Negative keywords are, in our opinion, the most important aspect of running a successful paid search campaign, because they help to make sure that your ads appear only to those people who are looking for your particular services. For example, if you sell eyeglasses, you’ll want to make sure that your ads don’t appear for people who are searching for wine glasses. Adding negative keywords gives you an added level of control that can help you increase your ROI and clickthrough rate, as well as reducing your average cost-per-click (CPC). Running a campaign without a strong negative keyword list, or at least managing a list of negative keywords, is like purchasing a mystery grab bag at a store – there may be some items in there that you like, but the majority of it will be junk. If you want to purchase only relevant search terms, then negative keywords are a must.
3 Reasons to Use Negative Keywords:
- While Adwords makes it easy to start up and set up a campaign with a variety of keyword match options in your campaigns, using Broad, Modified Broad, or even phrase match keywords will require the use of negative keywords. When you use these match type ads, your campaign may show up as the result for keywords other than the ones that you typed in. For example, the broad match term “plumber in Cleveland” could show up as plumber jobs in Cleveland, and unless you want to get resumes instead of clients, this is not something you’ll want to be paying for. In this particular case, adding the negative keyword “job” would cause the ad not to show when the original search query included the word “job” in it, avoiding all those would-be plumbers, and reaching only those customers in need of a plumber.
- Match types other than exact match may seem difficult to work with, but they are critical to keyword research and targeting long tail search queries. While using them without negative keywords could be detrimental, the proper application of negative keywords is a great way to get more reach with your ads. Because people are constantly typing in new keyword combinations, trying to add every keyword combination ever would not only be time-consuming but very difficult to manage. The best compromise here is to combine the use of phrase, modified broad match, or phrase match with a long list of negative keywords. This will ensure that your ads make it to the people who need your services the most.
- The addition of negative keywords reduces the amount of inaccurate searches that your ads show up for. The increase in accurate search responses will give your campaigns a greater ROI and higher conversion rate, due to the fact that your company’s website is now only showing up for customers who are ready to purchase, and not in searches that have nothing to do with your business. However, keep in mind that managing negative keywords is an ongoing process and must be maintained as searches change constantly. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date Negative Keywords is just as important as maintaining the other aspects of your advertising campaign.
A Note of Caution
Before you go off and start adding negative keywords to your account, you should be aware that adding negative keywords can cause problems within your account. Adding too many negative keywords may cause your ads to conflict with searches that you may want to show up for. Be sure to look at your campaign as a whole, taking a big-picture approach to ensure that the negative keywords that you’re applying don’t conflict or cause issues with the other, valid, keywords that you may be using in a different ad group.
In Conclusion . . .
Negative keywords can be a powerful tool in any campaign, but—like any tool—using it the wrong way can spell disaster for your CPC, clickthrough rate, and ROI. When properly used, negative keywords can help to focus the targeting of your ads, broaden your reach, and increase conversion rates. It is always best, however, to do your research first, and avoid the problems that conflicting parameters can cause for your marketing campaign.