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AdWords Tip: Identify Negative Keywords


A useful PPC optimization strategy that is often overlooked is including negative keywords in your campaign. Negative keywords are used in AdWords to prevent your ads from being served for irrelevant searches. To paint a clearer picture, assume you are bidding on the term “bass” because you sell bass guitars. If you are bidding on “bass” with broad match, your ad could be served in searches for “bass fishing”. Anyone searching for “bass fishing” is unlikely to purchase a bass guitar from your site. If you included the term “bass fishing” in your negative keywords, you would not be wasting the impression and possible click. In addition, by adding negative keywords, your cost per click is likely to decrease as your click through rate increases.

Understanding negative keywords is only half the battle. Many advertisers know about negative keywords but do not utilize them because they have trouble identifying them. Common sense can certainly get you a starter list of negative keywords, but to really be effective, you will need to constantly be adding negative keywords to your campaigns.

The first way to identify negative keywords is to look for them in your current campaigns. Run a keyword performance report to see which keywords convert poorly over time. Add those phrases to your negative keywords.

There is also a very simple way to identify negative keywords you may not have thought of. Just run your broad keywords through any keyword suggestion tool, like the one provided in AdWords. Look through the list and identify any phrases that include your keywords but are irrelevant to your business. For example, you may have never considered that when bidding on “packaged food”, your ad will be showing up on searches for “packaged food poisoning”. However, if you ran “packaged food” through a keyword suggestion tool, “packaged food poisoning” would be right there for you to see.