Find & Use Negative Keywords

What is a negative keyword?

A negative keyword is a keyword that you place in your Adwords system that prevents your ad from showing up for irrelevant search phrases. This can be crucial in getting the most out of your budget.

For instance, if your website provides eye glasses, Google searches that you could be competing for would include wine glasses or drinking glasses. The clicks that these generate on your site are likely to be worthless, as these visitors are highly unlikely to be interested in your eye glasses when searching for drinking glasses. The negative keyword tool can prevent these searches from delivering your ad, this will increase your ROI (return on investment) by only showing your ad to the most relevant searches.

How To Discover Negatives

There are a plenty of places across the internet that can help you find the best positive keywords and negative keywords for your campaigns, however, we find that the best place to find both positive AND negatives is in the searches that your site has actually been found for!

Inside your Adwords system, under the Keywords tab is an area called details, in this drop down menu is an option of search terms. This shows all of the searches that your website has been found for, and can be mined for useful keywords both positive and negative.

All you have to do is go down this list, tick the search term that you would like to add as a negative, scroll to the top of the list and select ‘add as negative keyword’.

Negative keywords can be set in different positions, which is a useful feature when structuring your Adwords set up and these positions are listed underneath.

Negative keyword list

A negative keyword list can be used across all campaigns, and should contain keywords that will be negative for all campaigns! This could be negative keywords such as -Free, -Advise, -International etc. To create a negative keyword list, go to ‘Shared Library’ and create a new list. This will then need to be set at the campaign level.

Campaign level negative keywords

These negative keywords should be campaign wide searches. For instance, if you have one campaign that sells red hats, and another campaign that sells blue hats, you may want to add ‘blue hats’ as a negative keyword in the red hats campaign, and visa versa. ‘Blue hats as a negative in a keyword list wouldn’t work, as this will be across all campaigns and would block searches for Blue hats in the Blue hats campaign. To add negative keywords to your campaign level negative keyword list, whilst in campaign view, click on ‘keywords’ and scroll to the bottom of the page, here you will see a tab for negative keywords. Select this and you will see two different positions where you can place a negative keyword – Campaign level and ad group level.

Ad group level negative keywords

Negative keywords at the ad group level gives an even greater level of control over the searches that your ad will appear for. Sticking with the Blue hats campaign, if in this campaign, your had two different ad groups – blue baseball hats, and blue top hats, you may want to prevent your blue top hat ad appearing for your blue baseball hat searches.

While adding negative keywords, be sure that you don’t accidentally prevent your website from appearing for actual searches that generate traffic. The same rules apply to negative keywords as it does to positive keywords, with broad match, +broad match modifier “phrase match” and [exact match] being applied for extra control of your negative keywords.

If you would like a review of your Adwords account, get in touch with Interact-IT today.  We have over 20 years of experience dealing with Pay per click advertising systems so we are in a perfect position to provide solutions that get results.

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