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Amazon 250 Byte Keywords Limit

We have been receiving reports for the last week or two that Amazon has set a limit on the number of keywords that will be indexed for books sold through Vendor Central. This limitation was previously only in place for Seller Central, but Amazon recently updated the documentation for Vendor Central to reflect the limitation, as well. The Vendor Central documentation specifically states:

Our system limits the length of the generic keyword/search terms attribute to less than 250 bytes. It is still possible to go over the limit, but if you do, our search engine will not index any of your entries.

Some clients have been in contact with Vendor Central Support and have received email and phone confirmation that the new limitation does apply to books, and to metadata delivered via ONIX, not just to metadata manually entered in Vendor Central.

We are taking this potential change seriously at Firebrand, and are looking for hard evidence that the limitation is actually being applied to titles. However, so far we have not seen that hard evidence. Also, in our experience Amazon’s support team is not always up-to-date on the technical requirements or application of rules when it comes to ONIX deliveries. These points make us cautious about jumping the gun on changing how keywords are handled in Title Management, Eloquence on Demand, or our Keywords service.

As we are running tests and looking for evidence of if and how this limitation is being applied, we encourage our clients to stay the course and not make changes to their current keywords programs. Again, we don’t have any hard evidence of keywords for titles not being indexed. There is a chance that changing the keywords currently applied to titles could negatively affect your sales rank for those titles unnecessarily. Even if Amazon is enforcing this new rule, they may not be (and from our current tests, are not) enforcing it on already-submitted metadata, choosing instead to only apply it when the keywords are refreshed.

If you have any hard evidence about this issue, especially evidence that the 250 byte limitation has been applied to your titles, making all keywords become un-indexed, please contact Joshua Tallent (joshua@firebrandtech.com) with that information.

We will update this blog post in the future as we learn more.