Tips on Identifying Negative Keywords for your AdWords Campaign

Negative Keyword SearchWhen used effectively, negative keywords (i.e. the keywords you DON'T want your PPC ads showing up for) can be an SEM's best friend.

Adding negative keywords to your Google AdWords campaign is one of the simplest ways to:

  • Narrow your campaign's focus
  • Eliminate wasteful spending
  • Weed out irrelevant traffic
  • Increase your Quality Score
  • Improve your overall ROI

Sounds great, right? But how do you come up with negative keywords that will help accomplish this?

    • Common Sense: Certain negative keywords will easily come to mind. For example, if you sell expensive, designer shoes, you could include negatives like "cheap" or "discount."

    • Keyword Research Tools: While you're browsing suggested keyword lists during the campaign creation process, take note of terms you would not use, and decide if those words would be beneficial as negatives. Two of my favorite keyword suggestion tools are Google's Keyword Tool and WordStream's free keyword tool, but there are many others to try as well. WordStream also has a negative keyword tool that makes it simple to create your list and upload it to AdWords.

    • Search Query Reports: Google's Search Query Performance Report further helps by not only providing keyword suggestions but information on search volume as well. This tool is easily accessed from your AdWords campaign.

  • Sample negative keyword lists: Search the web for example lists of negative keywords applicable to many types of campaigns, including this list of potential negatives for B2B. Also try creating your own list for use with future campaigns. Your list could include words like: information, brochure, book, how to, definition, employment, and many others.

Don't forget:

  • Negative keywords can be applied at either the campaign or ad group level. This can be especially helpful if your campaign targets different types of products, allowing you to use negatives for certain ad groups and not for others.
  • Make sure to use multiple sources for negative keyword research! Keyword suggestion tools will undoubtedly provide you with varying results, so the more research you do, the more effective your list of negatives will be.

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