By: Ina Steiner
Amazon made a significant change to a search optimization feature that sellers should be sure to review right away. Amazon failed to announce the change or update its help page, but a moderator posted the new policy in a thread on the discussion board where sellers were expressing frustration at the drop in the visibility of their products on Amazon.
The change impacts keywords (which are not new), which help sellers optimize products so they are found when shoppers conduct searches on the site. As the marketplace explains on its help pages, “Amazon provides sellers with an opportunity to add hidden keywords for a product. These keywords should only include generic words that enhance the discoverability of your product. For example, if you are selling headphones, your hidden keywords may contain synonyms such as “earphones” and “earbuds.” Hidden keywords are not required fields.”
In what came as a surprise to sellers, an Amazon moderator posted a new policy on July 20th that explains Amazon now limits the length of the generic keywords attribute and has been suppressing generic keyword attributes that exceed these limits. “This will apply to newly registered ASINs as well as existing ASINs,” according to the policy.
The crux of the change:
“Amazon launched a feature that limits the length of the generic keywords attribute to less than 200 bytes in the IN marketplace, 500 bytes in the JP marketplace and 250 bytes in every other marketplace except the CN marketplace. The limits have shown to improve the quality of Search results. To date, the Search team has been suppressing generic keyword attributes that exceed these limits. This will apply to newly registered ASINs as well as existing ASINs.”
It’s getting increasingly difficult for online sellers to optimize for search across the Internet given the algorithms that allow marketplaces to secretly favor or suppress listings. And with the latest push for companies to use artificial intelligence and machine learning, it may only get more unfathomable for online merchants.