be aware, be aware. Just always check your listings when you’re first launching it to make sure it’s not being suppressed. You could launch it, it could go live, your inventories being sent in, it gets sent in, it gets checked, but then your listing’s suppressing, you are wondering why you are not getting any sales or you turn on pay per click and for some reason you can’t run pay per click. There is all of those reasons why you want to pay attention.
Now, recently like I said I have been doing some tests and I’m going to actually be reporting more on this but what I did is I ran an image test and the reason why I am saying this is because I think we all should be testing and this is just random that I am going to throw this out here because it’s something fresh that I’ve been working on but I was at one of our TAS Breakthrough Live Event’s, one of our first ones we’ve ever done recently in Denver and a gentleman offered up some advice and said that he was testing some images.
[00:26:05] Scott: He got a 6% bump. I recently did that and I got a 3% bump and on one of his suggestions which was really to take the image and just change it up a little bit and then from there track it. Track your sessions over may be seven to fourteen days and see what happens. Well, since I went ahead and did that manually there is a software tool that actually allows you to do this, to actually monitor this. It will go in and it will run one test one day, it will alternate to the next, the next day then it will come back to the original, go to the test, go back to the original, go to the test and then it will kind of split back and forth, back and forth.
Then it will track the result on conversions, your sessions all of that that stuff. It’s a new software that Greg Mercer has launched and it’s called Splitly and it’s really awesome by the way and I’m using right now and I can’t wait to have more test going because it’s kind of addicting but you are going to see what is working, what’s not working. He’s got some really awesome tests as well. If you want to check that out… We’ve got also a cool little bonus for anyone that joins through my link and that would be theamazingseller.com/splittest, all one word, so theamazingseller.com/splittest and you go to splitly and I believe he’s got a trial over there as well but you get an extra bonus there by going through The Amazing Seller Podcast link. You’ll buy me coffee as usual if you decide to continue with that.
It’s an amazing piece of software. It’s one I’m using right now and I don’t plan on stop using because it’s just something we should be doing on a regular basis. Think about that. I did a test and I was able to increase conversions by 3% by one image tweak, by one image tweak! Again, it’s like things like that get me excited because you’re not doing really any more work other than just testing an image or testing a headline or testing the back end, whatever it is that you want to test you can do. Now, there’s a tool that actually allows you to do it. Set it up once and let it run and then look at the data. Really awesome stuff again, it’s fairly new but it’s an amazing tool and I know Greg Mercer personally and I know Jungle Scout you guys are probably already a user of but if you want to check that out, definitely head over to themazingseller.com/splittest and check that out. Let me know what you think. Let me know of your Split Test results too. I’d love to hear them.
[00:28:06] Scott: Guys if you want to check out the show notes to this episode, head over to themazingseller.com/216, all the show notes, the links, the transcripts will be there as well and again, I just want to say thanks so much for hanging out with us and as always, I love hanging out with you guys and just talking about this stuff and sharing what’s working, what’s not working and all of that stuff.
I’ve got some really cool things that I’m working on that I’m going to be sharing with you fairly soon. Look out for that. Yeah guys, that’s pretty much all I got for you today but I just didn’t want to remind you that if you are changing things or if you set up a brand new listing definitely keep a close eye on that because Amazon will suppress the listing if something is wrong. You won’t even know about it and you’ll be wondering why it’s not selling or if you’re rankings are dropping or any of that stuff. Just pay close attention to that and just try to fix it is they are saying that they need you to fix and then you’ll be back up and running. I just wanted to warn you on this if you’re doing any of that stuff definitely pay close attention.
Alright guys, that is pretty much going to wrap up this episode, you guys know I love talking about this stuff and I love sharing with you so do me a favor and share this podcast with something that you think that would get value from it only with people that you think that would get value and that are like us, that are entrepreneurs, that are out there trying to create a better life for ourselves and our families by creating a business that can allow us to create freedom for ourselves.
[00:30:09] Scott: That’s it guys. That is pretty much going to wrap it up. Once again, I’m going to remind you I’m here for you, I believe in you and I’m rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it proud. Come on now, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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