Errol Vas: Amazon Blackhat SEO Tactics to Avoid

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Listing and selling through Amazon seems like a great way to market your product, but unfortunately a vast number (Fortune estimates as many as one-third) of other listings use fake, misleading, or bribed reviews. Amazon maintains that this number is closer to just one percent and has posted a zero tolerance policy for spam reviews.

Common Unethical/Illegal Tactics 

Click farming 

Hiring bots or workers to interact with a listing by repeatedly clicking on or adding items to a shopping cart. This tricks Amazon’s algorithm, so listings will appear higher in search results.

Sabotaging competitors with negative reviews

Bots or workers posting negative reviews on competitors’ listings in order to make it look less desirable to legitimate consumers.

Sabotaging competitors with positive reviews

Posting multiple over-the-top positive reviews on competitors’ products to raise red flags in Amazon’s system.

False brand infringement claims

Claiming to be the owner of the brand and involving Amazon in order to get the post taken down. This can be an arduous task to undo, as the “owner” of the brand is rarely available to confirm that it wasn’t them who complained.

Posting a bogus safety claim

A hijacker may actually buy a product from a legitimate seller, then post a negative review claiming that it was dangerous. The hijacker will cram words like “hazardous,” “risk,” “choking,” and “fire” to trigger an immediate removal of the listing. 

Counterfeit switch

A counterfeiter adds their inventory (of knockoff goods) to an existing listing. Or, counterfeiters may buy their competitor’s product themselves, then return a counterfeit version. They will subsequently complain to Amazon about the “counterfeit.” To protect yourself, serialize individual units of your product.

‍How to Protect Yourself from Unethical Competition

Amazon is aware of these issues and getting better at detecting abuse. In early 2019, the company introduced Project Zero, a program that lets sellers automatically remove counterfeit listings without involving Amazon.

Pay special attention to your high-performing listings. If you see any suspicious activity, report it right away and don’t stop at opening a case with Seller Support. You don’t want to haphazardly put together a complaint or POA, only to get rejected for submitting confusing material.

Another way to ensure your own safety is to get your brand registered (you’ll receive more protections from Amazon).

Make sure your product data is complete. The more detailed your product descriptions, the greater chance you have of getting ranked on Amazon and earning your consumers’ trust. Heed expert tips on how to optimize each component of your listing.

Cross-promote your Amazon listings on social media and other websites. This increase in engagement can improve your ranking in Amazon’s search engine.

Improve text matches. Ensure that your copy includes the right keywords without sounding robotic. Cut out any sales fluff to make room for genuinely helpful and descriptive content.

‍Make sure your products are readily available. Amazon will de-emphasize listings that are out of stock. Once this happens, it’s reportedly harder to recover your rank. So before you get to this stage, establish a reliable method for syncing quantities to the actual inventory in your warehouses and/or inbound stock. Use inventory thresholds to avoid stockouts.‍

‍In Summary

The competition on Amazon is only intensifying with time. Although the number of third-party sellers seems to be growing, 28% of sellers are dropping annually. The ones who remain not only deliver great service and products—they employ ethical tactics to increase brand visibility, without putting their ethics on the line.    

For more information visit https://www.errolvas.com/.

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