Negative keywords are one of the less intuitive aspects of the Adwords search advertising, but once you get a feel for how they work, adding them to all of your campaigns will become more like second nature..
First, if you have no idea what they are, you should go over to the page on the topic at Google. The basic idea is that negative keywords will prevent your ads from being triggered when they’re included in the user’s search query. This saves you money by filtering out people who you judge to be less likely to turn into customers off of that particular ad.
A lot of the suggestions there are going to be a bit too intense for beginning advertisers, even though they’re all good. Here are some general tips:
- Good campaign organization will save you time in managing your various keyword lists. Ensuring that each campaign is for achieving a distinct advertising goal will make it much easier to pick keywords that are likely to convert. If you dump all of your ad groups into a single campaign, you’re going to have a tougher time keeping it all in your head.
- It’s less risky to use broad-match negative keywords than it is to use broad-match positive keywords. For example, a high-end fashion designer that rarely offers discounts may want to include negative broad keywords like cheap, discount, sale, used, and rental.
- When performing keyword research, keep an eye out for keywords that pThe op up that are clearly irrelevant to the product that you’re promoting. Add them to a separate list so that you won’t forget to put them in the campaign.
- When reviewing your analytics reports, look at the list of search terms triggering your ads. Look at referral terms that seem relevant but are bouncing at statistically significant high rates. Those are great candidates to ad to your negative keyword list.
What I like most about paying close attention to negative keyword lists is that it makes it much less risky to use broad match and modified broad match positive keywords in other ad groups. If you have enough accumulated data on what traffic doesn’t convert, and you become more familiar with how searchers interact with your particular store, you get a better sense of what you can get away with.
Periodically, you’ll want to look at your negative keyword lists for each of your campaigns and evaluate whether some of them represent alternatives for a campaign targeted to earlier in the sales funnel. For example, keyword traffic that wasn’t converting earlier might be a good fit for a marketing page that helps the site visitor to understand more of the benefits of becoming a customer. While they might not have been ready to convert at that second, they might be interested in reading some of your sales material, downloading a white paper, registering an account, or following your company on social media.
As another guideline, the fewer broad match keywords that you select, the fewer negative keywords that you’ll need to use. If you have only limited bandwidth to devote to your Adwords account, you’re going to want to stick to more exact match and phrase match keywords so that you can save time on creating extensive negative keyword lists. Conversely, if you have a lot of time and budget, you’re going to want to begin your campaigns with more broad match keywords, and then grow your negative keyword list as you accumulate more data on the account.