Using Negative Keywords For Better PPC Results

negative keywords for pay per clickAs you may know, every time someone searches for a keyword or phrase that you bid on, Google runs an action
for your ads and a quality score is given.  Google evaluates your keywords, ads, and landing pages and compares it with Internet user’s search queries on Google Search.

If your settings allow it, your Google AdWords ad could appear if your campaign meets a variety of criteria, such as (but not limited to): if maximum bid for that keyword or long-tail phrase is higher than your competition; if your quality score is high and your ad appears relatively high in the Page Rank; and your quality score for contextual relevance to the search query.

According to Lisa Raehsler of Search Engine Watch, “Ranging from broad to narrow, there are several different match types: broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, exact match, and negative match. The broader the keyword, the greater the reach, but unfortunately the relevancy can also slip since ads can be served on less relevant keywords.”

Here is where negative keywords come in to play. Negative keywords are terms and phrases you do not want to bid for when a potential customer runs a search query on Google. So, by adding negative keywords to your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you could essentially weed out irrelevant traffic and allow your AdWords campaign to reach Internet users who are more likely to become potential customers of your small business.

Example #1: The “Dentist”

For example a maxillofacial surgeon most likely would not want to bid for the word “dentist.”  For one, anyone needing a maxillofacial surgeon has probably been referred by a dentist and has been given the name of one.  Also, if you need jaw surgery or something similar, you know a “dentist” can’t perform that type of procedure.  From the surgeon’s perspective, those seeking a “dentist” are not far along enough in the sales funnel to be a viable customer.  If anything, Internet users in need of a maxillofacial surgeon may input search terms similar to “jaw surgeon” or “oral surgeon.”

negative keywords better ppcDarian Schouten says, “Using negative keywords to qualify your campaign can make the difference between attracting someone who is looking to buy your product and someone who is looking for a job!”

Besides saving the time of people who are searching for a particular product/service, implementing negative keywords will save a business owner money. Couple that with the fact that you may be bidding on something you don’t offer or don’t want to emphasize (cosmetic dentist bidding on “dentist”) it may be a good idea to not show up at all for that phrase. If after all of that, a customer gets to your website, they may find you do not sell what they want. Or they may call your office or email you and whoever handles the admin work gets to break the news. So using negative keywords can free up your phone lines, unclog your inbox and keep money in your pocket.

Example #2: The Locksmith

I had a customer who was a locksmith. He could fix any kind of lock imaginable.  When we set up his keywords, every phrase I could think of he wanted, except for “safes.”  Did he know how to open a safe?  I believe so.  Was there more competition for “safes” than “auto lockouts” or “commercial locksmith?”  Definitely not.  For whatever reason, that’s not the type of job he wanted, so he didn’t show for that search query.

Eric Siu suggests that you drive PPC visitors to targeted landing pages. According to his Entrepreneur article discussing mistakes small business owners make with pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, Siu says, “If you don’t have a product-specific landing page to refer visitors to, create custom landing pages that provide the exact information the reader is looking for.”

There are a couple of instances where you may still appear in search engine results, but there isn’t much that can be done in these instances besides avoiding to bid on certain phrases in Google AdWords.  That being said, it will take time and experience to properly create and manage a list of negative keywords. For those of you who are still wondering how to get started, I would suggest visiting TechWyse and reviewing their list of 75 negative keywords that you should include in Google AdWords campaigns.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with YOakleyPR to discuss how we can help you advertise your business online, give us a call at (215) 450-6059 or click here to contact us.

Suggested Reading

  • Search Engine Watch | SEO Basics: 8 Essentials When Optimizing Your Site
  • Social Media Today | Using Negative Keywords For Better PPC Results
  • BingAds | PPC Back to Basics – Find and Add the Right Negative Keywords to Increase Your CTR and ROI

Images via FanDigital and Search Engine Watch

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is a Digital Marketing Professional with more than eight years of experience in the sales and marketing industries. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from University of Minnesota, Mark helps small businesses and nonprofit organizations take advantage of emerging technologies so that they can “be in front of customers who are ready to buy!”

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