Keywords – Less Is More!

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You might think that the more keywords you have for your PPC advertising, the better. But it’s more a case of “getting in the zone”; like in the story Goldilocks and the three bears, there’s not enough, there’s way too many, and there’s just right.

You may be asking what’s wrong with too many keywords. Quite a lot, when it comes to advertising.

•      How can you manage your ad spending effectively with all those keywords?

•      If you have to spread your ad budget across too many keywords, the good ones won’t get enough traction. Too many keywords starves the best, to feed the rest!

•      Too many keywords can drain your budget fast.

•      If you’re using keywords that are a bit less than relevant, you may end up with low conversions, as customers see an ad they don’t think helps them.

More than 50 keywords, and you’re in danger of keyword dumping. More than 100, and you’re definitely dumping. You don’t have a PPC ad strategy, you have a giant game of Whack-a-mole.

So let’s see how you can get rid of some of those keywords without damaging your sales. (In fact, if you get this right, your sales ought to go up.)

First, get properly organized. Each ad campaign needs a name, and all those names should have a basic structure so that you know exactly what they do. For instance, you could use “SP poopscoop autoKW launch”; the ad type (sponsored product), product name, automatic rather than manual keywords, and launching a new product. That way you can easily navigate to each campaign.

Now take a look at the keywords for each campaign. This is all going to be a bit data-heavy, but it’s worth it. Check out which ones have high conversion rates. These are the keywords that your customers agree make real sense. Keywords that generate traffic but no conversions, on the other hand, are costing you money, but customers don’t think your product is what they asked for. Cut those ones out.

Take a look to see if you have duplicates. You don’t need to have words like “the” and “a”, or to include the plural as well as the singular form of a word; Amazon’s algorithms are clever enough to work out that someone wanting “hats” might also want “a hat”. If you want to be super scientific, split-test the duplicates and see which one works best, then cut the others.

Take a look to see if you are paying for a misspelt keyword, or something that’s been entered into the wrong campaign by mistake, or even (and yes, this happens) the word “keyword”! These can all be weeded out.

At this point you have a little more finesse you can use. It can be helpful to look at what keywords your competitors are using. (That is, your successful competitors. No one cares what keywords the number 399,655 seller is using.) Go right back to first principles and use Amazon’s own keyword tool. They know their own algorithms.

If your portfolio of keywords is still uncomfortably large, check the ACOS for each keyword. You want to keep the high converting, lower cost keywords and get rid of the low converting, higher cost ones. That way, your ad spend should be focused on the ads that deliver you the most profit.

Sounds easy? It’s not rocket science. But you’re going to spend a while on a spreadsheet before you see those profits flowing in!

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