The Ultimate Amazon Restricted Keywords List: Avoid Using Prohibited Keywords and Stay Compliant in 2024

Apr 11, 2024



Anyone selling on Amazon understands Amazon restricted keywords: words or phrases that may or may not be relevant keywords that, when employed in your title, bullet points, product description, A+, or even back end, will lead to your listing being flagged, and maybe even account suspension. There are certain words that Amazon’s bot will flag, because the marketplace wants to be sure that sellers describe their products accurately. When you steer clear of these common words, your listing will avoid misrepresentation, violations of intellectual property rights, confuse or deceive customers, and more. So, in essence, when you comply with the rules and guidelines set by Amazon for restricted keywords, as hard as it may be, you’ll find that your content is a lot more sound.

No, it’s not easy to optimize your product listing while avoiding these restricted words, some of which are incredibly difficult to circumvent (like if you’re selling supplements and you want to assure your customers that your product has instant health benefits – this is a big no-no). It gets doubly harder when you’re selling on more than one marketplace, because each culture has its own set of restricted keywords.

We’re here to help. Stay up-to-date with Amazon banned keywords, so you know which words to avoid. We go through the impact of using Amazon’s restricted keywords, best practices to avoid them, and how the right translators can help you optimize your content for different marketplaces to convert and engage – without flagging the algorithm on restricted content.

Don’t forget to check out our annex at the end of the blog for specific keywords to avoid. Don’t forget – the rules change as often as Jeff Bezos changes underwear – so it’s imperative to keep on the lookout for more restricted keywords that we may not have included in our otherwise comprehensive list.

Keep on reading, avoid making costly mistakes, and make staying informed a priority!

Understanding the Impact of Amazon Restricted Keywords

The first thing to understand about Amazon restricted keywords is that Amazon doesn’t disclose its comprehensive list of all forbidden or banned keywords, but they do take action to enforce compliance with these terms. The best we can do is provide a list of the common words that often get flagged (check the annex below!).

So, how does the Amazon algorithm monitor listings for policy violations? The A9 is Amazon’s proprietary search and ranking algorithm to determine the order in which products appear in search results. It takes certain factors into consideration to deliver the most relevant and valuable product listings to customers.

Here are some of the things the A9 takes into consideration:

  1. Keyword Relevance: A9 considers the relevance of keywords in your product listing to the search query entered by the customer. This includes the keywords in your product title, bullet points, product description, and backend search terms.
  2. Performance History: A9 looks at the historical performance of your product, including factors like sales velocity, conversion rate, and customer reviews. Products that perform well tend to rank higher.
  3. Product Listing Completeness: The completeness and accuracy of your product listing play a role. Ensure all relevant details, such as product dimensions, materials, and specifications, are provided accurately.
  4. Price and Shipping: Competitive pricing and favorable shipping options can positively impact rankings. Customers often filter results based on price and shipping speed, so being competitive is crucial.
  5. Stock Availability: Products that are consistently in stock are more likely to rank well. Running out of stock can lead to lower rankings.
  6. Images and Media: High-quality images and multimedia content, such as videos and Enhanced Brand Content, can enhance your product listing and potentially boost rankings.
  7. Customer Behavior: A9 tracks customer behavior, such as click-through rates and the time spent on a product page. Products that receive more clicks and longer visits tend to rank higher.
  8. Relevancy and Category: Your product’s category and subcategory play a role in determining which products are eligible to appear in certain search results.

Yes, the A9 is also programmed to keep a lookout for the flagged words on Amazon’s super-secret list. In order to remain compliant, you’d want to avoid Amazon restricted keywords, no matter how difficult, and follow the 9 steps above, and with hope the A9 will scroll right past your listing. Now, let’s say you’ve been selling for some time with an active listing – then all of a sudden your listing gets flagged because you accidentally used one of the Amazon restricted keywords. This is normal. The A9 monitoring process is a continuous one, and can lead to suspensions even after initial approval. Sorry.

Why is it important to stay compliant with the Amazon restricted keywords list?

To keep it short:

Risk of Account Suspension:
Failure to comply with Amazon’s keyword regulations can lead to account suspension or listing suppression. The platform’s algorithm actively monitors listings for policy violations, and sellers using restricted keywords risk severe consequences. Yikes. Inasmuch as that sounds like a threat, we regret that it’s true, and many sellers have to seek legal assistance to get their listings reinstated.

Impact on Sales and Reputation:
Non-compliance can negatively affect sales, BuyBox eligibility, and seller reputation. Suppressed listings diminish visibility, leading to decreased sales and potential damage to the seller’s reputation, impacting trust among customers. Remember what we said earlier about the purpose of the Amazon restricted keywords list? It exists to benefit customers. Keep your reputation intact and avoid the banned keywords to the best of your ability.

Long-Term Consequences:
Keyword-related issues may result in lasting repercussions, such as loss of search ranking and increased liabilities. Recovering from these consequences can be challenging, affecting a seller’s profitability and viability on the platform. Thus, it’s essential for sellers to ensure compliance with Amazon’s keyword regulations to mitigate risks and protect their businesses.

Crucial Amazon Restricted Keywords and Their Implications

Our annex contains a comprehensive list of Amazon restricted keywords – but you could say that they fall into the following categories:

  • Marketing language, eg. “hottest product,” “guarantee,” or “on sale now”
  • Claims relating to a product’s features without substantiation, such as “eco-friendly,” “antibacterial,” or “non-toxic”
  • Any disease names or references, eg. “Coronavirus,” “cancer,” or “fungus” – similarly, “fungicides,” “pesticides,” “disease,” “cure,” and “sanitize” are also flagged. Mental health terms like “depression” and “anxiety” are also flagged.
  • Brand names or registered trademarks, eg. “Apple,” “Samsung,” etc. – this is why you’ll see compliant listings for mobile accessories using verbiage like “compliant with iPhone and Galaxy.” Savvy sellers are very careful to sidestep any assumptions that their products actually come from Apple, Samsung, Coca-Cola, or any of the other bigwig corporations
  • Logistics, eg. “ready to ship,” “within hours,” and “UPS”
  • Anything that directs customers away from Amazon, like external links. Sellers who disregard these guidelines risk account suspension, loss of visibility in search results, and damage to their seller reputation.
  • Adult content, i.e. anything related to sexual wellness – this is a tricky landscape, because not all of the related keywords are flagged – assuming of course you’re not selling any of the prohibited products in the first place (Amazon likes to keep things PG, which isn’t surprising given how many kids steal their parents’ mobile phones to shop for the latest toy or gadget)

Sellers must exercise caution when selecting keywords for their listings to avoid triggering policy violations and risking account suspension. Now, in case you weren’t aware how keywords were generated – they are the most-searched words used by customers to define this-or-that product. That’s why keyword research is so fascinating; it uses the words that customers use, and feeds it back to them through the sophisticated algorithm, putting their favorite products in their line of sight. As a result, many of the terms you find in Amazon keyword research will be flagged keywords. This makes optimizing your listing tricky. We get into the best practices for avoiding these keywords in 3, 2, 1…

Best Practices on Avoiding the Restricted Keyword List on Amazon

Okay, here’s the section you’ve been waiting for – the best practices to ensure sellers avoid using restricted keywords in their listings.

Best practices for avoiding restricted keywords and maintaining compliance with Amazon’s guidelines

Keyword compliance, as we’ve identified here, is crucial to avoid running afoul of Amazon’s terms and conditions. We’ve also identified that many top searched and relevant keywords aren’t compliant, because those are the words that customers use to define the products they want.

So, this is where a little bit of creativity is necessary. You need to strive for accuracy and descriptiveness in your listings. Don’t just say your product is environmentally friendly; talk about how you work with suppliers that have reduced their carbon footprint by 30% based on so-and-so governing authority. Don’t claim that your fidget spinner can help ADHD; talk about how the constant motion improves focus and concentration in children of elementary school ages.

It’s also crucial to conduct thorough keyword research for every marketplace you sell on. You’ll find that some products, for example skincare and medical devices, contain more banned words than others, making listing optimization difficult. In these cases, remember that you can’t even put the Amazon restricted keywords in the back end (aka hidden keywords) and hope they fly, because if the A9 discovers your subterfuge, you’re in trouble. So, it’s probably best to consider an omnichannel approach to your selling, and see about creating a Shopify site without the restrictions you face on Amazon.

Tips for optimizing product listings while adhering to keyword restrictions

So, the flip side to this is to incorporate relevant – and safe! – keywords naturally into product titles, bullet points, and descriptions. You can use images to illustrate what you can’t say. Instead of outrightly saying that your drug can help cancer patients deal with the aftereffects of chemotherapy, produce an infographic showing a peaceful lady wearing a head covering sipping a cup of tea in a serene location, like a living room or doctor’s clinic.

Partnering with professional graphics agencies can help you with this. A Creative Director can work with you to map out content based on the restrictions you face, and show rather than tell what you want to say about your product.

Importance of evergreen content and avoiding exaggerated descriptors

“Evergreen content” – the term comes from the evergreen tree, which retains its green foliage throughout the year, symbolizing continuous freshness and vitality. In other words, aim for content in your Amazon listing that stays fresh, interesting, and valuable long after your launch.

Avoid promotional or seasonal content, which may lose relevance after the campaign ends. Produce content that readers or viewers can refer to repeatedly, establishing your brand as a trusted authority in your niche.

Through evergreen content, you build brand awareness, credibility, and trust. And if you do it while avoiding certain keywords we’ve discussed at length in this blog? Well, then, you’re quite the savvy Amazon seller, indeed!

Cultural Sensitivity and Content Restrictions with Amazon Restricted Keywords

One of the frequently asked questions we get here at YLT Translations is if keywords are the same across all cultures – they aren’t.

Our translators weighed in on the flagged words they see in their Amazon listing translation – some of them are the same across all languages, such as brand names and registered brands, marketing language, and health claims. “Non toxic” is prohibited across all Amazon marketplaces.

But it gets a little more nuanced than that. A common noun in English might actually be a brand name in another language – take “fiberglass,” for instance, which can be used with no issues on amazon.com, but will be flagged on amazon.de as a brand name! This is where a team of expert translators and localizers can help.

Part of what we do is to generate new keywords for every marketplace you enter. Even the UK has different keywords from the US – and there are restrictions in Canada that don’t exist in North America. For example, did you know that party poppers, floating lanterns, airbag covers, children’s upper body drawstring clothing, eclipse glasses and filters for solar viewing, and motor vehicle fabric restraint systems are all prohibited for sale on Amazon Canada and Mexico? Even if you don’t sell these, some of the keywords might overlap, and cause problems for the Amazon restricted keywords condition.

In Germany, you can’t even use “alleviation,” “heals,” or “supports.” In fact, even “probiotic” falls under the Amazon restricted keywords list for Germany!

The good news is, our translators are pretty used to translating and localizing content based on these restrictions. Although often challenging, they’re able to make it work. So, don’t make the mistake of assuming your content will fly in Germany just because you’ve employed no restricted keywords in your US listing. Bring it through YLT Translations first to be 100% sure that you’ve used the correct keywords, in the most viable way.

Conclusion: Avoid Using Prohibited Words and Phrases!

In conclusion, navigating Amazon’s restricted keywords is crucial for sellers looking to maintain compliance and avoid potential repercussions. While Amazon doesn’t disclose its full list of forbidden terms, you must stay vigilant to prevent account suspension or listing suppression. Adhering to best practices and understanding how Amazon’s algorithm monitors listings can help you optimize your product content effectively.

Evergreen content, which remains relevant over time, is key to maintaining visibility and credibility on the platform. By avoiding exaggerated descriptors and focusing on accuracy and descriptiveness, you can create content that resonates with customers while staying compliant with Amazon’s guidelines.

Cultural sensitivity is also essential, as keyword restrictions may vary across different marketplaces and languages. Working with experienced translators and agencies can help sellers navigate these complexities and ensure their content meets the requirements of each marketplace.

Ultimately, staying informed, conducting thorough keyword research, and partnering with knowledgeable professionals are essential strategies for success on Amazon’s platform. By prioritizing compliance and strategic content optimization, sellers can mitigate risks and maximize their potential for growth and profitability.

Bring your content through YLT Translations to make sure you haven’t accidentally used one of the Amazon restricted keywords in your translated listings – you might fly by the bot in the USA with a fully-compliant listing, only to get flagged in another country you sell in! So, make sure to bookmark this page to have a strong list to refer back to regularly. Also, reach out to us to make sure you’re fully compliant and don’t list any of the Amazon restricted keywords, in any of the countries you sell on.

Annex: A List of Amazon Restricted Keywords

This isn’t a comprehensive list. As mentioned, Amazon has a list of its own that grows with every day that passes, and this information isn’t released to the public. So, it helps to stay on top of what works and what doesn’t. Similarly, some of these words can be used in the back end, or within context, speaking to the complexity of optimizing an Amazon listing the proper way. For instance, many listings claim their water bottles are BPA-free, and that flies by the bot with no problem. That’s why it really helps to work with a professional agency to help guide you through this quagmire.

Here are the keywords in alphabetical order:

– 100% natural
– 100% quality
– Abandon
– Abuse
– Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
– Added value
– Alzheimers
– Amazon
– American Indian
– Anemia
– Anti-bacterial
– Anti-Fungal
– Antibacterial
– Antifungal
– Anti-inflammatory
– Antimicrobial
– Antiviral
– Anxiety
– Approved
– Arrived
– Award winning
– Bacteria
– Bacterial
– Best deal
– Best price
– Best seller
– Best selling
– Best that nature has to offer
– Bestseller
– Big sale
– Biological contaminants
– Biodegradable
– BPA free
– Brand new
– Buy now
– Buy with confidence
– Cancer
– Cancroid
– Cataract
– Certified
– Chlamydia
– Close-out
– Closeout
– Compostable
– Concussion
– Contamination
– Coronavirus
– Covid
– Covid-19
– Crabs
– Cystic Fibrosis
– Cure
– Cytomegalovirus
– Dementia
– Depression
– Detox
– Detoxification
– Detoxify
– Disease
– Diseases
– Don’t miss out
– Detoxifying/detoxification/detoxify
– Eco friendly
– Eco-friendly
– Environmentally
– Environmentally Friendly
– Etc.
– Fall sale
– FDA Approval
– FedEx
– Filter
– Flawless
– Flu
– Fungicide
– Fungicides
– Fungus
– Germ
– Germs
– Gift
– Gift idea
– Glaucoma
– Gonorrhea
– Great as
– Great for
– Green
– Guarantee
– Guaranteed
– Gout
– Gouty
– Harmless
– Has Arrived
– Has Shipped
– Hashtag
– Hassle free
– Heal
– Healing
– Hepatitis
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B
– Hepatitis C
– Herpes
– Herpes Simplex Virus 1
– Herpes Simplex Virus 2
– Highest rated
– Hodgkins Lymphoma
– Home compostable
– Hot item
– HSV1
– HSV2
– Huge sale
– Human Immunodeficiency Virus
– Human Papilloma Virus
– Imported from
– Inflammation
– Influenza
– Indigenous tribes
– Infection
– Insecticide
– iPhone
– Kidney Disease
– Lasting quality
– Limited time offer
– Liver Disease
– Lupus
– Lymphogranuloma Venereum
– Lymphoma
– Made in
– Mail rebate
– Meningitis
– Mildew
– Minoxidil
– Mold
– Mold resistant
– Mold spores
– Mono
– Mononucleosis
– Multiple Sclerosis
– Muscular Dystrophy
– Mycoplasma Genitalium
– Nano Silver
– Native American
– Natural
– Newest version
– Noncorrosive
– Nongonococcal Urethritis
– Non-injurious
– Non-poisonous
– Non-toxic
– Now together
– On sale
– Over-stock
– Overstock
– Parasitic
– Parkinson
– Parkinsons
– Patented
– Pathogen
– Peal
– Pesticide
– Pesticides
– Pharmaceutical
– Platinum
– Plus free
– Proven
– Pubic Lice
– Quality
– Radiation
– Ready to ship
– Reach out to us
– Recommended by
– Remedy
– Remedies
– Remedy
– Retail box
– Resistant
– Ringworm
– Safe
– Sanitize
– Satisfaction
– Save $
– Save cash
– Save money
– Scabies
– Seen on TV
– Ships faster
– Shop with confidence
– Special offer
– Special promo
– Spring sale
– Stroke
– Summer sale
– Super sale
– Supplies won’t last
– TBIs
– Tbis
– Tested
– The Clap
– Toxin
– Toxins
– Traumatic Brain Injuries
– Treat
– Treatment
– Tumor
– Used
– Validated
– Viral
– Virus
– Weight loss
– Wholesale price
– Wick
– Winter sale
– Within 24 hours
– Within hours
– Worlds best
– Yeast