Keywords – The Positive and the Negative

Keywords – The Positive and the Negative

Recently in the forum I expounded upon the use of keywords in filtering category results. I would like to repost and expand upon the information here for the benefit of anybody who missed it.

Keywords are entered in the Keywords box for each category under the Categories tab of the AOM control panel. If you have a Site Default Keyword (SDK) set up under the Site tab, checking the SDK box will insert this term into the keyword boxes automatically, overwriting anything you place there manually.

You can use two kinds of keywords: positive and negative. Positive keywords are typical words, such as banana. The negative keywords are determined by the minus sign (-banana). So banana would theoretically only display products with that word in the title or brand. But -banana would filter out any item with that word.

Category tab, showing keywords boxes

Note that keywords are not case-dependent. Banana is the same as banana. You cannot use quotes (as in “banana peel”), and commas are not required.

You can use negative keywords anywhere you would use positive keywords, or even both together: banana -kumquat. This would show items with “banana” in the title, but remove any items with “kumquat”.

With positive keywords, you filter out everything except keyword related items. So the more keywords you add, the more filtering you do. I recommend trying to never use more than one or two positive keywords. Many new users will make the mistake of assuming that keywords work on typical Boolean search logic (term1 AND/OR term2 AND/OR term3, etc.). If they set up a camera category, they may use a keyword list like this:

Sony Sanyo Panasonic Canon Nikon Minolta Pentax

And wonder why the category does not display any items. Obviously no item will contain all of these keywords.

Negative keywords on the other hand, will filter out only specific items. Using the camera example again:

-Sony -Sanyo -Panasonic Canon -Nikon -Minolta -Pentax

Should only display Canon cameras. The other brands are filtered out.

Since negative keywords filter out only certain items, unlike positive keywords which only allow certain items through, you can use as many negative keywords as required.

Keywords are useful when you do not have a subcategory node to drill down into. If you were setting up a movie category and wanted to feature only Twilight films, You could use twilight as a positive keyword. You might find that your category also contains things like ‘The Twilight Zone’, or even ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Moonlight’. Then you could add -zone -potter -moonlight as negative keywords to remove these specific items. And undoubtedly more if you would like to filter the results to an even greater degree.

So to sum up:

Positive keywords filter out everything except items related to the keyword

If your keyword is banana, you should get banana-related results

Negative keywords filter out specific items related to the keyword

If your keyword is -banana, you should not get banana-related results

Use no more than one or two positive keywords

banana peel

Use as many negative keywords as required

-banana -kumquat -melon -apple -raspberry -orange -kiwi -grapefruit -pear -peach -strawberry

The correct use of positive and negative keywords, along with the appropriate category or subcategory nodes, can give you an amazing flexibility in setting up your categories. Sometimes, yes you will have to settle for a compromise in the results featured in your site. But intelligent keyword usage gives you a great tool for fine-tuning those results as much as possible.

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One thought on “Keywords – The Positive and the Negative

  1. Is there a way to exclude keywords such as 12″ and other numerical measurements from specific categories?

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