Amazon sellers, beware. New rules affecting sales abound.
Since June 2021, Amazon has dramatically reduced its support of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).
This reduced support made writing eye-catching and profit-attracting product listings more challenging.
Neglecting this HTML change can make your existing listing less attractive to potential buyers.
The new HTML restriction can harm your conversion rates and affect your sales.
Worry not because I can help you.
This guide is for you if you’re a seller struggling to get around this HTML code restriction. I will provide information on the following:
- What an Amazon HTML description is
- Why HTML descriptions are essential for sellers
- How you can take advantage of new HTML description rules
You can think of HTML as the building blocks of a website.
These blocks include instructions called HTML code or HTML tags.
When developers build websites, they use these instructions or code to control the site’s features, including background color, text formatting (bold, italics, etc.), and other visual characteristics.
HTML can make websites the same way it builds Amazon product descriptions.
Before June 2021, Amazon sellers had greater freedom in using HTML code to make their product descriptions more attractive to potential buyers.
After June 2021, the platform restricted the use of HTML tags—mainly because Amazon wanted sellers to be able to create product listings on non-HTML devices.
Since the HTML restriction, writing a customer-grabbing Amazon product description has been difficult for many sellers.
You might consider outsmarting Amazon’s code to get past this restriction, but it’s impossible. You’ll immediately get an error message if you try.
The main keyword when discussing HTML’s importance in Amazon descriptions is readability.
A picture paints a thousand words, as the saying goes.
Look at the image below, and you’ll see a sample product description made with total HTML freedom (before the June 2021 era).
Meanwhile, the image below shows a product description with no HTML code.
Based on the above photos, which product description will customers find easier on the eyes?
Many people will agree that the second image is far more arduous to read than the first one, with its large chunk of unbroken text.
HTML gives sellers the freedom to create more attractive and easy-to-read descriptions.
The recent HTML restriction makes life more difficult for sellers. This problem becomes even more challenging since there is a correlation between HTML tags and sales.
Amazon product description HTML tags and sales figures are more closely connected than you think.
Product details are the top factor affecting purchase decisions, ahead of other factors like product reviews, price, and images.
Good product descriptions could mean the difference between a sale and a lost customer.
Generally speaking, product descriptions are more readable if they have more HTML tags.
If writing product descriptions is not your cup of tea, seeking help is okay. You can hire a professional Amazon copywriter to assist you.
Before June 2021, Amazon gave sellers more freedom to format their text through HTML, like changing fonts, font styles (bold, italic, etc.), and font size.
You could even change a product description’s background color.
However, as of this article’s publishing, the new Amazon description HTML formatting rules state that text should remain untouched.
Only the most basic HTML tags will work on Amazon product descriptions.
Amazon has now banned HTML tags that affect background color.
As mentioned earlier, Amazon has new rules on HTML in product listings.
But don’t worry because there are other ways to make your product descriptions stand out.
Here are new guidelines and old rules that still apply to make your product descriptions compliant with the platform’s rules.
Amazon permits the following text formatting and information on Amazon product descriptions:
- Product’s essential features, including characteristics such as size and color
- Brand name, series, and model number
- Capital letters at the beginning of each sentence
- Line breaks (the <br> HTML tag)
- Bold text (the <b>bold</b> HTML tag)
- Paragraph text (the <p>paragraph</p> HTML tag)
- Special symbols like /, – , =, *, or > (to enhance readability)
Here are rules on prohibited data and unacceptable text formatting practices on Amazon listings (based on the Amazon Seller Central Help section).
- Phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, or website URLs (ex., https://www.google.com)
- Details of availability, price, or condition
- Promotional material or images
- Using all Capital Letters throughout the product titles, bullet points, and product descriptions (ex., DISHWASHER-SAFE, EASY-TO-CLEAN, etc.)
- Links to other websites for placing orders and alternative shipping methods
- Spoilers or crucial plot details on books, music, video, or DVD product listings
To ensure your listing adheres to Amazon’s new HTML guidelines, change or fix your listing’s HTML tags ASAP.
Follow these steps to change your listing’s HTML codes.
- Log in to your Seller Central account.
- Head over to the main dashboard, click on the Inventory tab, then click on Manage Inventory.
- Select the listing you need to edit, then click the Edit button to get to the product page.
- Click on the description tab and edit the HTML tags.
- Click the Save and Finish button.
You can use Amazon HTML editor tools if you want to update your listings into the new format much more quickly.
These tools are often “copy-paste” software. Copy the content from your detail pages and paste them into the HTML editor to convert it to the new format.
If you have multiple listings, editing them one by one can take forever. Fortunately, there’s a way to edit Amazon listings in bulk.
- Log in to your Seller Central account.
- Go to the main dashboard, click on the Inventory tab, then select Add products via upload.
- Click the Download an Inventory File tab, select your category, then download the corresponding flat file.
- Head over to Inventory, then choose Inventory Reports.
- Select Inventory Report in the Select Report Type box, then download the file.
- Open the report file and choose the SKUs you want to edit. Copy them into the flat file you downloaded.
- Inside the flat file, go to the Template tab and make the changes in the Description column.
- Choose Partial Update in the Update Delete column.
- You can now save and upload the file.
Despite the challenging new Amazon product description HTML rules, you can still increase your Amazon sales and conversion rates.
There are many ways you can use the new HTML product description rules to your advantage. You can find loopholes in Amazon’s description policy rules and subscribe to Amazon’s A + Content feature.
Taking advantage of loopholes isn’t always harmful. An ethical way to take advantage of loopholes is to learn how to use HTML on Amazon product descriptions.
Though Amazon has severely restricted HTML since 2021, the platform hasn’t completely banned it. You can still use HTML tags like <br> and <b><b/>.
Using the line break and bold tags can help make your product descriptions easier to read than a plain and solid wall of text.
The table below illustrates how sellers used product description HTML before the ban.
The left column shows how sellers used HTML when editing a product description. The right column shows how customers see the description when searching on Amazon.
The sample description below is for a hypothetical smartphone.
Before the 2021 HTML Restrictions
HTML Version of Product Description
<li> <b>Take beautiful pictures</b>. Use <br> artificial intelligence to enhance photos. <br>
<li> <b>Feel safe</b>. Automatically lock your <br> phone if it’s stolen.
What Product Description Looks Like to Amazon Customers
- Take beautiful pictures. Use
artificial intelligence to enhance photos
- Feel safe. Automatically lock your
phone if it’s stolen.
The phrase “Take beautiful pictures” has the HTML tags <b> and </b>. These tags emphasize the phrase by making it appear as bold text.
The line break (<br>) tag after “photos.” and before “Feel” ensures the “Feel safe” bullet point begins on another line. Without that line break tag, the first bullet point will run into the second one and look like this:
Take beautiful pictures. Use artificial intelligence to enhance photos. Feel safe. Automatically locks your phone if it’s stolen.
Meanwhile, the unordered list (<ul>, </ul>) tags work with the list item tags (<li>) to create a bulleted list.
The table below shows what you can do after the 2021 HTML restrictions to improve the readability of your product descriptions.
After the 2021 HTML Restrictions
HTML Version of Product Description
<b>Take beautiful pictures</b>. Use artificial intelligence to enhance photos.<br>
<b>Feel safe</b>. Automatically lock your phone if it’s stolen.
How Amazon Product Descriptions Appear to Amazon Customers
Take beautiful pictures. Use artificial intelligence to enhance photos.
Feel safe. Automatically lock your phone if it’s stolen.
These techniques still make the description readable, even without unordered list HTML tags.
Subscribing to Amazon A+ Content is another way to ensure that your listings stand out from competitors. It’s easier to create attractive listings on Amazon if you do so.
With A+ Content, you’re not just limited to the bullet points and product description text to make customers learn more about your product.
A+ Content lets you add videos, brand stories, vivid images, and text templates to promote your products. This feature lets you customize your Amazon product descriptions to make your products stand out.
Aside from the visuals, many experts agree that A+ Content also increases your products’ visibility on Amazon’s search results.
Ecommerce software provider Sellics-Perpetua also mentions that A+ Content increases the chances of customers seeing your listing immediately if they search for similar products on Google.
Remember that you can only use A+ Content if you’ve subscribed to the following programs.
- Amazon Brand Registry
- Amazon Launchpad
- Amazon Exclusives
Despite its exclusivity, investing in A+ Content is worth it. Check the example of an A+ Content product description below if you’re not convinced.
Since the 2021 HTML ban, Amazon has removed old HTML tags they allowed before the ban or deleted lines of product descriptions with now-unsupported tags.
Deleting old HTML formatting can lead to at least one of the following results:
- Your listing might turn into a massive wall of hard-to-read text.
- Your listing might have information gaps due to Amazon removing certain text lines.
Amazon states that they no longer support HTML tags. However, there are a few unpublished exceptions.
Amazon permits the use of line break tags (<br>), bold tags (<b> and </b>), and paragraph tags (<p> and </p>).
Another way to optimize your product listing is to include the keywords your target customers use when searching for products. You can also subscribe to Amazon A+ Content.
Product listings have many elements, each having different degrees of formatting freedom.
Amazon no longer allows HTML tags to change font styles, set up background colors, or add bulleted lists to product descriptions.
However, you can use capital letters and special characters like dashes and brackets to make product descriptions easier to read.
Yes, you can manually input your product descriptions on Amazon.
Sellers traditionally used an Amazon product description editor to integrate various HTML tags into their listings.
Manually typing HTML code was more burdensome. An Amazon product description editor automatically translated ordinary product description text that sellers entered and turned it into HTML code.
Amazon product description editors have become less helpful now that Amazon only allows HTML tags for line breaks, bold text, and paragraph breaks.
Remember to use the line break tag to ensure your descriptions are more readable.
Before and after the HTML ban, Amazon could only display product descriptions if sellers included HTML code. The only difference now is that there are significantly fewer tags to use.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, my guide has taught you how to use HTML in your Amazon product descriptions and has given you relevant information on the new guidelines.
Check your Amazon listings today and see what you can improve. Out with the old product descriptions, in with the new!
You can also visit my blog for more Amazon marketing tips and strategies.