Why Use Negative Keywords?

There are many complicated moving parts that make up a PPC campaign. This might be why some SEOs loathe and even fear paid ads. An experienced PPC manager can tell you that negative keywords are an important part of a campaign, especially if the ads aren’t performing as well as you’d like them to be.

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What Are Negative Keywords?

It’s helpful to understand what exactly is meant when referring to “negative” keywords. First off, it doesn’t have a negative connotation or mean “bad”! A negative keyword is any keyword that prevents your ad from being shown by a certain word or phrase. Essentially, it tells Google NOT to show your paid ad to a person who is searching for that phrase. For example, if you own an online shoe store but don’t carry baby shoes, “baby” would be a negative keyword. “Free” is also a popular negative keyword for obvious reasons.

Why Are Negative Keywords Overlooked?

The problem with PPC campaigns in general is that there are so many different factors to look at. To the untrained eye, negative keywords might (if you’re lucky) be added to a campaign at the very beginning. And that’s where the process ends. The negative keyword list is never looked at or adjusted again, even if the ads change!

Why Negative Keywords Are Necessary For Your PPC Campaign

Adding specific negative keywords will help searchers get what they want. It filters out the specific type of search so that you don’t get errant clicks when the searcher really was looking for something else. For example, if you’re a lawyer looking to help clients with foreclosure defense, you’ll need to add relevant negative keywords to your list so that you don’t get clicks from people searching to buy and flip foreclosed homes.

Where to Get Ideas for Negative Keywords

– The starting point for your negative keyword list should come from your Search Query report, where you can see all the searches that have triggered your paid ad. Check the list and add any weird or irrelevant terms as negative keywords to your campaign.
– Check a thesaurus for synonyms and add to a list of negative keywords you already have.
– Don’t forget Google’s own AdWords Keyword Planner
– Competitive research, search your desired keywords and see what comes up. If there are results and ads with words with what your NOT interested in, add them to the list.
– There are also paid options, like Wordstream.

Negative Keywords Help Your Bottom Line

Who knew that something that sounds so bad can actually be so good for your ads? Adding relevant negative keywords to your PPC ads will make them more targeted which will increase your Quality Score. This gives way for higher conversion rates and more affordable clicks. Read more about what Google has to say about negative keywords here and call us at (323)340-4010 for help with a PPC campaign.

One thought on “Why Use Negative Keywords?”

  1. Good post. Negative keywords are so important – in fact I would say ‘fundamental’. But I still audit PPC accounts regularly which either have no negative keywords, very few negative keywords – or where you can see that negative keywords are rarely added.

    I always recommend :

    1. Making sure you launch with a starting list of negative keywords which can either be from generic lists (I have created a few lists over time), or from keyword research.
    2. Running a search query report every week for the first 6 weeks, then monthly thereafter. Priority should (of course) be given to campaigns with the highest impressions (and lowest QS).

    I have recently created a video guide about my negative keyword process, using search query reports. I hope you don’t mind me sharing for the good of the community?

    Here it is : http://www.richardbest.co.uk/method-1-negative-keywords-google-adwords-search-query-report/

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