Keyword Research for Amazon PPC: Basic Guide

Keyword Research for Amazon PPC: Basic Guide

In the constantly evolving world of Amazon PPC advertising, it’s easy for advertisers to get caught up in the latest “hacks” or “tips” to gain an edge. However, at Ad Badger, we advocate for a return to the fundamentals as the most effective strategy within the fluctuating Amazon PPC landscape. Central to this approach is a strong foundation in Keyword Research for Amazon PPC.  In this blog post, Brent Zahradnik from AMZ Pathfinder and our very own Michael Facchin will take you on a journey to the foundation and basics of keyword research.

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    The Basics of Keyword Research: Definitions

    Keywords are the bench press of Amazon PPC.

    If you’ve ever tuned into a chat among fitness buffs, you’re familiar with the inevitable “How much do you bench, bro?” inquiry. The bench press serves as an unofficial global standard for measuring strength.

    Similarly, keywords play a pivotal role in Amazon PPC advertising. It’s impossible to discuss Amazon PPC without bringing up keywords. Now, let’s dive into the definitions of some standard terms in keyword research.

    Keyword Research for Amazon PPC, Amazon keyword meme

    What is a Keyword?

    Shifting our focus beyond Amazon, a keyword is identified as the term you seek to align with during an internet search. Furthermore, examining the development of keyword usage on Google uncovers a period where the straightforward approach of producing content laden with keywords was enough—leading to Google promoting your content prominently on its search results pages.

    Today, Google doesn’t consider keywords much when ranking content, and they may even try doing away with keywords altogether.

    You’re probably asking yourself, “What has any of this got to do with Amazon PPC advertising?”

    Moreover, keywords play an essential role in Amazon PPC ads. Consequently, amid the ever-evolving realm of Amazon advertising, we cannot ignore the looming possibility of a decreased emphasis on keywords in determining product rankings. This situation urges us to consider a forthcoming era in Amazon PPC, where the focus might transition to factors such as image quality and linguistic precision for ranking products, thereby venturing into a landscape that transcends the conventional reliance on keywords.


    What is a Target?

    A target is a concept unique to Amazon search engines. It’s what we’d call the end goal, which varies for each search.

    An ASIN can be a target since we put that in a campaign. Additionally, audiences can become targets. Categories can serve as targets. And, on occasion, a keyword may also function interchangeably as a target.

    What is a Search Term?

    Importantly, a search term refers to the phrase a shopper inputs into the search box, which subsequently activates your keyword target. In the context of PPC campaigns, a keyword or target represents the specific entity you place bids on within your campaigns.The search term is what gets you the click and triggers the keyword.

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    Amazon Keyword Research Goals

    With the definitions out of the way, let’s explore the goals of keyword research and why it’s so critical to Amazon PPC advertising.

    There are three main keyword research goals:

    1. Understanding the ecosystem existing in and around a particular keyword

    Depending on your tool, you can gain deeper insight into the ecosystem in and around your primary keyword. For example, keyword volume data can help you predict your keyword’s performance in a campaign. More importantly, you can learn where your keyword sits in the search volume hierarchy compared to other related keywords. These metrics clearly show a keyword’s expected performance in Amazon PPC campaigns.

    2. Discovering new positive keywords related to your primary keyword

    Think of your primary keyword as a seed. When you add the keyword to your keyword research tool, you’re planting a seed to see the branches and fruits that will come from it.

    In this scenario, your seed keyword will produce related keywords and search terms. You can then use these newly discovered keywords in your PPC campaigns to open up new targets and more opportunities for sales.

    Keyword Research for Amazon PPC - Positive Key Phrases
    If "hammock" is the seed, the items in the green box are the fruit.

    3. Identifying negative phrase matches related to your primary keyword

    Keyword research can help you discover related keywords and key phrases that are irrelevant to your product.

    For example, if your primary keyword is “Hammock,” you’ll find related keyphrases such as “cat hammock” and “hammock for stuffed animals.” You’re selling hammocks for humans, so these key phrases, though related to your keyword, are irrelevant to your product, and it’d be a waste of money if you bid on them.

    Keyword Research for Amazon PPC - Negative Key Phrases
    If your goal for "hammock" is humans, then you won't want to appear for the red box items for cats.

    Such key phrases are the negative phrase matches you should block in your campaigns to avoid accidentally bidding on them and wasting your advertising budget.

    Does Amazon Keyword Research Ever End?

    The simple answer is no. Amazon keyword research never ends.

    If you’re an Amazon seller, you already have the top keywords for your product. But, external factors like market forces, major global events, and emerging trends impact the performance of these keywords. You’d need to keep doing keyword research to keep up with these changes.

    Additionally, some sellers have found new product variations through keyword research. Revisiting our hammock example, it becomes apparent that there’s a preference for hammocks equipped with mosquito nets. By introducing a product variation that includes a mosquito net, you can effectively target and capture this particular market segment.

    Can I Do Too Much Keyword Research Too Fast?

    Tempting as it may be to hit the ground running with your keyword research method, doing it too fast is counterproductive. 

    Let’s say you want to test a hundred keywords, so you dump all of them in a campaign and set your daily budget. What happens is you get very few clicks and conversions scattered all across your keywords. (Here’s our guide for fixing low-impression, low-click keywords in Amazon PPC.) It takes about 30 clicks on a keyword to know if it’s effective. When you rush the keyword research process, you simply won’t have enough data to accurately judge a keyword’s performance.

    Therefore, you’re better off narrowing it down to a small group of keywords and allowing them sufficient time to accumulate clicks and data. Then, you can make a data-driven decision on the best keywords to keep and which ones to discard.

    What Percentage of the Budget Should Go Into Amazon Keyword Research?

    Thus, Keyword Research for Amazon PPC is essential and should be allocated its own budget.

    According to Brent, you should dedicate 15%-20% of your advertising budget to keyword research. However, if you have a limited budget and already have some winning keywords, you could focus on those before testing more.

    Amazon Keyword Research Tools Worth Looking Into

    Now, let’s delve into the premier keyword research tools currently available in the market. We’ll categorize this compilation into two distinct sections: tools provided by Amazon and those developed by third parties. Here’s an overview:

    Keyword Research Tools on Amazon

    1. Amazon Brand Analytics: This is a free tool built into Amazon. It doesn’t give search volume data, but it lets you discover the Search Volume Frequency (SFR) that you can break down into weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. It also offers new keyword ideas, new product ideas, and negative phrase matches.
    2. Product Opportunity Explorer: A fairly new feature still in beta testing in the U.S. It shows keyword search volume and search volume growth for the last 90 days. It also shows the number of units sold over the previous 90 days, average price, and top clicked products.
    3. Auto Campaigns: Your auto campaigns can double up as a keyword research tool. Auto campaigns can help you discover new valuable search terms that you can break down into keywords and integrate into your listings and campaigns.

    Third-Party Amazon Keyword Research Tools

    While most third-party tools share similarities in their core functionalities, we won’t analyze each one separately. These tools enable you to input a seed keyword to unearth other related keywords and sift through them based on various criteria.

     You can also put in an ASIN to extract top keywords and search terms related to that ASIN.

    Some of our favorite third-party keyword research tools are:

    Wrapping Up Amazon Keyword Research

    Have you experienced a sense of instability, as if the sand is shifting beneath your feet, while trying to navigate the constantly evolving seas of Amazon PPC advertising?

    Indeed, Keyword Research for Amazon PPC is crucial—it establishes the foundation for successful PPC advertising. Equipped with a solid grasp of these keyword research principles, you’re well-prepared to craft advanced, highly effective Amazon PPC strategies!

    Bernard Gatheru for Ad Badger

    Bernard Gatheru

    Contributing Writer

    B2B eCommerce content writer. Amazon listing expert. Likes hiking up hills and sweating at the gym.

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