What Are Negative Keywords on Amazon and Why You Should Care

April 22, 2022
 min read

One way to optimize your advertising on Amazon is to use negative keywords, to ensure PPC ads will not come up in any irrelevant or unwanted searches.

Save money on your ad campaigns and increase your store sales by finding out the best-kept secrets behind a successful negative keyword strategy on Amazon.

Being constantly on the search for negative keywords in your Amazon store is no small feat, especially if you’re a new FBA seller.

But, what exactly are negative keywords and why should you care?

For starters, negative keywords are a simple way to target your ideal customer and optimize your Amazon ad spend. This means you can improve your ad performance metrics, such as click-through rate (CTR), return on ad spend (ROAS), as well as cost per click (CPC). Entrepreneurs use negative keywords to optimize their Google ads as well as Amazon advertising campaigns. For this post, we’ll be focusing specifically on negative keywords for Amazon.

Negative Keywords Are an Important Marketing Strategy

When it comes to a successful digital marketing strategy, professional sellers on Amazon can find a lot of benefits in using negative keywords for SEO (search engine optimization).

Not only will the optimized search terms help boost sales in your Amazon store, you’ll also cut a lot of waste from your advertising budget by implementing the right keywords and key phrases to the product listings that you plan on marketing. 

"Negative KW's are most important for auto targeted campaigns or campaigns that focus on broad keywords as these are most likely to include search terms that do not make sense for your products." - Andrew Laird, Senior Account Manager at Mayan

Want to know some strategies so you can increase sales? Here are our best tips and your keyword-related questions answered. We’ll help you discover ways to avoid any ad waste and maximize your negative keyword SEO potential.

What Are Negative Keywords on Amazon?

In brief, a negative keyword strategy is where sellers can eliminate certain search terms that Amazon shoppers type in when searching for a product from their ad campaigns.

To use this tool, professional sellers need to compile a list of those specific search terms and put them in the back end of their ad campaign. When doing this, their PPC ads will not come up in any irrelevant or unwanted searches for those terms.

Negative keywords are part of basic keyword and SEO practices, and are an extra handy feature to be aware of so that your PPC Amazon ads (product ads, sponsored brand ads, etc) can work as efficiently as possible. They are called “negative” keywords because the goal is to exclude those terms as part of your ad optimization process.

Here’s an example of a PPC Sponsored Brands ad. Make sure your product ads land in the right hands so that your hard-earned ad spend isn’t wasted. Negative keywords will help you reach that goal!

If you’re an SEO expert, you know that implementing related keywords and key phrases are just as important as having one main keyword to drive your content. Related keywords and questions make for the best quality content, and you want to apply this strategy to your Amazon ad campaigns.

When you dedicate some time to finding your negative keywords and applying them to your marketing strategy, this will help you maximize success for your pay-per-click Amazon ads.

Ads lead to clicks, clicks lead to increased visits to your Amazon store and then eventually more customers buying your products. As a result, doing solid negative keyword research can easily help boost your brand success in e-commerce. It’s also one of the most important types of SEO that you can do for your Amazon business.

How do negative keywords on Amazon do that, exactly? Let’s break it down.

The 3 Types of Negative Keywords on Amazon

When you go to Amazon Seller Central and create a new campaign, you have the option to enter Negative keywords here. You can enter "Negative exact" keywords, so ads won't show on shopping queries that contain the exact phrase or close variation. "Negative phrase" keywords ensure that ads won't show on shopping queries that contain the complete phrase or close variations.

By finding negative keywords and plugging them into the search terms for your Amazon PPC ads, you’ll be able to save on ad spend and target the right buyers for your products. And if you add the relevant negative keywords when updating your product listings, your business will be at the top of its game.

But before you start applying negative keywords to product listings, it’s important to understand the different keyword “match” types on Amazon. These three main types are:

Exact Negative Keywords

“Exact” negative keyword match types are one or two word search terms for your product

Let’s say you sell small camera bags for professional photographers in your Amazon shop. If you’re selling a camera bag for traveling photographers in size small and only add the keywords “camera bag” for your ad campaign, then your product will come up when people search the specific term “camera bag” and some relevant misspellings of the term. 

It’s also important to note that plural and singular search terms will also apply. When inputting your negative keyword list make sure to be specific, because a little difference like a singular or plural term can “trigger” an ad.

Phrase Match Types

Phrase match types are basically your long-tail negative keywords

While the term “keywords” always gets the first mention when it comes to an SEO strategy, “keyphrases” can be just as important - think longer, more specific searches for a product or topic whether it be on Google, Amazon, or anywhere else online.

Amazon shoppers will plug in longer search terms and even phrases when looking for a product. As long as your ad is optimized for “camera bag”, then your product ad will also potentially appear in search when shoppers type in phrase terms like “camera bags for DSLR cameras”, “big camera bag for women”, etc. 

An example of a key phrase - "camera bag purse for women crossbody" - related to "camera bag"

You’ll notice in the screenshot above that the long-tail search term/keyphrase that pops up when you type in a search for “camera bag” is “camera bag purse for women crossbody”. If you aren’t selling a crossbody camera bag made for women, then this would be an example of a negative keyword phrase that’s relevant to your business.

Broad Search Terms and Keywords

There are endless broad search terms and keywords to look out for on Amazon. A broad negative keyword match type includes any synonyms and phrases that stem from any synonyms or topics related to your product. 

But, don’t get too overwhelmed when optimizing your product listings and ads with broad negative search terms. While you want to find as many negative keywords related to your product here so that you won’t have any wasted ads or clicks, just add in the highest-searched terms.

As we mentioned previously, you want your ad to fall into the right hands. To get the biggest return on your ad investment, you don’t want to have your ad appear in front of an Amazon shopper who isn’t really keen on buying your product.

Amazon customers are known to shop with intent. Therefore, your product or PPC ad showing up in a search where the customer will most likely scroll away means a waste of your marketing spend.

How to Select Good Negative Keywords

So now that you know there are three different types of Negative keywords, where do you begin in selecting a "good" negative keyword?

First and foremost - know your numbers. Take a look at your Search Term report and identify any keywords that are low-performing. This would mean any keywords that have generated impressions but haven't resulted in any sales, or keywords that have high ACOS and low conversion.

Another good place to start are to think about keywords that are too generic.

Ready To Implement a Winning SEO Strategy?

If you invest time, money, and energy into your PPC ads, then don’t you want to optimize them to the best of their ability? Using a negative keyword strategy means that there will be more potential to reach those customers and Amazon shoppers who actually want to buy your products.

One last seller tip we’ll leave you with is to keep building that negative keyword list and then go back and input them from time to time, because product and Amazon ad optimization is an ongoing process. 

From advertising optimization to expert analytics and reporting, Mayan.co helps Amazon sellers boost their brand and Amazon business without breaking their budget. Any questions? Get in touch and see what we’re all about.

Start boosting your Amazon business today

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