You’ve probably heard the term “suppressed listing” on Amazon before, but do you know what it means?
If not, don’t worry—you aren’t alone. Most sellers are unfamiliar with this term in and of itself until they receive notification that their listings have been suppressed by Amazon.
This article will explore what a suppressed listing is on Amazon, as well as how you can fix one.
What is a suppressed listing on Amazon?
A suppressed listing on Amazon refers to a product listing that has been removed from the site due to a violation of Amazon’s policies.
When this happens, your listing will no longer be visible to shoppers on the site, which can obviously have a major impact on your sales.
Amazon give this description of a suppressed listing:
“Search Suppressed listings are products which Amazon has removed from the Amazon site product search due to quality reasons. Search suppressed products will not surface in customer searches until action is taken.”
So as you can see, the big issue here is quality control. Amazon is very protective over its ecosystem for obvious reasons and if your product listings jeopardise the quality of that ecosystem you run the risk of a suppressed Amazon listing.
Why is my Amazon listing suppressed? And how do I fix it?
The most common reason for Amazon to suppress a listing is because the product doesn’t meet the site’s minimum requirements for approval.
This could be due to a number of things, but let’s take a look at the main causes.
Main image missing
When you first create a product listing you will often only have the bare essentials ready in order to create the ASIN. The most popular cause of a suppressed listing is therefore when an Amazon seller leaves the main image blank to get started.
Amazon won’t allow a listing without a main image to show on the website for obvious reasons, so to fix this issue simply upload a main image for your product.
You can always use a placeholder image of your product that you can update later on.
Non-compliant main image
Another common reason for Amazon suppressed listings is a main image that doesn’t meet specifications.
Rules state main images need to be solely of the product on an entirely white background.
You can include contents of the product and the packaging too but should avoid adding any extra graphics or accessories that aren’t included.
To fix suppressed listings with this issue, simply head to the manage images section of the Inventory menu and upload valid product images.
Whilst you may see competitors pushing the boundaries with their main images it’s best to try and comply with Amazon’s terms to avoid suppressed listings.
Title is too long
Amazon is very particular about the content sellers publish on its platform – after all, they’ve got every right to be.
This means character lengths on fields such as product title need to be strictly adhered to. If creating a new ASIN via Amazon Seller Central you will be restricted from saving a listing with a title that’s too long.
But when adding products with inventory files you can face Amazon suppressed listings if the title is too long.
To fix suppressed listings with titles that are too long, simply reduce the length below what is the category limit.
Amazon regularly updates its style guide, but this will often be 200-250 characters. In some unique categories like clothing this can be as low as 80 characters.
Prohibited terms in title
Amazon prohibits sellers from using certain types of words and phrases in their titles.
Obviously, you shouldn’t use any offensive words, but you will also be prevented from using promotion words like “now on sale” and “special launch offer”.
Adding to that, using subjective phrases like “best” and “top-rated” will usually result in suppressed listings on Amazon.
To fix titles with prohibited terms in, be sure to study the terms of service and ensure your language keeps in line with what is acceptable.
The product description is another key area of your product listing, but including the wrong information can lead to a listing suppression.
Avoid the cross-promotion of other products in your catalogue and don’t include personal information about your business such as website or location.
Remember, Amazon owns the listing and – from their perspective at least – it should be set up to allow other sellers to sell the same product on the same listing.
So any copy that could only be true for your business entity can cause a listing suppression and needs to be removed to fix this issue.
When creating new listings, or if Amazon updates their system, certain fields can be flagged for not having a value in them.
Often this will be a relatively simple fix and will include adding an input for the flagged field which is usually something small like unit count.
To quickly fix Amazon suppressed listings with this issue just head to Inventory, select Manage Inventory then click the suppressed listings menu at the top of the page. You’ll be able to edit the fields right from that page.
You can avoid these errors in the future by being proactive and creating a detailed product description without missing product details, along with filling in all the key fields you know are required.
If Amazon notices you have duplicate listings (or potentially duplicate listings) they may suppress listings whilst you verify whether they are in fact duplicates or not.
In most cases this is an error and notifying Amazon as such will fix this issue.
If you have in fact created duplicate listings you can delete one of the listings from the Manage Inventory page.
Suspected review manipulation
If Amazon thinks you may have been gaming the review system to gain an unfair advantage this may result in suppressed listings.
In this instance, you will likely need to create a plan of action describing what the situation is in order to reinstate this product.
From time to time there are other more nuanced reasons why Amazon may suppress your listing, but these are the most common culprits.
What if my updates aren’t working?
Any Amazon seller soon into their journey will discover the pains of working in Seller Central. It can be very frustrating to try and get updates to products made, particularly if that product has been active on Amazon for any length of time.
As such, if you’re trying to fix suppressed listings you can come up against some bumps in the road when updates you make in the back end of a listing don’t get implemented on Amazon.
The best way to fix this is by using an inventory file. This is an excel file that you can use to create, update, and delete product listings on Amazon.
To use one, navigate to Inventory > Add Products via Upload and open the Download Inventory File tab.
Choose the right category and you will then be able to download the listing file to populate and submit to Amazon.
How do you know if your listing has been suppressed by Amazon?
Amazon doesn’t warn its sellers when a product listing is suppressed and most often sellers don’t even know the products they have listed have been suppressed.
This makes it necessary for Amazon sellers to examine their product listings rather often to determine if their product listings have been search suppressed by Amazon.
There are a few ways you can do this.
You can make it a part of your daily routine to either check your storefront, download an Amazon suppressed listings report from your seller account, or navigate to your Manage Inventory page and look for any suppressed listings there.
Depending on the number of products you sell and the marketplaces you sell in, this can become a little time-consuming.
Plus, it also means this functionality is dependent on you which is not advisable for an Amazon seller trying to grow a business.
Part of your team’s process
Alternatively, you can make this process part of the role of one of your team and they can perform daily checks of the manage inventory page to ensure everything is in proper order.
Use an alerts tool
Finally, our most recommended option is the use of a reputable Amazon seller software with an alert indicator when any changes take place on your listing.
We use Alerts by Helium 10 as it is included in the already value-packed suite of tools they offer and sends notifications both via email and via push notification through the Helium 10 app.
By getting set up with an alert tool you can ensure you’re always notified as soon as possible and risk minimal consequences of suppressed listings.
What are the consequences of having a suppressed listing on Amazon?
It’s important for Amazon sellers to understand that, on the whole, Amazon creates policy in such a way as to give its customers the best possible experience.
Therefore the first thing to consider is that if you are creating listings that get suppressed then it’s quite possible your listing quality needs improving and that will in itself affect sales over the long term.
To overcome this, consider some extra training to learn the keys to Amazon listing optimization.
If you do encounter suppressed listings then your products will not be visible in search results.
If customers can’t find your products in search results then they can’t purchase products from you, so this of course will have a significant impact on your immediate sales.
In addition to this, temporary slumps in sales can negatively affect any sale price of your Amazon business.
One of the first questions potential buyers will ask is with regards to suspensions and policy violations so sudden dips in income will attract a number of difficult inquiries.
How do I avoid suppressed listings in the future?
By following the guidance of this article you will be well placed to avoid suppressed listings in your seller account.
However, selling on Amazon is something that continues to evolve and adapt so you should make it a priority to regularly reference Amazon’s guidelines in an attempt to maintain listing quality.
By putting the customer first and creating high-quality listings that Amazon loves your business will continue to reap the rewards.