When establishing a PPC strategy, establishing a keyword strategy is a must. However, many companies neglect or even forget to incorporate a negative keyword strategy. Establishing an effective negative keyword strategy in conjunction with regular keyword research helps determine which keywords are useful to include in ad campaigns and EBC.
Negative keywords are words or phrases that would not be helpful to product sales. For instance, if a company sells children’s rain boots, searches for men’s or women’s rain boots would not be useful or result in relevant customer traffic. This phrase would be included in the negative keyword list.
While negative keyword strategy can sometimes be swept under the rug, having a good understanding of negative keywords strategy can be a great asset to companies looking to grow the online presence of their business and increase their sales by attracting more relevant consumer traffic.
Keywords are organized into 4 distinct categories: broad match, phrase match, exact match, and negative keywords. Sellers should be aware of these distinctions to properly understand research findings, to integrate high-value keywords into their EBC, and to discover negative keywords.
Broad Match Keywords
Broad match keywords allow Amazon to display ads on a broad basis, meaning that ads could be shown whenever someone searches for words or phrases that can be connected in any way to a seller’s product. These usually include search terms that are vague or seemingly unrelated to the product in question. Broad match keywords might also include synonyms, variations, or misspellings.
For example, if you were bidding on the keyword Harry Potter, your ad might show up for Hary Potter (misspelling) or Ron Weasley (related).
These keywords help sellers identify popular searches within the consumer market, which can shed additional light on how to reach their target customer group and identify potential phrase match or exact match keywords.
Phrase Match Keywords
Phrase match keywords are also referred to as the “discovery match type.” Phrase matches are generally more useful than broad match because your keywords maintain their word order. Amazon doesn’t alter the root keyword, so the results of phrase match research often have greater relevance for the seller. However, your ad may appear on variations of your keyword that include words before or after the phrase.
For example, your ad might appear for fuzzy Harry Potter socks when your phrase match keyword is Harry Potter socks.
As with broad match keywords, phrase match keywords can be used to identify the most effective keywords—along with the best negative keywords—to use when running ad campaigns for specific products or brands.
Exact Match Keywords
Exact match keywords are the most precise keywords because they reflect exactly what consumers are searching for. Unlike phrase match keywords, Amazon will not add words before or after the keyword phrase. Because of their precision, these keywords can be extremely valuable to a successful ad campaign. As such, negative keywords will not be in this category.
As mentioned, negative keywords are words or phrases that sellers don’t want to bid on. When conducting keyword research, be proactive and identify negative keywords to add to campaigns before they go live. Selecting negative keywords beforehand can save money that could otherwise be wasted on irrelevant clicks. Additionally, implementing negative keywords can also prevent the damage those keywords could have on Amazon quality scores.
Adjusting Live Campaigns
Once the keyword research process is finished and your campaigns are running, you need to keep an eye on keyword performance. Broad match keywords that perform well and yield a high search volume should be moved to either “phrase match” or “exact match” keywords. Although it seems like a simple process, each word needs to run for at least 2 weeks before it should be edited or moved to a different keyword category.
Any keywords that result in searches that you don’t actually want to bid on should be set to negative keywords. If your company sold socks but not shoes, you may want to add shoes as a negative keyword. You should also make keywords with high impressions and low clicks negative keywords to avoid wasting your budget on unfruitful phrases.
Having clearly defined keyword categories helps sellers be more organized as they develop their brands; however, it can be a challenging process when undertaken in conjunction with the regular time demands of running a business. Many online sellers neglect this process, relying on guesswork or incomplete keyword research for their advertising. But guesswork doesn’t always yield effective results.
Simplifying the Process
Because there’s no exact science to crafting a negative keyword strategy, it does take a considerable amount of industry knowledge and experience to negotiate keyword research processes, coordinating them with Amazon bidding auctions and then integrating the appropriate keywords into the proper categories and the brand’s EBC.