If a search term is not performing for you, you have the option of adding it as a negative keyword. For a keyword that is not performing well for you, you can consider pausing it instead. Learn more about the difference between a search term and keyword here.

How do I pause a keyword?

While you cannot pause keywords directly in SP Optimizer, you have the option of doing so directly in Seller Central. To pause a keyword in Campaign Manager:

  1. Click into the relevant ad group
  2. Navigate to the Keywords tab
  3. Change the status from enabled to paused

You can also pause keywords in bulk using the bulk operations template and setting Status to paused

What's the difference between negating, pausing and archiving?

Negating: negative keywords are used to prevent you from showing up for certain search terms in both automatic and manual campaigns
Pausing: Pausing a keyword in your manual campaign allows you to stop showing up for related searches until you decide to enable the keyword again. Keep in mind, you could still place for ads from your automatic campaign unless these terms have also been negated there.
Archiving: Archiving a keyword permanently deletes that keyword (and any related historic data) from your campaigns.

When should I pause a keyword?

Consider pausing keywords in the following scenarios:

  1. High levels of competition: If a search becomes more popular due to trends or increased competition, you might find yourself paying more for clicks. In these instances, where you don't want to spend money on expensive and broad searches, you can pause those keywords and focus on narrower match types instead. For instance, you can pause the broad keyword "women's jacket" and focus on the phrase keyword "women's jacket" instead to narrow down your scope.
  2. Search terms exactly match keywords: If the search term being recommended as a negative keyword is the same as the exact match keyword in a manual campaign, consider pausing that keyword instead of negating--especially if that search term is relevant. For instance, your negative keyword recommendation is the search term "small blue cup" and the keyword that's causing you to populate for it is the exact match keyword "small blue cup".
  3. Keyword cleanup: If you have not previously used mirrored campaign structure and used sources outside of automatic campaigns to find the best keywords for your manuals, then it makes sense to spend some time on keyword clean up. Using your bulk operations file, track down those keywords that are your poorest performers and investments. Look for keywords that have generated spend, but no sales, over the past 30 days. Pausing these keywords will allow you to reinvest your marketing budget into exploration and doubling down on your best keywords.
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