Most of us have been told at some point and time to use moderation and not over indulge. This advice holds true when it comes to negative keywords in paid search campaigns. Just like over indulgence, too many negative keywords can hurt your paid search campaigns.
Negative keywords are designed to help tighten the focus of your campaign. Let’s say you’re a jewelry company that only sells solid silver jewelry and your company bids on related keywords. Negative keywords that could benefit your campaign are “how to clean”, “wholesale supplier”, “how to make”, “gold and”, etc. All of these could potentially be negative phrase match keywords.
Negative phrase match keywords prevent your ads from showing when someone types in that keyword phrase in that particular order. This means that people searching for “how to clean silver jewelry”, “silver jewelry wholesale supplier”, “how to make silver jewelry”, and “gold and silver jewelry” should not trigger your ads to show. This is a positive because your company doesn’t give tutorials on how to clean or make silver jewelry, you’re not a wholesale supplier and you don’t sell gold jewelry. However, too many negative keywords could actually be a negative and block your ads from showing for relevant searches.
Negative keywords become a negative to your paid search campaigns when they block your ads from showing for relevant searches. Let’s continue with the example above. If your company adds a negative such as “buy silver chains”, it could be blocking potential customers, especially if you are bidding on the term “silver chains” to refer to a necklace. In this example your company is working against its own paid search campaigns. It could be that “silver chains” is attracting people who are looking for silver purse chains, silver chains for their fence, as well as those people who are looking to buy a necklace. Instead of adding “buy silver chains” as a negative, consider adding negatives such as “purse chains”, and “fence chains.” This allows your company’s ads to continue to show for searches like “silver chains”, but at the same time it excludes certain purse and fence chain terms from triggering your ads.
Negative keywords should always be a positive and not a negative to paid search campaigns. It’s good to add negative keywords, but don’t go overboard. If negative keywords are keeping your ads from showing for relevant searches, then it’s time to make some adjustments.
There aren’t many things you can do to your AdWords campaigns that will impact your click-through-rate and the conversion rate on your site. When you find one of these magical dimensions, you need to cherish it — regardless of how much harder it makes your work. Negative keywords fall into this category and, until recently, could be difficult to manage across your account.
So what is a negative keyword? Negative keywords prevent your ad from displaying for a search query and they can be added either on the ad group or campaign level. For example if own a beachside pizza place and you are targeting the keyword “pizza in Fort Lauderdale”; your ad could display for these queries:
“Pizza in Fort Lauderdale”
“Pizza in Fort Lauderdale near the beach”
“Pizza in Fort Lauderdale near the Everglades”
“Worst pizza in fort Lauderdale”
“Free pizza in Fort Lauderdale”
As you can see, you may not want your ad to show for “worst” or “free” or for a geo-modifier like “Everglades”. If you include these terms as negative keywords, then you’ll save yourself an impression, increase your click through rate and get more qualified prospects to your site. Keywords like “free” and “worst” are easy examples of negatives; however, due diligence is required to ensure that you stay up to date with how people are searching today.
Until this week, sharing negatives between campaigns could be a time consuming task that required a lot of exporting and importing, or copying and pasting. Fortunately, the fine folks at Google have added a new tool to the “Control Panel and Library” section of AdWords! “Negative Keyword Lists” is a new tool that lets you add negative keywords across your entire account! Log-in and take a look.
If you have negatives and haven’t used it yet, try it out. If you don’t have any negatives in your campaigns — consider adding them now!
Sometimes it pays to be negative…especially when optimizing a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign. The main goal of Google and the other search engines is to deliver the most relevant paid (and natural) results to a search query when a visitor uses their search engine. Seems pretty simple and works exceptionally well when you have a well structured PPC campaign. If someone searches on a keyword that you feel is relevant to your business, be sure that keyword is included in your campaign. But what happens when the search query triggers your ad and the visitor isn’t the most targeted prospect? Well, you still have to pay for that click and if that continues over time, you could be wasting a sizeable portion of your budget on unqualified traffic. Implement negative keywords into your campaign to help cut costs, optimize your campaign and zero-in on your target customer.
For example, if you provide a high-end product or service, utilize negative keywords like “cheap”, “low cost”, and “inexpensive”. This will help filter out visitors who are looking for your “type” of product or service, but aren’t the target customer who can afford your product or service. It seems like a simple idea but the savings are real and the higher your target budget, the greater the cost savings. In addition, negative keywords will help overall campaign optimization because your ads will not be delivered to the wrong search query. You could expect to see higher click-thru rates (CTR) and better conversions as the visitors generated by your sponsored ads become more targeted.
Google has a keyword tool which helps campaign managers develop keyword lists. This same tool can be used to develop negative keywords as well. Leverage the broad match search settings within the tool and it could return thousands of possible keywords, many of which can and should be added to the campaign as negative keywords. In addition, if you have Google Analytics tracking on your site, utilize that tool to determine your best and worst performing keywords. By reviewing both the organic and paid traffic (and the keywords that generate that traffic) you can further expand your negative keyword list with the non-performing, budget wasting keywords.
Quite simply, by implementing negative keywords you can help optimize your campaign, drive more targeted traffic to your site and save money on your PPC costs. That is the formula for success in search engine marketing and ensuring a favorable return on your advertising spend.