20 Feb 2017

What Are Negative Keywords?

TL;DR Negative keywords can be the saving grace for your PPC campaign. They help reduce monthly budget loss, prevent you from appearing from keywords which could result in wasted spend, and they help increase post lead quality. This short introduction serves as a guide for business owners and enthusiasts who are seeking to improve their own knowledge of core pay per click practices.

Negative keywords allow you to exclude your adverts from showing to visitors or customers who may be LESS interested in your products are services. Let's say you own a vintage wine shop that sells luxury wine glasses to customers. As your most profitable source of revenue, you want to make sure that you send highly interested traffic to your website. What you don't want to happen, is send people to your page who are searching for 'reading glasses' or 'sunglasses' as you do not sell either of these products. To prevent your advert from showing when users search 'reading' or 'sun' you need to make sure you add the terms "sun" and "reading" on phrase match.

By using negative keywords effectively, you can:

  • Reduce campaign budget loss
  • Exclude irrelevant search traffic
  • Reduce campaign Avg. CPC
  • Increase text ad CTR
  • Improve account-wide Quality Score
  • Reduce a number of irrelevant searches across PPC channels

Below is an example list of keywords that you could use as negatives for a website that sells wine glasses, and vintage bottles of wine:

While this list is only a small example it illustrates an important point: irrelevant searches waste your money and leave users feeling confused. In this example we are using negative keywords on exact and phrase match; exact match negative will only prevent your adverts from showing if somebody searches for those three words '[best reading glasses]', in that order.

The negative keywords we have on phrase match will prevent our ad from showing if a user searched any of the following: 'new frames for my glasses', 'ray ban sunglasses', 'best reading glasses for over 50s' and 'buy camera lenses'.

To summarise: keywords negatives on phrase match can prevent you showing up for a whole range of irrelevant search terms, whereas an exact match negative will only prevent your ad from showing when the keyword is searched for in the correct word order.

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