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Key to Success in Conquering Negative Keywords

The following is a guest post by MarketplaceOps.

Keywords are an essential part of both SEO writing and advertising. However, there’s one important aspect of keywords that a lot of beginners tend to ignore: negative keywords.

Often, brand bids on highly relevant keywords. But what about those keywords that are irrelevant to your product and campaign? Wisely making use of negative keywords on your PPC ad campaigns can increase your ROI. Simply put, you’ll earn more through the keywords you need by blocking the keywords you don’t need through a negative keywords list.

Read on and we’ll show you how to use negative keywords to optimize your content marketing efforts and ad campaigns on Amazon and Google.

Negative Keywords: What Are They?

While keywords are phrases that drive clicks to a specific website, product page, or ad based on relevancy — negative keywords ensure the opposite.

Also known as a negative match, this method prevents a website, product, or ad from showing to users browsing for content related to your keywords. This strategy comes in handy when you know your target consumer but your product or website keeps showing up to people with little to no interest in them.

Negative keywords are one part of an effective targeted ad campaign as it targets the consumers you want and the consumers you don’t.

Why You Should Be Using Negative Keywords

You might be asking: “Why would I want that? Isn’t it better to show my ads to as many people as I can?”

Two things that negative keywords prevent are wasted ad spend and lower product (or website) ranking. In the case of Amazon PPC, the last thing you want is a significant number of customers clicking on your product’s ad, browsing through it, and realizing that it’s not what they were looking for.

This leads to 2 things:

  1. Unnecessary costs since your clicks didn’t convert
  2. Amazon’s algorithm ranking your product lower on SERP since the traffic driven to your detail pages didn’t drive sales conversions

Negative Keywords on Amazon Ads

Building Your Negative Keywords List on Amazon

When creating your negative keywords list on Amazon, simply pull up the Amazon Search Term Report.

  1. Log into your Amazon Seller Central account
  2. Click on ‘Reports’ at the top of the page
  3. Then click on ‘Advertising Reports’ and click ‘Create Report’
  4. Adjust your report settings then click ‘Run Report’

You can also view your Keyword report directly in Pacvue.

Building Your Negative Keywords List on Amazon - Negative Keywords on Amazon Ads

In the Amazon Search Term Report, your negative keywords will be the low performing keywords. Once you have your list of negative keywords, you can add them to the Sponsored Products Campaign Ad Group on Campaign Manager.

Adding Negative Keywords to Your Campaign

On Campaign Manager, click the name of the desired campaign, then click ‘Negative Targeting’ on the left menu then click on ‘Add Negative Keywords’.

Next, you’ll choose whether you want the terms to be Negative Phrase Match or Negative Exact Match (which we’ll talk more about later).

Click ‘Add these keywords’ then ‘Save.’

For Pacvue users, you can set up Negative Keyword Harvesting to automatically add negative keywords to your campaigns based on performance.

Negative Keywords on Google Ads

Building Your Negative Keywords List on Google Ads

Say for example that your advertising campaign goal is to target fans of your product ‘Nike Air Jordans.’ You’ll get a ton of keywords related to Air Jordans, such as Nike backpacks, Jordan release dates, but you’ll also get ‘where do jordans come from’, or ‘jordan from the air’ (the title of a 2015 movie). The latter will be the ones you don’t want to show up for in customer searches.

One way to start building your negative keywords list is to search for keywords in Google Ads Keyword Planner or the main Google Search Engine Page. Type in the keyword/s you want to target, and from the results, pick out the ones that are irrelevant to your business.

Negative Keywords on Google Ads - Building your negative keywords list on google ads
Negative Keywords - building your negative keywords on Google Ads

You can also use the Search Term Reports in your Google Ads account to pull up low-performing keywords which you can then use as your negative keywords.

Adding Negative Keywords to Your Campaign

Follow the steps below to add your list of negative keywords to Google Ads’ Keyword Planner:

  1. Click ‘Keywords’ on the left menu page
  2. Click ‘Negative Keywords’ then click the plus button
  3. Click ‘Select a Campaign’ that you want to add your negative keyword list to
  4. Type or paste one negative keyword per line in the text field, following Google’s format for match types: keyword = broad match, “keyword” = phrase match, [keyword] = exact match
Adding negative keywords to your campaign on Google

     5. Select the checkbox next to ‘Save to a New or Existing List,’ and enter the name of your negative keyword list

      6. Click ‘Save’

Best Practices for Using Negative Keywords

1. Avoid List Stuffing

‘List stuffing’ or including too many negative keywords in your list can do more harm than good. Having a long negative keywords list puts you at risk of limiting the scope of the product search results, meaning fewer people are likely to see your ad.

2. Regularly Monitor Your Campaigns

Just as you would with traditional keywords, regularly monitor your existing list of negative keywords to ensure you’re not accidentally redirecting traffic from your listings and blocking potential customers.

Moreover, make sure you’ve monitored and gathered enough data before adding negative keywords to your campaign. Run an automatic PPC campaign first for the first few weeks. From there, you can figure out which of your keywords are irrelevant to your target audience and aren’t converting as much.

3. Know How to Use Match Types

To give you more control over what search terms you show up for, negative keywords can be further classified into broad, phrase, or exact match types.

  • Broad — prevents ads from showing up for searches that include every term (in any order) of your keyword. Your ad can also still show up for searches that contain a term within your keyword.
  • Phrase — prevents ads from showing up for searches that include your exact keyword that may have words before or after it.
  • Exact — prevents ads from showing up for searches that include your exact keyword as it is, with no variations or additional words.

Here’s an example of negative keyword match types:

Best practices for using negative keywords - Example of Negative Keyword Match Types

Final Thoughts

Building a negative keyword list is essential to your Amazon PPC ad campaign and your eCommerce site on Google search. They will benefit from targeted advertising through improved CTR and more relevant ad groups. The advantages of having a negative keywords list are better allocation of the brand’s budget and potentially more revenue later on.

About the Author

MarketplaceOps is a leading online marketplaces brand management agency that helps CPG companies accelerate their growth on Amazon and Walmart. Through fully integrated launch plans, proprietary technology, and closed-network access, we’ve solidified ourselves as a gold standard for online marketplace strategy and management.

If you need help optimizing your Amazon PPC ad campaigns, our expert team here at MarketplaceOps can help you. Schedule a free consultation with us and get an evaluation of your product listings, profitability metrics, and marketing campaigns.

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